Prevention and Wellness

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about prevention and wellness for women.

What is the hormone cortisol, and how does an imbalance affect women?

Cortisol is a hormone frequently known as the stress hormone, according to the American Osteopathic AssociationOff Site Icon (AOA).

When people become stressed, the body reacts by producing and releasing cortisol, according to the AOA. Studies have shown that if you have a chronic imbalance of cortisol, the increased levels can put you at risk for health issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty recovering from exercise
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Low libido
  • Memory problems
  • Sleeping issues
  • Weight gain

Not all cortisol is bad. It is normal for cortisol levels to increase slightly in the morning as you get revved up for the day, but they should lower as the day goes on, according to the AOA.

For more information about cortisol and the effects of an imbalance, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Michael Chunn, MD, Michael A. Chunn, MD Family Practice; Tracie Bolden, MD, Fairfield Road Physician Offices; Rashmi Bolinjkar, MD, Upper Valley Womens Center

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