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Cortisol And Its Importance To Menopause

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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If you weren't aware of the interrelationship between the adrenal hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, Dr. Carrie Louise Daenell is pleased to enlighten you. Estrogen and progesterone are very important hormones for us as we enter menopause.

In the ongoing challenge of dealing with stress, it's important for us to maintain adrenal health. If we don't protect ourselves from the effects of stress menopause can become a rocky enterprise.

(Transcribed from video interview)

Dr. Daenell:
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.

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Great points about the adrenals, cortisol and menopause. Your readers might also enjoy an interview with Dr. David Zava in which he talks in some detail about cortisol, thyroid and aging: http://www.virginiahopkinstestkits.com/cortisolzava.html

Virginia Hopkins
Editor, Virginia Hopkins Health Watch

July 13, 2010 - 12:11pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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