UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF STRESS ON YOUR SEX HORMONES

Dr. Tasreen Alibhai, N.D.

Dr. Tasreen Alibhai

During recent months, the number of Canadians who report they are having higher levels of anxiety has increased significantly. A survey conducted by Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC.ca) reported a quadrupling of high levels of anxiety and doubling of high levels of depression through the pandemic.

Anxiety, Depression and Stress can have a significant negative impact on our health. This also includes our hormone health.

Cortisol, a steroid hormone released by the adrenal glands, is the body’s primary stress hormone. Almost every cell in our body has receptors for cortisol . It affects our nervous system, digestive system, metabolism, cardiovascular system, sex hormones and so much more.

Some of the symptoms of excessive stress include irritability, fatigue, anxiety, feeling burned out (mentally, emotionally and physically), interrupted sleep and feeling “wired but tired”. Some of these symptoms may get worse right before a woman’s period. Women who are in perimenopause or menopause often report similar symptoms.

In our body, there is a delicate balance between stress hormones, sex hormones and Neurotransmittors. Therefore, all 3 systems may affect a woman’s mental and physical well-being. As Estrogen levels start to decline before a woman’s period, during perimenopause or menopause, Neurotransmittor levels may be impacted. Low Serotonin and GABA contribute to feelings of depression, irritability, anxiety, fatigue and sugar cravings. A reduction in Serotonin and GABA has been found in studies investigating the
effects of chronic stress on humans and animals. Both Chronic elevated stress and the natural changes that occur in a woman’s hormone cycle may affect neurotransmittors levels and contribute to Hormonal symptoms.

In clinical practice I will always include treatment recommendations to address the adrenals. As you can see, adrenal health has a significant impact on our hormone health.

If you are experiencing higher levels of stress and are suffering from PMS symptoms I suggest implementing some health restoration suggestions to your daily practices. Check out the recommendations in Adrenal health restoration guide for easy tips to help restore adrenal health.

I also like to include botanicals and vitamin/mineral therapy for adrenal support when addressing hormonal symptoms. Some of these may include ashwaganda, lavender, holy basil, B vitamins, Calcium and Magnesium.

Please do check with your Naturopathic or Medical doctor before starting any new supplements. The Naturopathic Physicians at Vitalia Health Care are highly experienced in the evaluation and treatment of hormonal disorders.

These are difficult times. We are in the phases of recovery. For many of us, our Adrenal health may be affected. I suggest we continue to support our adrenal and overall health as we adapt to our “new normal”. Eat well, exercise, sleep and continue to support your mental health. We are all in this together!

Best wishes for health and safety.

Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND