The headlines are everywhere this month: Stress is the major factor in women’s health because it disrupts our hormones. Here are examples and excerpts:
Work and Family Stress Might Hurt Women More - from Fox News. ”New evidence may explain why work stress, family stress or other emotional stressors may harm women more than men. And it doesn’t have to do with mental toughness — rather, it’s biology.”
Stressful Jobs Put Strain on Women’s Hearts, Study Says - from ABC News. ”High levels of stress hormones can lead to heart risk factors such as higher blood pressure, a build-up of plaque inside the arteries and increased insulin resistance.”
Job Stress Could Raise Women’s Heart Attack Risk By 70 Percent - The Huffington Post . “It might be that women have more stressors, because they tend to try and balance high-demand, high-control jobs with their family life more than men do.”
Obviously, the life as a modern woman is very busy. And you get that being very busy screws with your stress hormones. But do you really get specifically how stress hormones affect your overall hormonal health, and how hormonal health will either result in your longterm wellness or a disease?
Little symptoms are warning signs
My friend and mentor, the goddess Dr. Claudia Welch is an expert on women’s health, hormones and stress. She recently published, Balance your Hormones, Balance Your Life. In the book, Dr. Welch points immediately to the myriad of early warning signs our bodies give us. These are the warning signs before the heart attack, before the cancer diagnosis, before the diabetes diagnosis, even before the menopausal torrential sweats. First, what are your “little symptoms” your hormones are whacked?
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
- Chronic Stress, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, mood swings or depression
- Weight gain around your middle
- Digestive complaints like diarrhea or constipation, even when you eat a perfect diet
- Headaches or acne associated with your period
- Hot flashes, night sweats or vaginal dryness
According to Dr. Welch, these are likely indicators of the early symptoms of hormonal imbalance. In general, the hormonal imbalance is the stress hormone imbalance, or a yang imbalance, according to Chinese Medicine, or pitta imbalance according to Ayurveda.
This is how I see it:
The acidic toxic heat of stress (the endless churning of sadhaka pitta) burns out our energy and vital fluid reserves (ojas). When this happens, the fabric of our body is dehydrated, malnourished by prana, dehydrated, and inflamed or heat toxic. Over time this leads to disease. Which big hormonal disorder disease lies down the road you are on?
Here it’s clear that imbalanced stress hormones, which most of us are running around with, create long term havoc. The long term effect of elevated stress hormones are linked to the following diseases:
- Heart attacks, especially for women
- Thyroid issues of all kinds
- Fertility issues
- Low immunity, which means increased likelihood of autoimmune disorders
- Adrenal burnout
- Endocrine disorders
- Panic attacks
I assume you, like me, would rather nip those “little symptoms” in the bud than deal with a “big disease” down the road. Now it’s time to bring this little lesson home.
Do this simple exercise.
Do this now.
Don’t procrastinate. Wake up to your hormonal health reality.
- Identify which “Little Symptoms” your hormones are communicating to you.
- Identify which “Big Diseases” you’re most susceptible of due to personal health history or family history.
- Create a better stress management and self-care program.
Woman: Create a better health plan.
If you’re at all like me, there is always more to do. This is the nature of our reality. We are a process, not an endpoint. When we realize this in a fundamental way, we begin to relax. When we consciously relax, we protect our sex hormones (the anabolic, yummy healing hormones) and our stress hormones decrease (the catabolic, destructive ones).
Top 4 ways to be a goddess-in-action:
- Go to bed before 10 p.m. Like almost always.
- Wake up around 6 a.m. and move your butt for 20 minutes. Include your arms and legs.
- Eat at the same time every day… and let supper become a lighter, earlier affair. Period.
- Meditate. Really. Do it. Daily. 10 minutes minimum.
Now, we’re in business.
Here is a reminder why it takes these 4 efforts to be a goddess-in-action rather than another statistic in 20 years for the American Heart Association: “An adequate balance between catabolic (mobilization of energy) and anabolic processes (growth, healing) is considered necessary for long term health and survival. In modern society, which is characterized by a rapid pace of life, high demands, efficiency and competitiveness in a global economy, it is likely that lack of rest, recovery and restitution is a greater health problem than the absolute level of stress” (Stress hormones in health and illness: The roles of work and gender).
If you don’t nail those 4, you’re in trouble for the long haul. Really. There is no way around it. Dr. Claudia and I are offering a free call (& recording) to help inform you inspire you to understand your hormonal health for the long haul.