Stress affects a woman’s endocrine system instantly. It is an evolutionary quirk related to times of famine and limited food sources.
A woman’s fertility is reduced as soon as the body is placed into a state of long-term stress. Literally, your sex hormones are turned off in order for your stress hormones to activate.
So with this in mind, it makes complete sense to focus on managing stress as a core component of your approach to hormonal balance.
Stress is one of the most significant contributing factors towards developing a hormonal imbalance.
The entire glandular system is interconnected, so when one gland is overstimulated, such as the adrenals in stress, then there are consequences in other glandular outputs.
During times of stress, the adrenals produce more cortisol, and since the body is now essentially in fight-or-flight mode, it starts to reduce sex hormone production.
This is a natural survival response. In hard times, the body inhibits sex hormones to reduce the fertility rates; and then in good times, hormones balance and fertility levels increase.
If you ever wondered why infertility rates are so high, persistent levels of stress is one of the main reasons.
What is cortisol?
In its normal function, cortisol helps us meet life’s challenges by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen and counteracting inflammation.
For a short time, that’s okay. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears your body down.
Cortisol is one essential we can’t live without. But too much of a good thing is not healthy.
Apart from causing hormonal imbalance, sustained high levels of cortisol destroys healthy muscle and bone; slows down healing and normal cell regeneration; co-opts biochemicals needed to make other vital hormones; impairs digestion, metabolism and mental function; interferes with healthy endocrine function, and weakens your immune system.
After a period of time, the adrenals eventually become fatigued, which may be a factor in many related conditions – including fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, premature menopause and others. It may also produce a host of other unpleasant symptoms, from acne to hair loss.
For menopausal women, this is a particular problem – because during and after menopause, the adrenals need to produce small amounts of oestrogen – so when they are depleted, it leads to more extreme menopausal symptoms.
Women today are doing too much. Women’s bodies were not designed for long-term stress levels, and the result is imbalanced hormones.
Unfortunately, we often cannot change our life circumstances; however, there is one thing that you can do. MEDITATE.
Research has shown conclusively that meditation helps to reduce stress hormones and increases a beneficial hormone called DHEA, which is the building block for hormone production and a natural anti-ageing hormone.
So what is the best type of meditation?
Well, it all depends on the individual, but a form of meditation that stills the mind, stills the body, and leaves you with a sense of balance and calm.
Yoga and meditation together are particularly beneficial. We have created this simple guided meditation to help you start the process.
Guided meditation or relaxation is perfect for beginners and keeps your mind focused. Find a quiet place and put on some headphones and see how you feel after the relaxation. Take a look at a post l prepared with a selection of short meditations to get you started.