Cortisol in Women

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What is Cortisol?

Cortisol in Women

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands.  Its job is to help the body manage stress.  When you are stressed out or in a high-anxiety situation, your body responds by releasing cortisol in the form of glucose in order to control the stress.  This helps the fight-or-flight response work properly in the body.  Women often have a high amount of stress in their everyday lives.  This may increase the likelihood of a hormonal imbalance.  Especially when approaching middle age and menopause, the hormones can more easily become unbalanced.

Symptoms of Cortisol Imbalance

Symptoms of low cortisol levels are going to be very similar to menopausal symptoms.  These may include:

Causes of Low Cortisol Levels

There are two main causes that can make cortisol levels unbalanced.  If a woman has inflammation anywhere in the body, the adrenal glands have to decide between regulating the sex hormones or treating the inflammation.  The adrenals are only able to produce a certain amount of materials daily.  Since inflammation can lead to life-threatening conditions, the adrenals will choose it over the sex hormones, causing the hormones to be imbalanced.  This condition is called cortisol steal. If the inflammation progresses, the cortisol levels decline as well.  If you are usually very fatigued in the evening, lower then optimal cortisol level  could be the reason.  Cortisol often reaches its lowest levels in the evening.  After the hormone has been out of whack for a while, the cortisol level goes down in the morning time, making it very difficult to wake up, especially with a positive disposition.  If you?re a morning person, you probably have nothing to worry about here.  However, if your husband is instructed to not talk to you for an hour or two in the morning, than you may want to get your cortisol levels checked out.

A cortisol imbalance can also cause adrenal fatigue.  This happens when a person is chronically stressed out.  The adrenal glands constantly have to pump out so many hormones to deal with the demand.  After a while, they are too overworked and the cortisol supply becomes too short to help.  

Solution for Cortisol Imbalance

With a functional medicine practice, we believe in addressing the root cause of your issue.  Since the body is so interconnected, the cortisol imbalance could come from any number of sources.  We thoroughly examine you to make sure we have the correct culprit.  Then we treat it appropriately and as naturally as possible.  

Oftentimes, a great solution to a cortisol imbalance is the support of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)Bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to the body?s natural hormones.Benefits of BHRT for Cortisol

By searching to find the root cause instead of just assuming the reason you have the issue, we are able to address the body as a whole.  If I misplace my keys and think they?re in the kitchen, I may not find them by only looking in the kitchen.  My keys may end up being under the couch or in a jacket pocket.  Without looking in these other places, I may not ever find my keys.  Instead of immediately calling the locksmith for a new set, I want to search the house.  Our medical practice is the same.  Instead of assuming you have low cortisol due to this or that, we will search until we understand the problem. Then together we can work to get you back on the right track.

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