The rhythm of modern life almost leaves women no chance of health: constant stress, chronic overwork, high demands from society. Women are forced to combine several social roles at once: to be a mother, employee, wife, daughter. High demands on herself and the desire to meet the criteria of society sooner or later bring the fair sex to a state of chronic stress, resulting in increased levels of the hormone cortisol. This is a substance that the human body releases when it is "on the edge." Symptoms of increased cortisol in women are described in the article.
What is chronic stress and what causes it
The reasons why chronic stress develops (and, accordingly, symptoms of increased cortisol in women appear):
- Forced stay in psychologically uncomfortable conditions - staying at an unloved job, uncertainty about tomorrow, financial problems. Similar situations are present to one degree or another in the life of every woman, however, if the source of stress does not resolve over time, depression and anxiety begin, and certain psychiatric diagnoses can be diagnosed.
- Regular abuse of alcohol. Many women try to "relax" in this way, but this habit not only does not alleviate the psychological state, but plunges a person into real depression, since ethyl alcohol is a powerful sedative that disables not only the liver and pancreas, but also upsets the balance of hormones shakes the psyche and contributes to the death of hundreds of thousands of neurons.
- Chronic diseases of the adrenal gland and thyroid gland lead to an imbalance of hormones. As a result, even with external well-being, a woman can suffer from symptoms of depression, suffer from her allegedly unfulfilled experience as a specialist, spouse, mother, daughter. In such patients, the state and level of hormones levels off after they drink a course of necessary drugs.
- Deficiency of vitamins and minerals - in particular, pyridoxine, thiamine, magnesium, iodine, iron. Chronic stress develops, as a result of which symptoms of increased cortisol in a woman appear. In this case, it is enough to regularly take a high-quality vitamin-mineral complex, eat right and give up bad habits. The condition of the body is stabilizing, as a result, the symptoms of the increased hormone cortisol in women disappear by themselves. Deficiency of vitamins and minerals is perhaps the mildest option of all the reasons why chronic stress develops.
- Diseases of the internal organs, as well as pathologies of an autoimmune nature, also often cause chronic stress and increased blood cortisol in women. Symptoms may vary; an experienced doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. With AIDS, diabetes mellitus, polycystic ovary hormone levels can also increase.
Functions in the body of the hormone cortisol: how to understand that a malfunction has occurred?
What role does cortisol play in the human body? It is often called the "stress hormone", and this is quite true, because the hormone is produced in response to chronic stress. However, not everything is so simple: often, even in relatively calm and stable living conditions, a woman may have a high level of cortisol. Symptoms of an increased level of cortisol in a woman quite often develop as a result of chronic diseases, therefore, in order to prevent such deviations, a blood chemistry test should be regularly taken, as well as an ultrasound of the internal organs, fluorography and, if pathology is suspected, an MRI and other studies.
The production of cortisol under stressful conditions is necessary in order to achieve the full functioning of the brain and all its departments in conditions that threaten life and health. The human body quickly and easily scoops all the nutrients from muscle tissue (glucose, proteins, amino acids). In this regard, the constantly high level of cortisol in a woman’s blood almost always leads to an increase in the percentage of adipose tissue and even to obesity.
Loss of vital energy, chronic stress leads to severe hunger of a "nervous" nature. In principle, it is typical for women to “seize up” stress, and when cortisol jumps, it is ready to “skill the bull” in the literal sense of the word. So cortisol is very insidious in terms of weight gain: it indirectly contributes to eating more food, stretching the stomach, and eventually, to obesity. This is a kind of "salvation" from the impending threat to life that the body expects with increased cortisol. Treatment in women of this condition consists primarily in giving up bad habits, in stabilizing their psychoemotional background. And only then, if the previous steps did not have the desired effect, you should resort to the help of pharmaceuticals.
Symptoms of High Cortisol in Women
They can be very individual and appear in each case somewhat differently. However, it is still possible to identify common symptoms of increased cortisol in women:
- a sharp set of adipose tissue can be observed even if a woman regularly devotes time to sports and tries to adhere to a diet (weight gain is even faster if the woman does not monitor her nutrition);
- exceeding the norm of the heart rate at rest, since the hormone causes a narrowing of the blood arteries;
- constant strong appetite;
- a woman often catches a cold: viral and infectious diseases are “attracted” to her, like a magnet;
- the general psycho-emotional state leaves much to be desired: the girl is irritable, tearful, always out of sorts, unmotivated aggression may appear;
- malfunctions of the menstrual cycle;
- premenstrual syndrome is severe;
- disturbances in the work of the digestive tract - pain in the epigastrium, nausea after eating, bloating, pulling discomfort in the left or right hypochondrium;
- migraine with or without aura, dizziness;
- increased sweating (hyperhidrosis) is observed in about 38% of women who have been found to exceed normal levels of cortisol in the blood;
- problems with sleep phases: early awakening or inability to fall asleep on time, frequent night awakenings;
- about 30% of women who were found to have exceeded normal levels of cortisol suffered from type 2 diabetes mellitus;
- wide striae (stretch marks) appear on the abdominal wall - this is a kind of dermatological marker that the woman’s cortisol level is elevated;
- bone tissue becomes fragile - fractures are frequent.
What to look for in health first of all
Stress hormone (cortisol) is produced in the body of both women and men in response to stressful conditions. When a person is experiencing, experiencing anxiety - the level of the hormone increases slightly. When a person experiences severe apathy, does not see the point in his existence - the level of the hormone is even higher. If a person falls into a state of depression, then we can say that the level of the hormone is stably high. If a person experiences intense fear and horror, then not only cortisol is produced, but also adrenaline, norepinephrine. The human hormonal system is so complex that in some cases it is quite difficult to determine what level of the hormone goes off scale in a specific period of time. However, based on the mental and emotional state, a fairly accurate forecast can be made regarding such indicators.
The causes and treatment of increased cortisol in women are always closely interconnected with the psychoemotional state. First of all, you should pay attention not to weight, not to diet, not to run to the pharmacy for hormonal drugs, but to normalize your state of mind, get rid of fears and anxiety, and establish a dream.
Causes and symptoms: cortisol is elevated in women
The reasons for the increase in the hormone are in conjunction with the following symptoms:
- if the hormone has increased due to physical diseases (diabetes mellitus, pituitary adenoma, problems with the adrenal glands), then the patient will sooner or later suffer from the accompanying symptoms that are characteristic of these pathologies - then the whole clinical picture will be revealed during the examination;
- if the hormone is increased as a result of psychosomatic conditions, mental abnormalities may develop over time, as a result of which the woman will again be admitted to the doctor with certain symptoms;
- the causes of increased cortisol in a woman may be in the dysfunction of the organs of the reproductive system - in this case, as a rule, the patient suffers from pains in the lower abdomen, menstruation disappears, libido goes away, she cannot conceive a fetus.
Which doctor should I contact if I suspect an elevated level
You can contact the clinic for advice from a gynecologist or endocrinologist if you suspect a problem with the level of hormones and require treatment. Medications and drugs for increased cortisol in women can be prescribed only after receiving tests. The doctor should carefully read the results. Then it will become clear: the woman has increased cortisol. Both symptoms and causes can be both indirect and direct.
Accept that for any human individual, regardless of age, gender, race and weight, the level of cortisol in a normal relaxed state does not exceed 10 mg. Cortisol levels are unstable throughout the day. Starting from 80 mg, it is believed that you should take measures to lower the level of the hormone. And if the data exceeds 180 mg, then we are talking about a very high rate. This indicates the presence of extreme stress, close to a shock state, or a very serious physical overwork, even exhaustion of all forces.
The effects of increased cortisol on the body
The main negative consequences for a woman jump up cortisol:
- The percentage of muscle mass is reduced, the percentage of fat mass is growing. As a result, the shape of the body takes on an unpleasant appearance: a woman looks heavy, not athletic, unhealthy.
- The stomach grows: the so-called abdominal type of obesity develops. The figure takes on the shape of an apple.
- Type 2 diabetes develops over time. It is worth considering that quite often it also causes increased cortisol in women after 40 years. Symptoms are characteristic: constant thirst, weight gain, weakness, dizziness, dryness and itching of the skin, etc.
- The level of all other hormones is disturbed, as a result of which the reproductive system suffers.
- Immunity decreases: a woman often catches a cold and suffers from various infectious diseases.
- The risk of developing pathologies of the cardiovascular system increases.
- The risk of developing osteoporosis is increasing.
How to achieve a stable hormone level in the body
Simple rules should be followed so that the hormone remains within the reference framework:
- avoid stress;
- do not smoke and give up drinking alcohol;
- during the day to monitor nutrition: maintain a balance of BZHU, refuse to use simple carbohydrates;
- regularly expose your body to moderate physical activity in order to stimulate the growth of muscle tissue;
- at the first suspicion of hormone imbalance or health problems, see a doctor or take tests yourself in a paid laboratory.
Pharmacological therapy to stabilize hormone levels
Hormonal disorders cannot be left without treatment. The following are commonly used medications for increased cortisol in women:
- "Metirapon" is a corticosteroid blocker, and should only be prescribed by a doctor.
- A number of anabolic steroids that increase testosterone levels, thereby inhibiting the production of cortisol. These are very serious drugs, self-administration of which is unacceptable.
- "Aminoglutetimide" is a drug that can affect the adrenal cortex, a corticosteroid blocker. Reception should be carried out only with medical supervision. "Aminoglutetimide" is a strictly prescription drug, but at the same time one of the most effective.
- There are also a number of herbal-based vegetarian products, the most popular being Relora.
Exercise and cortisol levels
The importance of physical activity in a woman’s life, regardless of her age, should not be underestimated. Strength exercises are a kind of treatment at home for women with increased cortisol. The reasons why girls do not want to engage in physical education are usually laziness and lack of time.
Exercising regularly helps increase testosterone levels. Do not be afraid of this: in connection with the peculiarities of the hormonal background, the girl will never "pump", on the contrary, her body will become slim, strong and flexible. And as a “bonus," cortisol will return to normal. Of course, if the patient suffers from serious autoimmune and endocrine diseases, then physical education alone will not be enough to restore the hormone to reference values.
If no serious pathologies were found during the examination, and the level of cortisol is still going off scale, you should definitely seek help from sports. It is not necessary to buy a subscription to an expensive gym - you can buy dumbbells and exercise at home. The main thing is to train regularly, to load all muscle groups. Efforts will not be in vain: very soon, a woman will notice the normalization of sleep and a psychoemotional background, she will become more energetic, her working capacity will increase, her immunity will become much more active (they will stop pestering the viral diseases that a woman is so susceptible to at a high level of cortisol).