Tag Archive for: Hormone Health

I’ve been focusing on rest lately. We live in a world that glorifies the “hustle and bustle.” If we aren’t being productive, then what are we doing? We are constantly demanding more, more, MORE and yet, we never seem to achieve that.

Adrenal Fatigue

In my practice, I see a lot of people – women, especially – who are under this pressure to do more, achieve more, BE more. And they come to me because they don’t feel well. When we run labs, we often see the result of this lifestyle. 

Here is an example of what that could look like. This is a DUTCH test. We are looking at cortisol, our “fight or flight” hormone. It rises in the morning, helps us get out of bed and slowly lowers throughout the day. When the brain senses stress – in the form of emotional, physical etc.– it signals the adrenals to release cortisol so we have the energy, drive and clarity to react. Over time, if the stressor remains, we end up with chronically elevated cortisol. Some people feel “wired and tired.” Eventually, the brain says “we can’t sustain this, shut it down” and tells the adrenals to slow production. This leads to the colloquial “adrenal fatigue” picture many of us have heard about. 

And although “adrenal fatigue” isn’t a recognized term in the medical community, it does describe what is happening. That’s what we are seeing below. The blue line should be closer to mid-range in the gray. What we see in the graph is very low cortisol. It’s confirmed by the dials.

And this person feels it. They feel overwhelmed in situations they typically do not. They’re tired and feel like they can’t get out of their own way. They feel like they are lazy and they must be the problem.

The data shows otherwise! Which is the beauty of data – it can support and confirm why you may be feeling so off.

When it comes to adrenals and the HPA axis, testing is really important because symptoms overlap but the way we support either high or low cortisol will vary. 

Signs of Imbalanced Cortisol

  • Fatigue, “tired & wired”
  • Weight gain 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Hair loss 
  • Stressed, overwhelmed, unable to relax
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Anxious and irritable 
  • Feeling tired in the morning, even after a full night of sleep
  • Need caffeine, coffee or sweets to get through the day
  • Chronic headaches or light headaches/sensitivity
  • Blood sugar dysregulation that can’t be managed through diet 
  • No energy or motivation to exercise 
  • No sex drive 

DUTCH Testing

So, what’s a DUTCH test? DUTCH stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones. DUTCH testing helps understand your hormones – including reproductive hormones and adrenals. This comprehensive test provides valuable information about your body in order to maximize feeling well and living your best life. The test is completed in the convenience of your home via urine, and sometimes saliva.

When it comes to adrenals and the HPA axis, testing is really important because symptoms overlap but the way we support either high or low cortisol will vary.

So, back to rest

Both high and low cortisol require a degree of rest. And even if cortisol is healthy and normal, resting is important. When we are always leading with our sympathetic nervous system, that is our “fight or flight” system, we don’t tend to spend time in our parasympathetic nervous system, our “rest and digest” system. The ability to alternate between these two super important systems is what helps us build resilience and keep our bodies healthy.

Let this be a reminder to practice rest and to slow down.