Causes of Hormonal Imbalances

by Ngozi Oguejiofo


Hormones are chemical substances made in endocrine glands and released into the bloodstream. They affect the body in different ways and need to be present in the right amounts to prevent health related problems. Some endocrine glands in the body are the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. They secrete different hormones that affect growth, metabolism and response to stress. High or low levels of hormones, also known as hormonal imbalance are caused by various factors.


Pheocromocytoma-- tumors in the adrenal glands-- is a disorder of the adrenal glands that leads to overproduction of adrenaline and noradrenaline. They-- adrenaline and noradrenaline-- are hormones that prepare the body for physical activity. The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library reports that elevated blood pressure is the most significant symptom of pheochromocytoma. This condition is caused by tumors in the chromaffin cells of the adrenal glands. A computed tonography or CT scan, as well as a magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scan can help locate the tumors in the adrenal gland. Tumors in other hormone producing glands such as the pituitary gland can lead to hormonal imbalances.

Autoimmune Reaction

The Duquesne University states that an autoimmune disease occurs when the body's immune system attacks cells that are components of the body instead of foreign organisms that can cause harm to the body. Under normal circumstances, the immune system should be able to differentiate between healthy cells that originate within the body and foreign entities that can harm the body. When it is unable to do this, it may begin to attack healthy cells. Addison's disease, hypothyroidism and diabetes are hormonal disorders that can be caused by autoimmune reactions. The hormones involved in these diseases are usually produced in low amounts.

Hormone Deficiencies

Certain hormones control the production of other hormones. When these hormones are absent or produced in low amounts, they lead to hormonal imbalances. Thyroid stimulating hormone is produced and secreted by the pituitary gland-- a gland located in the brain. It stimulates the production of thyroid hormones. A deficiency in or inadequate amounts of this hormone leads to secondary hypothyroidism-- a hormonal imbalance that involves low amounts of thyroid hormone in the body. Adrenocorticotropic hormone is a hormone that directs the production of cortisol-- an adrenal hormone-- and is also released by the pituitary gland. When there is a deficiency of adrenocorticotropic hormone, secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs. Secondary adrenal insufficiency is a hormonal imbalance in which the adrenal glands produce low amounts of cortisol.

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