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Balancing Stress Response: Rebuilding Your Adrenal Function

February 2, 2023

Hi, I’m Angela
I'm a functional medicine practitioner & hormone expert working primarily with women in their 40's and 50's to create lasting health.
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Are you an overwhelmed woman over 40 feelings the pull of endless responsibilities but without adequate energy to take them on and yet unable to switch off? If so, it’s time for you to step back and start prioritizing your own needs. Building a foundation of balance is essential in order to successfully tackle all facets of life. One area that requires special attention? Your adrenal function. In this post, we explore how understanding stress response can help you successfully address these imbalances and manage the daily hustle & bustle with greater ease, plus why having balanced hormones is key to overall well-being.

The Adrenals, what are they? 

There are many things that happen to a woman’s body as she goes through menopause. It is not just about the sex hormones lowering and changing, or the cycle stopping. There are other systems that need to be balanced too to have a smooth transition, like the adrenal system.

Our adrenals help us deal with stress. They communicate with our brain to signal how much of the hormone cortisol we need to protect us from stress. The stress may be emotional, physical, or a combination of things. Over time, if your body is always feeling stressed, it can cause even more problems.

Stress can come from many things in life. Juggling the many hats of life can certainly lead to an overload of stress. From being too busy and having a packed schedule to worry about health issues with yourself or family members, not to mention extra events that crop up unexpectedly.

Often, the body just cannot keep up with the amount of cortisol output required for your busy everyday life. This puts pressure on the adrenals over time. Now, the real kicker is that you need your adrenal health to be even more optimized as you get closer to and transition into menopause because your adrenals are going to help your body compensate and manage the transition into the declining sex hormone production by your ovaries.

Let’s face facts: transitioning to an optimal and balanced lifestyle is a true challenge, especially after years of living with chronic stress. That being said, it isn’t impossible!

A Rocky Ride for the Adrenals 

The adrenals may not be functioning as well as they could be. 

Women often experience many varied symptoms on this rocky ride when the adrenals are out of balance due to high stress. They feel like they can’t think straight all the time. They have trouble remembering things and focusing. They often feel more sensitive to pain, both physically and emotionally. They find their emotions are all over the place; one minute they’re sad, and the next minute they’re happy. They can be very irritable, even when there’s no good reason for it.

This is definitely a sign that the adrenals are taxed and overburdened. The body and the brain just aren’t functioning properly to cope with it. 

If this sounds like what you are going through, you may need some help supporting your adrenals.

Another very common symptom among women is reports of changes in their weight. Women often struggle to lose weight, despite their best efforts. From an extended period of calorie restriction and intermittent fasting all the way to extreme measures, for many women, it can feel like no matter what they do, nothing works. There is so much frustration in play.

This happens sometimes as a response of the adrenals because the body perceives so much stress that it slows down the metabolism to try and protect the body from all of the stress. Making voluntary reductions in calorie intake can be beneficial to your health, but do too much and it could end up causing more harm than good. Going overboard with caloric restriction puts extra stress on the body, cranking up pressure on adrenaline reserves. 

Needless to say, this can become quite a storm if the adrenals get out of balance due to too much stress.

Address the Stress

I certainly know how this feels, as I’ve seen this with so many clients I work with. 

We get our lifestyle back on track by working on exercise and eating healthy foods. We check on lab tests and make sure they are using supplements for nutrition if needed. If they’re deficient in any nutrients, we work on helping them rebalance their gut.

Many women have positive responses to this, but there are also many women who don’t get exactly where they want to get with their mood balance and their energy levels. A lot of the reason for this has to do with imbalances in the adrenals.

We can’t overlook the core of this problem: stress and distress. Unless we recognize it for what it is, no solution will stick, regardless of how hard we try! But if instead, we understand our triggers and actively work towards reducing them while simultaneously building resilience in ourselves, that’s when true progress begins to take shape.

I work with so many women who say, “I’m just so frustrated. I’ve done all these things, and I still feel like I’m not where I want to be. What can I do?” 

Adrenal imbalances can cause long-term suffering, and there’s no easy solution. It requires dedicated effort to bring the adrenals back into balance, so welcome the challenge! With a bit of dedication, you’re sure to reap satisfying results.

Adrenals Back on Track 

It’s not that you’re necessarily going to be constantly fighting an uphill battle, but as your female sex hormones lower and your body starts to rely on these adrenals more, it is going to put a little more pressure on them. Your body is going to start relying more on your adrenals as you get older. This means it is more important than ever to make sure that they are healthy.

It is important to get your cortisol levels back to normal. This will help you deal with stress better and make you feel better overall. It can also help prevent disease.

As the adrenals get out of balance for too long, cortisol production gets too high. This, in turn, is inflammatory in the body. Inflammation can lead to the development of disease. For women especially, as we transition to menopause, we are more likely than ever before to face an increased risk of female cancers like breast cancer and chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. 

Therefore, we need to be mindful that it’s not just about how we feel about our symptoms. It’s also about being preventative against the development of a chronic condition. 

Smell the Flowers 

Take a Break 

In a world where our lives can often seem busy and overwhelming, the gift of 10–20 minutes to yourself could be just what you need for a little refreshment. Taking some time each day—even if it’s simply sitting down with no agenda or plan other than listening to your own needs—has transformative effects on how we feel about ourselves!

I am very lucky that I can actually do this for myself for an entire day. It may not be that often, but I find it just resets my nervous system incredibly. Make sure you don’t ignore this and that you find a way. Find the time to relax, even when you’re busy chatting with family and co-workers! Take a few moments each day for yourself so your wellness doesn’t get ignored; it’s important in this chaotic world.

It’s absolutely essential for those adrenals to start rebalancing if they’re always perceiving stress.

In our culture and society these days, we don’t typically honor resting, relaxing, and not being busy, but it’s absolutely essential for your survival and for your health. This is my number-one tip. You could be doing all the other right things for your lifestyle, but if you never take the time to rest, you’re not going to be able to balance the adrenals. I guarantee it.

Hydrate Well 

One other thing that is absolutely essential and that some people often forget about is keeping themselves hydrated throughout the day.

Typically, I suggest women take in 3–4 liters of water a day. This also helps to nourish the adrenals. It helps maintain the balance between electrolytes. If your adrenals are under a lot of pressure, you may even need to add, a little bit of Himalayan salt or an electrolyte you like that’s not high in sugar to your glass of water once or twice per day.

As soon as we’re dehydrated, the body perceives stress and starts to produce more cortisol. This is tip number two, which you can put into action right away along with the first one.

Work with Someone Who Understands 

The third tip is to make sure you work with someone such as me, a functional medicine practitioner who can run lab testing.

Women can benefit from taking the Dutch hormone test, which offers a comprehensive insight into their adrenal and sex hormones. This helps to restore balance as they navigate through the challenging menopause transition—an effective way to maintain optimal health during this time. 

If you want to take this third step, I suggest you reach out to me. You can go to my website. If you’re tired of feeling burned out and remaining in a state of dis-ease, let’s get together to see how I can help. During our free consultation, we’ll explore ways testing might reveal the underlying causes behind your health issues, arming us with key insights so that ultimately you can develop an actionable lifestyle plan for long-term recovery.

Let’s make the most of this time by taking positive steps to get back on a healthy and happier track. Why just suffer in silence when we can seize this moment as an opportunity to reclaim our lives? There are plenty of ways—both big and small—that will allow us to positively experience life once again.

When your adrenal glands are functioning properly, you have more energy and stamina, improved mental clarity and focus, increased sexual drive, stable blood sugar levels, and less anxiety. If your adrenals are not working well, don’t despair. There is hope. With a little work on your diet and lifestyle and some help from natural herbs and supplements, you can get your adrenals back on track. And when you do, you will feel like a new person—with boundless energy, mental clarity, increased libido… the list goes on. So what are you waiting for? Schedule a discovery call today to see how we can help you get your life back by rebalancing your stress response and rebuilding your adrenal function.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of life? Take a minute to pause and consider what relief may look like. I’d be happy to schedule a discovery call with you. Why not take advantage of this opportunity with no risk or pressure involved? During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.

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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional

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