It seems that we all understand that stress is an unspoken danger however it wasn’t until I stopped getting my periods and all of a sudden suffered from my first hot flash, first heart palpitations, an unusual inexplicable increase in blood pressure and a rise in serum cholesterol that I truly understood how my body reacts to an overload of stress. Terrified I flew into the ER, was immediately scanned and left being told that I had had my first anxiety attack. The problem was that I was not anxious!!
During your menstruating life your adrenals, the two tiny glands that sit above your kidneys, make 35% of the estrogen in your body; the other 65 % made in the ovaries.
When faced with a crisis or shock the adrenal glands release three stress hormones: adrenaline which makes your brain focus, your pupils enlarge, your heart pound, your blood pressure increase and your breathing race, cortisol which increases your appetite and immediately releases stored sugar by converting protein to glycogen creating the energy reserve needed for your body, especially your muscles to launch into “fight or flight” and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) to neutralize the effects of cortisol. Once your body is satisfied that the threat is gone it slowly calms and returns to normal but there is a large price to pay for over taxing these tiny glands especially as you begin your journey into menopause.
Relentless “fight and flight” caused by stress, unremitting worry or guilt, excessive exercise, chronic exposure to toxins, an over consumption of coffee, a depletion of nutrition or a lack of sleep, causes an adrenal overload that prevents the adrenals from making the estrogen necessary to prevent aging and protect your heart. Instead you begin to see symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, fuzzy thinking, sugar cravings and even depression.
Going through menopause is unfortunately not fun but a woman in a state of adrenal exhaustion may find herself unusually tired, and depressed as she enters this already fragile time.
If you suspect that you suffer from adrenal exhaustion there are some simple solutions that you can implement to restore their balanced function.