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Low Stress Hormone and Your Sex Life

Adrenal fatigue is a system wide failure of health,. The adrenal gland has to be mobilized to fight all offending stresses and toxins, and if the adrenal system gets overwhelmed, you begin to have poor health, poor fitness, poor libido and premature aging.

Adrenal fatigue can be due to low, or sluggish response levels of a few different hormones including cortisol, DHEA, and testosterone.

DHEA has action on its own and is what is called a steroid precursor. As a steroid precursor it affects estrogen and testosterone levels. It’s balance is critical and an often overlooked aspect of fatigue. And decreases in the serum levels of this hormone can lead to a variety of problems including low libido, genitourinary system (like vaginal atrophy or VVA), skeletal calcium loss, vasomotor system hot flashes, lax skin, brain fog, less cardiovascular fitness and hair loss.

Because DHEA can affect the brain control of the menstrual cycle through a pathway called the HPA, menstrual cycle and fertility can be affected by changing levels of DHEA.

DHEA is a hormone that has to be balanced, hair loss oddly be due to too much DHEA, like women with PCOS, or in the case of adrenal fatigue, too little DHEA.

Breast sagging, breast discomfort, and breast changes can signal adrenal and DHEA changes. In puberty, usually breast development occurs first and then the adrenal gland male hormones, like DHEA.

Pubic hair changes can be secondary to DHEA changes. This adrenal gland hormone is thus a stimulus for,(ah hum) pubic hair growth and maintenance. The pubic hair appearance and underarm (axillary) hair, comes from a separate but similar hormonal influences. And changes in adrenal hormones can cause loss of pubic hair as well.

Vaginal dryness, discomfort, and perhaps bacterial infections can be due to problems with DHEA, and there are DHEA vaginal treatments.

Adrenal stress can be confused with other conditions, and it can manifest by several symptoms, and tested for with blood work, but one obvious physical sign may just be losing pubic hair, even if you have not yet noticed a change in the loss of hair from your head. It is possible that women can notice the hair loss before symptoms of vaginal again, called VVA have begun. Factors that cause graying of hair and factors that cause hair loss might be related, but they may be separate as well. Age and medication and stress are more likely to be related to graying of the hair, rather than loss of hair. It is best to come in and gab with your gyno to determine whether any hormone imbalances are causing hair greying, hair loss, VVA, fatigue, weight gain, all the things you think of when you think of adrenal stress.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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