How Do You Lower Your Cortisol Levels?

by | Jan 21, 2022

Are your patients concerned about stress and wondering how to lower cortisol levels?

Although it gets a bad rap, cortisol is an essential hormone for overall functioning and helps us manage stress. Unfortunately, more and more people today suffer from high-stress levels, leading to continuously high cortisol, which can lead to or exacerbate dangerous health complications, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.  

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is one method of managing hormone-related health concerns, including stress and cortisol. Would you consider offering this service as part of your practice? Contact us to learn more.

HPA Axis Disfunction and BHRT  

Often called adrenal fatigue, HPA axis dysfunction is a big deal these days, and it makes sense. The adrenal glands produce adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones, which help us manage stress and regulate blood pressure and electrolyte balance.  

Adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol work together as the key “stress” hormones – they help us deal with stress. When HPA axis dysfunction sets in, people are less able to manage stress. The extreme end of this can be a disease like Addison’s disease (from a lack of cortisol) and Cushing’s Syndrome (from too much cortisol). 

If you have patients asking you how to lower cortisol levels, it’s important that they have a clear understanding of HPA axis dysfunction, which is associated with prolonged stress. HPA axis dysfunction can occur after prolonged mental and/or physical stress. 

Signs of HPA axis dysfunction can include: 

  • Weight gain 
  • Continual fatigue or lack of energy 
  • Continuous low moods 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Food cravings (salt and/or sugar) 
  • Thinning hair 
  • Dry skin 
  • Insomnia 
  • Joint pain

With HPA axis dysfunction, the feedback system between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal messages goes awry, so the cells don’t get the right amount of cortisol, leading to a cascade of other imbalances in the body. People with this condition can have trouble managing stress and are generally tired all of the time. 

With HPA axis dysfunction and related health problems, a functional therapeutic approach that recommends lifestyle changes and even therapies like BHRT to manage hormonal imbalance can be effective. 

Practices to Manage Stress and Lower Cortisol 

Cortisol and stress go hand-in-hand, but many people don’t realize that cortisol is actually a good thing because it helps us manage stress. When patients come to you asking how to lower cortisol levels, what they really want is to have it balanced properly so that it is produced at the right times instead of on a consistent basis.  

Of course, a high-stress lifestyle is dangerous to all of the body’s systems. But other things can create stress as well, including a lack of engagement or activity and even thinking about stressful things. 

Sleep management

Individuals wondering how to lower cortisol should consider lifestyle changes which include managing their sleep patterns. In most cases, this means getting more sleep and making sure that their sleep is restful. A lack of sleep over time will bring cortisol levels up continuously. 

A sleep cycle that is regularly interrupted due to external stimuli or health concerns like sleep apnea can also contribute to higher cortisol levels.

A regular exercise routine (not close to bedtime) and limiting screen use before bed can help to establish better sleeping schedules. 

BHRT can help those suffering from a range of health concerns, including age-related issues, which can contribute to poor sleep and other symptoms.  

Mindfulness practice

Mindfulness practices such as medication can help patients better understand mind and body and help them gain more control to reduce the effect of stressful thoughts and situations. 

Mindfulness is about more than relaxation, however. It is an active practice that can be incorporated into any daily routine. 

Managing stress can reduce the frequency of physical symptoms such as tension headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, and even weight gain. 

Gentle or moderate exercise  

Many people think that intense exercise is the only way to go, but heavy exercise can actually increase cortisol immediately but then cause them to drop later, especially at night. Even moderate levels can help immensely when it comes to regulating sleep and stress. The more physically fit a person is, the more exercise they can do with a proper balance of cortisol. However, individuals who aren’t physically fit should consider gentle or moderate exercise; otherwise, they may actually increase cortisol.  

Hobbies and relationships 

Practitioners looking for therapeutic methods to help patients who ask how to lower cortisol levels need not negate the importance of hobbies and socializing. 

Anything that can encourage well-being in an individual has the potential to help lower cortisol. Even virtual engagements can help with this for those feeling isolated. Healthy relationships, spiritual practices, and even pets can also help lower cortisol levels. 

BHRT for Cortisol

Supplements and hormone therapy can help to manage and support hormone imbalances. 

BHRT takes a holistic approach and incorporates a range of health and wellness modes, especially for those who experience age-related changes in their bodies. DHEA and pregnenolone, adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, along with lifestyle changes, are examples of hormone-based holistic treatments that practitioners can consider offering to help patients who ask how to lower or modulate cortisol levels. 

BHRT is a potentially safe and effective therapy with far-reaching benefits. Consider bioidentical hormone therapy as an option for patients who are seeking better hormonal balance. 

Considering BHRT as an addition to your practice? There couldn’t be a better time. Click here to schedule a free strategy call.


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