Adrenal fatigue, menopause, and histamine intolerance

A couple of months ago I said I understood that menopause was causing my high histamine levels and therefore my histamine intolerance, but that I wanted to know what the underlying cause was. I wanted to know what system was being affected to cause the imbalance. Today, I think I finally understand it all.

If you’ve read any of my blog, you know that I am taking many different supplements and have recently discovered the benefits of olive oil. I’ve been practically itch free the last couple of weeks.

So I started to research what system the olive oil might be affecting. I stumbled over an article about olive oil helping adrenal fatigue. You’d think at this point I’d get it and research that, but it took me a day to put all the words together: menopause, adrenal fatigue, histamine intolerance. And then I found it. An article that talks specifically about how adrenal fatigue and menopause work together to exhaust your body to the point of having all kinds of problems. Now I don’t believe in reading one article and stopping there. But this one really explains it all succinctly. I have since researched and found many more articles to back up what this one is saying. I think the site sells women’s products, and I am not endorsing any of that. I am only sending you to read what has become a beacon on my histamine horizon!

Here’s an excerpt from the site:

As women enter perimenopause, the adrenal–reproductive hormone connection becomes even more pronounced. Here’s why: your adrenals are responsible for so much more than pumping out stress hormones. One of their secondary jobs is to make and release sex hormones, to pick up the slack as production in your ovaries tapers off. If you’ve spent the bulk of your adrenal resources on chronic stress, by the time you reach perimenopause there’s little reserve for keeping peace in the sex-hormone camp. This is why adrenal imbalance can sometimes lead to worsening menopausal symptoms.

Here’s a simplified scenario of what happens when a woman who has been stressed-out for many years transitions into menopause:

  • The brain perceives stress.
  • The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released by the adrenals to help the body respond to the stressful event — whether it’s emotional or physical.
  • This occurs daily over many years, cortisol remains continually high, and symptoms of adrenal imbalance result.
  • During perimenopause, the ovaries naturally slow down production of sex hormones.
  • Under stressful circumstances, the adrenals moderate stress first, leaving very few resources for maintaining sex hormonal balance.
  • Menopausal and adrenal symptoms are intensified.

Now you must understand that the medical community at large does not believe in adrenal fatigue. The Mayo Clinic’s site basically rejects the idea because it is not really measurable. It’s only measurable if you have way too much or way too little production from the adrenal glands. So if you subscribe to what allopathic medicine touts, than the idea of adrenal fatigue is hokum. They believe you either have Addison’s or Cushing’s disease and nothing in between.

I,  personally, believe in adrenal fatigue. The adrenals, little glands that sit on top of the kidneys, are part of the endocrine system and the endocrine system is what controls hormones. Why can’t those glands function less-than optimally and throw things out of whack?

I think this is also why olive leaf extract was the one thing I kept coming back to as the thing that was making me feel better. Many people suggest its use for adrenal fatigue.

I’m certainly not going to stop researching the link between histamine intolerance and menopause. And I’m still going to add to my research about adrenal fatigue. But right now, I’m happy to have a direction to travel in. I can’t stress enough the positive effects olive oil has had on controlling my intolerance, and it is olive oil that is leading me in this direction, so I am hopeful I can offer a real healing solution to the menopause histamine connection.

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Posted in Women's health
8 comments on “Adrenal fatigue, menopause, and histamine intolerance
  1. Cazza says:

    Really interested in your website as I have been having a bit of a hard time of it. I was under a lot of stress last year, recently married, husband not able to find work, moving house and a very stressful job. I am hypothyroid (have been for 15 years, well controlled on levothyroxine). Also had the mirena coil fitted 1½ years ago due to flooding (worked like a miracle) – I had been severely anaemic prior to it being fitted. I started getting hot flashes and insomnia last year, thought it must be due to perimenopause (I am 49) and lived with it (even joked about it!). Then, in the course of some routine dental treatment I had a severe reaction to lignocaine, having been ok with it previously. As a result I was allergy tested for lignocaine. Part of the patch testing last December involved a scratch test with histamine . Bizarrely later that day, two days later and a week after that I suffered severe panic attacks (shaking, high pulse and blood pressure) and my body went into some sort of freefall, with severe anxiety (lump in throat, not wanting to leave the house), really bad itching all over and swelling (hands, feet, ears) as well as IBS. All these symptoms were completely new to me; it was a really scary time.

    I took some time off work and the doctors did extensive tests on my adrenals and thyroid which all came back normal, although the cortisol seemed a bit high. The tests did confirm my FSH had been high at the time the ‘freefall’ happened. I took advice from a nutritionist who confirmed that the symptoms could be linked to adrenal fatigue and gave some dietary advice. She was also very interested in the histamine connection but could find very little data on it. I completely cut out caffeine and alcohol (black tea was especially problematic, even decaf) and most importantly processed foods (including all smoked food and processed meat like bacon and ham) and little by little over 3 months I recovered. I take Vit C every day as a natural antihistamine. I’ve concluded I’ve been pushing myself too hard with work, not really eating properly for quite a few years (too many convenience foods, no proper breakfast during the cortisol ‘high’ hours etc). I find cooking from scratch has really helped and is relaxing too. I still itch most days but it’s not bad and the swelling only comes very occasionally. The sweats and hot flushes have more or less stopped though I do get hot at night now and then (usually linked to being lazy with the histamine diet interestingly). I think it’s just a case of taking your foot off the pedal a bit and respecting what you eat. I have given up my stressful job and am looking for part time work. It helps that my husband has been very supportive throughout.

    The other support that has been invaluable is forums / blogs like this – it is surprising how little GPs, docs etc ‘connect the dots’ and issues like histamine and adrenal fatigue are a complete no-no for them. Menopause in particular is poorly understood and treated in the UK. I would have been medicated to the eyeballs if I hadn’t taken other advice!!

    Thank you so much for all the info and advice – it really helps! 🙂

    • I’m glad you’ve found us! I think knowing that there are others going through similar challenges is so important to maintaining a positive attitude. We’ve had a few funny observations and comments that only another histamine intolerant person could see the humor in.

      I’ve read that panic attacks can be an offshoot of histamine intolerance. So can depression. And the thinking is that it just may be many psychiatric issues are brought on by histamine intolerance. But I’m pretty confident to say any doctor would prescribe a pill way before a new diet!

      I encourage you, if you are not already doing so, to keep a food diary. You really shouldn’t be itching at all if you are controlling your histamine levels. And remember, itching indicates inflammation and a dysfunctional immune system response, and inflammation is bad for your entire system, so you need to really work on figuring out what’s making you itch. And if you are like me and needed a bit of help to get those levels down, you might want to try a supplement like Quercetin in addition to the Vitamin C.

      Funny enough, I started doing some research into cortisone because I had had a shot in my shoulder a couple of years ago and reacted very badly to it. I think it’s lidocaine that they put into it as the anesthetic. It was over two years ago, but I’ve often wondered about what havoc that shot wreaked on my body and if there could have been long-term damage. I had vertigo, hot flashes, and leg spasms for months after that shot. And I never ever take anything, except for Advil for headaches. But I was in desperate pain and wasn’t thinking straight. Interestingly enough, as I’ve started to research this , NSAIDS such as Advil have popped up in the list of things you should never touch if you don’t want to wreck your body! The list is endless into why our bodies are in the shape they’re in.

      And then top it all off with menopause…

      • Carol says:

        Tried to post this once but it didn’t work so apologies if it’s duplicated. You might find that the reaction to lignocaine was due to the adrenaline that is normally combined with it. You can ask for lignocaine without adrenaline which is what I do and I’m fine with it. People with adrenal problems often don’t produce enough cortisol which counteracts adrenaline. I have ME and this is a known issue for people with ME. I’m fine with lignocaine on it’s own. Dentists and surgeons have always been happy to comply. Hope this helps.

  2. Teresa says:

    So, if one could keep the reaction to the histamines down to allow the body a breather from the inflammation it creates, supplement to build the adrenals, and hopefully bring balance back to the hormones, then it stands to reason that the body could begin the healing process from the leaky gut that may have developed, and hence the reactions to foods might be considerably eased. Well, that’s my theory anyway. I know this would be a long process in itself, but doable. Am I on the right track?

  3. Cindy Paulits says:

    Yes. Cortisol is necessary to suppress histamine release. As adrenals are further stressed, cortisol drops leading to high histamine levels.

  4. Laura Combs says:

    Once again, excellent research. Thank you for your time and efforts!

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