Fertility; Hormones & Our Adrenals: Discovering the connection
Many patients experiencing fertility are suffering from adrenal imbalance and low levels of cortisol which create a complete imbalance on the hormones necessary for conception and maintaining a pregnancy viable.
The Adrenal glands produce reproductive hormones which are a precursor to progesterone, and survival hormones; cortisol and adrenalin. Due to our stressful lives and the constant sense of danger, the adrenals end up constantly producing cortisol and adrenalin until it cannot keep up and they become exhausted and diminished in their capacity to produce adequately. What happens is the adrenals are forced to choose between stress hormones or making babies and of course it chooses survival. With the diminished level of progesterone, conception is difficult at best and especially difficult to maintain pregnancy full term. Even if you start with adequate levels of progesterone, your body may not be able to produce the amount needed for an IVF cycle, or to maintain pregnancy viable.
Progesterone and the interplay of reproductive hormones is also responsible for miscarriages, PMS, hot flashes, night sweats, and other reproductive imbalances. It is important to understand that your body needs progesterone to produce your stress hormones. Many fertility protocols resort to supplementing progesterone and DHEA, which only ends up being converted to cortisol, because the body’s priority is survival and creating stress hormone when they are depleted.
So what is there to do? You can start by requesting a 24 hour adrenal saliva test, not blood, which will show you where your cortisol levels and then you can begin to restore your body’s endocrine balance from the core. If your cortisol levels are low, there are many ways to restore their function. Specific Adrenal supplements, Acupuncture and Chinese herbology can restore your adrenals and not only make your physical body balanced but also harmonize your emotions. Cultivating a spiritual practice nourishes your being and reduces stress. Incorporating a daily practice of meditation, yoga, reflective walking, aromatherapy, etc… is also imperative to address the underlining emotional and mental factors underlining the adrenal imbalance.
The key in this case is learning, as women, to nourish our own bodies and change the way we are living. Furthermore, I find it interesting to note how the body, in its own intelligence forces us to change our habits and reevaluate our way of living before we continue to reproduce and continue to perpetuate a mode of living that isn’t satisfying. Perhaps our mode of living isn’t bringing joy or happiness into our being; thus forcing to change something about ourselves, our perceptions, how we treat ourselves, how we live our lives and how worthy we feel about really bringing the love in for ourselves. Life is born out of love. On the deeper level this condition is asking us to connect with something deeper that is the source of that love, so that we can experience it practically in our own lives and create our family out of this same love.
Dr. Leonor Murciano