Most people associate stress with emotional stress relating to work or relationships, but stress can come in many different disguises other than emotional stress, and this can have an effect on your hormones.
Stress can be not getting enough sleep, dietary stress from food allergens, dysbiosis and gut infections, pain or injury, electromagnetic stress from wifi and smartphones, the vast array of chemicals in the modern world that our bodies have to deal with these days …. the list of things that cause stress to the body is very long.
All stress is not bad, in fact, some stress is actually healthy, that’s how we get stronger and more resilient, but it is the long-term chronic stress that is the problem. Long-term stress, often from multiple sources can cause hormonal problems like adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction and imbalances in the sex hormones leading to PMS and menopause issues.
Well, I don’t actually want you to stress about stress but it’s important to know that stress leads to hormonal imbalance and inflammation which are the driving forces behind most chronic health conditions, so it is important to do something about it and try to reduce stress.
Little steps like spending 10 minutes a day in meditation, exercising, keeping a gratitude journal and removing processed foods and sugar from your diet are all ways that you can rejuvenate and energize yourself so that you can cope with stress better.
These small positive steps can be alternatives to watching T.V, reaching for a sugary snack and spending too much time watching screens, these options have become the default option for dealing with stress in the modern world.
If you feel like your not coping with stress it may be because of adrenal fatigue or low thyroid function, when either of these hormones go out of balance it can affect your insulin levels leading to weight gain and your sex hormones leading to PMS, or increased symptoms of menopause.
Testing for adrenal fatigue is easy to do and can be done with the DUTCH Hormone test which you do at 4-5 different intervals throughout the day, it is important to do the 4 different tests as your cortisol naturally fluctuates throughout the day.
The best way to test thyroid function is a blood test, I have many people tell me that “my thyroid is fine” based on the TSH test that the doctor does, even though they have all of the symptoms of low thyroid function …. the TSH test is not an accurate measure of thyroid function and it is important to test T4, T3, reverse T3 and the thyroid antibodies.
The adrenal and thyroid test can be organized by Planet Naturopath wherever you live, once we get the results this takes the guesswork out of your treatment plan and can save you time and money getting your health back on track.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen