Hormones are chemical messengers. They are produced in glands throughout our body, released from those glands, and circulated to different organs. They influence all sorts of different functions—like bone growth, metabolism, and ovulation—that depend on the hormone released and the cells it’s acting on. For example, hormones released from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in your brain stimulate your ovaries to grow and release an egg, leading to ovulation. Ovulation, then, causes us to make the hormone progesterone.
We have dozens of hormones and millions of hormone receptors, which are like docking ports on the outside of cells that allow hormones to enter and do their jobs. Estrogen is an amazing example of a hormone that does so much. We have estrogen receptors in our heart, bones, and brain—not just our uterus. That’s why estrogen can affect so much of our body at once, including our menstrual cycles as well as cognitive function and bone density and so many other functions. The same is true of cortisol, our thyroid hormones, and many others.
These hormone systems are also interconnected. Your thyroid function affects your production of estrogen, your levels of estrogen impact your thyroid, your levels of cortisol affect thyroid function, and your levels of cortisol influence ovarian function. These systems are all communicating all the time. It’s like a game of telephone. When the messages are getting communicated properly, the functions that are supposed to be triggered by the hormones are able to do their jobs smoothly. But as in a game of telephone, the messages might not get passed on properly. The messages might not even get passed on at all. Or there might be some messages that get passed on too loudly, or too many messages happening at once. If the messages aren’t passed on correctly, what’s supposed to happen at the other end is like static on the channel. The messages can be confused. And that’s how hormonal issues happen.
This article was originally published by goop.com. Read the original article here.