The appearance of a woman, her health and even her character largely depend on the state of the hormonal background. Special substances present in the female body, cause the appearance of signs that distinguish a woman from a man. Everything that happens in the organs of the reproductive system is connected precisely with their normal or abnormal correlation. The effects of female sex hormones affect how long a woman remains young and beautiful. It is important to know what role hormones play in the body, which may be the cause of deviations.
- The value of hormones in a woman's body
- Consequences of female hormonal disorders
- Characterization of hormones. Violations and their signs
- Hormones of the pituitary and hypothalamus
- Hormone tests
The value of hormones in a woman's body
Hormones are substances that are produced by the endocrine glands and regulate the flow of all processes. The female hormones are those that directly affect the reproductive function and contribute to the appearance of external signs that distinguish a woman from a man.
First of all, these are hormones that are produced in the ovaries and regulate the processes of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. These include estrogen and progesterone.
Note: Estrogens in small quantities are also found in men, as well as testosterone in women, however, exceeding the norm in people of the opposite sex leads to the loss of their own sexual characteristics. Women appear uncharacteristic changes in the shape, begin to grow hair on the face. And in men, the breast increases, the hips become fuller, the voice is thinner.
There is another group of hormones that are considered to be female, although they are also present in a fairly large number in the male body, and in both they play an important role in the functioning of the genital organs. These are substances produced in the brain: gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) of the hypothalamus, as well as follicle-stimulating (FSH) and luteinizing (LH) hormones of the pituitary gland.
For women, their content is extremely important, as they directly regulate the production of estrogen and progesterone. In case of violation of the production of FSH and LH in women, the entire reproductive system fails. Therefore, they also belong to the substances that form the female hormones.
The hormones of this type include prolactin, which is responsible for the formation of milk in the female breast.
The third group includes hormones, without which the female reproductive system also cannot fully function. The uterine contractility, development and condition of the mammary glands depends on them. This is oxytocin, produced in the hypothalamus.
Consequences of female hormonal disorders
Hormonal failure occurs both for natural reasons, and as a result of the occurrence of various pathologies.
The physiological norm is hormonal changes resulting from age-related rearrangements of the female body during puberty and menopause. The normal shift in the ratio of hormones is the onset of pregnancy and the state after childbirth.
Pathological is the change in the ratio of hormones due to various gynecological or endocrine diseases, improper use of hormonal drugs and contraceptives. The cause of failure is delayed puberty, an artificial violation of the physiological processes of childbirth.
The consequences of hormonal imbalance, as a rule, are:
- violation of the development of the female reproductive system, mammary glands,
- changes in the tissues of the uterus and ovaries leading to the formation of endometriosis, cysts, polyps, benign and malignant tumors,
- breast diseases,
- monthly cycle violations
- complications during pregnancy, during and after childbirth.
The appearance of changes in the appearance and behavior of a male type in a woman is also considered to be a serious consequence of an incorrect ratio of hormones.
Characterization of hormones. Violations and their signs
Female hormones are produced in an amount that depends on age, lifestyle, reproductive health and general health. An important role is played by the hereditary factor.
The main producer of estrogen in the body are the ovaries. They also produce fatty tissue, liver.
Estrogens are necessary for the development of the female genital organs. They affect the formation of the shape, chest, condition of bone and fatty tissues, skin and hair, the occurrence of secondary sexual characteristics. The reproductive health, the nature of menstruation, the state of the endometrium, and the mucous membranes of the cervix and vagina depend on the content of these hormones.
Estrogen - This is a whole group of homogeneous substances, among which the main role in the female reproductive system is played by estradiol, estrone and estriol.
Estradiol is central to the heyday of female reproductive health. It regulates the processes of the menstrual cycle, the preparation of the body for conception.
Estriol formed in the placenta during pregnancy. The condition of the pregnant woman and the development of the fetus depend on its maintenance.
Estrone produced mainly after menopause. Its main supplier is fatty tissue.
On the state of health and the appearance of a woman affects both the lack and excess of estrogen.
Symptoms of a lack of a female hormone are abnormal development of the genital organs, fragility of bones, appearance of external changes of the male type (hair growth, reduction of bust and hips size, coarseness of voice), deterioration of nails, hair and skin, serious menstrual irregularities, infertility.
Manifestations of excess estrogen - poor monthly, obesity, migraines, early aging, dry mucous membranes.
It is produced in the second phase of the menstrual cycle. Its main source is the corpus luteum of the ovary. In a small amount, progesterone is formed in the adrenal glands, and during pregnancy it produces the placenta.
After conception and the start of progesterone production, the effect of estrogen is suppressed, that is, the growth of follicles and the maturation of new eggs ceases. The endometrium stops growing, is loosened, and the number of vessels in it increases. It becomes impossible to reject the mucous membrane and the onset of menstruation. In addition, the contractility of the uterus is reduced. All this contributes to the preservation of pregnancy, normal fixation of the ovum and its successful development in the uterus.
Subsequently, progesterone increases milk production in the mammary glands, as it participates in the formation of new ducts and lobules.
Signs of a lack of hormones are irregular menstruation, heavy and painful, as well as spontaneous abortion in early periods. Excess progesterone in the female body indicates a serious disease of the ovaries (polycystic, cancer).
Hormones of the pituitary and hypothalamus
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are the glands of the brain, which belong to the category of central hormone-forming organs. They produce substances that regulate the production of estrogen and progesterone, as well as affecting the work of the mammary glands.
FSH - follicle-stimulating hormone. This substance, which in the first phase of the menstrual cycle stimulates the growth of follicles and the production of estradiol in them. An excess or deficiency of this component leads to deviations in the ratio of female sex hormones.
LH - luteinizing hormone. It regulates the production of progesterone in the corpus luteum of the ovary in the second half of the cycle.
GNGR (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) stimulates the production of enzymes necessary for the formation of other pituitary hormones.
With a lack of a woman's body, GnRH, FSH and LH, the uterus and ovaries develop incompletely, so puberty begins late, and there is no menstruation. In some cases, low levels of hormones in the blood cause early menopause. The girl has a male figure: a narrow pelvis, broad shoulders, an undeveloped chest. Such a pathology as gigantism may result from improper bone development.
With an excess of hormones, bone growth, on the contrary, stops too early, so the woman remains stunted.
Prolactin. Without it, the normal course of lactation in a woman after the birth of a child is impossible. Due to the increase in the level of this hormone, the female breast during pregnancy swells due to an increase in the number of milky ducts and alveoli, the growth of the vascular network. There is a change in the shape and size of the nipple, that is, the preparation of the breast for the upcoming feeding. Prolactin helps produce colostrum and then breast milk.
Another important role is the suppression of the production of other hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary system, which stimulate ovulation. That is why during the period of intensive breastfeeding in women pregnancy does not occur.
Prolactin also contributes to the development of a substance that prevents the lung walls from sticking together in the fetus, so its lack leads to pathologies in the development of the child's pulmonary system.
Diseases of the pituitary, thyroid glands can be the cause of an abnormal increase in hormone production during the period not related to pregnancy. This leads to swelling of the female mammary glands, the formation of milk. The cycle is broken, menstruations stop, infertility occurs.
The reason for the lack of this substance in the female body may be disruption of the pituitary gland.
Oxytocin. The main functions of this hormone are:
- stimulation of uterine muscle contraction,
- increased production of prolactin during breastfeeding, contributing to the formation of milk,
- increased blood clotting during menstruation and childbirth, which prevents uterine bleeding.
Female hormones affect a woman’s health at any time during her life. A blood test for hormones is always carried out before prescribing replacement therapy drugs for the treatment of tumor diseases of the internal genital organs and mammary glands. Such therapy is also carried out with the aim of treating infertility, eliminating menstrual disorders. The results of the analysis are taken into account when choosing contraception. The analysis of hormones helps to ensure the onset of menopause and for the appointment of drugs that alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
The peculiarity is that the content of female hormones depends on the phase of the menstrual cycle. Therefore, for each hormone is set its optimal time for the blood test, when its level is the most stable.
So, the analysis on FSH done on the 3-8 day cycle, which allows you to determine how the maturation of the egg, to establish the cause of intermenstrual bleeding or lack of menstruation.
On the same days, blood levels are checked. LH. The presence of this hormone in the blood before ovulation speaks of impaired functioning of the pituitary gland.
Content estrogen checked for 5-7 days, when it is maximum.
Analysis on progesterone take on the 23-29 day of the cycle. Content below the norm means the absence of ovulation and the presence of ovarian disease.
Analyzes are also carried out on the content of thyroid hormones, since their lack or excess can be the cause of ovarian dysfunction, infertility.
Estrogens, skin condition and well-being
Estrogen is a sex hormone, thanks to which a woman has a female figure and a female character. It is customary to include three major hormones in this group - estradiol, estrone, estriol. Estradiol is the main and most active female sex hormone for humans, estrogen.
Menstrual cycle and estrogens: in the pre-ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, the concentration of the hormone estrogen (good for the skin) increases, so the woman blossoms, and a powerful erotic magnet is turned on inside her, which attracts men. According to the plan of nature, at this moment she must appear in the role of the conqueror of men's hearts in order to conceive a child from the most worthy of all the applicants.
Effect of estrogen on the skin: Estrogen very well affects the state of not only the skin, but also the whole body - it is able to accelerate the renewal of the cells of the whole body, maintain youth, shine and health of hair and skin. Estrogens sharpen the mind, invigorate and tone up, strengthen the immune system, elevate mood, awaken sexual fantasies, favor flirtation and coquetry, burn excess fat, prevent the deposition of cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels, make eyes glisten, smooth wrinkles, make skin elastic and elastic, and with you - irresistible and welcome.
The function of estrogen in the body: affects the work and development of the genital organs, mammary glands, bone growth, determine the libido. Together with progesterone are the main "controllers" of pregnancy and childbirth.
Estrogen level increase: This is one of the main causes of excess weight. Especially carefully the doctor monitors the amount of estrogen in pregnant women. Its elevated level may indicate a threat of miscarriage, pathology of the fetus, intrauterine infection. Also, a jump in the level of estrogen can cause pretumor and neoplastic conditions.
Estrogen reduction: threatens with excessive hairiness, coarseness of voice, lack of menstruation.
If a woman in the second half of the cycle there is a breakdown, decreased performance, poor mood, insomnia, a possible cause of this condition is estrogen deficiency. The ability to grasp on the fly the essence of any problem, good memory, clarity of thought, optimism, ability to show flexibility and adapt to rapid changes without worrying about tomorrow - all this is a generous gift of estrogen to the female body. When their level decreases, the colors of the world fade, hands drop, weakness, confusion, nervousness, increased anxiety, apathy, and indifference to appearance appear. To put up with this can not be!
Vitamin E (tocopherol) helps to increase the production of estrogen, which should be taken an hour after breakfast with 0.4 g, as well as a creamy carrot cocktail (150 g of freshly squeezed carrot juice and 50 g of cream).
How to suspect a surplus of estrogen: Shortness of breath, heart problems, bright red-blue venous mesh on the legs, a sharp increase in weight.
How to suspect a lack of estrogen: without any reason, the hair color has become darker, there is a constant feeling of hunger, the appearance of male signs in women (hair growth, a decrease in the tone of voice), a decrease in sexual activity.
Recommended skin care and beauty treatments: In the pre-phase of the menstrual cycle, when the concentration of the hormone estrogen (good for the skin) increases, the skin responds very well to any cosmetic procedures: masks, peels, facial cleansing. Any manipulation of the skin will only benefit her. Cleaning and any more or less aggressive procedure is carried out exactly in the first half of the cycle.
Slimming and Estrogens: If you lose weight, you can cope with fullness by increasing physical activity, limiting the caloric content of food and reducing portions a little. Your task is to lose 2-3 kg per month. Then you can compensate for the hormonal decline.
The fact is that the estrogens produced by the ovaries during life, the body stores for the future in the subcutaneous tissue. When you lose weight, they enter the bloodstream, bringing a feeling of lightness in the body, shine in the eyes and a tightening effect (estrogens tighten the skin in thinner places, preventing it from sagging with ugly folds).
Luteinizing hormones (LH), skin condition and well-being
In short, doctors call this group of LH hormones. They are quite specific and their level for each must be determined individually., since its fluctuations can be influenced by very many factors, ranging from sports and ending with another cigarette.
Function: help follicle formation in women. At the peak of increasing LH, ovulation occurs. LH helps the formation of estrogen (good for the skin).
Level up: problems with the pituitary gland, up to malignant tumors, polycystic ovary, endometriosis, kidney disease.
Level down: disorders of the pituitary gland, genetic diseases, anorexia.
How to suspect a surplus: headache, shortness of breath, general malaise, problems with the menstrual cycle. The same symptoms may occur as with an overabundance of estrogen, since LH helps the formation of estrogen, and as a result, the latter will be produced in larger quantities.
How to suspect a shortage: problems with the digestive tract, excessive thinness, or vice versa - fullness, irregular menstrual cycle, the same symptoms are possible as with an overabundance of estrogen.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), skin condition and well-being
Сокращенно - ФСГ, является основным в формировании либидо, помогает образованию эстрогенов (хорошо для кожи).
Функция: It is the level of this hormone that determines our sexual appetites - in both men and women. Regulates the sex glands, is responsible for the formation of eggs, follicle formation and the formation of estrogen. At the peak of an increase in FSH, ovulation occurs.
Level up: may occur due to uterine bleeding, alcoholism, kidney disease, pituitary tumors.
Level down: may indicate polycystic disease, diseases of the pituitary and hypothalamus, the reproductive system.
How to suspect a surplus: lack of menstruation for several months or bleeding, regardless of the cycle, various infectious and chronic diseases of the genital tract, headache.
How to suspect a shortage: irregular monthly or their complete absence, infectious and chronic diseases of the genital organs.
Prolactin, skin condition and well-being
Doctors call this hormone a capricious, since the emotional state has a great influence on it - the more negative emotions, stress and depression, the higher its level. And vice versa - the tendency of man to tears, touchiness, gloominess often depends on prolactin.
Function: plays an important role during lactation, it is a lactogenic hormone responsible for the formation of breast milk in women. In addition, stimulates the development of the sex glands. Prolactin is involved in the body’s water-salt balance, “signaling” to the kidneys what needs to be processed and what needs to be delayed. The level of prolactin in the body rises at the very peak of sexual intercourse. That is why during intercourse the woman’s breasts become more elastic.
Level up: may indicate diseases such as polycystic ovarian cancer, pituitary tumor, cirrhosis, arthritis, hypovitaminosis, lupus erythematosus. Regularly elevated prolactin can develop into hyperprolactinemia - this disease is now the main cause of infertility.
Level down: may indicate a disease of the pituitary gland.
How to suspect a surplus: the breast is “naughty” regardless of the menstrual cycle - it swells, aches, hurts, it is also possible to release a small amount of white fluid from the breast (unless the woman is pregnant and does not breastfeed), frequent toilet urge, headaches, joint pain, irregular menstruation. The same symptoms are possible, as at testosterone overabundance.
How to suspect a shortage: excessive sweating, thirst, the same symptoms as a lack of testosterone.
Effect of prolactin on skin condition: Prolactin adversely affects the condition of our skin, it releases male hormones that affect the quality of the skin of the face and hair. The hormone prolactin regulates the input-salt metabolism in the body, delaying the excretion of water and salt by the kidneys.
Oxytocin, skin condition and well-being
Function:Oxytocin is a hormone that forces us to be gentle, tied. In large quantities, oxytocin is produced after childbirth. This explains our boundless love for the tiny creature born into the world.
This hormone is produced in large quantities under stress, oxytocin stimulates the activity of the immune system. Oxytocin stimulates glycogenolysis in the liver, and in adipose tissue, on the contrary, stimulates the absorption of glucose and lipogenesis from glucose. The overall effect of oxytocin on lipid metabolism is to reduce the concentration of free fatty acids in the blood.
In sex, oxytocin has a direct effect on the smooth muscles of the uterus: the tone of the uterus increases, it begins to often and intensively decline. After orgasm, oxytocin and prolactin arouse maternal feelings in a woman. This explains the caring behavior of women towards men. She wants to hug, caress and continue communication.
The effect of oxytocin on the skin: positive. Oxytocin stimulates the activity of the immune system and does not allow the development of conditionally pathogenic microflora on our skin. Since oxytocin stimulates the absorption of glucose, it also inhibits the pathogenic microflora of our skin, because sugar stimulates the development of bacteria leading to inflammation.
Serotonin, skin condition and well-being
The effect of serotonin on the human skin condition. Serotonin (bad for the skin) is called the "hormone of happiness." It is produced in some human organs and contributes to increased vitality, causes euphoria and relaxation. Serotonin is produced in large quantities at the time of orgasm in men.
Effect of serotonin on the skin: negative. There are a number of works that directly indicate that the aging process and serotonin neurotransmission are directly related. It is a well-known fact that psoriasis patients often look much younger than their years. Published on econet.ru.
The cortical layer of the adrenal glands contains nerve tissue that ensures the performance of its main functions. Here is the formation of hormones responsible for the regulation of metabolic processes. Some of them are involved in the conversion of proteins into carbohydrates and protects the body from adverse effects. Other hormones regulate salt metabolism in the body.
Cortical hormones are corticosteroids. The structure of the adrenal cortex consists of the glomerular, bundle and mesh areas. In the glomerular zone, the formation of hormones related to mineralocorticoids. Among them, aldosterone, corticosterone and deoxycorticosterone are the most famous.
The beam zone is responsible for the formation of glucocorticoids. They are cortisol and cortisone. Glucocorticoids affect almost all metabolic processes in the body. With their help, glucose is formed from amino acids and fats, inhibition of allergic, immune and inflammatory reactions occurs. The connective tissue ceases to grow, the functions of the sense organs are greatly enhanced.
The reticular zone produces sex hormones - androgens, which differ from the hormones secreted by the sex glands. They are active before puberty, as well as after the maturation of the sex glands. Under the influence of androgens develop secondary sex characteristics. An insufficient amount of these hormones leads to hair loss, and an excess, on the contrary, causes virilization, when women have characteristic male signs.
The medulla is located in the central part of the adrenal gland. It accounts for no more than 10% of the total mass of this body. Its structure is completely different in its origin from the cortical layer. For the formation of the medulla, the primary neural comb is used, and the origin of the cortical layer is ectodermal.
In the medulla, the formation of catecholamines, represented by adrenaline and norepinephrine, occurs. These hormones help to increase blood pressure, strengthen the work of the heart muscle, expand the bronchial lumens, increase the sugar content in the blood. In the quiescent state, the adrenal glands constantly release small amounts of catecholamines. Stressful situations cause a sharp secretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline in the cells of the brain layer.
Innervation of the adrenal medulla takes part preganglionic fibers, which contains the sympathetic nervous system. Thus, it is considered as a specialized sympathetic plexus. At the same time, neurotransmitters are allocated directly into the bloodstream.
In addition to these hormones, peptides are produced in the medulla, which regulate individual functions of the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.
Adrenal Glucocorticoid Hormones
The name glucocorticoid hormones is associated with their ability to regulate carbohydrate metabolism. In addition, they can perform other functions. These hormones provide an adaptation of the body to all the negative influences of the external environment.
The main glucocorticoid is cortisol, which is produced irregularly, cyclically. The maximum level of secretion is noted in the morning, about 6 hours, and the minimum - in the evening, from 20 to 24 hours. Violation of this rhythm can occur under the action of stress and physical exertion, high temperature, low blood pressure and blood sugar.
Adrenal glucocorticoids have the following biological effects:
- The processes of carbohydrate metabolism in their action are opposite to insulin. Excessive hormone increases blood sugar levels and leads to steroid diabetes. Lack of hormones leads to a decrease in glucose production. Increased insulin sensitivity can cause hypoglycemia.
- Excess glucocorticoids contributes to the breakdown of fat. This process is especially active in the limbs. However, excess fat accumulates on the shoulder girdle, face and body. This leads to the so-called buffaloid form of the patient, when thin limbs take place against the background of a full body.
- Participating in protein metabolism, these hormones lead to the breakdown of proteins. As a result, muscles weaken, limbs become thinner, stretch marks are formed with a specific color.
- The presence of hormones in water-salt metabolism causes a loss of potassium and fluid retention in the body. This leads to increased blood pressure, myocardial dystrophy, muscle weakness.
- Adrenal hormones are involved in the processes occurring in the blood. Under their influence neutrophils, platelets and red blood cells increase. At the same time there is a decrease in lymphocytes and eosinophils. In large doses, they contribute to the reduction of immunity, have anti-inflammatory effect, but do not perform the function of wound healing.
Adrenal Mineralocorticoid Hormones
The glomerular zone of the adrenal cortex is used to form mineralocorticoids. These hormones are involved and support the regulation of mineral metabolism. Under their influence, inflammatory reactions occur as the permeability of the serous membranes and capillaries increases.
A typical representative of this group of hormones is aldosterone. Its maximum production occurs in the morning, and the reduction to a minimum occurs at night, at about 4 hours. Aldosterone maintains water balance in the body, regulates the concentration of certain types of minerals, such as magnesium, sodium, potassium and chlorides. The effect of the hormone on the kidneys contributes to enhanced absorption of sodium, with a simultaneous increase in potassium secreted into the urine. There is an increase in the sodium content in the blood, and the amount of potassium, on the contrary, decreases. Elevated levels of aldosterone lead to elevated blood pressure, causing headaches, weakness, and fatigue.
Most often, an elevated hormone level is a consequence of adenoma of the glomerular zone of the adrenal gland. In most cases, it operates in a standalone version. Sometimes the cause of the pathology can be hyperplasia of the glomerular zones in both adrenal glands.
Androgens of the adrenal cortex
The body of a woman produces not only female, but also male sex hormones - androgens. For their synthesis endocrine glands are used - the adrenal cortex and the ovaries. These hormones affect the course of pregnancy. Typical representatives are considered androgen 17-hydroxyprogesterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-C). In addition to them in small quantities androstenedione, testosterone and beta-globulin, linking steroids.
If the conducted studies revealed an excess amount of androgens, then a similar condition is diagnosed as hyperandrogenism. When the production of androgens is disturbed in the body, irreversible changes may occur and develop. As a result, a dense membrane forms on the ovaries and cysts are formed. This prevents the egg from leaving the ovary during ovulation and results in so-called endocrine sterility.
There are situations when, after an impaired hormonal balance, pregnancy occurs. However, this pathology can lead to spontaneous abortion in the second or third trimester. This is due to the lack of progesterone with hyperandrogenism, with which the pregnancy must be maintained. If, however, pregnancy still managed to complete, then during childbirth, there may be a complication in the form of weak labor activity. In such cases, medical intervention or artificial stimulation of the labor is required. Due to the early discharge of amniotic fluid, prolonged dehydration occurs, which has a negative effect on the central nervous system.
Blood tests for adrenal hormones
Blood tests for the study of adrenal hormones are prescribed for specific complaints of the patient. They are very similar to diagnostic testing of the general condition of the body.
The following hormones are tested during tests:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone is an androgenic steroid hormone. Further, it is transformed into testosterone and estrogen. Regulatory indicators have a fairly wide range, depending on age. For women, they range from 810 to 8991 nmol / l, and for men, from 3591 to 11907 nmol / l. Studies are appointed in the presence of adrenal cortex tumors, fetal hypotrophy, miscarriage of the child, lag in sexual development and other pathologies. Before taking tests, the medication indicated by the doctor is stopped.
- Cortisol is a glucocorticoid and is responsible for the production of corticosterine and ACTH. Its amount is constantly changing, depending on the time of day. The reason for the analysis is hirsutism, accelerated puberty, oligomenorrhea, osteoporosis, unexplained muscular weakness, increased skin pigmentation. Before research you need to stop taking certain medications.
- Aldosterone is another adrenal hormones. It regulates the electrolyte balance, corrects blood pressure and the total volume of fluid in the body. Analyzes are performed for suspected adrenal insufficiency, cortical adenoma, enhanced aldosterone production, orthostatic hypotension, hyperplasia, manifested by the accelerated growth of adrenal cortex cells.
What are hormones
Hormones are substances that are synthesized (predominantly) in the endocrine glands. They are released into the bloodstream, where they are associated with specific target cells, penetrate into all organs and tissues of our body and from there regulate all sorts of metabolic processes and physiological functions. Some hormones are also synthesized in the external secretion glands. These are hormones of the kidneys, prostate, stomach, intestines, etc.
Scientists became interested in these unusual substances and their effects on the body in the late XIX century, when the British doctor Thomas Addison described the symptoms of a strange disease caused by adrenal dysfunction. The most striking symptoms of this disease are eating disorders, eternal irritation and bitterness and dark spots on the skin - hyperpigmentation. The disease later received the name of its "discoverer", but the term "hormone" appeared only in 1905.
The scheme of action of hormones is quite simple. First, an external or internal stimulus appears, which acts on a specific receptor in our body. The nervous system immediately reacts to this, sends a signal to the hypothalamus, and he gives the command to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland begins to release tropic hormones and sends them to various endocrine glands, which in turn produce their own hormones. Then these substances are released into the blood, adhere to certain cells and cause certain reactions in the body.
Human hormones are responsible for the following processes:
- control of our mood and emotions,
- stimulating or slowing down growth
- ensuring apoptosis (the natural process of cell death, a kind of natural selection),
- change of life cycles (puberty, childbirth, menopause),
- regulation of the immune system,
- sexual desire
- reproductive function
- regulation of metabolism, etc.
Types of hormone classifications
More than 100 hormones are known to modern science, their chemical nature and mechanism of action have been studied in sufficient detail. But despite this, the general nomenclature of these biologically active substances has not yet appeared.
Today there are 4 basic typologies of hormones: by specific gland, where they are synthesized, by biological functions, and also by the functional and chemical classification of hormones.
2. By chemical structure:
- steroids (corticosteroids and sex hormonal substances),
- fatty acid derivatives (prostaglandins),
- amino acid derivatives (adrenaline and noradrenaline, melatonin, histamine, etc.),
- protein-peptide hormones.
Protein-peptide substances are divided into simple proteins (insulin, prolactin, etc.), complex proteins (thyrotropin, lutropin, etc.), as well as polypeptides (oxytocin, vasopressin, peptide gastrointestinal hormones, etc.).
3. By biological functions:
- exchange of carbohydrates, fats, amino acids (cortisol, insulin, adrenaline, etc.),
- обмен кальция и фосфатов (кальцитриол, кальцитонин)
- контроль водно-солевого обмена (альдостерон и др.),
- синтез и продуцирование гормонов внутрисекреторных желез (гормоны гипоталамуса и тропные гормоны гипофиза),
- ensuring and controlling reproductive function (testosterone, estradiol),
- changes in metabolism in cells where the hormone is formed (histamine, gastrin, secretin, somatostatin, etc.).
Each hormone has several names - the full chemical name indicates its structure, and a short working name may indicate the source where the substance is synthesized, or its function. Full and well-known names of substances, their place of synthesis and mechanism of action are indicated in the following table.
The unique effect of hormones on the human body, their ability to regulate the processes of growth, metabolism, puberty, influence the conception and childbearing prompted scientists to create synthetic hormones. Today, such substances are used mainly for the development of medical drugs.
Synthetic hormones may contain substances of the following groups.
- Extracts of hormones derived from the intrasecretory glands of downhole livestock.
- Artificial (synthetic) substances that are identical in structure and function to normal hormones.
- Chemical synthetic compounds that are close in structure to human hormones and have a clear hormonal effect.
- Phytohormones - herbal preparations that show hormonal activity when ingested.
Also, all such drugs are divided into several types, depending on the origin and therapeutic purpose. These are drugs of thyroid and pancreatic hormones, adrenal glands, sex hormones, etc.
Hormone therapy is of several types: replacement, stimulating and blocking. Replacement therapy involves taking a course of hormones if the body for some reason does not synthesize them itself. Stimulating therapy is designed to intensify the vital processes for which hormones are usually responsible, while blocking is used to suppress the hyperfunction of the endocrine glands.
Also, drugs can be used to treat diseases that are not caused by endocrine dysfunction. These are inflammations, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, autoimmune diseases - diseases caused by the fact that the immune system goes crazy and unexpectedly attacks native cells.
Plant (or phytohormones) are biologically active substances that are formed inside the plant. Such hormones have regulatory functions similar to the action of classical hormones (seed germination, plant growth, fruit ripening, etc.).
The plants do not have special organs that would synthesize phytohormones, but the pattern of action of these substances is very similar to that of humans: first, plant hormones are formed in one part of the plant, then move to another. The classification of plant hormones includes 5 main groups.
- Cytokinins. They stimulate plant growth due to cell division, provide the correct shape and structure of its various parts.
- Auxins. Activate the growth of roots and fruits due to stretching of plant cells.
- Abscisins. They inhibit the growth of cells and are responsible for the resting state of the plant.
- Ethylene. Regulates the ripening of fruits and blooming buds and provides communication between plants. Also, ethylene can be called adrenaline for plants - it is actively involved in the response to biotic and abiotic stress.
- Gibberellins. Stimulate the growth of the primary root of the seed germ and control its further germination.
Also among the phytohormones sometimes include the B vitamins, primarily thiamine, pyridoxine and niacin.
Phytohormones are widely used in agriculture to enhance plant growth, as well as to create female hormonal drugs during menopause. In its natural form, plant hormones are found in flax seeds, nuts, bran, legumes, cabbage, soybeans, etc.
Another popular area of application of plant hormones is cosmetics. In the middle of the last century, Western scientists experimented with adding natural, human hormones to cosmetics, but today such experiments are prohibited by law both in Russia and in the USA. But phytohormones are very actively used in women's cosmetics for any skin - both young and mature.
Hormone of happiness - serotonin
As a rule, the phrase "happiness hormone" characterizes serotonin. This substance is responsible not only for good mood and positive emotions, but also for many physiological processes in the body. For example, serotonin plays an important role in the regulation of vascular tone and labor, and also affects the process of arousal of the genital organs: a number of studies indicate that an increase in the concentration of the happiness hormone postpones ejaculation.
- Serotonin significantly affects the activity of blood cells. With an increase in its concentration, platelet activity increases, their ability to stick together, and, accordingly, blood clotting.
- The mucous membranes of many organs (such as the digestive tract) contain serotonin. In case of violation of the integrity of the body, it is released, stimulating platelets to repair damage more actively. Together with prostaglandins and histamine, serotonin provokes the emergence of pain in the site of tissue damage. Releasing mediators of allergy and inflammation, this hormone stimulates the activity of leukocytes and their movement to the site of inflammation.
- It is entirely justified that with a deficiency or excess of serotonin, a violation of a number of body functions occurs. The chronic lack of the “hormone of happiness” is one of the main risk factors for the occurrence of various neurological and mental disorders, including migraine and depression.
- Even with a small deficiency of serotonin, the mood and performance of a person drops sharply, he has a desire to eat something sweet to stimulate the production of the hormone and to provide the brain with glucose.
It is indeed possible to increase serotonin production with food, but the menu should not include sweets, but sources of the amino acid tryptophan, a chemical precursor of the hormone of happiness. Stimulators of serotonin production include dates, tomatoes, confectionery products with a high content of cocoa products (black and dark milk chocolate), plums, cheese, figs, etc.
Excess serotonin also has negative effects. Hyperactivation of its receptors can lead to hallucinations, and in the longer term, significantly increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. The likelihood of “dying of happiness” also exists: the accumulation of serotonin in the brain, caused by the intake of certain drugs and narcotic substances, can be fatal.
Endorphins and dopamine - good mood hormones
Endorphins - a whole group of protein hormones, which are often called "natural opiates." These substances inhibit pain and affect the mood of a person, causing euphoria. For this they are also often called “hormones of happiness,” which is not entirely correct, because the whole complex of chemical compounds, in which endorphins play a minor role, is included in the mechanism of influence on the emotional state.
Researchers have found that this group of polypeptides works in close conjunction with adrenal hormones - in particular, with adrenaline. During sports training, muscle fibers are broken, and a sharp increase in the concentration of endorphins reduces pain and improves mood, forming a positive attitude to the sport.
The interaction of opiates with endorphin receptors also explains the formation of drug addiction: with long-term replacement of their own hormones, their deficiency and decrease in mood occur, so the body needs more and more artificial analogues.
Another good mood hormone is dopamine. It is produced in the human brain and adrenal glands and is the biological precursor of norepinephrine. Dopamine is a key hormone called. “Incentive systems”: it is developed when a positive result is obtained in studies, work, sports and other activities, motivating you to make further efforts. An increase in dopamine concentration (and, consequently, mood) is also characteristic when eating tasty food, pleasant tactile sensations, etc.
The physiological effect of dopamine (effect on the gastrointestinal tract, pain syndrome, etc.) is opposite to the effect of serotonin, despite the fact that both of these hormones have a positive effect on a person's mood.
In addition to participating in the assessment and motivation, dopamine provides a quick switch of attention and other aspects of cognitive activity. Lack of neurotransmitter leads to inertia and slowing cognitive processes. Dopamine deficiency and impaired transmission can occur both for natural reasons (for example, in Parkinson's disease) and as a result of artificial psychostimulation (taking amphetamine, morphine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, etc.).
It is possible to increase the production of dopamine by taking magnesium and zinc complexes.
Estrogen and Testosterone
Sex hormones can also affect a person’s emotional state.
For example, a lack of estrogen (a substance responsible for the formation of the body according to the female type and the support of the menstrual cycle) leads to nervousness and frequent mood changes from irritability to apathy.
- In menopause or when the ovaries are removed, patients are prescribed hormone replacement therapy, which compensates for the deficiency of the sex hormone and suppresses unpleasant physiological and mental effects.
- Hormonal motivation, a tendency to tearfulness and aggression, observed in many women in the second phase of the menstrual cycle, also have hormonal implications. In the standard terminology, this phenomenon is called premenstrual syndrome. According to one version, the cause of emotional instability and mood changes is a violation of the ratio of estrogen and progesterone in favor of the first hormone.
- The male sex hormone testosterone can be called not only the hormone of aggression, but also the hormone of risk, dominance, optimistic mood. He largely determines the leadership qualities. Its right balance with estrogen is very important for both men's and women's health. As in the case of progesterone, testosterone deficiency and hormonal imbalance in the direction of estrogen make a person more sensitive, soft, emotional.
Oxytocin and Phenylethylamine
Oxytocin is also one of the mood hormones in humans. This substance of peptide nature is often called the “hormone of love”, because he plays a key role in the formation of affection for the partner and offspring.
Oxytocin causes a feeling of satisfaction, improves mood and stress resistance, improves sleep. The combination of the hormones of happiness and love (serotonin and oxytocin) is responsible for a feeling of calm and confidence in loved ones.
In addition to affecting mood, oxytocin has a number of physiological effects, stimulating uterine contraction and secretion of breast milk. Its influence on the elasticity of the vaginal walls, according to the assumptions of some researchers, increases the likelihood of fertilization of the egg.
Not only oxytocin is responsible for improving mood when falling in love, despite the glory of the “hormone of love”. In the brain of lovers, the hormone phenylethylamine is actively produced, which has a euphoric and weak hallucinogenic effect. The stabilization of the hormonal background and the formation of a deep feeling for a partner is caused by the combination:
- endogenous morphines (endorphins),
Some studies suggest that dopamine also plays a key role in creating good mood and affection.
It is possible to fill the deficit of these hormones with natural methods while doing your favorite work, taking care of your loved ones, children and animals and eating certain foods. Phenylethylamine is found in chocolate, cheeses, sweet and other sweet products.
Catecholamines and thyroid hormones
In contrast to the substances mentioned above, thyroid hormones and catecholamines (excluding dopamine) are not produced by the pituitary and hypothalamus, but by the organs of the endocrine system subordinate to them - the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands.
- The hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxin are produced by the thyroid gland, increase the pulse rate, oxygen consumption by the body tissues, stimulate blood formation and decomposition of fats and glycogen, affect motor activity and mood.
- With a deficiency of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), there is apathy, chronic fatigue, and general weakness. An excess of thyroxine and triiodothyronine (hyperthyroidism) causes anxiety, irritability, rapid physical and mental fatigue, irritability and inability to concentrate.
- It is possible to increase the concentration of thyroid hormones by eliminating iodine deficiency (with subclinical hypothyroidism) or with drug therapy (with clinical hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism).
- The system of interaction between the two most famous catecholamines - adrenaline and norepinephrine - is briefly formulated as “hit and run”. The first of these is called the "hormone of fear." It causes an increase in blood pressure and the decomposition of fats and stored carbohydrates, narrows the surface vessels and increases aggression. This allows you to mobilize forces to respond to unrest. After a short-term stimulation, a sharp decline in activity occurs, which affects mood.
- Adrenaline can be increased by regular exercise and drinking black tea. Soothing herbal infusions have the opposite effect.
- Norepinephrine is called the "rage hormone." It has less physiological effects on the body and mood, however, it allows you to get together and quickly make a decision in a stressful situation. A lack of norepinephrine provokes a decrease in mood and resistance to stress, melancholy and self-doubt. Stimulate the secretion of catecholamine best natural methods - in particular, the use of a sufficient amount of copper, zinc, iron and manganese.
Causes of Depression
Lack of catecholamines along with serotonin deficiency plays a key role in the onset of depression. With constant stimulation of the adrenal glands, psychophysical depletion of the body may occur.
The relationship of the concentration of hormones and human emotions can not be denied. Mood disorders signal a failure of the endocrine balance and the need for diagnosis and its medical correction. Otherwise, the effect of the deficiency of certain hormones can lead to unpleasant consequences for health and emotional background.