Friday, 25 April 2014

Stress, flaring and your adrenals

After putting a lot of thought into this over the last couple of days I really wanted to put down in words how stress is a big factor in eczema/rashes/flaring for me and what I (try to) do to combat it.

Ive noticed it quite frequently on different occasions when I’m having a stressful moment my cheek will start heating up or my back starts to get prickly.

There are definitely ways to control stress in most situations (obviously not all the time every second of the day) but most stress is avoidable if you just allow a bit of extra time for yourself to just breath.

Enough sleep is sooooo important!
  • as much as possible, although I’m not going to go over board and get lazy, I’ve still got to keep some sort of a routine 

Relaxation and positive thinking
  • deep breathing 
  • writing down every day things that make you happy 
  • also writing down the things that are making you stressed/angry as this often stops you from dwelling on it 
  • reading 
  • yoga and meditation 

Having support for day to day things and asking for help
  • if I’m tired I ask my partner if he can can make dinner or do the dishes/cleaning etc 
  • its important to talk to someone you trust, who understands (well someone who is a good listener anyway!) 

Exercise and being healthy
  • every morning I have a warm ACV and honey (Ive been doing this every day over the winter months for the last 3 years and are yet to get sick) 
  • I used to go for 30 minute runs and I enjoy getting out into nature but for the next little while I will be reducing my exercise to walking and hopefully jumping on a mini trampoline if I’m able to get one (help my lymphatic system) 

Having hobbies
  • my blog 
  • painting/drawing/sewing… basically anything creative 
  • working on developing my business 

Getting to know yourself better and recognise when your stress levels are starting to rise
  • this is very very important!! Sometimes I feel like my own counsellor… ‘So why are you feeling down/stressed/anxious today and what do you think the reason is…’ hmmm yes I do talk to myself in my head haha 


What part of your body is supposed to control stress?

Normal Person…

In a stressful situation your body prompts your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, which is kind of like an inbuilt alarm system. It basically puts your body fight or flight mode.

Once you have calmed down and the stress has passed, hormone and blood pressure levels return to normal and other parts of your body that were prepared for fight or flight return to their regular activities.

When constantly feeling stressed or pressured, this alarm system is always turned on which could lead to an overexposure to NATURAL cortisol and other stress hormones, this is why it is so important to remain as stress-free and calm as possible and to become more aware of when your stress levels are rising.

Naturally produced cortisol from your adrenal glands does not only control stress though... It also helps maintain your body’s anti-inflammatory processes.

So, what about a person going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal… ?
Corticosteroids are supposed to mimic the effects of naturally occurring cortisol in the reduction of inflammation… Well I guess we all believed the doctor when they prescribed us that first tube of Topical Steroids…

But what happens when we stop using the steroids?

Our precious little adrenal glands that we have neglected to use for so long have probably decided that it may not be so necessary to continue producing cortisol at normal levels. Which means that any stress that we are put under during the initial part of the withdrawal probably seems so much more intense than when we were previously still using TS.

I guess the words to describe your under-utilised adrenal glands would be ‘adrenal fatigue’.

So this is where stress-reduction becomes an absolute necessity for folks suffering TSW. Until your little adrenal is up and running again, to much stress will just put that extra ton of bricks onto your bodies already heavy load.

A natural Adrenal support…

For the past 6 months or so I have been taking Licorice Root capsules to support my adrenal glands while reducing my TS usage. Im not to sure how well they have been keeping me less stressed but there was one occasion where I ran out of the supplement for about a week and I was just so unbelievably, ridiculously, like couldn’t stop yawning or my eyes open all day at work tired… So I guess it must have been doing something good for me.

Still very popular in Chinese Medicine, Licorice Root has been proven to boost energy levels as well as regulating the production of hormones in your adrenal glands. It has been said that long term, or overuse of this supplement could have serious side effects, but in general, low or occasional use of liquorice root is considered by many to be a beneficial treatment for adrenal gland issues.


So I guess when it comes down to it... when you get stressed your adrenal gland just isn't quite up to the challenge of keeping you in fight or flight mode AND maintaining your body's anti-inflammatory processes. 

All things come in good time though I suppose :)

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