Case Studies: HPA Axis and the Gut


The HPA axis is the body's stress response system. Acute stress prompts the HPA axis to trigger a systemic hormonal cascade which enables us to react quickly to imminent danger and/or adapt to a situation immediately. This 'fight or flight' response is vital to our survival. However, in today's society, stress is more often chronic. The HPA axis doesn't distinguish between acute or chronic stress—the hormonal response is identical. Because of this, chronic stress results in a repetitive and continuous stress hormone cascade which impacts every system in the body. A patient who is in this constant sympathetic state experiences symptoms that can be vague and seemingly unrelated, even across multiple organ systems.

In this one-hour, case-based webinar, the clinician will learn how to approach the commonly encountered stressed out and fatigued patient. We will discuss the interplay of the HPA axis and the gut, focusing on treating patients with long-standing GI complaints.

Learning Objectives

  • Review relationship between the HPA Axis and the GI
  • Discuss interpretation and application of laboratory results
  • Remember primary goals when treating complex patients

Michelle Maddux, NDMichelle Maddux, ND

Michelle Maddux, ND, received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She is completing additional certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine.

Dr. Maddux focuses on the areas of nutrition, integrative medicine, adolescent medicine, and eating disorders. She is the Senior Manager of Medical Education at Genova Diagnostics where she loves to provide educational support to physicians, train the Medical Education team and oversee Events for Medical Affairs.

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