REBALANCE One of the more common and often over-
looked hormonal conditions is cortisol dys- regulation (a.k.a. Adrenal Fatigue). Cortisol is a hormone that is released from our adrenals (pyramidal shaped glands that sit atop of our kidneys) and it helps us to manage with stress. Stress comes in many shapes and sizes and in- cludes the obvious emotional and psychological stresses, but also, physical stress, inflammation, allergies, infections and environmental stress- ors.
The adrenal-cortisol system was designed to
manage with occasional stressors-the once or twice a year that we were chased by a Saber tooth tiger. Unfortunately, in 2012, we face dozens of “Saber tooth tigers” a day! The result is that 80% of the North American population will suf- fer from some degree of cortisol dys-regulation in their lifetime.
of energy (you need your shot of caffeine to get you going or keep you going); irritable and quick to anger (or worsening PMS); craving of salt or salty foods; increased efforts to do every- day tasks; decreased sex drive; decreased ability to handle stress; increased time to recover from injury or illness; lightheadedness when standing up quickly; mild depression and less enjoyment or happiness with life; foggy thinking and poor memory; decreased productivity. Many of these symptoms may be exaggerated if you skip or have an inadequate meal. Many women and men present to my of-
fice believing they have issues with estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone as these are the hormones that we talk about with menopause, perimenopause (the years leading up to meno- pause), PMS, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syn- drome), or andropause (male menopause). And
Hormones are chemical messengers that are released from vari- ous endocrine glands in our body (e.g, thyroid, adrenals, ovaries/ testes, pituitary gland) and travel through the bloodstream to their target tissues. Hormones have a multitude of functions ranging from temperature regulation, storage of fat, fertility, li- bido and blood sugar regulation to name but only a few.
TESTOSTERONE ESTROGEN CORTISOL
often they are right, however it is crucial that cortisol dys-regulation be investigated with sali- vary testing as well as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, as cortisol imbalance cannot only aggravate these conditions but often can be the major issue.
If cortisol imbalance is not cor-
rected than you are just chasing your tail when it comes to dealing with estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Hormones need to not only be within physi-
Cortisol-the stress hormone-is intimately connected with many other hormones. When cortisol is disrupted, often other hormones become imbalanced.
Cortisol is really at the foundation of hor- monal health.
If overlooked and not treated,
then many of the other hormones are thrown off kilter. Thyroid hormone, progesterone, tes- tosterone, estrogen and aldosterone all suffer. Clinically, the most common presentation
of cortisol dys-regulation may include: fatigue and not feeling refreshed particularly in the morning (even after a good nights sleep); lack
ologic range, but also in balance with each other for you to feel revitalized, rejuvenated and re- freshed. The good news: with the help of an integrative physician you can restore your hor- monal health naturally! Stay tuned to future is- sues for helpful hints on how to optimize your hormonal health, prevent hormone havoc, and stay hormonally sound.
Dr. Kristy Prouse MD, FRCSC is an integrative OB/Gyn prac- ticing at the Institute for Hor- monal Health in Oakville, ON (www.hormonalhealth.ca
). Dr. Prouse’s team of hormonal ex- perts
include a naturopathic
doctor, holistic nutritionist, personal trainer and wellness counselor.
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