Dr. Daenell describes cortisol and discusses its effect in a woman's body.
It’s interesting that you should ask about cortisol since we are talking about hormones in menopause, they’re actually very related. Throughout a lifetime our estrogen and our progesterone comes from our ovaries and as our ovaries atrophy or die off at age, as they naturally would, our brain reads that and tells our adrenal glands, you know what, why don’t you share some of your adrenal hormone in the bloodstream and allow it to be converted over to these estrogen and progesterones that are really important in lower levels through the menopausal and post-menopausal years.
Well guess what, if you spent your adrenals to a lifetime of stress, you have nothing to share when you get there and so adrenal health is very important to a smooth transition through the menopausal changes. So if I meet a woman who is on the front-end of it and I know that she has had a very stressful life and done nothing to rebuild, I start encouraging her then because I know years later, she will thank me for it.
Also, it will increase her chances of not having to use Hormone Replacement Therapy of any kind because her body will be more able to come to the table on its own behalf.
Now, in a short run, excess chronically elevated levels of cortisol actually aggravate health in many ways. It increases inflammation, which if you’ve read anything about inflammation it underlies pretty much every chronic degenerative illnesses we don’t want to get as we age.
It also increases blood pressure, heart rate in a way that isn’t healthy if you maintain that everyday as a way of life. If you have elevated levels of cortisol at night when you shouldn’t, that’s been associated with obesity and on and on. We all have always known intuitively that unmanaged stress pretty much will take us out of here.
Now, they are figuring out physiologically and chemically why these important stress hormones which we need for short term, on a very temporary basis to get us through crises, are nothing that we ought to be living on.
About Dr. Carrie Louise Daenell, N.D.:
Dr. Carrie Louise Daenell is a licensed naturopathic physician and currently practices as a consultant in Denver, Colorado near Cherry Creek. She was previously the managing editor at the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, is the past-president of the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and has served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She conducted her pre-medical studied at the University of Colorado, in Boulder and completed her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Additionally, she is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.