Have you had your cortisol levels checked? It may be time to do so. Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands located on your kidneys. The levels of cortisol within your body fluctuate normally throughout the day and night and persistent imbalances can cause the development of a number of different symptoms. Let’s look at the range of some low or high cortisol health scenarios:
Persistently high or low cortisol levels within your body can cause you to experience changes in your body weight. High levels of cortisol can stimulate your appetite and lead to obesity. Excess weight in this situation appears to be carried on the upper body and a round face or excess fat tissue around the neck may develop.
High cortisol levels may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) or high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Low levels of cortisol can have the opposite effect, and cause decreased appetite or significant weight loss. Loss of appetite can lead some people to become dehydrated or develop low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) due to poor fluid intake. Symptoms associated with these conditions include increased thirst, headache or dizziness.
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High cortisol levels within the blood can also contribute to skin issues like thinning or easily bruising skin, stretch marks that are pink or purple in color on the arms, buttocks, legs, stomach or breasts. On the flip side, abnormally low levels of cortisol may cause patches of increased pigmentation (hyperpigmentation) on your knees or elbows.
Cortisol is even involved in the regulation of your sleeping and waking cycle. Imbalanced cortisol levels can cause symptoms of excessive tiredness or fatigue to occur that can be long-lasting (chronic), and may cause sore or weak muscles.
Men with high cortisol levels can experience impotence, a medical condition characterized by the inability to have or maintain an erection. These symptoms of cortisol imbalance may also be accompanied by decreased sexual desire (libido). Cortisol imbalances in women can lead to the development of an irregular menstrual cycle, which can make it difficult for women to become pregnant (infertility).
Studies have revealed that eating balanced meals and participating in physical activity 3-5 times a week can help maintain cortisol hormone balance. But in today’s go-go-go world, chronic stress, can over time, cause the adrenal glands to become overworked which in turn effects cortisol levels. And there may be times when this process cannot be arrested with diet and lifestyle changes alone. This is when a hormonal imbalance needs to be fully evaluated and corrected with the help of your doctor and the use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) in conjunction with a customized nutrition and fitness program that meets your unique needs.
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At The Healthy Choice Compounding Pharmacy, we specialize in not only bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but also supplements and protocols that can help you achieve balance. Stop by or call us for more information.