Early Onset Menopause and the Adrenal Glands

There are many factors which may cause early onset menopause in younger women. The most obvious reason is an imbalance in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, but there’s usually more than just an imbalance at play. Various environmental factors can contribute to the onset of early menopause such as stress, exposure to chemicals, and adrenal fatigue. Often thought of as a symptom of menopause, adrenal fatigue can in fact be the key aggravator of many of the symptoms you experience. Getting away from stressors and healing your adrenal glands is often imperative to overcoming many symptoms of pre menopause such as hot flashes.

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How the adrenal glands can trigger early menopause symptoms

To obtain a better understanding of how adrenal fatigue develops and aggravates menopausal discomfort, it is important to understand the function of your adrenal glands and how the functioning relates to stress. The adrenal glands are tiny triangular glands located above each kidney, where they function as the manufacturing center of several hormones including adrenaline, progesterone, estrogen, and cortisol. The main task of the adrenal glands is to place your body in “fight or flight” mode when you encounter stress or a threatening situation. This “fight or flight” mode kicks on when the adrenal glands increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

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The human body isn’t meant to sustain high levels of cortisol all the time. Today, chronic stress is a major part of our lives. Instead of the occasional stressful encounter followed by a long rest, we’re always overworked, exhausted, under-nourished, and constantly worrying about ourselves and others. All the challenges we encounter can put stress on the adrenal glands, and this list is endless – unresolved emotional issues, deadlines, financial problems, relationship turmoil, etc. To keep ourselves going, we consume high amounts of caffeine so we can stay awake and alert. The end result is that our adrenal glands are constantly on alert, producing cortisol to help us cope.

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