What are Hormones?
OMG! What a good question! I sent some little notes out to the women of my tribe… busy, working moms all over the Internet. I asked them what questions they have about hormonal health, especially during those funky times of puberty, perimenopause, and burnout. One question floated to the top because it’s absolutely the first thing you’ve got to understand!
What are hormones?
Of course you don’t really know. I didn’t really know despite years of biology, lots of graduate school, and more than a decade of treating patients until I sat down to think about what mine were up to.
If you look at Wikipedia, in the dictionary, or on Reference.com, you will see that the word hormone means a chemical substance that is secreted from the cells of one endocrine gland or organ into the blood stream where it exerts some action on the metabolism of a target tissue or cell. (I know Biochem 101 flash backs again. Seriously, I’m so sorry!)
In plain English, that means that a hormone is a chemical messenger that allows your endocrine organs (such as the ovaries, adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, and even your placenta) to talk to cells in other parts of your body (such as each other, your brain, and your gut.)
I like to think of hormones as drugs that you can make yourself in your own body. Like synthetic drugs, they can be helpful or hurtful. If you make too much of any given hormone, or too little, that can be bad. Produced in the right amounts at the right times, and they can be amazing little powerful sources of health, strength, and shiny, happy glow.
Ideally, the more that we understand how our hormones work, the more we can strengthen the organs and cells that make these hormones and do things to stimulate more of the feel good ones when we need them, and fewer of the ones that can damage our cells if we are exposed to too much of them. While many of our hormonal reactions take place under our radar though the exquisite divine design of our body, in many cases we can influence the system.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more info on specific hormones, their organs of origin, and most importantly what you can do to help them help you!
And, next week, get excited for a guest post! If you’re a successful woman looking for love… this one’s for you.
In the meantime, keep your questions coming!