Stress and Hormones: A Balancing Act
Dec 17, 2012
There is sufficient evidence to show that chronic stress causes an imbalance between a woman's main sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. This imbalance, in turn, negatively impacts mood, waist size and overall health.
Here's the science behind it all: Cortisol is a stress-related hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It signals the body into what's called fight or flight mode. Levels of cortisol rise and peak when under chronic stress. Once the stress becomes too demanding for the adrenals to produce sufficient amounts of cortisol, the body converts the female sex hormone progesterone into the molecularly similar cortisol. This conversion, however, then depletes the body's normal levels of progesterone. This leaves progesterone lower in ratio to estrogen, a condition known as estrogen dominance. When in estrogen dominance, a woman's body experiences PMS and menopause-related symptoms like stubborn weight gain, increased risk and occurrence of breast and female cancers, bone loss and increased overall aging.
Progesterone is the good guy hormone compared to estrogen. It is the calming, fat burning, cancer-protective hormone, whereas estrogen is the hyper fat-storing and cancer-promoting hormone when out of balance. The balancing of estrogen and progesterone, however, can be accomplished with a safe, natural two-pronged approach.
First in importance is to make sure you're incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Relaxation will counter the negative effects that the stress response can cause. It will lower the body's need for cortisol. Meditation, contemplation, yoga and massage are traditional ways to relax. A new technique that is proving to induce much-needed relaxation is called sound wave therapy music. Listening to this type of music can relax brain wave patterns in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes. It's been shown to slow high-stress beta waves down to those found only in deep sleep, delta waves. This is like a two-hour nap for the brain and can aid in lowering mental stress and balancing sex- and stress-related hormones.
The next step to naturally balance hormones is to utilize a natural transdermal (topical, through the skin) progesterone cream. This alternative can help alleviate mood, sleep and weight issues. Natural progesterone is a safe hormone to supplement and has long been studied for its beneficial and lasting effects on the body.
Even as a woman ages, the body will produce estrogen if progesterone remains at optimal levels. Still, the predominant key is to take time for yourself and relax on a daily basis. When hormones are balanced, extra weight goes, age slows and vitality grows!
*Before beginning any hormone replacement therapy, please discuss with your physician in detail your concerns. Remember, you are your number one advocate, especially when comes to your health!