What Role Do Hormones Play in the Body?

What Role Do Hormones Play in the Body?

Every part of your body, from your brain to your muscle tissue, has a job and requires instruction to complete that job. Those instructions are issued by your endocrine system, and delivered to the various parts of your body by hormones. 

Out-of-balance hormones, or lower-than-optimal levels of hormones can cause symptoms that aren’t always obvious. At Osteopathic Center for Healing, our providers, Neil Spiegel, DO, and Jennifer Gularson, PA-C, are trained in understanding how hormones work and in recognizing when your hormone levels aren’t what they should be. 

What is a hormone? 

A hormone is actually a chemical that is usually produced by a gland in your body. Hormones are different chemicals, because they work in different parts of your body and there are lots of them. 

Some hormones are well-known, like adrenaline, and there are many others. For instance, there’s a hormone called somatostatin, which regulates several functions such as activity in the gastrointestinal tract and cell reproduction. 

In addition to communicating instructions to organs and muscles, hormones also carry messages between glands. For example, the pituitary gland secretes a hormone called the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which tells your thyroid gland when to produce hormones that, in turn, control numerous functions in your body — from digestion to sleep. 

Your metabolism, energy level, reproductive system, response to injury or stress, and growth and development all depend on your endocrine system and the hormones it produces. 

What kinds of problems happen when hormones are out of balance? 

Many conditions are associated with hormone production. Too much of a given hormone, or too little, can cause problems. For example, diabetes is a hormone problem, having to do with the hormone insulin. Other common issues related to hormones include weight gain or loss, infertility, and insomnia. 

In some cases, a hormone problem is fairly easy to resolve. For example, if your thyroid isn’t producing enough of its hormones, called T3 and T4, you can take an inexpensive and widely available medication. 

Sometimes, hormones become unbalanced as part of a natural process. Women approaching or past menopause may experience symptoms such as weight gain, moodiness, or discomfort as their bodies produce less estrogen. Men tend to produce less testosterone with age, and that can cause disruptive and uncomfortable symptoms. 

How we can help

Osteopathic Center for Healing offers several services related to hormones. Functional medicine, which we practice, involves making sure that your body has what it needs to function optimally. Doing blood work and checking various hormone levels is part of what we do for most patients. 

In addition to medication, there are lifestyle changes that can help you correct your hormone levels naturally. We can guide you with advice on nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and more. For some people, acupuncture or osteopathic manipulation can be helpful.

If you’re experiencing odd symptoms, such as fatigue, unexplained weight gain or loss, problems sleeping, brain fog, or others, schedule an appointment at Osteopathic Center for Healing. Our staff is ready to help. 

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