Dr. Watson is teaming up with Dr. Megan Pasookhush to discuss stress and hormonal imbalance.

Where: Wellness Compounding, 3675 SW Cary Parkway Cary NC 27513

When: Wednesday, Jan 30, 630-730 PM 

We are limited to 25 people. Email Info@hormonewellnessmd.com today to hold your spot!

“It’s just stress”

Have you ever gone to a health care provider and brought up a concern that was really bothering you and were told that it was “just due to stress”? End of discussion. There was no real explanation why stress may be to blame for your concern. It’s likely you weren’t given any tips on dealing with stress. You may have left the encounter frustrated and dissatisfied. Stress has innumerable effects on the body. What I’d like to talk about today is how stress affects hormones. My goal is to convey some science so that this makes sense to you and provide some tools you can use right away to manage the stress. Creating self care rituals is often the first step needed to heal hormonal imbalance,

The Cortisol Steal

Cortisol is stress hormone. If we are faced with an acute stressor like giving a presentation or being chased by a wild animal our cortisol goes up. One term that gets thrown around a lot in functional medicine is the cortisol steal or pregnenolone steal. This term is describing the body’s preference to protect cortisol production at the expense of other hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. That makes sense. If I can’t make stress hormone to outrun a wild animal I could die. If I can’t make enough progesterone to stabilize by uterine lining, I may have some breakthrough bleeding and sleep disruption, but I won’t die.  

Hormones come from the same precursor, cholesterol. The body can take that cholesterol molecule down one pathway and make cortisol or it can go down another pathway and make DHEA and then estrogen and testosterone. If the body is under more stress and is making more cortisol it can diminish its ability to make estrogen progesterone and testosterone. Ever miss a period during exams or before a big project is due at work? Maybe what was happening was that your body was favoring the cortisol pathway and under-producing estrogen so that you didn’t make much uterine lining to shed. Another pattern I often see is women having 2 periods a month. They aren’t making enough progesterone to stabilize the uterine lining, so they bleed every 2 weeks when the uterine lining outgrows its blood supply. A high cortisol state — stress — could cause either one of these patterns.

What do I do now?

We all feel busy. I get it. I’m a working mom and it took me too long to realize how my lack of self care was affecting our whole family. Even if you just take a few moments a day to breathe with intention you can start lowering your stress hormones and heal your body. Here are some ways to get started:

Practice a square breath. Ideally go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed for 3-5 min. The bathroom is a great option. Most places have one and hopefully you will have privacy. While  you are there start by blowing your nose so you can inhale comfortably. Inhale through your nose slowly over 4 counts. Hold your breath for 4 counts Exhale slowly through your mouth for 4 counts. Hold your breath for 4 counts. Try to repeat this sequence 3 times. Feel better?

Try alternate nostril breathing. Again this works well if you can breathe comfortably through your nose. If you need to blow your nose, do it now. Occlude your right nostril by compressing the outside of right side of your nose. Take 3 slow deep breaths through just your left nostril. Breathing in this way activates your parasympathetic nervous system.

Want more?

Come to a free presentation on stress and hormonal imbalance! Dr. Watson is teaming up with Dr. Megan Pasookhush at Wellness Compounding on Wednesday, January 30, 630-730 PM, at 3675 SW Cary Parkway Cary NC 27513. We are limited to 25 people. Email Info@hormonewellnessmd.com today to hold your spot.