On Monday, we spoke about the benefits of progesterone and how easily it is stolen away due to stress. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to properly measuring progesterone and estrogen levels. Just as scripture teaches, "my people are being destroyed by lack of knowledge," we hope we can help women better understand why they haven't been getting the results they have been looking for – even after they have been told by their doctor…."everything looks normal."
Measuring those Hormones
Often times women will tell me they had their hormones tested and were told everything was normal. Unfortunately a one time blood or saliva sample doesn't give an accurate measurement to those hormones due to the fact that they fluctuate so much in a month. A more accurate picture and diagnosis can be made when several hormone samples in a month can be mapped out to determine if there are any abnormal hormonal variations.
I encourage anyone who is struggling with infertility, PMS, or other hormonal issues to taking anywhere from 7-11 saliva samples to get a clear and accurate picture of your monthly cycle. When you map out your monthly cycle, you can easily see if your hormones are 'truly' staying within their normal range. If you are struggling with infertility, it is very important to also measure your LH and FSH in addition to estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen and progesterone tell us if your ovaries are getting the job done. While the LH and FSH are more indicative of the communication between your brain (pituitary) telling your ovaries to start the ovulation process.
The Stress Connection
Low levels of progesterone are often attributed to your adrenal glands stealing your progesterone. This is why it is recommended to first measure adrenal function and see how much stress we are truly placing on our body. The best way to measure your adrenal function is with a saliva test that measures both cortisol and DHEA.
Cortisol and DHEA are direct indicators to how much stress you are placing on the body. The constant demand for cortisol will eventually exhaust the adrenal glands and disrupt the production of your progesterone, estrogen, testosterone and DHEA. It is a basic cause and effect…and you will never get your reproductive hormones back to normal if your adrenal glands are burnt out.
A good 'adrenal stress panel' will include 4 cortisol measurements, 2 DHEA measurements as well as a measurement for your insulin levels. Measuring insulin is helpful and indicative to adrenal function, because high levels of cortisol trigger increased insulin which is associated with obesity, cravings, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The healing process is more than swallowing a handful of supplements and begins by restoring normal function to the body. If stress is throwing your body out of balance, check to see if your adrenals need support. If they are - support them and then it will be easier to rebalancing those reproductive hormones.
Dr. Len Lopez is the author of "To Burn or Not to Burn, Fat is the Question" and hosts the radio show "Action Steps for Health. He is a nutrition and fitness expert and speaks extensively on how to "treat the cause – not the symptoms. To learn more about health and healing take the "online health quizzes" or sign up to receive his weekly health journal Health Tips with Dr. Len.