What’s the effect on the adrenal glands when a woman has a total hysterectomy and the ovaries are removed? I am asking specifically about women after menopause.
A total hysterectomy is the removal of the entire uterus, as opposed to a partial hysterectomy which is the removal of only a portion of the uterus. In either case, the ovaries remain intact and continue to function and produce estrogen. An oophorectomy is the removal of the ovaries (the glands which produce estrogen in a woman’s body) and is sometimes, but not always, done at the same time as a hysterectomy.
In the case of either natural menopause or an oophorectomy (“surgical menopause”), the ovaries no longer make estrogen, but small amounts continue to be produced by the adrenal glands and the fat cells. In addition, the adrenals produce other hormones which can be converted by fat, muscle, and breast tissue into estrogens. However, the amount of estrogens circulating in a woman’s body after menopause is much lower than the amount circulating in her body prior to menopause.
Do you have any advice for someone who works rotating shifts? I am a police officer and we rotate days/nights every 2 months. I NEVER feel good. and Can you travel through different timezones when you have adrenal fatigue? If yes, how do you prepare?
Rotating shifts and traveling through different time zones are hard on the body because many hormones have daily cyclical patterns that are related to light and dark and affect the sleep/wake cycle. For example: cortisol, one of the primary adrenal hormones, typically reaches its highest level during early morning, then falls throughout the rest of the day to reach its lowest level in the middle of the night. In contrast, melatonin—a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that assists sleep—rises at night. However, changing shifts and time zones disrupt the normal rhythms of these hormones. This is why it takes most people a few days to adjust. If your adrenals and/or stress response system are compromised, it will be significantly more difficult to adapt to these types of changes. In addition, these time changes are stressors themselves and put increased demand on your stress response system.
Some of the best things you can do to help your body adapt to the change are the things we’ve mentioned over and over to support your nervous system and adrenals:
-Get enough rest
-Eat nutritious foods
-Keep your blood sugar stable by avoiding sugary foods or skipping meals
-Get the proper nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium
-Use adaptogens—herbs which help the body deal with stress and adapt to change—such as ashwaganda, maca, and eleutherococcus
In addition to this, there are some specific things you can do to help your body adapt to the new sleep schedule:
•Begin to relax and do quiet activities about an hour before bed to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that helps you relax) using things like warm baths, massage, or yoga.
•Avoid television and computers for at least an hour before bedtime and keep your sleeping area very dark. Light (especially light shining directly in your eyes) shuts off the body’s production of melatonin.
•Keep your sleeping area comfortably cool. Sleep is associated with a lowered body temperature.
•Consider sitting under a full spectrum light for 30 minutes when you wake. This helps to reset the circadian (daily) rhythm.
•Keep a note pad by your bed. If your brain has difficulty turning off at your new bedtime and bombards you with concerns and “to dos,” you can write them down to deal with later and allow your mind to relax.
About the Author
Dr. Lise Naugle is an associate of Dr. James L. Wilson. She assists healthcare professionals with clinical assessment and treatment protocols related to adrenal dysfunction and stress, and questions regarding the use of Doctor Wilson’s Original Formulations supplements. With eleven years in private practice and a focus on stress, adrenals, hormonal balance and mind-body connection, she offers both clinical astuteness and a wealth of practical knowledge. Dr. Naugle also maintains updated information about the latest scientific research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, endocrine balance and nutritional support for stress and develops educational materials about stress and health for clinicians and their patients.