How is Stress Influencing Your Hormones

Pure and simple, Stress impacts your hormones.

And the reasons why will astound you. On the surface we all can appreciate that stress generally will impact your sense of well being and ability to function at your best. But under the surface there is so much more going on at times of turmoil.

Stress increases Cortisol and Adrenalin.

These Adrenal hormones are produced via the Hypothalamus, Pituitary and Adrenal pathway. And by doing so, two adjacent hormone producing pathways are effected due to their tightly bound relationship.

The Thyroid hormones (produced via Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Thyroid pathway) and Ovarian hormones (produced via Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Ovarian pathway) are both significantly imbalanced.

Certainly makes sense right? There’s another way to look at it. When your body is in ‘fight/flight’ mode (with stress) it quite literally thinks you are fighting for survival based on our primal instincts, even though you may not actually be running from a lion!

So, in this survival mode, your body switches off all non essential functions such as reproduction. Sounds obvious, what animal will produce offspring when fighting for survival.

Symptoms of Chronic Stress / Increased Cortisol

  • Increased fat accumulation around the abdomen

  • Increased waist to hip ratio

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Loss of muscle mass

  • Muscle Pain

  • Depression

  • Difficulty with concentration and memory

  • Fatigue

  • Insulin Resistance

  • Poor exercise tolerance

  • Elevated inflammation

  • Increased cholesterol


  • Low Progesterone / Estrogen Dominance

  • PMS / Heavy Bleeding / Absence of Period / Reduced Fertility

  • Hypothyroid Symptoms (hair loss, skin changes, weight gain, extreme fogginess)

Relevance of Stress in Menopause

Balanced Adrenal Hormones are of so much importance in Menopause, and especially in Perimenopause. In fact, as you age in your 40s you want to ensure there is balance here, because the upcoming journey into Menopause will be determined by how much impact is placed on the Ovarian pathway.

With excess Cortisol, estrogen and progesterone will be way out of balance. For example, the body uses the same 'building blocks' to make cortisol as it does to make progesterone, and will sacrifice progesterone in the process.

In consultation a Naturopath will measure your stage of adrenal disruption and support accordingly, whilst balancing other hormone pathways to ease symptoms. Recovery though, is in your hands, as it relies on healing those stress triggers.

For many (if not all) adrenal disruption is fuelled by learnt behaviour that leaves us with inappropriate and excessive stress responses to events. Where did this originate for you?

Can you go back and reset those thought processes?

Absolutely! Real healing involves work on the mind, body and soul.