In my working day I frequently discuss the impact of stress upon our hormonal system. Many of us do know what stress is, in some shape or form, but we are often very reluctant to admit to suffering from it. !
The body is designed to cope fantastically well with short term stress, however it is a different matter with long term/chronic stress. To deal with this, the body (and the mind) develop coping strategies or behaviours. These strategies or behaviours develop, either consciously or unconsciously and work well at first, but eventually, time takes its toll and the tell tale signs begin to show, but do we pay attention to them?!
In long term periods of stress some of the following hormonal fluctuations occur:
- the Adrenal Glands produce greater amounts of adrenaline which inhibits our production of progesterone causing the latter phase of the monthly cycle to reduce!
- the Pituitary Gland releases Prolactin, which inhibits Fertility!
- the consumption of alcohol, coffee, nicotine, sugar and recreational drugs can cause the liver toxic overload, making it difficult to flush out ‘old’ hormones i.e. oestrogen, leaving the body oestrogen dominant causing various symptoms!
- our nervous system activates the Adrenal Glands, they then release adrenalin (quickly) and cortisol (slowly), causing the liver undue pressure to perform the detoxification of old hormones from the system again leading to excess oestrogen!
- the increased levels adrenalin and cortisol will impact on our reproduction system causing lack of ovulation, cessation of cycle, heavy/painful periods, PCOS, and infertility!
- quality of sperm may be impaired, impotence may occur!
- excessive exercise, especially running has been shown to increase the levels of cortisol in the body rather than decreasing it!
- our immune system is compromised lowering our ability to recover from illness!
- feelings of nervousness, anxiety, worry and panic increase, periods of depression may result! sleep quality is affected, some experience difficulty getting off to sleep, others wake during the night
Stress really does wreak havoc with our hormonal well being. So, what can you do about it?:
- The key is awareness, begin by highlighting any imbalances – use Apps, Charts, Diaries etc to monitor your symptoms
- Use the information to find the underlying cause and ‘make a plan’ of how to go about addressing it.
- Do you need more exercise or less? Perhaps swapping something high impact for yoga, swimming or walking would do the trick?
- Make lifestyle changes to sleep patterns and diet.
- What help can you get? Finding a therapist can be key to helping you address your hormonal imbalances – look for someone who you feel has the right qualities and experience to help you tackle them!
….after all, the body is a homeostatic system, designed to self-correct and rebalance! All you need to do is to give it a helping hand…. How cool is that?!!
If you are struggling with stress related hormonal issues, fertility, pregnancy anxiety, miscarriage, or menopause, and you would like to address them through Reflexology, Hypnotherapy and/or Fertility Massage, do contact Alison on firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text, 07811 123494.