Stress is an unseen element in women linked to the aetiology of many diseases, especially Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in females. PCOS Cortisol/Stress/PCOS is the most common endocrinological illness affecting the female reproductive system, and it causes metabolic dysfunction and changes in body composition. PCOS has links to stress mediators such as pancreatic amylase and cortisol.
What is Cortisol?
Consider cortisol to be the body’s built-in alert mechanism. It’s the primary stress hormone in your body. It regulates your mood, enthusiasm, and fear by interacting with some areas of your brain. One’s adrenal glands secrete cortisol, which are three side-shaped constructions at the peak of your kidneys. Adrenaline speeds heart pumping, raising your blood pressure and enhancing energy levels. The principal stress hormone cortisol increases blood sugar levels (glucose), improves glucose utilisation in the brain, and supports many chemicals that repair cells.
Cortisol is involved in a variety of processes in your body. For instance, it:
- Manages how the body recycles carbs, sterols, and proteins
- Maintains inflammation at bay and keeps your blood pressure in check
- Improves blood sugar levels (glucose)
- your sleep/wake cycle
- Stimulates the nervous system so you can withstand stress and then restores equilibrium
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Cortisol and PCOS
PCOS is a prevalent clinical issue that affects young women. Significant characteristics of PCOS are oligomenorrhea (inconsistent menstrual flow) and hyperandrogenism (High level of androgen causing acne, facial hair growth, etc.) Central obesity and Type-2 diabetes characterise PCOS, the two key risk factors for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and arterial heart disease. According to previous research, cortisol mainly affects PCOS due to growing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis performance and good cortisol production.
In PCOS, increased adrenal gland hormone (ACTH) secretion might contribute to increased adrenal insulin production. On the other hand, previous research methods have been contradictory, and a relationship between heightened HPA axis functioning and phenotypic abnormalities in PCOS is not clear yet. The enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid aminotransferase type 1 (HSD 1) produces cortisol in peripheral fat deposits from corticosteroids. To know more, click here.
How do Cortisol cause stress and PCOS in women?
A doctor diagnoses women for PCOS when they meet at least two of the three Rotterdam criteria, which include:
- Anovulation or missed menstrual rhythms,
- Elevated androgen enzymes,
- Ultrasound-confirmed polycystic ovarian.
PCOS has several metabolic effects, including insulin resistance, obesity, and a heightened cause of type 2 diabetes, in addition to damaging fertility. Furthermore, women experiencing PCOS seem to be at a higher risk for developing depression, with five times the chance of intermediate to severe feelings of stress and nearly three times the risk of depressive symptoms.
Approximately 60% of PCOS women would have psychological conditions at some point in their lives. PCOS patients seem to have been considerably more likely than non-PCOS women to be diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, or borderline personality disorder, according to a large-scale comprehensive study and discourse of over 1.3 million post-menopausal women.
How does Cortisol affect your health?
Your hypothalamus, a tiny area at the base of your brain, activates an alarm mechanism in your body when you confront a perceived threat, such as a vast barking dog at you on your morning stroll. In women, adrenal glands, placed atop your kidneys, are prompted to release a rush of chemicals, including adrenaline and cortisol, by a mix of nerve and hormonal impulses.
During a fight-or-flight condition, cortisol also suppresses unnecessary or disadvantageous developments. The activation of these stress response systems regularly and over time, as well as the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones, can affect practically all of your body’s systems, putting women at risk for a variety of health issues, including:
- Digestive issues
- Tension and discomfort in the muscles
- Cardiovascular diseases, myocardial infarction, high blood pressure, and stroke are all conditions that can lead to death.
- Problems with sleep
- Gaining weight
- Impairment of memory and focus
That’s why it’s critical to acquire suitable coping mechanisms for dealing with life’s stresses.
How does it reduce Cortisol levels naturally!
How to Reduce Cortisol levels naturally is something one can find here. Here’s a quick brief mentioning all that one can do before consulting a professional:
- Exercise: Exercise is good for your health. It’s no surprise, therefore, that it can aid with stress reduction by lowering cortisol levels. Exercise, for example, has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in the elderly and persons with severe depressive illness.
- Sleep: One can’t stress enough the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is essential for good health in various ways, including stress management and cortisol regulation.
- Nature: Spending a lot of time in nature is an excellent approach to reduce cortisol and relax your mind. Forest bathing, or just spending time in the wilderness and breathing in the fresh air, has been shown to lessen cortisol levels and stress.
- Mind-body exercises: Pranayama, yoga, qigong, mindfulness training, and breathing exercises are practical stress relievers, and many doubters have converted. For example, Vipassana meditation stress reduction therapy reduces studies’ cortisol levels and stress symptoms. Yoga can also help to lower elevated cortisol levels, as well as breathing and heart rate.
Cortisol, sometimes referred to as the “stress hormone,” is a hormone that helps your body cope with unpleasant or harmful experiences. Stressful circumstances cause the release of Cortisol. It instructs your body to pump blood more quickly and release glucose as fuel. High quantities of cortisol over an extended period, on the other hand, can do more harm than good.
However, part of cortisol’s role is to help you awaken, so it’s not all terrible. When you first get up, your cortisol levels are generally high, and they progressively decrease during the day until it’s time to sleep. It also aids in the regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure. Because once the body is under persistent stress, issues arise.
Cortisol is one of the numerous hormones produced spontaneously by the body. When you’re anxious, your cortisol levels rise. It, on the other hand, does not merit its negative rep.
Cortisol promotes general wellness. It aids in waking, provides energy throughout the day, and reduces at night to help in sleep and rest.
The issue emerges when persistent stress causes cortisol levels to remain high for an extended period. Cortisol levels that remain high for months or years can cause inflammation and a variety of pain, depression, anxiety, water retention, and heart disease.
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