How Stress Affects Women's Health

Stress has many affects on the body, and starts a chain reaction of hormones released. When the body is in danger or under stress the pituitary gland discharges a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). When (ACTH) is released from the pituitary gland, a little gland on top of the kidneys, called the adrenals, releases a hormone called cortisol and epinephrine in the bloodstream. Cortisol in the right amount is healthy, but in excess can cause inflammation, belly fat, increase blood glucose levels, and menstrual irregularities.

Many functional medicine doctors are finding a connection with stress hormones and polycystic ovarian symptom. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function and appearance. 1 in 20 women in childbearing age are diagnosed with (PCOS) in America. It’s well known that stress can cause the disruption or total loss of menstrual function in women, and menstrual dysfunction, along with the physical symptoms of hormone imbalance.

Here are five ways to curb your stress level today:

1.  Acupuncture is effective in treating the many facets of woman’s health and getting to the root cause of health concerns. Acupuncture takes down inflammation in the body and stress levels naturally and effectively.

2.  Meditation is a great way to relax your mind and help ease stress and tension. On every Wednesday night of the month, Dr. Dana Siekman-Price DOM, L.Ac., the owner of ilumina, offers a meditation class. 

3.  Sleep is important 6-8 hours of sleep is the recommended hours to maintain good health.

4.  Take a deep, mindful breath throughout the day. Taking a nice big belly breath in the midst of your day can increase oxygen, and take down your stress levels.

5.  Exercise: Daily cardio & a brisk walk can help blood flow, and help decrease glucose levels in the body.

By: Charlene Hagner M.Ac., Dipl. O.M., L.Ac.