How Does My Stress Level And Diet Affect My Hormonal Health?
Irritability, fatigue, high stress, weight gain, cramping, heavy bleeding - women's hormonal issues can be complex and difficult to deal with - even for the most astute endocrinologist. Over the years, I have worked with so many women that have been to countless doctors for hormonal issues that do not seem to improve. They are frustrated and exhausted in their search for answers.
We look at hormones in a very functional light. Instead of just trying to treat the symptoms (which can at times cause the body aggravation and very uncomfortable or even dangerous side-effects), we like to look at the body as one whole operating system. Our approach, is that if we can increase the function of organs that process hormones or help make hormones, we can influence someone's quality of life.
Here's an example:
The adrenal glands are 2 small organs that sit on top of your kidney's but given their small size, they perform major functions for us: one is to help us respond to stressful situations with a fight or flight response, they help to wake us in the morning or sleep at night, as well as produce a back-up hormonal supply. If we look at our lives, most of us experience some form of stress on a daily basis. When we become stressed, we have a surge or adrenalin that enters our system. We use another hormone called cortisol to prolong this stress response. In cave-man days, if you encountered a stressor, it could have been something like encountering a lion or a bear and running from it. This would have burned off stress hormones and allowed physiology to normalize as the body returned to state of safety. In today's world, we are bombarded with stressors, but are usually unable to burn off stress hormones as we are sitting at a desk, being bombarded with texts and phone calls, or sitting in traffic.
These situations leave the body "tired and wired" or just plain exhausted. Again, the American philosophy is to do it all--often with a through process that you should feel good all the time....resulting in overuse of caffeine and often sugar or foods that easily convert to sugar for quick surges of energy. This irritates the adrenal glands and causes surges of stress hormones to flood our blood stream. Between high stress, caffeine, and sugar, the adrenal glands eventually decrease function and people experience something called adrenal fatigue. With the adrenal glands so busy dealing with the sugar, caffeine, and stress, the adrenal glands have very little ability for helping to produce the estrogen, testosterone, or progesterone that we need at specific times in our lives. This results in increased symptoms, especially fatigue, sleep issues, hot flashes, or PMS.
In healing the body to handle hormonal issues more effectively, we will discuss:
- Adrenal Health
- Liver Health
- Digestive Health
- Lymphatic Health
Join us to learn about these and more in relationship to our hormonal system at our next Dinner with Doc class on May 15th, at 6:30 pm at Body In Balance. Join us! Our mission is to bring health and wellness to our community. Bring a friend or family to the class! Make sure to sign up at the front desk or online.
Dr. Leah Hahn. D.C., F.I.C.P.A.