Has stress thrown your hormones off-kilter?

Woman Stomach AcheStress definitely takes a toll on women. And who of us hasn’t experienced stress-driven eating? What you may not know is that copious amounts of eating while you’re dealing with stress can set you up for a potentially deadly hormonal disorder: Diabetes. According to one researcher, the culprit just may be disruptions in the immune system’s production of cortisol, which in turn triggers the release of damaging stress hormones.

As it turns out, men and women have very different approaches to stress, and one reason for that is a female hormone called oxytocin, which promotes a desire to care for others. The problem is that all that caregiving can wear out even the most dedicated nurturer.

Here’s another interesting fact: One stress hormone with a ridiculously long name – pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) — has been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in women. Its differing effects on women vs. men might surprise you. Women actually suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress order more frequently than men.

So what does all this mean for women undergoing stressful circumstances?

Chronic stress has a deleterious effect on the production of healthy hormones. For example, the hormone Pregnenolone provides a woman’s body with the essential elements needed for a healthy mind and body. Yet, prolonged or intense stress-triggered hormones create a roadblock that hampers the production of this important female hormone.

So what’s the answer? A woman who has undergone prolonged stress should take the time to consider what may be going on with her body’s hormonal stasis. See your care provider, who will administer tests to determine if you are suffering from a hormonal balance. You just may find that lift in energy and vitality that will take you to a whole new level of energy and well-being.

Marsha Nunley MD
Marsha Nunley MD
I am an internist, trained and experienced in Western Medicine, who believes that illness and disease are best treated by working to discover their underlying causes. Come to me for bioidentical hormones, advice on healthy aging, and whole-body medicine.