The endocrine system is a channel of signals through organs and glands, which send messages to each other via hormones, and together communicate how our body is functioning. The hormones which are produced in response to this communication regulate every aspect of our behaviour and physical and mental activity; mood, thoughts, metabolism, growth, reproduction, sleep and development. It is integral to the function of our bodies and embedded in who we are as women.
The endocrine system works through a network of glands and organs, the Hypothalamus, Pituitary gland, Thyroid, Parathyroid, Adrenal glands, Pancreas, Gonads and Pineal gland. Each of these have a function within the body, working individually and also as part of the whole system, supporting each other. Each gland or organ produces a different hormone which evokes a specific response from our cells, tissues and other organs. It parallels the nervous system, transmitting information by hormones through the blood stream, just like nerves. These functions are governed by the brain, which receives and interprets every message of hormonal information. It prioritises the importance of each message and responds, co-ordinating our organs to adjust, counterbalance any disorders, or continue working as they are. This is what makes the endocrine system so essential - the consistency of the body, and its patterns of change, begin here.
The endocrine system regulates the balance of the body and responds to our daily lives - the foods we eat and the atmospheres we move through. Its purpose is to maintain harmony within ourselves, and so everyones endocrine system creates its own environment of constant change.
Fluid and sensitive, the endocrine system can be easily swayed if our lifestyles introduce us to chemicals that have the ability to mimic the body’s hormones, known as endocrine disruptors. Disruption of the hormones leads to the disruption of our bodies inner communication, regulation and function, and like a line of dominoes, when affected, each failing function topples the next one over. When our endocrine system is compromised, it leaves us disconnected from our innate nature of change, balance and harmony.
The release of too much or too little hormone from any gland or organ can cause hormonal imbalance within the whole body. Hormonal problems for women can be commonly aggravated by mismanaged blood sugar, the over extension of the adrenal glands, congestion through the pathways of toxin elimination, and lifestyles which disconnect us from our menstrual cycle and natural patterns. When endocrine disruptors are introduced into the body via the products we use (such as preservatives like parabens and butylparabens) our essential rhythms are altered. These chemicals have been linked to severe, long-term health damage, including reproductive issues, birth defects, metabolic problems, and cancer.
We encourage you to become curious about your endocrine system and to look deeper into your own body for the answers within. Keep an eye out for following posts in which we will guide you through details of each gland and organ in the endocrine system, outlining its purpose, function and the lifestyle factors which might disrupt it. When you understand the clear order of how the endocrine system functions when healthy, you can determine where and why things might be going wrong within your system, and begin to regulate your rhythms again.