Cortisol refers to a group of glucocorticoids. It is one of the most active hormones in our body, which is produced with suprarenal cortex and regulated by ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). Its critical function is the regulation of the metabolic processes. Cortisol treats a variety of conditions.
- Anti-inflammatory effect
- Anti-allergic action
- Regulate metabolism
- Thyroid levels
For some, cortisol is dangerous, even life-threatening, so self-treatment is prohibited without a pharmaceutical prescription. A physician must determine if the hormone is constructive and safe after undertaking a regime of laboratory tests.
When it’s Time to Have a Serum Cortisol Test?
Cortisol tests include a urinalysis. A blood cortisol test is the preferred method. The serum cortisol test is affordable and renders accurate result quickly. The results can also reveal if you suffer from Addison’s disease or Cushing’s disease.
A high cortisol level shows:
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Anorexia nervosa
- Abdominal distention
- Chronic pain
- Metabolic syndrome
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Bulimia nervosa
- End state kidney disease
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Terminal states
- Shift (graveyard or swingshift) which causes an imbalance in circadian rhythm
- Diabetes mellitus
- State of intoxication among non-drinking people
- Emotional stress
- Life changes (death in the family, bankruptcy, relocation, divorce)
Low Cortisol concentration may mean:
- Primary adrenocortical hypofunction
- Addison’s disease
- Mood swing (bipolar behavior)
- Libido alterations (sex drive decreases or increases)
- Lack of menstruation
- Skin permutation
- Muscle degeneration
Cortisol Supplement: Kinds and Purposes
Supplements govern low cortisol. You can choose from nutritional and pharmaceutical variations. Nutritional cortisol supplements have a mild effect and are appropriate for long-term intake. They include adaptogens, DHEA supplements, steroid supplements, and phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine is believed the best with few side effects.
Pharmaceutical cortisol supplements include cortisone and hydrocortisone meds. Cortisone or hydrocortisone is a pharmaceutical name of cortisol medications, which refer to the group of glucocorticoids. They are produced in different drug forms: cream, pills, suppositories, inhalers, oral solutions, and injections. Cortisol cream, pills, and injections are available in different dosages. Even a small dosage can have a dramatic and life-altering effect on a person’s endocrine system so it is imperative they be only used while under the care of a physician such as an endocrinologist. To reduce the chance of side effects, it is important to adjust the dose and duration of hormones accordingly. Long-term treatment with cortisol medications is usually prescribed alongside testosterone supplements to maintain a balance and prevent any deficiencies. Consume foods rich in protein. Limit the use of carbohydrates and salt.
When patients have signs of high cortisol, doctors usually try natural inhibitors such as enough rest and sleep, more positive emotions, regular and adequate nutrition, and exercise. It’s a well-known fact that testosterone and cortisol are closely interrelated since if cortisol is elevated, testosterone concentration decreases, and vice versa. That’s why all these methods play the role of a natural testosterone booster, which decreases a cortisol level.
Most sportsmen and bodybuilders prefer to take steroids as a quick way to increase their testosterone level thus decreasing a cortisol level. This method is very effective but has a great number of contraindications.
Cortisol Cream: Assignment, Advantages, and Disadvantages
Cortisol in the form of a cream is a steroid drug for external use. It’s usually taken as an antihistamine drug. The concentration of the active moiety is not over 2.5% of cortisone. Creams treat:
- Inflammatory conditions of the eyeball such as uveitis (after the eye surgery as well)
- Insect stings from wasps, bees, yellow jackets, mud dabbers, honeybees, ants, horseflies, or spiders
- Atrophic rhinorrhea
Long-term cortisol use may damage collagen, which will reduce the elasticity of the skin and make it more delicate. Steroid cream often causes an allergic reaction and increases skin sensitivity. Blood vessels become damaged leading to premature aging.
They prescribe cortisol pills for Addison’s disease and adrenogenital syndrome. Also, they are used for some allergic, inflammatory, infectious-allergic, autoimmune diseases.
All Cortisol pills are for internal use. Usually, a daily dose is divided in 2:
1. 6-8am – a patient has to take 2/3 of the daily dose;
2. 17-18pm – a patient takes the rest 1/3 dose.
With a threat of stress, the daily dose is increased 2-3 times and is prescribed in 3-4 doses (in 6-8 hours).
Cortisol Injections: Types and Assignment
There are some types of injections of cortisol aimed at regulating the immune system or decreasing inflammation. Types of cortisol injections include:
- Local injections: intra-articular and epidural
All cortisol hormonal injections are exceptionally strong. Therefore, only the attending physician after a thorough examination can prescribe these injections. The instructions for use contain only general information. Dosage, treatment, and duration of therapy are determined strictly on a per person basis. Your doctor advises patients which type of cortisone injection is best for them, based on their diagnosis, age, medical history, general health, and possibly their personal preferences.
When may Cortisol Shots do Harm?
As it was already said, cortisol injections are potent medications. They have several limits and contraindications. Like almost any hormonal drug, the cortisol shots can lead to the development of some adverse reactions, including serious ones. One of the most serious after-effects may be connected with the excessive elevation of cortisol levels which diminishes the level of free testosterone in the blood. For both men and women, it may cause weight gain, fatigue, a decrease in muscle mass, depression and insomnia, The most frightening after-effects for men are erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation. Low testosterone in women results in loss of a menstrual cycle, lack of ovulation, and infertility.
But they observed the most complications only with a chronic administration of cortisol shots and large doses. Lower dose injections are unlikely to cause such serious disturbances in the body.