Hormones are chemical messengers. They are produced in glands throughout our body, released from these glands and circulated in various organs. They affect all sorts of different functions – such as bone growth, metabolism, and ovulation – which depend on the hormone released and the cells it acts on. For example, hormones released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in your brain stimulate your ovaries to grow and release an egg, which leads to ovulation. Ovulation then causes us to produce the hormone progesterone.
We have dozens of hormones and millions of hormone receptors that are like docking openings on the outside of cells that allow hormones to enter and do their job. Estrogen is an amazing example of a hormone that does so much. We have estrogen receptors in our heart, in our bones and in the brain – not just in our uterus. This is why estrogen can affect so much of our bodies at once, including our menstrual cycles, as well as cognitive function and bone density, and so many other functions. The same goes for cortisol, our thyroid hormones, and many others.
These hormonal systems are also interconnected. Your thyroid function affects your estrogen production, your estrogen level affects your thyroid, your cortisol level affects thyroid function, and your cortisol level affects ovarian function. These systems all communicate all the time. It’s like a phone game. When the messages are properly communicated, the functions that are supposed to be triggered by the hormones can do their job smoothly. But like a phone game, the messages may not be relayed properly. The messages may not be forwarded at all. Or messages are being passed too loudly or too many messages are being sent at the same time. If the messages are not relayed properly, what is supposed to happen on the other end is supposed to be static on the channel. The messages can be mixed up. And that’s how hormonal problems happen.