I wrote a post about how stress affects our hormones, and in this post, I described the interaction of the female hormones and Cortisol, our stress hormone. I explained how the body responds to stress by building much cortisol, while the production of the youth hormone and precursor for our reproductive hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, decreases as an answer to chronic stress. These hormones are DHEA, and the mother of all hormones, Pregnenolone.
This phenomenon is, in general, responsible for the inability of women trying to get pregnant. Our hormone balance is depending on feeling good and happy, having much joy. But nowadays, many people have a hard time earning their income to pay their living costs worldwide! In the western world, people live imbalanced lives, eating wrong, working a stressful low-paid job or two, are not moving enough, suffering from all kinds of pollution like noise, air, water, light, and food. All these factors have an enormous impact on our bodies and hormones. However, there is not only an external cause but also an internal cause of chronic stress.
Stress Can Be Deadly!
You don’t believe this? Suffering from chronic stress over a prolonged period will impact many bodily functions, the delicate hormone cycles, and the produce of the Neurotransmitters. Eating the wrong food will decrease the production of hormones. Cortisol is made from cholesterol and essential to a well-functioning body.
Pregnenolone is a precursor hormone to many of our hormones, also called the mother of the hormones. While DHEA is a pregnenolone-sulfate and a precursor for estrogen and testosterone, progesterone is made directly from pregnenolone. The body needs cholesterol to make pregnenolone.
If you receive statins to reduce cholesterol, you are at a disadvantage, mildly said. Reducing cholesterol means reduced hormones that interrupt many body functions, and you are prone to develop a chronic disease.
If you have chronic stress, your body produces much cortisol, which leads to a decrease in progesterone and DHEA, two essential hormones that protect many bodily functions, while progesterone is also in high amounts available in the brain as protection. If DHEA is low, estrogen and testosterone are also low. Stress can destroy the cognitive area, but also bones and muscles. The whole body is affected if we suffer from chronic stress, leading to all kinds of inflammation in our body.
We don’t breathe right, but superficial; we don’t chew our food right, which leads to inflammation of our gut. We can’t concentrate. Our sleep is poor, and instead of moving our bodies, we might take naps during the day. The whole body is tense, giving us much pain, and it is nearly impossible to get rid of the tension.
The cortisol production is exhausted, our adrenal glands are tired, and we are exhausted too, desiring to sleep but stay awake all night. Chronic stress triggers a vicious cycle. If we don’t stop, and the body will certainly force us to stop by crashing, bringing us a burnout syndrome where we need to learn our bodies’ limits and slowly recover by doing yoga, meditation, mindfulness, walking, creative activities, and visiting a psychotherapist.
Supported by consuming essential vitamins and minerals, even hormones, and herbal remedies, we slowly recover. Don’t let it come so far! I experienced it twice and lost years to recover. Depending on a conservatively working doctor, you will be fed with tranquilizers and anti-depressives, which is not good. Sometimes, it helps for a while, and I would use it for a short time while being completely stressed out, but then use an alternative way to recover.
The Impact of Stress on Our Immune System
You can try to do everything right, eating healthy, moving much, but if you have any stress factor in your life like emotional stress, or external stress from noise pollution, G5, and wireless radiation, you will finally lose. Stress leads to toxic storage coming from the waste products of the chemical reaction stress is triggering internally. This reaction will affect your whole bodily process on a cellular level.
Stress can destroy many tissues and cells, and certainly your gut which is essential for our immune system. Please read my blogs about the immune system. Suffering from chronic stress leads to a compromised immune system and finally to inflammation in your body. Many chronic disorders and autoimmune diseases are developed from inflammation caused by stress.
I developed Hashimoto Autoimmune disease because of the tremendous stress I suffered in my job, combined with chronic sadness, anger, and low self-esteem resulting from my childhood. Rejection is killing your personality, your joy, your self-confidence. Depression has been my companion throughout my younger years. The internal stress caused by emotions changes the chemical composition of your brain and easily leads to depression.
To recover and get rid of my internal stress, I walked daily for many hours to rebalance and relax. It has helped me very much. I have been creative all my life, and written down my thoughts and feelings. However, the stress coming from these angry and sad emotions has never been completely resolved but has damaged my body. It is essential to find a tool to ventilate your stored feelings, like art or sports.
I believe that many of us carry these resentments with us, sourced in our childhood, sometimes just imagination of an insult experienced as a child, but very often caused by reality. It is necessary to learn to forgive others and yourselves for healing from emotional wounds. If you don’t forgive, you have intoxicated yourself, and these toxins are poison to your immune system, compromising it and open the door for chronic diseases and cancer.
To strengthen your immune system, you need not only healthy food but friends who love and understand you and with whom you can have fun and laugh. Laughing is the best medicine! There are even laughing courses where people come together to laugh. The effect laughing has on your brain is studied so often. Love and laugh rechange the chemical situation of your brain to the positive one. And it cost nothing!:) I love my friends! 🙂
How is Stress Impacting Your Sleep?
We all know what stress is doing to our sleep. If we worry a lot, we can’t fall asleep or stay asleep. The cortisol levels should be the highest in the morning while decreasing throughout the day to the point in the evening where melatonin, our sleep hormone, increases, helping us fall asleep.
People who experience enormous stress notice that their cortisol level is high up in the night, preventing them from falling asleep. Blood labs taken from people who can’t sleep well are showing that melatonin levels are low. Many people consume melatonin to help them sleep, but the amount you can get in a drugstore is meager here in the Netherlands, around 1mg. It doesn’t help very much! There are alternative doctors prescribing melatonin. My best experience is to prepare myself for the night, slow down my activity level, darken my room completely, and avoid radiation and noise, which is very difficult living in a terrace house.
To perform very well during the day while working people drink much coffee and energy drinks. The caffeine level adds to their impossibility of falling asleep at night. The evening is important to slow down, dimming the light, so we can fall asleep, recovering our body and brain.
However, external and internal stress factors are accumulating throughout the day, hindering us from experiencing a renewing night sleep where the body can renew and repair its cells.
It is vital to reduce the number of stressors, like switching off wifi, your smartphones, avoiding drinking caffeine or alcohol before you go to bed, and calming down your feelings and thoughts. In addition, closing the curtains to darken your sleeping room is essential to keep the circadian cycle intact. You can read my blog post about the circadian rhythm here.
The best you can do to fall asleep is meditation, walking, yoga, breathing techniques, drinking calming herbal teas like melissa, or taking tryptophan, an amino acid that helps us fall asleep. Taking a foot bath is also very helpful, especially if used with bitter salt in the water, whereas sulfur detoxes our body via our feet, but magnesium is absorbed by the body to calm our heart.
Magnesium glycinate is excellent for improving our sleep and our stressed-out body. We all suffer from a deficiency of magnesium due to poor soils. I use magnesium oil for my feet and legs, and it helps me to relax.
I have worked for years on the night shift and still feel the effect of an imbalanced sleeping cycle, even after years of working only during the day.
Another significant topic is grounding. You can read my blog about grounding or earthing. We are not grounded these days anymore, meaning we are not connected to the earth anymore, but constantly receiving positively charged electrons from our devices which is a constant stress for our cells. Especially women are benefitting from grounding, bringing their hormones in balance.
By purchasing a grounding sheet for your bed, and a matt for your computer, you will most time of the day and night being grounded. A friend of mine said that she hasn’t experienced any benefits while sleeping on a grounding matt. She still couldn’t sleep. I believe, we need to give it time because our hormones are imbalanced, and when we come into menopause, many factors are playing together and could be a reason for lack of sleepiness.
The artificial world we live in is so different from the world our ancestors have been living in. So, don’t underestimate the effects of wifi, radiation and electrical devices; our daily rhythm, our use of our body, pollution, medication, etc. All of this means chronic stress!
Watch the grounding video here.
Stress By The Way We Are Living
I already mentioned it. The way we live now is completely different from the way 100 years ago. Our bodies are not made for this life. We have to eat right, move, work, breathing clean air, drinking mostly water, pure water, eating our own produce, living in a quiet environment, moving slow and not watching television, traveling by car or plane, connecting with social media, not taking any synthetical medications, etc.
The flood of impressions is overwhelming for our brain that nearly can’t digest all the information. That is pure stress. If we don’t use enough time to sleep and to recover, and doing creative things, like drawing, or playing an instrument, or some sports, being outdoors, we build up the stress level which has an enormous impact on all our bodily functions and shuts down our hormones. There are so many people these days who are having burnout syndrome, something really worrying these days. The working pressure many people experience is very demanding. I think the pressure young students are going through is not healthy. The competition is unhealthy.
I am amazed how much time we could have for recreation, owning all kinds of devices, like a washing machine, refrigerator, freezer, cleaning equipment, etc. In contrast, in former times, people had to work all day to make food and store it for the wintertime, baking bread, washing the clothing with the hand, etc.
I believe they had no recreational time to spend, no holidays, but they were socializing quite a lot, sitting together in the evening, but still working.
Nowadays, the flood of information and the speed of living is breathtaking. I don’t want to go back in my comfort of living, but the world we have created is not healthy, absolutely not. We are paying the price!
You see what stress is doing to our body and brain, disrupting our hormones and bodily functions. It is vital to relax and renew our energy and creativity to calm down. If you are suffering from external stressors, you better try to remove them as far as you can do so. To decrease internal stressors, you need to change your mindset and perform some stress-reducing routine like mindfulness, yoga, meditation, or breathing techniques. Taking a warm bath is relaxing the muscles and helps to fall asleep, but also very relaxing for your mind.I
f there is a need, you can always use some hormones for a while to improve the levels in your blood and cells. I have excellent experiences with including hormones like pregnenolone and DHEA, as well as progesterone, into my supplementing routine. As a result, you increase your energy and will feel better in general.
Be careful that you do this with a certified therapist or doctor because your blood needs to be tested regularly. I know that in the States of North America, you can order or buy hormones in the drugstore. In Europe, you need a doctor for a prescription.
Many herbal remedies are helping you improve the function of your brain and adrenal gland. However, it would help if you always asked a professional, never cure your symptoms by yourself. Herbs are very strong and used in the wrong way they can do harm to your body.
But you can certainly start to eat healthy food and moving your body, reducing your tension. However, you might anyway need to change something in your life; you know yourself the best!
Please, let me know what your thoughts are. Did you ever experience ill-making stress that caused a hormone imbalance n your body? I would love to hear from you how you have coped with this stress.
To Your Health,
8 thoughts on “How Stress Affects Our Hormones?-Part Two”
What a great post, Sylvia, like all your posts! You have explained so many great points about stress and how it impacts our daily lives. I am so sorry to hear that your stress levels were the reason for the onset of Hashimoto. But I commend and learn from how brave and resilient you were in overcoming life’s challenges and figuring out ways to cope with everything life threw at you.
Stress affects everyone differently and I can say from my personal experience with immense stress that my body could not tolerate, it went all to my hair and I lost a heavy chunk of it because of stress and not eating right. I changed my entire diet, lifestyle, and hair care choices in order to overcome the struggle. It was a tough battle but just knowing what the problem was (i.e. stress) was winning half the battle!
Anyways, thank you for providing so much valuable information! I am now off to making myself a nice warm bubble bath, thanks to your suggestion here! 🙂
Thank you so much, Sasha, for your lovely comment! Stress is so impactful; my husband has got an erysipelas infection due to massive stress and needed to use antibiotics we both don’t like to use. But he had no choice because erysipelas can necrotize the skin; it just dies off. After his cure, we will detox his body and healing the microbiome in his gut.
Most chronic diseases are the results of stress, mostly consisting of many different sources of stress. So, I am not surprised that you lost quite an amount of hair due to stress. A friend of mine nearly went bald like a man because she has suffered so much stress. We are not resistant to the world’s problems that have such an impact on our own situations. Chronic stress can be deadly! I hope very much that you feel better and healthy again! 🙂 Take good care of yourself!
My cholesterol is slightly above average and my (Dutch) doctor wanted to prescribe statins. Which I refused. I know several people who have statins and half of them have side effects like stiff walking.
I get an analysis once a year and have had it in several different laboratories now. One in the Netherlands, 4 different ones over here in Spain, due to circumstances.
What struck me is they all have different values for min and max levels. The Netherlands and Spain have different units but I can adjust that with a conversion table. But different average values??
Magnesium is good for sleeping but also for cramps in our muscles and ‘restless leg syndrome’. I am glad it is also in a lot of healthy food like nuts and spinach.
Great article, Sylvia, listing all the problems we can encounter. Take care.
Thank you very much for your comment, Hannie! Yes, I know this problem about the levels. I encountered it in Ireland with my thyroid hormone levels. But you know, I check how I feel, and that is a good level. You are great at avoiding statins, Hannie. They are so bad; it is better not to use them. We are humans, and our bodies react differently, and this is good.
Magnesium is a beautiful mineral; we actually need very much of it to be on the safe side. If you suffer cramps, you better try to take a footbath with bitter salt or magnesium oil. It is excellent. If you do it, please, let me know how you feel.:)
Great read Sylvia, you know when we go to the Doctor for some reason ot other, the first thing they ask is ‘are you under any stress?’ and your answer would be, but who hasn’t got stress these days!
We all live a stressful life especially now with this Pandemic upon us and I do agree we need to look at our life-styles and adjust it a little.
You are on point with everything you recommend, excercise, eat healthy, meditate and be positive, yet how much of this do we remember to do?
Radiation emissions are everywhere and I have come across how this can affect us and our health, worrying for our children!
One thing I’d like to ask is about caffeine intake and that it can do our joints harm and stiffen them, so how about caffeine free coffee, is this just as bad or would have less of a drastic effect?
I have caffeine free tea, coffee and only the greek coffee which is like an expresso is my daily intake.
I suppose everything in moderation, less of the white stuff, more veggies and fruit and take daily vitamins, exercise more, walking and just having a laugh all are good practices to do.
It would be great Sylvia, to offer the Information you highlight, as a printable so we can stick it on our fridges as a daily reminder and in bullet form or a tick list!
Keep up the good work, we need these values in our lives. 🙂
Thank you so much for your beautiful and thoughtful comment, Julia! I have to say that I didn’t think about a printable option, but that is a great idea. I will write an ebook so that people can stick to this.
Your question is excellent. You know, everything in moderation because I also drink coffee, but only in the early morning; otherwise, I drink plenty of pure water. And I love Tumeric and Ginger milk, which is an excellent drink to have more energy.
I tried caffeine-free coffee for quite a time, but I didn’t like it. The compounds in the coffee being released by the process of making coffee are very toxic. If you could get a hold of a delicious organic coffee, you do yourself a favor. Caffeine-free coffee still contains an amount of caffeine. All these drinks need to be consumed with caution. 🙂
Stress is a huge culprit in many of our lives and especially in mine and other women that I know and love. I have been seeing a therapist for a few months now and it has been an amazing experience and a positive change in my life.
I also have read a lot about cortisol and have started drinking a smoothie with natural adaptogen powders added to it to try and help balance my hormones back out!
Stretching, walking and yoga are my saving grace though. I stretch every morning to loosen up any tension from the day/night before and walk almost every morning (even in 90°F weather lol) and do yoga on my off days.
Another great article to raise awareness to our health! <3
Thank you very much, Haley! Yes, stress can be deadly if too much and consistent. We all get seriously ill if we don’t find ways to reduce the stress’s effects on our bodies. You do it already very well, Haley. Yoga, stretching, and walking are great for losing tension. However, try meditation and breathing therapy to keep breathing deep into your belly. In this manner, you will breathe stress away. 🙂