The glands that make up your endocrine system secrete hormones, which are then released into the bloodstream and affect various target body organs. As you get older, there may be a decline in hormone release for certain hormones. The good news is that you can also introduce some of these hormones artificially through hormone replacement therapy.
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Types of Hormones
The pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, is commonly referred to as the “master gland” since it secretes several hormones. Other glands do not secrete as many hormones. The function or effect varies from one hormone to the next. Different hormones have specific target organs and will not act on any other.
Here is a look at some hormones, how do hormones work, where they are produced, and the effect they have:
- The pituitary gland secretes the antidiuretic hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone(ACTH) growth hormone (HGH,) luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone(FSH,) thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH,) prolactin, and oxytocin. Each hormone acts on a target organ to produce effects such as controlling the production of sex hormones, as well as sperms and eggs, affecting growth and development, stimulating and maintaining the production of milk, and affecting water retention in the kidneys, among others,
- Thyroxine, also known as the thyroid hormone, is produced by the thyroid glands. It regulates your metabolism and also affects the growth and activity of your nervous system.
- The adrenal glands secrete cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, and noradrenaline hormones. These hormones control a wide range of functions, including blood pressure, metabolism, blood sugar level, stress response, water and salt balance, and balance of sex hormones.
- The pancreas secretes insulin and glucagon, both of which help are regulating your blood sugar levels.
- The kidneys produce renin and angiotensin, both of which help to control blood pressure. The kidneys also secrete erythropoietin, which affects has an effect on the production of red blood cells.
- The ovaries produce the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. The former is responsible for the reproductive development and development of female characteristics during puberty. Progesterone stimulates the lining of the uterus for fertilization and also stimulates the breasts to produce milk.
- The testes produce testosterone, a sex hormone that regulates sex drive and fertility. Other key functions that this hormone affects include red blood cell production, bone, and muscle mass as well as fat distribution.
Where the levels of these hormones drop, and more so, the sex hormones produced by the ovaries, hormone replacement therapy may be recommended. The therapy helps to address a wide range of issues that may result from this change in hormone levels.
How Hormones Control and Coordinate Body Functions
Hormones are commonly referred to as the chemical messengers of the body. Once released into the bloodstream, the hormones head to their target cell, where they will produce a specific effect on that cell. The signaling pathways that a hormone will set off in the target cells may lead to an immediate or delayed effect.
The activity of hormones is self-regulated, and this ensures that the hormone levels and their effects are well balanced, and just right. A feedback loop helps with this regulation, preventing the release of more hormones once the right levels and desired effects are achieved. Behind this loop is the activity of other proteins, signals from the nervous system, and of course, other hormones.
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The Role of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Estrogen levels drop significantly during menopause. This deficiency can result in you experiencing some uncomfortable symptoms.
Some of these menopausal symptoms include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Urinary problems
- Irregular periods
- Hair thinning
- Osteoporosis or bone thinning
- Sleep difficulties
- Mood changes
Hormone replacement therapy, also known as menopausal hormone therapy, has proved to be an effective treatment to provide relief for these symptoms.
There are two types of hormone replacement therapy treatments:
1) Estrogen Therapy
This therapy involves a low dosage of estrogen, which may be in the form of a daily pill, an estrogen patch, topical estrogens such as gels, creams, and sprays. Lastly is vaginal estrogen, which comes in the form of vaginal tablets, rings, and creams.
2) Combination Hormone Therapy
This therapy combines estrogen and the synthetic form of the hormone progesterone known as progestin. If prescribed for you, you will ingest the progestin pills.
Factors such as your medical history and the severity of your menopausal symptoms will play into determining whether hormone replacement therapy is for you. If you have uncontrolled hypertension, stroke, a history of heart and liver disease, cancer, and those with blood clots or thrombosis, then you may not be good candidates for hormone replacement therapy.
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Let us Help…
We have qualified doctors at EZCare Clinic who will assess your candidacy for hormone replacement therapy and manage your treatment plan.
Book an appointment and get started on your journey towards finding relief for perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.