Wednesday, July 27, 2005

More about cortisol (hypercortisol)

I opened up my reproductive endocrinology textbook this morning and found some info about cortisol. Evidently your body will produce excess cortisol in a variety of situations (addison's disease, cushing disease, anorexia/bulimia, tumors, etc.) but stress will increase it's production most certainly.

Low blood sugar will also cause an increase in cortisol production and it is related to blood sugar levels that you will have the night sweats, it has to do with some metabolic thing that happens overnight with the blood sugar.

Facts You Should Know About Night Sweats...

Here's another thing, excess cortisol will interfere with your thyroid hormones but your TSH and T4 will show up normal. It's the T3 and anti-T3(?) that will e low, and those aren't tested unless you have a full thyroid panel done, normally they only test for TSH and T4. Other signs of this pathology include low blood pressure -- how very interesting that I have that and it runs in my family. I'm also really sensitive to stress, one of my responses is to lose my appetite and thirst -- which only makes this cycle worse as it adds to the stress.

Thyroid and Anti-Thyroid Drugs

One test for adrenal function is a 24 hour test where you collect all your urine and they are able to see how your body is handling its sugar. My partner had this test a couple years ago and it showed he was hypoglycemic.

I did find mention of surgery increasing cortisol production in the body and it can be related to amenorrhea as well.

There was a liver component as well where one of these hormones (I also looked up prolactin but I don't think it was that one) in excess interferes with liver function. Potentially one might assume that this might result in one other possible cause for excess estrogen in the body -- oh yes, I've got that too -- and estrogen excess is linked to fibroids. (also too much cortisol will impair immune functioning, which might be why so many women seem to notice fibroids occuring after periods of extreme stress such as divorces and deaths in the family).

And I remembered one more thing, with this type of pattern of excess cortisol interfering with T3 and the blood sugar issues, they noted (in the case of anorexic/bulimic women) that fertility decreased during the Fall and Winter months. It had something to do with the affect of adding increased melatonin into the mix, melatonin production evidently increases as the amount of daylight decreases. How weird it all is.

In all that I've read though, the best ways to reduce your bodies cortisol production is by resting, taking regular exercise, cutting back on sugar and salt (craving these are one indicator of adrenal exhaustion), reducing stress, and eating small, regular meals. Parsley might be a help (of all things) as it is a adrenal tonic. Also rhodiola rosea which is an adaptogenic herb.

This page has more info about dietary things to do:

Adrenal Glands Revival

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