Why do I Feel Disconnected? The Cortisol-Oxytocin Connection

Do you feel stressed, tired, lonely and disconnected from your relationships with others and even yourself?

Do you prefer to stay home rather than socialize?

Have you walked by people you know and didn’t say hi, not because they annoy you but because you didn’t want to interact?

Are you missing the warmth of love and connection?

Do You Just Not Have The Energy to Connect?

If you or anybody else you know has ever felt this way and are struggling with what to do about it then read on! (Especially if you are holding an energy drink in your hand right now!)

What if I told you that feeling this way is more than likely NOT your fault? More importantly, what if I told you that there’s something that you can do about it NOW!


The answer is in your body’s BIOLOGY. And get this… your biology helps drive your behavior. That’s right.. to a large extent your internal physiological and biological processes, play a huge role in effecting your actions, your thoughts, and your feelings.

The effects of chronic stress can literally empty our tanks and throw us way off balance.  It is very possible that two of the most important hormones in your body - cortisol and oxytocin - are waging war on each other and wreaking havoc on your life!

Let Me Explain How The War Between Cortisol And Oxytocin Works

Meet cortisol – one of your life-saving hormones - is an immediate responder in times of danger and stress. It's our body’s natural anti-inflammatory hormone. Its role is to protect our bodies from inflammation. So the intentions of this hormone are good. However, often times, this hormone stays on too long.

We live in a stressful world and this hormone is working overtime to combat this stress on a daily basis. That’s where the problem begins. So although this hormone for all intents and purposes is good…. if it’s on all of the time it then becomes a huge problem and can actually damage our body and knock our bodies “out of balance.” It becomes the Rocky Balboa of hormones!

A perfect example of someone who runs on excess cortisol is a person who takes a vacation (relieving the chronic stress of our day to day world) and for some odd reason immediately gets a cold. That happens because the cortisol that has been working overtime in your day to day life was naturally suppressing inflammation and inflammation makes you sick. Take that stress away, cortisol goes down… and boom any underlying inflammation flares up.

Sickness is just the beginning of the excess cortisol hit list.


Chronic high cortisol can also lead to rapid aging, loneliness, depression, adrenal fatigue and burnout and then chronically low levels of cortisol. This translates into inflammation taking over. And that, my friend, translates into rapid aging. Yuck!  It also becomes easier to disconnect, detach, walk away and not look back. These symptoms are also a sign of low oxytocin.

Then there is Oxytocin - Oxytocin is the powerful hormone of love, bonding and connection. It’s the hormone we release in abundance during childbirth that overflows as we look into the eyes of our newborn. It is also released in abundance with orgasm, laughter, play, hugging and giving. It’s the twinkle in your eyes and the smile on your face hormone! Yes! The peace, love and granola anti-aging hormone!

Well, no surprise. Oxytocin and cortisol have a love-hate relationship. Oxytocin and cortisol oppose each other. They are the two boxers in a ring, or the two kids on a seesaw. When one goes up, the other is forced to go down. The key is balancing the two.

Although I've helped thousands of women balance their hormones, making this connection (no pun intended), was a big A-HA! It is the KEY to living full and happy lives.

How Did I learn To Create A Hormone And Quality Of Life Balance?

This is where it gets personal. I struggled significantly myself and when nothing in my doctor’s bag fixed the problem, I sought out another solution to save myself AND my family.

You see, several years ago, my family and I were traumatized when my son passed away in a tragic accident. We all experienced PTSD and I became clinically depressed, stressed to the max, sleepless, inflamed, infertile and hormone imbalanced to say the least.

I needed to find a way to live again for my family and myself. So I left my medical practice and we traveled the world… it was our healing journey. I came back pregnant, ready to make a new start. My children were healthy and happy and excited about our new baby. That was incredible. However, despite my enormous progress, I was still disconnected from myself and from my husband… and my marriage ended.

That loss allowed me to make a transformative discovery. I now recognize that chronic stress and PTSD triggered the cortisol-oxytocin disconnect and it made me unconsciously walk away from things and people I loved. Simply put, I walked away because cortisol WON.

horseback riding and enjoying family

That discovery has since allowed me to help thousands of clients struggling with a similar disconnect. I was able to recognize the symptoms in their lives as being one of a cortisol-oxytocin battle. And we were able to recognize it, and take action to prevent it’s disconnecting consequences before it was too late. The key is in understanding that the beauty in life is when oxytocin wins and that’s what I teach you to do.

You Need To Put Oxytocin In The Winner’s Circle

To create more oxytocin in your life: hug, laugh, play, look into someone’s eyes and smile, orgasm, give gratitude and thanks, get and play with a pet, stay in the present, control the stress we can and manage our thoughts around the stress we can’t control. Make a proactive effort to carve out time in each day to connect and reduce your stress.

Unfortunately,  if you are like many women who are in perimenopause or menopause, not having enough hormone balance (both with cortisol-oxytocin as well as your female reproductive hormones such as estrogen) can be causing you many other physical and emotional symptoms that further impact your relationship.

Physical symptoms such as dryness and irritation "down there", pain during intercourse, incontinence... along with the hot flashes and mood swings. Research shows that many of us actually start to feel negative about ourselves as we suffer from these symptoms which also impacts our closeness with our partner.

How Can I Learn More About Addressing These Symptoms And The Lack Of Connection?

First, educate yourselfRead the posts on my blog focused on what is happening to your hormones as you age… it will give you insights into why you are experiencing so many physical symptoms in perimenopause and menopause.

Also, take my fun oxytocin (secret hormone) quiz to see the level of oxytocin you are enjoying. Are you happy or surprised by your results?

If physical symptoms are prohibiting you from a close sexual relationship with your partner, read up on how I developed a restorative cream to address these types of frequent hormone based sexual health issues (incontinence, pain during intercourse, dryness and irritation...).

And don't give up! There are many easy steps you can take to improve your life and your relationships.

And never forget to...

Pause. Breathe. Smile... Connect!

Watch my free webinar to learn more about the life changes you can make to be oxytocin-rich and in balance.

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Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna Cabeca

Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine expert and founder of The Girlfriend Doctor. During Dr. Anna’s health journey, she turned to research to create products to help thousands of women through menopause, hormones, and sexual health. She is the author of best-selling The Hormone Fix, and Keto-Green 16 and MenuPause.

Learn more about my scientific advisory board.