05 Mar Are you absolutely exhausted? Maybe it’s time to take a look at your hormones.
You wouldn’t believe how many people I see on a given day that are absolutely stressed out and are suffering physically from high levels of stress.
There is a large list of factors that may contribute to overall exhaustion and fatigue and I would like to tell you about each one of them in a series of informative blogs.
Today, I’d like to begin by showing you how stress can lead to a hormone resulting in a whole host of other nasty symptoms.
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by different glands and organs that travel through our bloodstream, enter our tissues and deliver their messages to billions of cells. Each hormone has a specific function in keeping the body healthy and in balance.
Today, imbalances in hormones are very common and occur due to high levels of stress in the form of poor diet and lifestyle choices. The hormone cortisol is our main stress hormone and is produced by our adrenal glands. One of its main functions is to enable our bodies to handle short bursts of stress. The problem, of course, is that most people are under chronic levels of stress and so for them cortisol production is in constant overdrive. The adrenal glands can only produce so much, and eventually become fatigued and then don’t produce enough ultimately leading to adrenal fatigue.
Here’s the kicker – most hormones interact with one another and compete for the same receptor sites on tissues like the brain, the heart, our bones and reproductive organs, so when one hormone is out of balance then eventually the others will be as well. Too much or not enough cortisol floating around will affect the levels of other important hormones. For instance, in women, an imbalance in cortisol can cause bone loss or an underactive thyroid resulting in fatigue and weight gain. An imbalance in cortisol can also cause low progesterone leading to symptoms of estrogen dominance such as irritability, weight gain hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings and foggy thinking to name a few. For men, low libido, loss in strength and muscle mass, loss of energy, fat around the belly and high blood pressure are symptoms of low testosterone caused by too much cortisol.
Before any effective therapy begins, understanding where the imbalance exists and why it has occurred is absolutely necessary. At The Lakeside Clinic, we use comprehensive saliva hormone testing to determine exactly where the imbalances exist. Saliva testing measures hormone that has been delivered to tissues – the bioavailable hormone. Without proper evaluation, it becomes very challenging to guess where the problems may lie.
Stay tuned to my next article where I will discuss the importance of sufficient iron and vitamin B12 levels in the battle against fatigue.