The adrenal glands are small endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They produce the hormones DHEA (the Mother Hormone) and testosterone, the steroids cortisol and cortisone, and other chemicals such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine.
The adrenal glands are your body’s first line of defense against the stresses of daily living – they give orders to the reproductive organs, play a role in metabolism and regulate the fight-or-flight response. Our ancestors used this “fight or flight” response to escape from bears or whatever was chasing them at the time. Their bodies literally perceived that stress response as life threatening!
Thousands of years later, our bodies still respond the same way. The reason for this is that our adrenals are living in the past, literally! They have not adapted to the stresses of today. In the past there would be acute moments of stress followed by periods of rest but today we are in a constant state of chronic low-grade stress. Our adrenals aren’t meant to be working that hard all the time and they become over-worked and eventually burn out. This condition is known as Adrenal Fatigue.
Let’s take a closer look. There are two types of stress – external stress and internal stress. External sources of stress could be a demanding job or living in a polluted city. Internal sources of stress include poor eating habits and negative perceptions of your life. Every time you consume something that doesn’t work for your metabolism – sugar, caffeine, refined flour – or you are dealing with a lot of external stress, your adrenals over-produce the stress hormone cortisol and its levels begin to rise in your body.
If this were to happen once a month it would be okay, but for most of us it happens at least once a day. When cortisol is too high it inhibits the production of DHEA, the “mother hormone” from which many of the hormones that support your menstrual cycle, your energy levels and your libido are derived. What then happens is the adrenals ask the other glands and organs in the endocrine system for help because they are so over-worked. If the adrenals constantly rely on these other glands and organs to compensate over a long period of time, the entire endocrine system becomes deficient and stops functioning properly and all of a sudden you are experiencing a host of hormonal problems – PMS, PCOS, irregular and painful periods, fibroids and endometriosis, to name a few!
So as you can easily see, an imbalance between cortisol and DHEA can create quite a mess! This is why each meal you eat is an important step to begin healing your hormones. If you have any of the conditions above and you want to finally cure your hormonal imbalance then grab one of the last spots in our Fix Your Period Program – 8 Weeks to Better Periods in 2012. Isn’t it time you made peace with your period?