If you are struggling to find relief for your perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause let me let you in a on a little-known secret – your adrenals might be the cause. You might think you are in charge but in menopause, the adrenals rule the roost.
The menopause transition is very complex. Although the ovaries produce the majority of the sex hormones the body needs for fertility and health during perimenopause the adrenal glands also produces DHEA in small volumes that is converted to bioactive estrogens and androgens in peripheral tissues. As the sex hormones in the ovaries declines, post menopause the adrenals production of DHEA is increased in order to make the sex hormones a woman needs for health post menopause.
On the other hand, the same adrenals produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. However, the ability of the adrenal glands to produce sufficient DHEA is dependent on the vitality and functioning of the adrenal glands. If the adrenal glands are fatigued due to chronic stress or otherwise occupied from trying to keep up with the demands of cortisol and other stress hormones production, the ability to produce sex hormones may be compromised or limited.
Stress Has Many Faces.
Your stress can be:
Physical stress – raising children, caring for aging parents, exercising, volunteering, work, commuting
Environmental stress–pollution, electronics, virus, chemicals from personal and cleaning products
Emotional stress– repressed feelings, trauma, living in strained relationships or lack of sex.
Mental stress – worrying about things real or imagined. Our body is design to handle normal levels of stress.
You might be dealing with multiple forms of stress for prolong periods. Persistent stress, caused by real or imagined stressors, elevates the cortisol levels in the body. This can lead to digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, and suppressed thyroid function. Cortisol also puts pressure on the liver, causing it to convert testosterone into estrogen and slow down progesterone production.
Signs of low adrenal functions
Anxiety, spells of restlessness or crashes, dizziness, depression, extreme tiredness, insomnia, joint pain, loss of musculature, lowered blood pressure and blood sugar levels, poor circulation, and weight gain… making it more difficult to experience a comfortable menopause.
But left alone chronic stress can result into serious health issues during menopause such as increased chances of heart related issues, high blood pressure, depression and premature aging.
The thing is, just like a reflection of our personal lives, our poor adrenals, the underlining issue gets stretched too thin! It’s just too much to manage efficiently!
HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR ADRENALS
The good news is you and your body have the ability to change things. By reducing stress and healing your adrenal glands, with a few dietary and lifestyle adjustments, you can find the relief you long for and feel like yourself again.
1. Dietary Changes:
Follow an adrenal-nurturing diet strategies will help begin the process of restoring your adrenal functions to normal levels.
Eliminated the inflammatory foods:
Certain things, like caffeine, sugars and sweeteners, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils are especially taxing for the adrenals. By avoiding them or cutting them out of your diet, you’ll be moving towards healthier adrenals!
Another thing that often goes overlooked is the importance of staying hydrated! We need to be drinking more water throughout the day especially during menopause with hot flashes, night sweats and higher body temperatures. One of the best habits you can adopt is starting each day by waking up and drinking at least 20 ounces of freshwater! Plus, it’s a great way to keep you regular and a good poop will kickstart your day.
Eat Healthy Fats:
Fats sometimes get a bad rap, but the truth is, there are healthy fats that are essential for our well-being! Mono and polyunsaturated fats are essential fats and can be found in foods like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and fatty fishes such as sardines.
Boost Nutrient Intake:
Of course, no dietary intake to support hormone health is complete without the presence of green superfoods. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed to the brim with nutrients for your adrenals hormones and hormonal systems. Options like baby lettuce are also good choices for dietary fiber and essential vitamins. Lastly, you’ll want to choose clean proteins that are rich in nutrients. This includes wild caught fish, oysters, organic turkey, and grass-fed beef.
Eat more frequently:
Aside from what we eat, HOW we eat is just as important! We’ve been raised on a system of eating 3 large meals a day, but in reality, this can be taxing on the adrenals. Since stress hormones are affected by blood sugar, it’s better to reduce meal sizes but increase frequency. Instead of eating 3 large meals a day, switch it to 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. Decreasing portion size while increasing the frequency of eating can help reduce cravings and minimize blood sugar crashes.
There are also adaptogen supplements that aid the body in avoiding and adapting to stress. Some of my favorite adaptogens are Ashwagandha, holy basil, Rhodiola Rosea, Schizandra berry and Ginseng.
2. Lifestyle Changes:
While dietary adjustments are a great start, lifestyle changes to reduce stress will complete the process of restoring your adrenals and hormonal balance. Here are some great tips to implement right away and neutralize your stress
When you’re feeling tired, take a break, go rest up! Stop feeling guilty for resting! This is the main means for the body to recharge. People’s energy levels are like batteries; they get depleted and need to be recharged if you want to keep things working as they should!
Invite Pleasure in:
Do something fun every day. Make sure to smile and laugh and enjoy life as much as possible and boost the feel-good hormones like serotonin. Your attitude to things can be a huge boost to your stress reduction
Make time for inner self-care:
Meditation, reading, journaling, praying have the power to calm the mind and relax the body, quietly releasing any built-up stress and balance your hormones.
Exercise is also another key factor.
You are more resistant to stressful situations when your body is fit. The type and quantity of exercise is also important; light to moderate exercise on a regular schedule is very beneficial! Activities such as swimming, yoga, tai chi, or even simply walking will keep your body moving healthily for your adrenals. They also come with the added benefit of increased energy, as they will increase your oxygen levels and blood circulation! You’ll want to avoid the extreme workout routines if your goal is to heal your adrenals, as the short-term exertion required for these activities can be very taxing on them.
For additional lifestyle strategies to reduce stress Download the Stress Relief Guide here
Get support: Navigating menopause or making changes can be overwhelming. Schedule a Free Consultation to see how my coaching can help or jump over to the online programs here and take the first step to reclaim your body, health and life.
Please Note: The information presented here is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any products or lifestyle changes have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should consult your health practitioner before changing your diet, taking supplements, or starting any exercise or health program.