Cortisol for Women

Cortisol is most widely known as the stress hormone.  It is created in the adrenal glands, and production of this hormone increases significantly in response to stress.  However, cortical also regulates several other important functions in the body.  Cortisol is important for the function of your immune system, plays a role in regulating glucose within your blood, and also regulates your blood pressure.  Your digestive system also needs cortisol to function properly.

Your cortisol levels need to remain in a healthy range, which can be evaluated by a medical professional.  When your cortisol levels rise too high or fall too low, you may seem some unpleasant symptoms as a result.

Excessive Cortisol

The most common cause of high cortisol levels is chronic stress.  Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands, and the amount it produces increases significantly when you are under stress.  This increase in cortisol gives you a burst of energy to deal with stress, but when the stress continues indefinitely, your body never has time to wind down, and you end up with excess amounts of cortisol.

When you suffer from excessive cortisol, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor memory or memory haziness

Excessive cortisol caused by chronic stress also runs the risk of overworking your adrenal glands.  When your adrenal glands are overworked for too long, they are unable to keep up with the demand, resulting in adrenal fatigue.  When your adrenal glands become fatigued, they fail to produce sufficient amounts of cortisol, leading into a sudden drop in cortisol production.

Deficient Cortisol

Cortisol deficiency often follows behind periods of excessive cortisol, caused by adrenal fatigue.  When your adrenal glands are overworked for so long, they tire out and become unable to fulfill your body’s needs for cortisol.  A deficiency can make it difficult to handle stress, as your body will be unable to react to even normal amounts of stress if the adrenal glands are tired out.  Additionally, a deficiency can be caused by certain sicknesses or conditions that directly affect the adrenal glands.

Cortisol deficiency, especially when caused by adrenal fatigue, is generally considered more dangerous than excessive cortisol.  Some of the symptoms of cortisol deficiency include:

  • Abrupt loss of weight
  • Difficulty recovering from illness
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Aches and pains
  • Sluggishness
  • Sleepiness during the day, even after adequate rest
  • Difficulty getting out of bed
  • Feeling as if you have the flu while not actually being sick

Treating Cortisol Problems

Anything that helps you to relieve and manage stress can help you to prevent excessive cortisol levels.  Any treatment or activity that prevents chronic stress can be effective, and handling your stress before it results in adrenal fatigue is the ideal solution.  Medical professionals may be able to help with treatments or techniques to help you prevent adrenal glands from overworking.

Deficient cortisol, especially caused by adrenal fatigue, is best treated through hormone therapy.  Hormone therapy may provide your body with much needed cortisol while your adrenal glands are unable to meet your body’s demands, helping to relieve the symptoms of sluggishness and feelings of sickness that tend to accompany cortisol deficiency.