Do you suffer from sleep disorders? Do you feel lazy, irritable or bloated? Have you recently gained weight or not feeling hungry when you wake up? According to a new wave of physical and mental health experts online, the answer is very simple: your hormones are out of whack.
Even if you’re not an expert on “hormonal imbalance”, you probably know a few things about it. You may have heard of estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol before, but you’re not sure what exactly they do. Maybe you decided to stop taking the pills because they made you feel a little weird, but you didn’t know why. You may have had bone pain for months, but your doctor doesn’t seem to take it as seriously as you’d like. If you experience some of these conditions, then the many videos posted with the hashtags #hormonebalance, #hormonehealth and #hormonetherapy seem to be aimed directly at you.
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Physical and mental health educators are quick to admit that you probably don’t know how your hormones affect your body or your mood. They claim that a hormonal imbalance is something that is often overlooked and underdiagnosed by the mainstream medical community, so they decided to take matters into their own hands, hack their hormones, and openly tell the world. There are adrenal cocktails, thyroid juices, and raw carrot salads that are all consumed with one goal in mind: to achieve “hormone balance.” “Yeah,” says one of the self-proclaimed hormone health coaches on TikTok. “It will change your life.”
The basic idea that your health will suffer if your body is in an “imbalance” – hormonal or otherwise – is not new. Since the birth of the concept of “health”, the concept of “balance” was one of its pillars. Think of the ancient Greek “four humors” theory that the human body contains four basic vital fluids – blood, phlegm, bile and black bile – which must be kept in balance for people to stay healthy. health. In this belief, pain occurs if any of these humors is in a state of deficiency or excess, so the remedy was a balanced method of bleeding, purifying and forcibly increasing the body’s urine output , among other liquid tricks. Despite these therapies, which often reflect the phrase “the cure is worse than the disease,” the Four Temperaments Theory has been a mainstay of medical belief for 2,000 years. Today, a modified version seems to be circulating in the wellness battalion, with expensive supplements and superfoods touted as essential balancing tools.
And to put the truth in its place, it’s true that hormones can wreak havoc on your body and mood, just like anyone who’s menstruating, going through puberty, menopause, or undergoing hormone therapy. Of course, says intimate health expert Dr. Shireen Lakhani, “hormones work together in the body like an orchestra, and any imbalance in one can affect the other.” And it can “cause a wide range of symptoms,” she says, “and many people can suffer without realizing that the symptoms they’re experiencing are due to a hormonal problem,” but the question remains, which hormones are targeted by the “I Changed” group My Whole Life through the Raw Diet and Intermittent Fasting to wreak the kind of havoc they claim?
Cortisol imbalance is the most popular hormonal disorder diagnosed online today. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands located above the kidneys. It is commonly referred to as the “stress hormone” because it helps regulate your body’s response to stress. It also reduces inflammation, regulates blood pressure, controls your sleep-wake cycle, and manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. blame cortisol for trouble sleeping and fatigue Gaining weight makes sense, doesn’t it? The problem is that the scientific evidence doesn’t really support this theory. Often when “cortisol imbalance” is talked about on Instagram and TikTok these days, it’s linked to a controversial condition known as “adrenal fatigue.” We say “controversial” in the sense that it is not factual… However, what is unquestionably true is adrenal insufficiency or the inappropriate production of one or more of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. It can cause pain, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure, and dizziness. However, adrenal insufficiency is often the result of an underlying disease or surgery and can primarily be diagnosed by blood tests that show improper levels of adrenal hormones. The unproven theory of adrenal fatigue claims that your adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the pace and demands of chronic fatigue, and they “go away”. Proponents of this theory suggest that existing blood tests aren’t accurate enough to detect these changes in adrenal function, but your body is supposed to not only detect them, but also start reacting strangely to them.
Most doctors deny the existence of adrenal fatigue. The Mayo Clinic points out that “adrenal fatigue is not an accepted medical diagnosis”, but rather “a term applied to a group of non-specific symptoms such as aches, fatigue, tension, sleep disturbances and problems digestive”. , far from being an unproven theory, adrenal fatigue and associated cortisol “imbalances” are rampant. Goop’s favorite “functional medicine practitioner,” Dr. Alejandro Junger, likens adrenal fatigue to an “epidemic.” When it comes to hormones, how do you separate reality from fantasy? And do these online “experts” know something that the established medical community has been slow to realize? Or is it a mixture of science, pseudoscience and influence peddling of GOOP products? Are hormonal imbalances the next Internet fad, like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Dr Lakhani says: “There are many symptoms that indicate hormonal imbalance, such as weight gain, frustration or mood swings, sleep problems, fatigue, loss of libido and others, but many Much information on the internet blames the balance of hormones when it may be other health issues. » Be responsible. Although hormones influence how your body works, that doesn’t mean that all of your body’s problems are caused by hormones. If hormonal imbalance isn’t the reason for your sleepless nights and appetite changes, Dr Lakhani says following social media advice is “a waste of time and can actually be harmful.” “I don’t recommend home hormone treatments. The best way to do that is to see your doctor,” she adds.
Dr. Gareth Nye is a senior lecturer at Chester Medical College, a specialist in maternal and fetal health and director of the division of endocrinology at the Physiological Society. Like Dr. Lakhani, he also points out that “hormones do not work in isolation, they are part of a large network”, which could mean that “when one aspect is wrong, we experience symptoms that are not not necessarily associated at first sight.” He opined that the real reason why our endocrine system, i.e. the part of the body associated with hormones, is misunderstood and vulnerable to misinformation campaigns is “because it is difficult to monitor or monitor among people”. Dr. Nye notes that cortisol, for example, “goes up and down naturally over a 24-hour period as the body’s needs change. Everyone will have an individual pattern, and that’s what their body is used to. “. The difficulties stem from the ability to follow this cycle effectively. Even in relatively healthy individuals, the amount of cortisol that appears in blood samples can vary widely and may continue to be considered completely normal.
Dr Nye continues: “Anyone looking to check their hormone levels should therefore be checked at least 4 times a day over a period of several weeks to measure their cycle. Making a diagnosis after a shorter period is medically invalid. He goes further to add that since there are no long-term studies that track the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly trends of this hormone or how it may change over the life of a person, “we can’t say for sure if an imbalance in cortisol is a real phenomenon.” It seems clear that the symptoms that breakout theory influencers cite as evidence of hormonal imbalance may, in fact, stem from a host of modern lifestyle factors. And, as Dr. Nye points out, this can be attributed “to work habits, meal times and increased screen time”. In this case, anything that mitigates these effects will have a beneficial effect, because eating a homemade raw carrot salad for lunch and taking a daily walk can make you feel better than eating a ready-made binge at your desk during you’re frantically responding to emails, but that doesn’t mean hacking hormone advice is harmless. Like Dr Lakhani, Dr Nye points out that the symptoms they refer to “may also indicate underlying medical conditions related to mental health issues, anemia, thyroid problems and obesity” . Diagnosing these problems as hormonal disorders instead of consulting a specialist can lead to an exacerbation of the situation. “It is worrying that when someone experiences a change in their body, they turn to social media for help and advice instead of going to medical professionals,” says Dr Nye . Ultimately, this is what makes the pirating of hormonal content so harmful and harmful today on the Internet. At the heart of contemporary wellness doctrines is the collective disillusionment with modern medicine, which some reject in favor of self-care and individual action on the body. On social media platforms, physical and mental health advocates preach how eliminating ‘toxins’ from their diets or adding superfoods to their diets has cured chronic conditions they claim medical experts have ignored or not addressed. Sure, alternative medicine can go a long way, but the problem is that, like the bloodshed of old, you sometimes realize the “cure” is separate from the disease when it’s too late.