Stress and Hormonal Imbalance
This is something I really only understood late in my life… Acute survival stress is physiologically different from Chronic stress. And that chronic stress is a hormonal, physical response in the body. I always saw it as a psychological entity, but only recently began to understand how, as a chemical reaction, it sets off a host of unwanted consequences in the body.
I didn’t know until studying functional medicine that chronic stress causes a decrease in the normal sex hormones like testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen for example, nor did I know that stress can directly cause a person to get fat! These are just some of the things that fascinate me about the human body now, and why I love integrative medicine.
When we stress for a prolonged period of time we make a hormone called cortisol, this requires cholesterol for its synthesis. Increasing the need for cortisol sends the body a message to increase cholesterol, which is why stressed people have higher cholesterol counts.
Cholesterol is also responsible for the synthesis of our sex hormones however, so when the body makes cortisol (which is the preferred reaction, since stress was supposed to be for survival), it cannot make enough sex hormones, reducing the amount of testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen in our bodies.
Symptoms of this can include low libido, low energy, anxiety, hair loss, acne, low muscle tone and many more.
This is where bio identical hormones are incredible. Instead of being synthetic like HRT or testosterone injections, and causing heart attacks, blood clots and cancer, these are derived from plant sources and made to look exactly like human hormones. They are administered in a body cream to bypass the liver, making them even safer and user friendly.
If you suspect that your hormones are out of balance, come and see us. I will assess your stress levels, send you for a blood test to deduce your hormone levels, recommend nutraceuticals to rebalance your hormones and prescribe a hormone replacement programme. Based on your stress test I may also suggest a stress reduction management plan including some medication if necessary.
Our practice stocks mostly herbal, nutraceutical, natural medication but Dr Leila will prescribe pharmaceuticals if needed.