Is Stress Affecting Your Hormones?
Our Naturopath Jeanette shares her advice on natural hormone management
Women have a wonderful mechanism in the body for keeping their hormones balanced – this relies on the correct nutrients, the right enzymes, good liver function, an efficient elimination system and good gut flora. But what happens when this is disrupted? Your cycles may become longer, or shorter, heavier or non-existent or you may experience severe period pain. It can affect fertility. It can affect mood and energy.
Stress has a huge impact on our bodies. When women are stressed they produce more cortisol, the stress hormone, instead of progesterone. This affects the fine balance between oestrogen and progesterone contributing to many of the symptoms mentioned. Stress causes your body to use and excrete the nutrients needed for hormones such as magnesium, B vitamins and zinc. We often use pick-me-ups when stressed such as coffee, alcohol and chocolate – these all place a demand for nutrients on our body which reduces the nutrients available for our hormones.
Managing the stress itself is a start. Supporting your body while stressed is essential. Diet plays a vital role in providing the nutrients your body needs to do this – a whole foods diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits and good fats is important. Supplements and herbs can also be supportive where there is a need and to correct a deficiency. Good sleep, exercise, hydration and mindfulness all play a role too in reducing the feelings of stress, supporting your body’s response to stress and helping your hormones.