I really would like to know if everyone already knew this or is it JUST ME who has gone back to school to find out what is going on with the hormones in my body? Shall we start with who the Chief Executive Officer is?
“Hormones are chemicals which circulate in the bloodstream and spread around the body to carry messages or signals to different parts of the body. How many of you also knew that the name hormone comes from the Greek word hormao meaning “I excite” and refers to the fact that each hormone excites or stimulates a particular part of the body known as the target gland”. (1) Sounds quite saucy really or like a game of targeted paintball.
Hypothalamus Gland – Chief Executive Officer
The hypothalamus gland is situated in the brain – our nerve centre. It acts as a collecting centre for information concerned with the internal well being of the body and liaises daily with its very close colleague – the Head Gland, the pituitary.
Pituitary Gland – Chief Operating Officer (COO) and IT Director
The control of hormone production is monitored continuously and regulated using feedback loops – supervised by the COO/IT Director. This Head Gland controls the production of five “Mega Hormones” which are essential for us gals. Luteinising hormone (LH), Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to name three of them.
Thoughtful Thyroid – Director of Operations
This gland controls all our metabolic rates and how quickly the sugar in ours cells is turned into energy. It can be just right, too high or too low. Line managed by the pituitary.
The Boss of Progesterone and Oestrogen is the Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is why the doctors always measure how much FSH we have in our bodies, when they think we might be in our glorious decade.
Perfidious Progesterone – Director of Night Operations
Progesterone helps to balance and neutralise the powerful effects of excess estrogen. Progesterone is a pivotal building block for the production of other hormones and helps you SLEEP. We produce it ourselves until peri-menopause and then levels decrease. Mind you it didn’t help me sleep as you know…I am just so special.
Elusive Estrogen –Director of Home Affairs
Twins with Perfidious Progesterone, Estrogen can be given to peri-menopausal women in order to prevent osteoporosis as well as treat the symptoms such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness, urinary stress incontinence, chilly sensations, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, and sweating. We can get all these symptoms as oestrogen levels decline.
Tenuous Testosterone – Director of Sports
Produces red blood cells, in women if this dips too low, you can lose energy, confidence as well as muscle mass and libido. This hormone receives its marching orders from the Luteinising hormone (LH) and the Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which are controlled by the head gland.
Abrasive Adrenalines – Director of Emergencies
They are produced in response to stressful situations, producing the “fight or flight” response and then are supposed to calm down and relax when they are not needed anymore. They receive their orders from the head gland and are multi-taskers. They promote cardiovascular function, utilize carbohydrates and fats and promotes healthy gastrointestinal functions They are responsible for producing our friend Canny Cortisol to help with the fight or flight response. They can often stay “on” all the time in our increasingly busy world, which results in chronic stress and depletion. When this happens you get “adrenal fatigue” and constant messages sent to cortisol to keep producing. This can end up with the wrong amount of cortisol at the wrong time of day – especially at night when cortisol levels should be low, they are often high. Guess what, it therefore can stop us gals from sleeping….
Itinerant Insulin – Director of Rest and Recuperation
Insulin regulates the amount of glucose in the blood – without the right levels, you can experience severe mood swings and lethargy. It is controlled by the pancreas, which is a large gland behind the stomach. I always thought it was an organ but it is a gland.
What has become clear to me is that you have to look at stress and diet and blood sugar as well as our girly hormones as they are all finely tuned to work together as a great team. No more estrogen and progesterone isolationism. We will be monitoring these little darlings all year to learn more. Keep reading!
(1) The Pituitary Foundation
(2) Hormone Health Network
(3) Society of Endocrinology