Gluten Intolerance & PMS – What’s the Association?

on Apr 18
by Dr. Vikki Petersen | Print the article |

What Body Part Normalizes Hormones & Performs Anti-Aging?

There’s a part of the body responsible for creating energy, maintaining ideal weight, balancing mood and hormones, reducing pain and promoting anti-aging; it’s called the adrenal gland(s). In our stressful world, normalizing adrenal function is an integral part of the job of clinical nutritionists. It is also integral to restoring health in the person suffering from gluten intolerance, as adrenal fatigue is one of the  secondary effects that gluten creates.

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and release hormones into the bloodstream.

Adrenal Fatigue Causes Many Problems

When the adrenal glands become exhausted from chronic stress, they cannot keep up with all the demands made upon them and a breakdown of systems occurs. This then leads to fatigue, depression, loss of libido and hormonal imbalance symptoms such as PMS, migraines, cramping and mood swings, to name a few.

How Does Gluten Intolerance Add to Adrenal Stress?

Gluten intolerance is responsible for placing stress on the adrenal glands due to the inflammatory response created in  the digestive tract of an individual who has gluten intolerance.. If the inflammatory reaction happened only occasionally it wouldn’t typically upset the adrenals’ ability to function optimally. But in patients with gluten intolerance, this inflammation occurs every time they eat any gluten, which can be several times per day.

Thereby the adrenals are stressed by all the inflammation gluten is creating in the intestines. When this stress becomes chronic many symptoms are created due to a phenomenon called “adrenal exhaustion”.

Under normal conditions the adrenals make a hormone that is the basic building block of the sex hormones. Specifically the hormones, DHEA, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, need to be maintained in proper balance to prevent such conditions as PMS, anxiety and infertility, to name a few.

So the key point here is that when your body has been under chronic stress it is forced to make a decision: It can get you through the day, putting one foot in front of the other, or it can make adequate amounts of sex hormones. It can’t do both because it’s too stressed.

When put in this situation, your body decides that the most pro-survival thing to do is to get you through the day, to the detriment of making sex hormones. The insufficient production of hormones does not initially occur evenly across the board however and progesterone tends to fall more dramatically (especially in the child-bearing years) than does estrogen resulting in a net estrogen dominance.

The symptoms of a net estrogen dominance are such things as:

• cramping

• heavy bleeding

• menstrual irregularity

• endometriosis

• polycystic ovaries

• fibrocystic breasts

• migraines


A major symptom of progesterone deficiency beyond the above is infertility and miscarriage, along with depression and anxiety.

In sum, the presence of gluten intolerance and its resultant stress upon the adrenal glands is common but rarely diagnosed. Millions of women therefore suffer with symptoms that are correctable with often something as simple as diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes.

The exciting aspect of treating both gluten sensitivity and adrenal exhaustion is that neither one requires drugs or surgery. The treatment is completely natural.

There are lab tests available that test for diagnosing gluten intolerance as well as adrenal fatigue. We would be more than happy to assist you in this area.

Our Destination Clinic sees patients from across the country as well as internationally. We are here to help.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Permission is granted to re-post this article in its entirety with credit to Dr Vikki Petersen & HealthNOW Medical Center and a clickable link back to this page. Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN is founder of HealthNOW Medical Center and the author of “The Gluten Effect”.  She has been featured in national magazines, international medical journals and is a frequent headlined speaker.

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