Last week we talked about a recent study where we learned that estrogen therapy after menopause helped women combat their stress levels. It didn’t matter whether the women started sooner or later after menopause, all women who took their estrogen had improved stress levels. Today let’s talk more about why this happens. There’s a helpful video at the end of this blog.
Let’s talk about what happens to your body when you encounter stress. When you enter a stressful situation your adrenal glands release adrenaline– and we all know what that feels like– it’s a surge of energy that raises your heart rate and blood pressure and helps you “fight or flight.” But this is only helpful if released at the right time– otherwise it feels like a panic attack coming out of nowhere! Why does this happen? One reason could be lowered estrogen levels. Estrogen is helpful because it regulates how much adrenaline your adrenal glands are supposed to release, preventing excessive amounts from hitting your system at all the wrong times. As mentioned in the video, if you lose your keys or your watch, that does not warrant an excessive release of adrenaline. But if you aren’t making enough estrogen in your body, your adrenal glands don’t know how much adrenaline to produce and things start going haywire. Then, your thyroid, which is the regulator, can’t keep up.
If we can balance your estrogen levels and raise them up to the appropriate level, we can stop the overproduction of adrenaline and can restore balance to your thyroid as well. You will start to notice that you begin to have appropriate reactions to stress– lots of adrenaline for big stresses, small amounts of adrenaline for little stresses, and you will feel much better in your day-to-day life.