Hormones are responsible for sending messages throughout the body to all organs, determining things like mood, appetite, energy levels, and more. Hormones are all connected… so if one is out of balance, it negatively affects the others as well.
“The thyroid is one of the glands that make up the endocrine system. The glands of the endocrine system produce and store hormones and release them into the bloodstream. The hormones then travel through the body and direct the activity of the body’s cells.” – the National Institute of Health. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland — triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) — have an enormous impact on your health, affecting all aspects of your metabolism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder. Hashimoto’s happens when the thyroid is being attacked by it’s own immune system.
Thyroid dysfunction happens at the cellular level, and as such, it needs to be addressed at the cellular level. You can read my first Foggy, Fat and Fatigued blog here to learn about cellular inflammation and healing. If you have Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism, you’ll need to work to restore the health of the cell membrane using diet, exercise and ancient healing strategies (like fasting and diet variation) to reduce inflammation.
HPA Axis Dysfunction
The HPA (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal) axis refers to the set of signals that exist between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenals. The HPA axis is activated when the body is exposed to stress.
If you’re under extreme stress consistently, the HPA axis is activated over and over, and your metabolism stores will be depleted. You’ll get symptoms for what some people call “adrenal fatigue.” A few weeks of constant stress are all it takes to start deplete your adrenals and signal hormonal imbalance. Your body is designed to keep you safe from harm — the only problem is that your fight or flight responses don’t know the difference between imminent danger and anxiety over a job interview.
This is why taking steps to destress yourself mentally, physically and emotionally is so important. Take time to do gentle exercise, keep your sleep schedule consistent, and do conscious breathing exercises when you feel your stress levels rising.
Hysterectomies and Menopause
It’s no secret that when women enter menopause, their hormones go haywire. As a matter of fact, immediately following my surgery for ovarian cancer, I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck! When hysterectomies include the ovaries, this puts women into “surgical menopause,” which causes sudden hormonal deficiencies that normally occur slowly over a period of years.
To help balance these hormones, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, taking supplements that include herbs like black cohosh, ashwagandha, red clover and chasteberry is known to help.
Next week we’ll talk about how toxins and infections can make you feel fat, foggy and fatigued.