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Stress is the term used to describe a “state of threatened homeostasis or disharmony”

Hormonal health: Stress and immunity

Understanding hormonal health and the HPA axis

We often hear the words ‘hormonal health’ associated with the female reproductive system. However, hormones are in fact messengers within the endocrine system (the body’s hormonal system), which affect all genders (although some hormones have more specific roles within the male and female reproductive systems).

The endocrine system works closely with the nervous system and together they coordinate the regulation of all the body systems and functions (1), including metabolism, energy levels, and reproductive, cardiovascular and digestive systems.

Through a series of feedback mechanisms, hormones help to keep health in balance or in a state of homeostasis, and the reproductive system relies particularly on this intricate balance of hormones to function properly.  Many factors can impact these feedback mechanisms which stimulate or suppress the production and release of hormones, and subsequently affect the function of the organs they are delivering messages to. Stress is one of the major factors affecting this. The HPA axis is an important mechanism central to stress responses and hormone balance. In particular, it affects stress hormones, and sex hormones (which relate to the reproductive system).

Stress is the term used to describe a “state of threatened homeostasis or disharmony” (2). This article will focus on stress and the HPA axis, and how this network creates changes to hormonal health through the interrelationship and dialogue between the nervous system, endocrine system, and reproductive system. This article will also offer advice on how to restore balance.

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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