I’m “tired but wired” and my friends say to get my adrenals and cortisol checked. My doctor says tests aren’t accurate. What is cortisol and what’s the truth? And, what is Adrenal Gland Cortisol Abnormality?
1. What is cortisol?
Cortisol is the hormone that controls digestion, energy, hunger cravings, sleep/wake patterns and the ability to cope with stress. It is made from the adrenal glands that sits atop the kidneys and managed by the brain triggering the adrenal gland to respond. Consider it your “flight or flight” hormone and it is released from our body under stress which can be everything from emotional stress of a death in the family or job change to physical stress of environmental toxins or an illness. which at times can be very helpful for survival but when released in an abnormal pattern can cause symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, abnormal weight control.
2. Why is cortisol a problem?
In the 24/7 world we live in, most of us are stressed all the time so cortisol is chronically overproduced. Especially in the face of perimenopause or menopause, this creates many metabolic abnormalities including unstable blood sugar, energy changes and depleting the neurotransmitters that control mood. ANYTHING that the body perceives as stress can make cortisol increase.
3. How is cortisol tested?
There is accurate testing for cortisol and it’s typically through a specialized functional medicine salivary or urine test which examines a trend throughout the day/night. There is a typical pattern for the cortisol which should reflect a normal bio-rhythm of lowest in the evening as bedtime approaches and highest in the morning to awaken for the day. The results of an adrenal cortisol test will show you what your individual pattern is.
4. Can abnormal cortisol be treated?
It is possible to restore the natural cortisol pattern with various diet and lifestyle modifications as well as nutritional supplements. Find a doctor with an integrative, functional medicine approach to help. It can take 6-12 months to repair an abnormal cortisol but adopting a meditation practice, restorative yoga and stress management techniques can begin to keep your cortisol levels more normal.
If you are wondering if you have Adrenal Gland Cortisol Abnormality or have other questions about your hormone health, schedule a consultation at the Kaufman Health and Hormone Center and learn what you can do to improve your wellbeing.