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Stress and hormones: Can Stress Cause Hormonal Imbalance?

09 April, 2024

Feeling a bit stressed? We don't blame you. From trying to boss your career, get 8 hours of sleep, drink enough water, go to the gym, and keep up with family and friends, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. On top of all this, did you know that the stress levels in women are 50% higher than in men? While we wouldn't want to stress you out anymore, we thought that it would be a nice idea to explain what all this worry is doing to your hormones. So, if you are wondering can stress cause hormonal imbalance? Let’s find out.  

Can stress cause hormonal imbalance?

In case you haven't guessed where we are going with this, yes, stress can certainly cause a hormonal imbalance. But how exactly? Well, allow us to put our scientist hats on for a moment. When it comes to stress and hormones, it all comes down to cortisol and adrenaline. 

We have all heard of flight or fight. This is when cortisol and adrenaline flood your system so you can deal with a dangerous situation. Back in the caveman days when we were fleeing from the likes of a sabre tooth tiger, this would have come in very handy. But these days our busy modern-day lives are constantly triggering our fight or flight mode and leaving us in a state of chronic stress. This causes a massive strain on our bodies and leads to many different hormonal imbalances and health issues. Here are some of the ways stress can affect your hormones.

Disrupting your sleep 

Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle and ensuring you get a restful night's sleep. Stress can make it hard for you to switch off and this is because it meddles with your melatonin production. Not only does it make it harder for you to fall asleep but it means you get a worse night's sleep when you finally do nod off - leaving you feeling like a grouch in the morning. If you are experiencing a lack of melatonin, then you may want to consider trying our pharmaceutical-grade melatonin to help you drift off more peacefully.

Impacting your mood 

We all know that stress can put a real downer on your mood. When you are constantly feeling burnt out, you can’t enjoy yourself as you should, and this can lead to you feeling even more burned out, and thus the stressed-out cycle continues. But, did you know that high cortisol directly affects the hormones that help to regulate your mood? Both serotonin and dopamine levels are decreased when your cortisol levels are high and if not remedied, can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Affecting your sex hormones 

Stress has a major impact on your testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen levels. When these hormones are out of balance it impacts you in many ways including your fertility, menstrual cycle, and emotional and physical wellbeing. 

For example, if your testosterone levels are depleted, this can lead to low energy and confidence along with having a disastrous effect on your sex drive. Testosterone also helps keep your estrogen levels in check. If your testosterone is too low it can cause what is known as estrogen dominance, which exacerbates PMS and causes other symptoms like mood swings and weight gain. If you think your testosterone levels may need topping up here is everything you need to know about testosterone cream for women

Low levels of progesterone can cause irritability, anxiety, headaches, bloating and more, particularly during your period. But this can be fixed by using a prescription progesterone cream which helps to alleviate symptoms. In some cases, stress can also lead to an increased risk of developing PCOS

Causing thyroid problems 

Your thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck and helps to regulate your weight and metabolism. When you are in a state of stress, your thyroid doesn't work as it should. This can slow down your metabolism, and lead to weight gain and fatigue.

But not only can stress directly impact your hormone production, but it also decreases your hormone sensitivity. That means that when you are constantly stressed, your hormones are less effective, and you will need more of a certain hormone to get the same effect, further exacerbating a hormone imbalance.

If you are feeling stretched a little thin and wondering can stress cause a hormonal imbalance? Here are the common symptoms to look out for to see whether your hormone may be out of whack:

  • Mood swings

  • Fatigue

  • Irregular, heavy, or painful periods

  • Loss of libido

  • Poor sleep

  • Weight gain

  • Fertility issues 

  • Skin problems

So what can you do about it?

If you are suffering from a lot of stress, the last bit of advice you want to hear is to calm down and try to relax. But making sure to eat a healthy and nutritious diet, exercise when you can, and get adequate sleep all play a part in helping you to feel less fried. 

At Hormones + You, we offer a range of solutions tailored to your individual needs to help address hormonal imbalances. Whether stress is affecting your sleep, sex drive, mood, or more, our smart hormonal solutions can help. Start an online consultation with us now to receive your personalised prescription.  

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