Adrenal Fatigue, Menopause, and Allergies
If you are menopausal or post-menopausal, you need to read this. Have you ever wondered why women become so tired after menopause? Or why 80 percent of autoimmune conditions attack post-menopausal women? Or why your body seems cold, and you can't produce enough energy, or you're developing allergies? There's a reason, and it's not just age.
As a woman, all your adult life your body has made progesterone. It helps control your menstrual cycle and pregnancy. But did you know that some progesterone goes to your adrenal glands and is converted to cortisol?
The two adrenal glands are tiny but amazing glands that sit atop your kidneys. They produce the master hormone pregnenolone, which converts to progesterone, then converts to cortisol, DHEA, and mineralocorticoids. Pregnenolone is also made in the brain, and improves cognition and memory.
Cortisol regulates glucose metabolism by converting them into fats and amino acids. It stimulates anti-inflammatory proteins. Cortisol also converts to aldosterone to maintain blood pressure. DHEA is the most abundant hormone in the body, and is a precursor to sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen). DHEA is also made in the brain and affects mood. Mineralocorticoids act on salt and water balance.
Suddenly at menopause, progesterone disappears. But it affects more than your reproductive organs. It affects your adrenal glands, which in turn affect your metabolism. Meanwhile, your adrenal hormones have declined with age. At this point, around age 50, many women crash. They suffer severe fatigue, low body temperature, cold hands and feet, insomnia, low blood sugar, and low blood pressure. Women also experience changes in their immune system, because there are inadequate amounts of cortisol to mount a proper anti-inflammatory response. Many women also develop allergy symptoms, and later inflammatory diseases or autoimmune conditions.
Why doesn't this happen to men? Research shows that men have adrenal glands that are two to four times larger than women's. But they can suffer adrenal fatigue at a later age.
If you have any of these symptoms, get lab testing for adrenal hormones pregnenolone, cortisol, and DHEA, also thyroid hormones (TSH, T4, T3). Both glands influence fat cell metabolism, cholesterol levels, and mitochondrial energy production.
How can you balance your body? Nutritional supplements are available to help support adrenal and thyroid hormones. Your doctor can prescribe bio-identical micronized progesterone, which lacks the negative side affects and risks of synthetic progestins. Natural progesterone is also available OTC as a cream.