Hormones are the body’s messengers, allowing communication to occur throughout the body. What happens when people don’t communicate with each other? There can be a total breakdown of a process where things do not happen the way they are supposed to happen and errors occur. Usually there is a domino effect where multiple other processes are adversely affected. The same occurs in the human body when hormone balance is disrupted. Hormone imbalance can cause a wide variety of symptoms, most commonly fatigue, sleep disturbances, decreased libido, weight gain, foggy thinking, irritability, and headaches.
The most powerful and far-reaching hormones are the steroid hormones which include the reproductive sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA) and the primary stress hormone (cortisol). To see if your symptoms might fit a pattern of hormone imbalance, you can look at the ADAM checklist for men and the EVE checklist for women. Attention men, you may want to look at the adrenal excess and adrenal fatigue sections (lower right) of the EVE questionnaire for symptoms of adrenal imbalance.
These hormone levels can be measured in the blood but because steroid hormones are fat soluble and require binding proteins to dissolve in blood, the level in the blood doesn’t accurately measure the active levels that are available to the organs and tissues.
Saliva levels are thought to be a better indicator of active, available hormone levels. Saliva testing is more sensitive than blood testing for evaluating reproductive hormonal changes that occur as we age and adrenal hormone changes caused by stress. We can often alleviate the symptoms related to hormonal imbalance with changes in nutrition, exercise, relaxation techniques, supplements. orbio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). If you think your hormones might be out of balance, read more about the 10 Steps to Hormone Balance.