- Women's Health
IBS And Hormone Imbalance
Controlling Hormone Imbalance
Well this is where the haystack tells the needle, "I Gotcha!" If you thought the #5 in this series was out of this world, wait till you hear about this. Now if any of you have been watching T.V., I know you've seen the commercial that goes something like this, "Cortisone! That nasty hormone that traps excess fat around the middle. Product XYZ will help to control cortisone. If you're over 30, overstressed, overweight and want to get rid of stubborn belly fat, you need product XYZ.
Well people, I just wish it were that simple. Because the fact of the matter is that our hormones are the core substance that determines whether we live or die by today or tomorrow, of course second only to our oxygen or blood being cut off. Hormones are the life of our being. And cortisol is not really a nasty hormone. Cortisol (often referred to as the "stress hormone) actually serves a very good purpose.
Cortisol becomes problematic however when it's found in the body at too high a level too frequently. So let's look for a moment at what causes elevated cortisol levels. Not eating protein 30 minutes from getting up or going more than 2 hours without ingesting protein for someone who's hypergloymic. Also skipping breakfast, pharmaceutical medications, recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco, eating foods that cause inflammation in our systems or foods that are not in agreement with our blood type. As well as being around things we have allergies to, and allergies are simply signposts to a weakened immune system. And of course, stress itself.
Nor is it stress we're consciously experiencing. It's also the stress in our subconscious minds which we're not even aware of. But 97% of ourselves exist below the surface of our conscious thoughts which we're never aware of. Yet these are with us all the time awake or asleep.
Let's see exactly what elevated cortisol does. The first thing is it thins our digestive tract lining as well as the linings of all the blood vessels in our body. It even thins the lining of the blood brain barrier. Elevated cortisol creates insulin resistance. When insulin (A hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood) resistance occurs, the adrenals (are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response) become stressed and start producing high levels of more cortisol so that the liver will convert amino acids (the basic structural building units of proteins). And fats into glucose to help raise the blood sugar back up again.
Even though we've eaten, with our cortisol elevated, we have what is called insulin resistance. Thus, insulin is not being utilized by the body because when we have cortisol in our systems that tell the body there's an emergency and in this situation, we can put the digestion aside for awhile. Unfortunately, many of us are living a lifestyle where our levels of cortisone are chronically elevated so the body thinks there's always an emergency. And this is just an old part of the animal brain part of us from days where we had to have elevated cortisol to help us running like the wind when we were being chased by the saber toothed tiger.
Studies now show that the amount of stress we experience in one day is the amount of stress a person went through in an entire year back in the early 1900s. As you can see our bodies are not made to handle the lifestyles we now live in our modern day society, especially here in this country. So other things that elevated levels of cortisol create are decreases in the liver's ability to complete the breakdown and excretions of toxins and impurities in our bloodstreams.
Elevated cortisol also causes lower T3 levels. And those of you who had blood tests for your thyroid know that T3 is a thyroid marker. Elevated cortisol levels, because of the thinning of the digestive tract and the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in our gut, and this is also including infections we talked about in Pt #5 about infections.
We also see an increased functioning or our lymphatic system surrounding our intestinal tract on the wall lining. In other words our lymphatic system is trying to take in as much of this impurity that it can to keep it from getting into the blood stream. This also leads to adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal exhaustion also leads to lower DHEA level. And to those who don't know what DHEA is, it's kind of a life giving hormone. When our DHEA levels fall out, we don't feel like living and thus have decreased immunity.
Not to mention depression and depression causes more adrenal exhaustion, this again causes a lowering of DHEA. Adrenal exhaustion in turn leads to low progesterone (another mood altering hormone) levels. These when low also lead to depression. Reactive hypoglycemia was directly related to our blood sugar stabilization. Elevated cortisol also causes reactive hypoglycemia which means we eat a bunch of sugar and then our blood sugar goes way down because our pancreas shoots out all this insulin trying to deal with all the sugar we just ate.
And then that insulin makes sure all that sugar gets taken up somewhere and then our blood sugar falls down to nothing and in a long cycle we're craving sweets again. So, we're having another coke or a bag of Doritos, which will also cause a decreased metabolic rate. And I haven't even touched the surface of this phenomenal miracle of a body we live in. So the secret is getting these hormones balanced and under control and look at all the things that caused this hormonal imbalance.
I've already mentioned a lot of the conditions that caused this elevated cortisol and hormone turmoil in our bodies in Pt #5. Let's just summarize what we discussed briefly. Eating 30 minutes from waking up, taking protein snacks every 2 hours, not skipping meals, avoiding chemicals and synthetic things, especially in the form of pesticides and herbicides, the different chemicals in the skin care products and body care as well as beauty products we use. Also to disengage from unhealthy habits.
And many of those I've counseled in the past to give up wine that once every meal, or once a week, or even more frequently, experienced excess fat being released by their bodies with much greater ease. This issue of IBS can also be confused with what's going on with the overgrowth of Candida (bad bacteria) in the gut. I've seen some people with swollen bellies that we've seen pictures of some of those starving children in Africa; except those in this country aren't starving.
Their swollen bellies are a by-product of fermentation which is the waste materials caused by the overgrowth of Candida in our digestive systems. What is fermentation? Well, it is composed of two things; alcohol and gas. And so when we have fermentation going on in the gut, and an overgrowth of Candida, this fermentation also comes from improper food combining especially, mixing fruits with proteins, or mixing protein with the nut butters and all of that with bread.
As soon as we see the ceasing of these poor combinations and we start taking probiotics to help populate our gut with healthy flora (good bacteria) we will immediately see the decrease of our swollen bellies. So what we actually see as fat around our middles can actually be 40%-60% bloating from the fermentation caused by Candida overgrowth in our digestive tracts.
The hormones are very deeply located in our systems. What that means is in order to get our hormones in balance; we must first make sure our digestive system itself is functioning correctly. We have to eliminate any infection that's going on in the body before we can have any resolution of our hormones. And we know all these toxins, chemicals and impurities in our environment are also creating infection in our systems as there are also natural chemicals which our immune system is trying to deal with.
So, if we've been eating these chemical laden foods, day after day after day, our immune system is constantly in this fight mode to try to protect itself from all of this. Therefore one of the easiest ways to deal with these hormones is to apply all the previous techniques discussed in the previous 5 parts of this series. Because this is really the blueprint to follow in helping us getting our entire negative issues under control like the IBS symptoms that inhibit our quality of life.
We live in a fast paced, high pressure society where life is not easy. People are working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet. Plus we're taking care of children, some of us are riding trains back and forth to work; there just never seems to be enough time to live. Look, I fully empathize with everyone undergoing these heavy burdens on a daily basis. But we still get hungry. It's not a matter of if we're going to get hungry; it's a matter of when. Doesn't it make more sense to have a healthy snack in your briefcase or purse rather than anxiously waiting to hit that first vending machine which is just adding more junk food into our bodies which in turn elevate our cortisone levels and we're back in the cycle.
Don't be fooled into thinking you can't do anything about cortisol, but don't at the same time be fooled that it's just an easy fix with just a "magic pill" pushed at us in every ad shoved at us at every turn. We also talked about the influence of stress in our lives. We can't control every little thing that comes along we don't like. But we can control how we react to them. At the same time there are big situations that do require action to resolve them. Then there's the subconscious mind. Well how do we know what that is? We can't see it, feel it, taste it, touch it or even smell it. So how can we know it even exists? Well, this will be our next focus of attention in the last part of this series. Stay tuned for session 7.