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17th May 2024

What are the symptoms of cortisol body and how to avoid it?

Kat O'Connor

High cortisol levels can have a horrible impact on your body and mind

What exactly is cortisol? My fyp on TikTok has been full of videos about lowering your levels but I never heard about it until it started trending on the app. TikTok has educated me about so many different conditions and health issues, but it also leaves me with half a dozen questions.

Are my cortisol levels too high? How do I check it? What is making it increase? Is it really bad for me?

As helpful as the app can be, it can also leave a lot of us worrying about issues we may not have.

So what exactly is cortisol and what does it do to our bodies?

What is cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone and a stress hormone.

It’s important to note that cortisol actually helps control your mood, motivation, and energy. Many people view cortisol as a ‘bad’ hormone but it actually has many positive functions.

According to Dr. Traci C. Johnson, cortisol is known as your body’s “built-in alarm system”.

It helps lower inflammation, regulates your blood pressure, boosts your blood sugar.

It also manages your sleep cycle and manages how your body uses fat, proteins, and carbohydrates.

However, too much cortisol can have a negative impact on your body. Your cortisol levels can often increase to a concerning level if you’re under a great deal of stress or if you’re experiencing high levels of anxiety.

Healthline confirmed that certain medications like oral contraceptives may also increase your cortisol levels.

Pituitary gland issues and adrenal gland tumors can also lead to increased cortisol levels but are not as common. If you’re concerned about either then you should visit your GP.

The symptoms

  • weight gain, mostly around the midsection and upper back
  • weight gain and rounding of the face
  • acne
  • thinning skin
  • easy bruising
  • flushed face
  • slowed healing
  • muscle weakness
  • severe fatigue
  • irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  • high blood pressure
  • headache

How to manage it

Experts believe Vitamin D may help reduce the levels in the blood and urine.

However, if you are concerned then you should visit your doctor.

They will be able to determine the cause of the increase as well as set out a plan to help you treat and manage the issue.

You can also incorporate lifestyle changes like cutting down on coffee, avoiding stressful situations, improving your diet, and limiting screen time but it’s important to note these changes are not always possible for everyone.




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