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The Nourished Blog

High Cortisol & Low Progesterone…Could you be Struggling?

There are number of common hormone imbalances that affect women, but one combination that I see SO often, is the correlation between high cortisol and low progesterone.

Why are these two hormones so important?

And how do you know if you’re struggling with an imbalance?

We will determine some of the common signs of this hormone imbalance below & what you can do to start re-aligning the body again!


 


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High Cortisol

I’m sure many of you have heard of the hormone cortisol.

Commonly known as our “stress hormone,” cortisol (and adrenaline) come to the rescue at any sign of threat.

Heightening our senses, increasing blood flow in the body, and amping up our endurance. — it also helps increase inflammation in the body to protect us from infection.

Cortisol is actually pretty great, but only in ACUTE situations.

The problem is, the majority of us are triggering our cortisol response on the regular. This is due to the fact that our body doesn’t really know the difference between an actual threat (running from danger) or a perceived threat (reading a stressful work email)

Our body reacts the exact same way – sending a message to the brain that danger is near – and activating the cascade of hormones that bring the body to high alert.

Ever feel that rush of anxiety, sweat, and the sense that you need to escape when you’re just stuck at work? Yep – that’s your body screaming “RUN AWAY, DANGER!”

But you don’t have anywhere to go.

All of that extra cortisol and adrenaline flooding through your body has nowhere to get burned off. And unfortunately, many of us are sending our body into this high intensity state multiple times a day.

Chronic mental, emotional, and physical stress keeps our cortisol response on HIGH all the time.

Imagine how hard your body has to work when you’re constantly in this heightened state of stress.

But in addition to thee mental and emotional triggers mentioned above, the way we nourish and move our bodies can either support or further exacerbate our symptoms, or, help us heal.

how do you know if you might have high cortisol?

Check out these common symptoms:

  1. Always feeling tired, but not being able to sleep.

  2. Infrequent periods or missing periods

  3. Struggling with fertility

  4. Painful periods

  5. PMS and/or PMDD symptoms

  6. High blood sugar and/or blood pressure

  7. Trouble concentrating & heightened anxiety

During my worst days with my health and anxiety, I was dealing with almost ALL of these symptoms.

In relationship to high cortisol, we often see another very common imbalance .. low progesterone.


Low Progesterone

The reason we see these two imbalances are commonly linked together is because high cortisol (aka stress) blocks can prevent our body from ovulating regularly. When we aren’t ovulating regularly, our body is unable to produce adequate amounts of progesterone.

As our body gears up to ovulate, the follicles that house our eggs begin to mature and develop. When that follicle finally releases an egg (ovulation time!) it then turns into what is called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is what produces progesterone.

So — delayed or no ovulation?

This also means no corpus luteum…and no progesterone.

Even if you are ovulating regularly, your progesterone levels can STILL be low.

Why?

The majority of women I work with are also struggling with estrogen dominance. This is when the level of estrogen is too high in comparison to your progesterone levels.

Due to poor gut health, xenoestrogens in our environment, an overburdened liver, mineral imbalances, stress, and SO much more — our estrogen levels keep rising. While or progesterone levels keep dropping.

A little more about progesterone…

Progesterone is important for so many functions in the body:

  • It’s one of our “feel good” hormones, helping us feel balanced, relaxed, and grounded.

  • It supports a healthy luteal phase (10-14 days). The phase after ovulation and before your period starts.

  • It is CRUCIAL for pregnancy. Supporting implantation and preventing early miscarriage.

  • It balances the effects of estrogen – aka – less cramping, PMS, sore boobs, headaches, bloating, and more.

So how do you know if you might have low progesterone?

Check out these common symptoms:

  1. Breakthrough bleeding or spotting during the second half of your period.

  2. Dark or black blood or clotting right before your period.

  3. Difficulty getting pregnant.

  4. PMS and mood fluctuations.

  5. Menstrual migraines.

  6. A heavy flow… especially the first coupe of days.

  7. Bloating

  8. A diagnosis of endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, and/or PCOS.


So, how can you start healing and bringing balance back to the body?

  1. Re-evaluate your stress levels

Remember, high stress (and cortisol levels) can prevent your body from ovulating regularly. We NEED ovulation to occur so we can create progesterone.

I will be the first to say, I know what it feels like to have chronic stress control your entire life. I used to struggle with uncontrollable anxiety that ultimately lead me down this path of hormone healing.

It takes a deep look into your lifestyle and inner believes. And sometimes, finding a coach to support you a long the way.

It might feel impossible to reduce your stress levels, so I encourage you to look at what you can and cannot control.

I am a huge advocate of bringing in calming techniques and therapies to help balance out your busy lifestyle.

Reiki Healing is also a beautiful therapy that can help.

It takes a commitment to working on the mind, learning how to shift your awareness, and implementing stress reduction techniques on a weekly basis.

2. Learn how to balance your blood sugar

When our blood sugar rises and falls constantly throughout the day, this causes even MORE stress on our system. It also means why are most likely not nourishing our bodies with the hormone balancing nutrients it needs to thrive.

In my podcast interview with Nicole Jardmin, we talk ALL about this concept and how you can begin healing.

We Also Chat About:

  • Finding alternative ways to fix hormonal issues

  • The role of your blood sugar

  • Becoming insulin resistant

  • Things you can eat to balance blood sugar

  • How cortisol affects our insulin levels

  • Setting a good foundation for hormonal health

  • Rethinking thyroid health

You’re going to love it!

3. Try Acupuncture

I can’t rave about this healing technique ENOUGH!

Going to acupuncture twice a month has really transformed by body.

Not only has acupuncture calmed my stress response, but it truly has helped balance my hormones in amazing ways!

Of course, going to acupuncture has been paired with eating nutritious foods for my body, proper movement, blood sugar balance … and the works.

It all goes together!

4. Join the Heal your Period Self Paced Program

This online course gives you all the information I use with my private clients to get your hormones back into balance again.

This course teaches you the KEY concepts for balanced hormones:

  • nutrition for hormones

  • how to balance your blood sugar

  • the basics of tracking your menstrual cycle

  • how to heal the gut

  • how to support and nourish your liver

  • reducing your stress

  • alternative therapies & open up to Universal energy

This self paced course will provide you with the foundational materials you need to get your hormones back into balance again.

There is SO much information packed into this 8 module program including:

– Over 3 hours of recorded coaching sessions + detailed powerpoint guides

– All the handouts + resources I use in my private program

– Complete nutritional guidance + recommendations

– Over 40+ recipes

– Total gut healing recommendations

– Liver support recipes and recommendations

– Up-to-date information on the top hormone tests + period resources

– Guided meditations

Plus — all of the information is yours for LIFE and you can work at your own pace from the comfort of you home <3

The course is evergreen, so you can purchase it standalone at anytime.

But, don’t just take it from me. Learn all about the course and hear from my past clients to see if it is the right fit for you!

Always here to help you anyway I can. I have been right there with you when it comes to hormone imbalance.

Finding the right support is a MUST.

You can reach out to me any time.

 


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Hi, I’m Nina! I’m a Certified Fertility Awareness Educator, Hormone Coach, and Reiki Practitioner.

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The Podcast:

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Learn about the 4 phases of the cycle and how to support your natural hormones throughout each one.

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