Chronic stress, PMS, and Hashimoto’s low thyroid — what you need to know
If you have Hashimoto's low thyroid and your monthly period is a miserable journey of depression, anxiety, irritability, pain, and more, you may need to look at the effect stress is having on your hormones. The misery of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is not natural — PMS is a sign your hormones are imbalanced, most likely due to too long term chronic stress. Low progesterone symptoms that can cause PMS include:
Changes in weight or appetite
Poor focus and concentration
Frequent or irregular menstruation
Low sex drive
How chronic stress lowers progesterone
Chronic stress causes a situation called pregnenolone steal, which causes progesterone deficiency and hormonal imbalances. Pregnenolone is a building block hormone used to make progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol. The body can only make so much pregnenolone. If stress is always high, the demands for cortisol become greater, and the body prioritizes handling stress over the reproductive hormones. Therefore, it “steals” pregnenolone from progesterone to make cortisol in order to meet the demands of stress. This causes hormonal imbalances and PMS.
Things that cause pregnenolone steal
Some people think the answer is progesterone cream, but progesterone cream can further skew hormones. It’s better to address why your progesterone is low. The most typical cause is pregnenolone steal from chronic stress. Causes of pregnenolone steal and PMS include:
Sugar and sweeteners, excess processed carbs — rice, pasta, bread, pastries, etc.
We can use foundations of functional medicine to better manage the hormones and stop pregnenolone steal. The fundamentals include an anti-inflammatory diet, restoring gut health, and managing autoimmunity. These are the same foundations we use in managing Hashimoto's hypothyroidism. A variety of compounds can help soothe PMS:
Omega 3 fatty acids
Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) — evening primrose oil, borage oil, or black currant oil
Nutrients to support serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes well-being — tryptophan, 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, and SAMe
This is a broad overview. Ask my office for more advice on using natural therapies to alleviate PMS and support healthy hormones and Hashimoto's hypothyroidism.
One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue to building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.