For people suffering from Orthostatic Intolerance, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, Mast Cell Activtation or EDS. Follow me as I document my struggle towards better health.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Hormones

I recently wrote a post about a study on POTS and Menstruation which examined the link between the follicular phase of the menstruation cycle and worsening of POTS and OI symptoms.  What the study serves to highlight is the link between our hormones, renal-adrenal activity and the symptoms of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia and Orthostatic Intolerance.

Should we all go racing out to the local pharmacy to find hormone creams to try to manage the ups and downs of our hormones?  Well,  you may want to read a previous blog post "To Use or Not to Use Medications"; which explores whether by interfering with the body's natural adaptive ability we may run the risk of further complications.

If you have POTS or OI you may be extremely sensitive to caffeine, drugs such as cold medication and even certain substances in make-up and personal care products.  In my case, I am also very sensitive to birth control pills to the point where I decided, after 3 months on a "low-dose" variety, to discontinue use.

Three "Ifs"

  1. If we know that hormone levels can effect our renal-adrenal activity and increase/decrease POTS/OI symptoms,
  2. If we are concerned that interfering with our body's natural adaptive capability through medical interventions could add further complications, and
  3. If we know that we are very sensitive to medications (such as birth control pills), then...
...we may want to proceed with extreme caution when looking at using synthetic or bio-identical hormones.
Too Late?
Well guess what?  There may already be significant interference with our body's hormones. See this PDF from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy called "Smart Guide: Hormones in the Food system".  The paper describes a number of hormonal contaniments which are now in our food system such as:
  • Hormone growth promoters given to food animals
  • Hormone-active pesticides sprayed on food crops 
  • Hormone plastic additives in food packaging
  • Hormone disruptors that build up in the food chain - e.g., brominated flame retardants (PBDEs)
Removing Hormonal Contaniments may be Beneficial?
 There appears to be more and more research being performed to examine the effects on humans of hormones in our food supply.  While government regulators and agricultural lobby groups fight it out, I am playing it safe.
Recommendations from the IATP for reducing the amount of artificial hormones that we ingest:

  1. Eat low fat meats and dairy products.
  2. Eat certified organic where possible
  3. Avoid pesticide hormones (peel your fruits)
  4. Use hormone-free cans and bottles (instead of plastics)

Could be good advice for anyone whose condition may include sensitivity to hormone levels.  ;-)


  1. I cannot stress enough about the connection between DIET and HORMONES. Insulin is your most abundant and readily available hormone in the body. It controls and affects all the others (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, adrenal, etc). About 3 months ago I decided to only focus on controlling insulin. I did this by eliminating anything that would cause it to spike which then always results in a crash. Bascially anything that is high glycemic including even fruits that are higher on the scale such as bananas. I don't eat grains, sugar, or high glycemic fruits. I eat meat, vegetables, eggs, good fats are essential (olive oil, avocado, pastured raw butter) and low glycemic fruits (berries).

    Just this alone along with increasing low Vitamin D levels and increasing antioxidant levels (wheatgrass, greens first, etc) I have come leaps and bounds in just 3 short months. I think this is why I am not having the major fatigue and recovery periods that some have when first starting Dr. Levine's protocol.

    I mainly agree with this post except all meat consumed should come from organic grass fed animals. All pastuerized dairy has de-natured proteins and essential enzymes and cultures are removed even if it is organic or low fat, so for the most part anything other than raw dairy is not healthy and is usually an allergen for most. All fruits and vegetable should be organic with exception of the clean fifteen as peeling the outside is eliminating vital nutrients and probably doesn't eliminate much of the pesticide anyway.

    I feel like diet is an essential piece of the puzzle when trying to recover from debilitating POTS!

  2. I have been battling POTS and CFS for over a year now. I've created a blog to help raise awareness to these illnesses. Research for these are very little and bringing awareness will help to increase research for potential cures and fighting agaisnts POTS and CFS. Please Join and Help spread the word!
    xoxo Kristen

  3. I have been a POTS sufferer for over 15 years. The episodes esculated when I was pre menopausal. Since the onset of menopause, a slow decline in the number of episodes has been obvious and now, after two years of menopause, the POTS has become less frequent, less intense and manageable. I have a better awareness of a drop in bllod pressure which allows me an opportunity to lay down (instead of fall down) get my feet up/head elevated and drink an electrolite drink. Research for POTS should be focused on the link based on the role hormones affects the balance.

    1. Dear You, you are writing what I have been thinking! I was diagnosed with POTS about 7 months ago but I have had it much longer in moderate version. I do feel as well that my symptoms are strongly connected to hormones and especially to my menstrual cycle. I am 39 now - so, long way to go til menopause but at least I must not fear it so as many women do ;-) I also have uterine fibroids and I had hormone treatment to reduce the rapid growth and durin the second 3 moth treatment period my POTS went crazy. And even doctors say there is no evidence, I do believe that was one of the reasons that activated my POTS. It was a rather new drug Esmya which is blocking receptors for progesterone. So, there you are! I do help it's getting better in time, though. And thank you for giving me new hope!

  4. Thanks for posting this. I'm 51 and I was diagnosed with POTS over a year ago. It's been a harrowing nightmare, and I've always wondered if there wasn't some underlying hormonal reason for this problem -- given my age. Thanks for giving me hope that my health may be manageable again at some point in the future.