Naturopathic Physician

The Effect of Stress on Hormone Production

I am hoping now that most of Oregon is in Phase 2 of Reopening, that we will settle into a new routine for awhile. The stress of all of the changes and the threat of the virus itself has had many peoples’ adrenal glands working overtime. The following is a very simplistic view of the adrenals as a part of the endocrine system.

Our adrenal glands sit above our kidneys and are part of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a multi organ system and a few of the glands of the endocrine system include the thyroid, adrenal, ovaries in women (producing estrogen and progesterone) and testes in men (producing testosterone) as well as the adrenal glands which produce cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol and adrenaline are released in response to stress.

The glands in the endocrine system change production of the amount of hormones that they produce for many reasons and the hormone production of one gland can effect the hormone production of the others. So for example if your adrenals are overworked and your production of cortisol and adrenaline drop, you may feel fatigued. In that case, your body may start to rely on the thyroid gland for energy. If you are already on thyroid medication or support this may require a change in your prescription or if you are not on thyroid support you may need to begin.

There can also be changes in male and female hormone production as the adrenals also produce some of the male and female hormones. Often the adrenal glands’ production of the male and female hormones will also drop when the adrenals are fatigued.This may cause changes in menstrual cycles, over all sleep issues, fatigue, weight gain, muscle loss and mood changes. During times of stress I may have to change a patient’s bioidentical hormone prescription.

So if you feel that any part of your endocrine system needs to be evaluated, there are many ways that we can do that and get you back in balance. Please call the office for a phone or telehealth (preferred) or in person visit if needed.
Take good care,
Michelle K Jackson


Naturopathic Physician