The science of adrenals - by our Health Scientist Kristen Beck
So you may have heard of Adrenal Glands
Your adrenals are little glands that sit just above your kidneys and try their absolute best to help you manage your stress levels (easier said than done) by producing hormones including cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenalin. Before and during perimenopause, looking after your adrenal system becomes even more important. That’s because, in addition to stress hormones, your adrenals also produce a form of oestrogen that, after menopause, becomes one of the only remaining sources of naturally produced oestrogen in your body.
When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands release cortisol and other stress hormones, which help the body respond to the stressor. Our bodies are actually designed to deal with stress, the problem is that these days, our stress levels have become chronic, leading to imbalances in the adrenal system, causing elevated cortisol levels, fatigue, and other symptoms that can make you feel even worse.
Your adrenals also play a role in regulating your immune system, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. Imbalances in these areas can cause a range of health issues, including fatigue, weight gain, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of infection.
During perimenopause, if your adrenal system is already overloaded (who’s isn’t?) this can make the perimenopausal hormonal roller coaster already occurring in your body so much worse. The adrenal glands work with the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone, and imbalances in either system can cause a range of symptoms. And if all of this isn’t bad enough, as your natural oestrogen levels decline during perimenopause, your adrenal glands may compensate by producing more androgens, leading to symptoms such as acne, hair loss, and unwanted hair growth.
But please don’t stress even more. There are loads of things we can do to support your amazing adrenals during perimenopause, including:
- getting a good night’s sleep
- getting outside
- eating well
These can all help maintain healthy cortisol levels and give your adrenal glands a well-earned rest.
So, there it is, your adrenal system plays a crucial, but often overlooked, role in your health and quality of life during perimenopause. Doing whatever you can to look after yourself, and your adrenals will make you happy, healthy and even more glorious than ever.
Love Kristen x