It is alright to teach or study the mind and the body distinctly. But it is naive to believe and practice it clinically. This is because an unhealthy mind breeds diseases in the body and it’s important to adopt a holistic view to treat an individual. In this article, let’s explore the connection between stress and hormonal imbalance and how an unhealthy mind manufactures hormone imbalances in the body and leads to health risks.


 The Connection Between Stress and Hormonal Imbalance

When you are stressed out, the adrenals release a hormone called Cortisol. But when you are too stressed out, the adrenals use up all of the inventory to synthesize Cortisol. However, what if there is more stress, it still needs to make more cortisol and so acquires the raw material by borrowing resources from another hormone.


Unfortunately, Cortisol is made from the same precursor as Progesterone called Pregnenolene and the body prioritizes defense from stress above everything. The minute your body perceives it is under stress, it prioritizes cortisol production, at the expense of the other hormones.


This prioritization is elegantly devised. Progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone are all hormones designed for the long-term reproductive survival of the species. Cortisol is about rescuing You, Now. Hence the body focuses its energy on saving you and diverts its attention.


As a result, progesterone levels come down due to high-stress levels leading to the onset of several health hazards including physiological and emotional upheavals. It throws off the balance of the ovarian hormones of estrogen-progesterone and in turn becomes a big contributor to several gynecological problems.


The Impact of High Stress and Low Progesterone

Progesterone shows its ugly side because you have just offended your adrenal stress gland. By the time we catch on that something is off in your system, the hormones have already invoked feelings of vulnerabilities and, in turn, affects the cognitive function of the brain.


Progesterone is an important ovarian hormone that is essential for women to conceive or maintain pregnancy and this explains why when women are stressed out, they have a hard time with infertility and miscarriages.


Besides, the progesterone that was depleted to make cortisol is another reason why women struggle with PMS, hot flashes and night sweats as it throws off the hormonal balance. A drop in Progesterone also known as the ‘happy hormone’ can even lead to depression, mood swings and anxiety in women.


Deal with Stress First and Breed a Healthy Mind

Therefore in order to treat hormonal imbalances in women that typically start with low levels of progesterone the first step is to check your stress levels. Supplementing with synthetic hormone is the standard treatment protocol that is followed in conventional medicine.


However, anything artificial that goes into the body only leads to problems and side-effects. Therefore, support those exhausted adrenal glands by reducing your stress and keeping your mind healthy first. This can be a missing link to attacking the root cause of the problem in the first place.


If you strengthen your adrenal glands by providing the right conditions for the body to heal itself, progesterone levels will come back up again.


Measuring Hormone Levels

The current tests that target to check your hormone levels are not sensitive enough to detect anything as they tend to fluctuate a lot. Therefore to capture the imbalance, you would require multiple tests in a month to map out irregular hormonal variations.


Besides, you can have completely normal levels of hormones, but the tests will be unable to convey the pathological metabolism of hormones. For instance, estrogen can be metabolized to both good form and bad pathways in the form of toxic metabolites.


What Can You Do to Maintain the Right Balance?

The constant demand for cortisol will eventually exhaust the adrenal glands and disrupt the production of key hormones of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).


Here’s how you can remind your brain that all is well and signal the body to decrease its cortisol production to keep stress at bay:


Cruciferous Vegetables

Also known as cruciferous vegetables, this illustrious family includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collards, pak choi, horseradish, and mustard leaves. They contain an ingredient named indole-3-carbine that appears to lower estrogen in women, a female hormone associated with increased risks of breast cancer, depression, anxiety, and mood swings when in excess, thereby, maintaining the right balance of progesterone.



This is an essential mineral that is a prerequisite for the production of progesterone. Firstly, magnesium can be used to replenish the progesterone lost to cortisol. Secondly, a lack of magnesium can induce more stress in the body. Include magnesium-rich foods of leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, Himalayan Rock Salt.


Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama

All these practices are known to significantly reduce stress and stimulate the vagus nerve that is critical to the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system that calms down the body.



A class of herbs that are hailed to work with the system of adaptation and stress response. Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea and more are some of the best adaptogens.


Watch Out for Xenoestrogens

These chemicals that mimic the effect of estrogen in the body can find its way in your body through food, cosmetics, use of plastic and more. It artificially spikes up estrogen levels in your body, causing estrogen dominance.


Time Out with Friends

A study from the Unversity of Michigan states that feeling emotionally close to a friend increases levels of the hormone progesterone, helping to boost well-being and reduce anxiety and stress.


We live in a crazy world of fairly constant situations of stress. The workweek is packed and the weekends are also busy with chores and other things to do. So, just slow down, take the time out to relax and unwind. Don’t let the excess cortisol to win the battle against progesterone. Let the hormones work their silent ways of supporting the body while you supply the right conditions for the hormones to play out its balanced role.