Stress comes in many forms. It can be emotional (ie; relationship issues at work and home, grieving ), physical (ie; overwork, over exercise, over sedentary )and environmental (ie; hay fever, chemicals, pollution). When your body is under constant stress, such as being busy. working too hard and not sleeping well we are usually in the continual ‘fight or flight’ response. We produce more cortisol than usual, a hormone produced by our adrenal glands.
High cortisol over time reduces progesterone levels. This is because we produce cortisol and progesterone from the same hormonal precursor- pregnenolone. Progesterone is our anti-anxiety hormone and gives a feeling of contentment. And if you feel like you have constant PMT/PMS then you probably are low in progesterone!
If this keeps dropping over time because of stress, lowered thyroid function or a sluggish liver, then you end up with estrogen dominance. Excess estrogens can cause more frequent, painful and heavier periods, slow down the thyroid function and contribute to an under active thyroid.
And when the thyroid function slows down, this slows the liver function down and it becomes a cycle. Prolonged cortisol levels also can decrease the livers ability to clear excess estrogen from the blood.
A sluggish liver can mean you end up with insulin resistance and weight gain. Insulin is the hormone which ‘unlocks’ glucose from your food. If you are not unlocking the glucose for energy, it is stored as fat in your body, usually abdominal fat after age 40, which I known as the middle-aged spread…. Eeek! I know no-one really want this to happen!
Also, as we age we become more resistant to insulin, this can cause weight gain. Our body doesn’t utilise glucose from food as efficiently as it did when we were younger. The way around this is to exercise more and eat less sugar and carb’s.
All the endocrine glands and hormones work together like an finely tuned orchestra, so when one hormone is out of wack it will inevitably effect the others.
But don’t let this be you! You can change it, naturally .
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