How stress can change your hormones


Another way to upset your hormone balance is by eating the wrong kind of foods and being permanently stressed.  We produce many different hormones that keep the body in balance.  These include

  • insulin and glucagons to keep our blood sugar level even;
  • adrenalin and cortisol to help us react to stress;
  • Thyroxine which controls our rate of metabolism;
  • The sex hormones;
  • And a whole host of hormones produced by the pituitary gland in the centre of the head that effectively conducts the hormonal orchestra of our bodies.


Whenever you take in a stimulant such as coffee or a cigarette, or react stressfully to an event, the body produces the adrenal hormone cortisol.  This competes for receptor sites with progesterone.  So the net effect of being permanently in a stressed or stimulated state is less active progesterone.  Since cortisol also increases the production of oestrogen, prolonged stress can contribute to oestrogen dominance.  Normally the liver can easily deal with slight excesses of oestrogen; if, however, a person’s diet is poor, or they have allergies, or take in excessive toxins, the liver’s ability to detoxify and eliminate oestrogen can be impaired.


Stress also upsets the balance of the ‘male hormone’, as some testosterone is made by the adrenal glands in women as well as men.  A disturbance in the balance of male and female hormones in women cal lead to a lack of ovulation the development of excessive facial hair and other male characteristics.