Why Cortisol is Important to a Man’s Body
Cortisol is a hormone that your body produces in response to stress. It is created by the adrenal gland and can have a very large impact on many functions throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune system. Nearly every cell in your body has receptors for cortisol, so it has even more potential uses across your entire body.
Cortisol levels generally fluctuate during the day, with more of it being produced in the morning, and the levels of the hormone falling later on. However, more of this hormone is produced in response to stress, providing your body with the ability to properly respond.
Because the levels can very so drastically, having a large amount of cortisol at one time isn’t necessarily a problem. Cortisol imbalances are typically caused by conditions that cause your body to produce too much consistently, such as certain types of tumors, use of certain drugs, or chronic stress. Any condition that keeps your cortisol levels constantly elevated run the risk of several side effects from consistently elevated cortisol. Some of these symptoms include:
- A flushed and round face
- Anxiety, depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Increased thirst and frequency of urination
- Mood swings
- Skin changes such as bruises or purple stretch marks
- Very fast weight gain, especially in the face, chest and abdomen
- Weakened immune system
- Weakened muscles
Another serious condition associated with elevated cortisol levels is adrenal fatigue. This is a condition where the adrenal gland becomes overworked and can no longer produce enough hormones to keep up with the body’s need. Adrenal fatigue has many additional symptoms, including:
- Aching joints
- Cravings for salt or sweets
- Difficulty sleeping
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fatigue, especially in the middle of the day
- Increased risk of infection
- Loss of muscle mass and strength
- Reduced libido
- Reduced stress tolerance
- Sensitivity to chemicals
- Sensitivity to cold
- Weakened immune function
While extremely rare, it is also possible to have too little cortisol, though it is typically only caused by a specific disease that targets the adrenal glands. The symptoms of little cortisol are very gradual, especially compared to the symptoms of too much, and a difficult to identify.
Treating for Cortisol
When dealing with hormonal imbalances, it is best to always test first to make sure that hormones are the actual problem. Many symptoms of hormonal problems can also be caused by numerous other conditions, so getting a test to ensure that hormones are the actual problem should always be the first step when it comes to treating a suspected hormonal imbalance.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has been shown to work well in treating men who have excessive cortisol, as well as helping to relieve the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. If you believe that your cortisol levels may be imbalanced, contact us today to get started on getting your cortisol levels back in balance and your ability to manage stress back under control.