The endocrine system secretes chemical substances that are in charge of the function of many body systems. These are called hormones. When your endocrine glands produce more hormones, it affects the proper function of many organs, a condition called hormonal imbalance.
Hormonal imbalances in women are mainly the result of the imbalance of the two most important female hormones – estrogen and progesterone. There are a number of factors that lead to these imbalances, and they are divided in two groups:
- Physiological or internal, and
The internal factors are related to the female reproductive cycle. When this cycle is in balance, only the hormone estrogen is secreted in the first 10-12 days. The ovulation then sends information to the endocrine glands to release progesterone for a balance to be created. Progesterone maintains the endometrial order for the fertilized ovum to get implanted in case of pregnancy. If the ovum is not fertilized, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease and menstruation occurs.
However, sometimes ovulation doesn’t occur, typical of premenopausal women, and then the secreted estrogen cannot be balanced by progesterone, which is only released during ovulation. This leads to an imbalance as estrogen levels continue to rise, while progesterone levels fall.
The external factors that trigger hormonal imbalance in women include estrogen sources other than those naturally secreted in the body.
Nowadays, lack of progesterone affects many women before they even reach menopause.
This is due to a number of contributing factors:
- Xenoestrogens found in cleaners, soaps, sprays, herbicides and cosmetics
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Thyroid gland disorders
- Poor diet (especially a diet rich in fat, sodium and sugar, processed foods and caffeine)
- Rigorous diet (low in fat)
- A diet rich in meat and dairy products (these contain most hormones)
- Alcohol consumption
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Missed ovulation
- Pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals
- Environmental toxins and other pollutants