Hormone Levels: Definition & Explanations

Hormonspiegel: Definition & Erklärungen
In everyday language, we very often hear sentences like: "It's the hormones again!" or "The hormones are killing me!" when it comes to explaining mood swings or other minor ailments. It is striking that such sentences often come from women. But what are hormones and what is the hormone level all about? And is it really the women who struggle with their hormone levels?

We will answer all these questions for you in our article and will inform you about hormones and above all about hormone levels, enlighten you and give you all the information you need to give you a good overview of this topic.

the essentials in brief

  • Hormones are endogenous chemical messengers. They transmit information and are responsible for many processes in the human body.
  • Hormone levels play a very important role, especially for women, as they change significantly in different phases of life. Important stages are puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
  • A disturbed hormone level can be the cause of diseases, some of which are serious, such as tumor diseases, or can also be influenced by negative environmental influences such as poor nutrition. Long-term hormone imbalances should always be evaluated and treated by a doctor.

Glossary entry: The term hormone levels explained in detail

In the following sections we will deal with hormone levels in detail and provide you with comprehensive information on the subject. We start with basic definitions and explanations and will deal with the generic term hormone level in more and more detail in the course of the sections.

What are hormones?

Hormones are the body's own chemical messengers. Hormones are produced by the body independently in glandular cells of certain organ systems. The hormones are distributed through the bloodstream and target specific receptors that can read their information. This regulates numerous bodily processes, such as breathing, metabolism or pregnancy.

Hormones regulate numerous bodily processes.

However, hormones are very slow messengers. It takes you minutes, sometimes even hours, to transfer information. Nerves, for example, don't even need a second for this.

There are peptide and steroid hormones. They differ in that peptide hormones consist primarily of protein and steroid hormones of fats.

What is a hormone level?

The hormone level indicates which and how many of these hormones are currently present in the body. For example, hormone levels change during pregnancy. The hormone estriol is increased during pregnancy. By measuring this hormone, one can assess the progress of the pregnancy.

Human hormone levels are constantly changing and are responsible for many processes in the human body. A disruption in hormone levels can have a negative impact on your well-being and health.

How to determine a hormone level?

You can have your hormone levels measured by any family doctor. A blood or saliva test is usually done. Saliva tests have the advantage that they can give a better overview of the current hormone levels. Blood tests primarily provide an overview of the reserve units of hormones. Since current hormone levels are of greater concern for most purposes, most GPs primarily use saliva testing. In addition, they are usually much more comfortable for the patient.

Measuring the hormone level during pregnancy can be very useful, as this allows important statements and diagnoses to be made about the pregnancy or any disorders that may have to be treated. Since hormones also determine sexual maturity in men and women, the hormone level can be measured if you want to have children. Many couples try for long periods of time to have children and are unsuccessful. This can be related to a disruption in hormone levels. This can occur in both men and women.

If there was actually a disruption in the hormone level, special hormone therapies may be able to remedy the situation. The same applies to women who are about to lose their biological sexual maturity and still want to have children. Hormone therapy with female sex hormones can delay the loss of sexual maturity a little.

What are the differences in hormone levels between men and women?

Hormone levels in men and women are different. These differences are already evident during the embryonic period. Hormones are, among other things, jointly responsible for sexual differentiation during the embryonic period and puberty. This means that the genetically determined different production of sex hormones such as estrogen or testosterone determines whether we become a woman or a man. (1,3,6)

In addition, the different sex hormones also influence different behaviors or bodily functions of the sexes. The increased sexual desire in men can also be attributed to sex hormones. Other properties such as stress sensitivity or cognitive performance in various areas also differ between men and women due to hormones.(1,5,6)

However, it must also be noted that the release of various hormones are environmental. This means that the hormone levels in one man are usually never the same as in a second man.

How can you recognize imbalances in your hormone levels?

Disorders of hormone levels occur as a result of prolonged over- or underproduction of various hormones. It is also possible that the receptors that are responsible for transmitting the information of the messenger substances (hormones) are damaged. It can be that the receptors receive incorrect or too weak information and this leads to problems with the hormone levels. Damaged receptors are more problematic than over- or under-production of hormones in this respect, as they cannot be detected by conventional medical diagnostic methods.(1)

Symptoms that indicate disruptions in hormone levels are often different and very general, since these types of symptoms can also be triggered by many other influences and diseases. However, symptoms that may be related to or indicate a disruption in hormone levels include:

  • sweats
  • Headache
  • fatigue
  • mood swings
  • lack of concentration
  • weight fluctuations
  • skin and hair diseases
  • susceptibility to infection
  • allergies
  • osteoporosis

Disorders can be caused by many different diseases. Tumor diseases or malfunctions of the thyroid gland are examples of diseases. (2.3)

In addition, hormonal imbalances can be triggered by environmental influences. Possible harmful environmental influences are too little or too much exercise, poor nutrition, too little sleep, excessive stress or external environmental influences that are harmful to the body, such as polluted air.

Doctor holds stethoscope in hand

Disturbances in hormone levels should never be underestimated and should always be clarified with a doctor. Doctors can often treat these disorders or determine the causes. (Image source: Unsplash / Online Marketing)

What effects can hormone levels have on the human body?

As already mentioned, the hormones are responsible for many bodily processes, such as breathing, metabolism or pregnancy. Accordingly, the hormone level also has an effect on the human body, since the hormone level is merely a summary of the hormones currently being produced and their reserve units.

Many bodily processes depend on hormone levels. Disturbances in hormone levels have a negative impact on them.

If, for example, the stress hormone cortisol is released due to environmental influences, this can be seen in the hormone level and it can be seen that you have probably suffered from stress lately and should change something. Accordingly, we should have our hormone levels tested regularly and ensure that we avoid disruptions in hormone levels.

A change in hormone levels can also cause the body to lose functions. This is the case, for example, with women. At a certain age, women lose their sexual maturity and thus their ability to reproduce. This happens during menopause and is due to a change in hormone levels.

How do hormone levels change throughout life?

Above all, you should take a closer look at the development of a woman's hormone levels. After puberty, a man's hormone levels are usually no longer subject to major fluctuations if there are no illnesses.

During puberty there is an increased release of the sex hormone testosterone, which ensures that men become sexually mature and ideally remain so until the end of their lives. In addition, the gender-specific physical characteristics of men develop as a result of the increased release of hormones during puberty. In contrast, a woman's hormone levels evolve dramatically throughout her life up until the end of puberty.

phase of life woman hormonal development
puberty During puberty, the sex hormones, estrogens, are increasingly produced. The main estrogen is estradiol. Estradiol causes the development of female physical characteristics and the onset of menstruation.
pregnancy During pregnancy, the female body produces more progesterone in addition to estrogen. Progesterone ensures that a woman's pregnancy is positive. It improves mood, helps to remove fluid deposits and protects the stressed skin of pregnant women.
menopause Menopause marks the end of a woman's sexual maturity. The ovaries lose their function and menstruation stops. This is accompanied by a sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone. During this phase, women often suffer from various symptoms such as mood swings and sleep disorders.

The hormone level is therefore a very good diagnostic tool, especially for women and provides information about the current health or, for example, the course of a pregnancy. For example, there are hormones that are only formed during pregnancy and are no longer produced afterwards, such as human placenta lactogen. This makes it very easy to diagnose the current stage of the pregnancy and whether it is going well. Accordingly, you should always have a good overview of your hormone levels, especially as a woman, and not underestimate the meaning and importance.(1,2,3,4)


In summary, hormone levels are a summary of a person's current levels of hormones and reserve units. This is of very great importance, as it is responsible for many processes in the human body and a disruption in the hormonal balance has a negative impact on them.

In addition, a disruption in hormone levels can indicate diseases or malfunctions in the body and should always be treated by a doctor. Hormone balance plays a particularly important role in a woman's life, since women can use their hormone levels to diagnose their current health situation or the course of their pregnancy. Accordingly, it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eliminate possible harmful environmental influences in order to ensure healthy hormone levels.


  1. "Sex-hormone-binding globulin" Editor: DC Anderson
  2. "The Effects of Estrogen in the Cardiovascular System" Editor: G. Finking et al
  3. "Estrogen and progesterone receptors in corpus carcinoma and their clinical significance" Editor: W. Kleine et al
  4. "Progesterone in Human Blood and Tissues" Editor: Josef Zander & Anne-Marie von Munstermann
  5. "Sex Hormones VIII. Preparation of Testosterone Using Mixed Esters" Editor: L. Ruzicka et al
  6. "Testosterone and Infertility" Editor: S. Kliesch
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