Your endocrine system, which is the collection of glands in your body that produce hormones, is just like a symphony orchestra. If one gland is overworked and “out of tune,” your body’s harmony can be thrown off.
Fortunately (but kinda unfortunately), our body doesn’t hesitate to send us signs like acne and weight gain or loss to let us know that something isn’t quite right. Here are 5 surprising health issues that you can blame you hormones for:
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract, which include the bladder and the urethra. Hormones, specifically estrogen, are the culprit behind why you have recurrent UTIs (what a b****!). Estrogen triggers the production of the body’s natural antimicrobial proteins in the bladder, so low levels of estrogen makes the urinary track vulnerable to infection. Hence, UTIs!
Tip: Make sure to pee after sex to help cleanse the urethra from harmful bacteria! Plus, avoid high sugar foods (a.k.a. carbs) because a sweet urine is the best environment for bacteria to grow.
Luckily, most young women don’t have to worry about this until they enter the next phase of womanhood, a.k.a. menopause! Estrogen and progesterone affect how your cells respond to insulin. After menopause, changes in your hormone levels can trigger fluctuations in your blood sugar level. If your blood sugar gets out of control, you have a higher risk of diabetes complications.
Tip: Not only do high blood sugar levels cause diabetes, they can also contribute to urinary tract and vaginal infections. So it wouldn’t hurt to lay off the sweets! Try some fruit instead.
Who knew that your hormones affect your breathing 🤷 In this case, estrogen itself isn’t the culprit, but rather its fluctuations within the body. Fluctuating estrogen levels can activate proteins that produce an inflammatory response, which can trigger asthma symptoms.
Tip: Ladies, always use maintenance medication, at the direction of your doctor, instead of relying on rescue inhalers. It’s far more important for lung health to prevent symptoms, instead of treating symptoms once they have started.
Women have certain health advantages, but osteoporosis sure isn’t one of them. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. Bone production is affected by both testosterone and estrogen, so both men and women can experience bone loss as they age. However, the risk is higher in women because women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men, and estrogen, which preserve bone density, decreases sharply when women reach menopause.
Tip: In order to prevent osteoporosis, make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D, and eat a well-balanced diet!
Alopecia is a type of hair loss commonly called male- or female-pattern baldness. For many years, scientists thought that testosterone was the main culprit behind alopecia. However, it was actually dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, instead. DHT wants those follicles dead like Lord Voldemort wanted Harry Potter (for my fellow Potter fans out there, *wink*). DHT shrinks hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.
Tip: Eat healthy foods like protein and omega-3 rich foods (nuts, seeds, eggs, and fish). They can help lower inflammation and promote a healthier scalp!
Hormones play a bigger part in our health than they are given credit for. That’s why it’s important for you to educate yourself about it early! Aavia is here to feature tips and hormone facts to keep you informed about your hormone health.
Check out our hormone quiz today to see how much you know about hormones! How many of the 10 true / false questions can you and your friends get right? 🤔