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It is not unusual during my first session with a client for them to ask me about adrenals. Truthfully, it has become the hot topic of anyone that has researched past the conventional realm and with reason.
The adrenal glands are 2 tiny glands that sit above the kidneys and they hold a lot of responsibility. Basic knowledge tells us that the adrenals are responsible for the fight/fight reaction but the process is not that simple and when the signals get mixed; all can go array.
Related Post: HPA Axis Dysfunction and Symptoms
If the clients cortisol is high for example and DHEA level is low, the effect can be: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, blood cholesterol can increase as well as triglycerides, the thyroid becomes effected and so much more. Of course, these symptoms vary in each person as no one body reacts the same. If the cortisol and DHEA are low that can indicate that the individual is not able to make enough but we need to look further, is it that they aren’t making or making it and not processing it.
We know that when we reduce the stress load that the DHEA levels can begin to increase and that is a large part of what I do during the 1st month of working with a client. The nervous system work that I do with a client during 1-1 sessions can directly target what stress needs to be reduced and once these areas are addressed we notice that the cortisol levels can begin to decrease and therefor increase the levels of DHEA. The brain cannot differentiate between emotional and physical stress so we need to look at where the stress is coming from and what is triggering it.
In my opinion mindset work and the work that I do for the nervous system has to be the first step in healing. Diet comes next and careful consideration to what the specific client needs. No, not everyone needs to be on Paleo or Gaps or Vegan… We then look at lifestyle and detox strategies. Supplements can be extremely useful but working with someone to determine the appropriate supplements is critical, if not you are simply paying for expensive urine. For example, high cortisol can benefit from supplementation but low cortisol can require more digging into the person’s health and what is going on. Many clients have been taking some sort of adrenal blend and if they have high cortisol that can be making matters worse for them. Low DHEA can benefit from supplementation as well but I suggest not using long term and working with someone to look at what the other hormones are doing before just starting on a supplement.
For example, it is recommended that you take DHEA with foods that contain high levels of good fats in order for the supplement to absorb properly. I always work with supplements at very low doses and start at a very small amounts. The lower the DHEA, often suggests the lower amount of supplement needed. A supplement that has been reduced to its smallest size is ideal, often termed “micronized”. Working with someone that can help you become educated is key!
Talk with your doctor if you think that this is something that you would like to look into.
Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
- Starving all the time
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain or loss
- Bloating, esspessially around the midsection
- Poor sleep
- Exhausted ALL the time
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of libido
1. Starving ALL the time
This is a tough one because unbalanced hormones can make us hungry and they can make us want to eat the most unhealthy things as well. That is where a really bad cycle starts because now you may be not just eating more but eating things that the “bad bug” (bacteria and yeast) thrive on.
2. Night Sweats
This is sucks and you don’t need to be pre menipsoal or meniposal to have this happen. I had this myself for about 8 years, every single monthly cycle I would wake up SOAKED. As in wake up and change… It was soooo frustrating. If that is you, I recommend after reading this post that you jump over and read my post on How To Improve Leaky Gut.
3. Hot flashes
This one sucks as well… They all do but when it comes to trying to get through a work day and kids and everything else that you have going on the last thing you want to worry about is suddenly being drenched while chatting with your boss at work. sigh…
4. Weight Gain:
First thing that I suggest here is getting your hormone levels checked. Some women eat the healthy options and still gain weight. They are doing all the right things, like exercising as well and yet no change. Ask your doc to check and if it you are insulin resistant and then run a full hormone panel, including cortisol and your free T3 and Free T4. If you are just starting out then I recommend that you cut out dairy, gluten and refined sugar ASAP.
This is a pretty common one and truthfully it is where everyone should start. Looking into the state of your gut health is imperative in the world that we live in. We no longer eat the cleanest, healthiest foods or use only vinegar to clean. We spray our food with chemicals and so it just makes sense to make sure that your insides look as good as your outside.
5. Poor Sleep
This is really hard when you wake up soaked but sleep is the area that you want to focus on after you get working on the gut. Check out this post on 5 Foods That Can Help With Sleep.
6. Exhausted ALL the time
Again, tough when you are not sleeping and you aren’t sleeping because you wake up soaked. You see the vicious cycle here. I talk more about what I think may be the deeper cause of all this here, HPA Axis dysfunction and Symptoms.
7. Loss Of Muscle Mass
Cortisol is often a factor here. Typical when the endocrine system is on the weaker side it makes more of certain hormones and less of others, hence, hormonal imbalance. One of the things that happen here is that when there is an over production of cortisol the body will often store fat in the tummy area.
8. Low Libido
Even though it really shouldn’t matter to us that much… it does.. Having 0 libido makes us feel like less of a women and less of a wife. I don’t think any women is ok with not having a low libido let alone no libido.
9. Anxiety & Depression:
I know I have said they all suck but if I had to pick the worst one this would be it. After I had my daughter, I had the worst post pardum which is often a case of a drop of progesterone. I have suffered horrid anxiety and depression and I wish it on no one.
Now what? How do balance your hormones?
Start with the basics if you haven’t already:
- Change the way that you eat: NO refined sugar (I call it white death), 0 gluten and 0 dairy.
- Move your body. No need to go join a gym. You are probably to exhausted. Start doing more around the house, I know, you probably already do a lot but start working one specific tasks that you might enjoy like redoing a room or painting a small wall. Just move your body. The “bad bugs” live LOVE low oxygenated environments so get the oxygen cycling.
Next, recommend you read The Body Keeps The Score by _____________________. You can grab it Here
Remember that this will take time and there are many more tips that I will share with you but start here and be gentle with yourself!