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Medela Centers

Stress Management

Although life situations can cause people to experience stress, life’s occurrences and situations are not in themselves stress. Stress is our response. Our response to stressful situations plays an important role in our lives by helping us to respond quickly when there is danger and by stimulating us to perform at our best at certain tasks. The body’s stress response is designed as a short-term reaction. When we continue to tell our bodies to manufacture hormones to respond to stress over longer periods of time, we set ourselves up to develop a multitude of chronic illnesses. An ongoing, long-term stress response can be one of the factors leading to the development of fatigue and burnout. This situation is sometimes referred to as “adrenal fatigue.”

Excessive cortisol production in response to chronic stress may produce a host of adverse health conditions. Symptoms associated with high cortisol include

  • Mental and emotional symptoms: irritability, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, insomnia, and failure to experience restorative sleep
  • Metabolic symptoms: weight gain around the waist, sugar cravings, tiredness between meals, fluctuations in blood sugar levels, low energy
  • Immune system symptoms: suppressed immune function, frequent infections, inflammation
  • Hormonal symptoms: hormone imbalance, hot flashes and night sweats in women, premenstrual syndrome in women
  • Other symptoms: high blood pressure, digestive disorders, stomach ulcers, decreased ability to detoxify the body, reduced bone mass

Over time, as the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with the constant demand for hormone production, cortisol levels will drop as the adrenal glands become depleted. This results in a poor stress response and low levels of cortisol. Symptoms associated with low cortisol include:

  • Mental and emotional symptoms: poor concentration, inability to experience restorative sleep, depression, seasonal affective disorder, panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorder, a frequent feeling of being overwhelmed, poor emotional capacity to cope with stress
  • Metabolic symptoms: fatigue, sugar cravings, shakiness between meals, desire to take naps in the afternoon, feeling depleted and exhausted at the end of the day
  • Immune system symptoms: inflammation, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, depleted white blood cell levels
  • Hormonal symptoms: hypothyroid disorder (underactive thyroid), postpartum depression in women, early menopause in women, low sex drive
  • Other symptoms: muscle pain, fibromyalgia, low blood pressure

We have an increasing amount of stress and many of us have a decreasing ability to deal with it effectively. Your Medela Centers program will include a personalized program to help you address your stress response. Based on your individual needs, we may prescribe supplements in addition to diet and lifestyle changes.