How to Recognize and Treat Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is real, although we often don’t know what that means and rarely do we blame our fatigue on the adrenals. Most people likely don’t even know they have adrenal glands or where they might be. So it’s not surprising that many symptoms directly related to adrenal fatigue go untreated.
(FYI: The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can’t live without, including cortisol and adrenaline which allow your body to spring into action in a stressful situation). If you have adrenal gland disorders, you make too much — or not enough — of these vital hormones. Either way, there are bound to be health consequences such as the following symptoms.
Do You Have Two or More of These Symptoms?
- Dizziness when standing up
- Moody or become agitated easily
- Sweet cravings
- Weight gain and difficulty losing it especially around the waist
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Dry and thin skin
- Unexplained hair loss
- Low blood sugars
- Low body temperature
- Reduced sex drive
- Mild depression
- Infections that tend to last longer than usual
- Low thyroid symptoms (cold hands/feet, thinning hair, and low body temp)
- Low immune function (get sick easily)
- Chronic pain/fibromyalgia-like symptoms
- PMS/menopausal symptoms (your adrenals produce a significant portion of sex hormone)
If you do have two or more symptoms, there is good chance your adrenals are unbalanced and are in need of support.
Fifty Shades of Adrenal Dysfunction
Has your doctor told you that you do not have adrenal fatigue? That may be true, but your symptoms can be a powerful indicator that you have an adrenal imbalance. Such an imbalance can become unbearable and make you feel helpless.
This is why I don’t like the word adrenal fatigue. A lot of people confuse adrenal fatigue with adrenal dysfunction. True adrenal fatigue is called Addison’s disease, which occurs when there is an autoimmune attack on the adrenal glands themselves. The tissue is destroyed to the point that the adrenals are barely functioning. The cortisol becomes so low that it could be deadly. At the other end of the spectrum is Cushing’s disease. This is when the adrenals are constantly producing too much cortisol.
Cortisol production is supposed to follow your daily circadian rhythm. That means healthy adrenals make more in the morning and taper off as the day goes on. Even minor variations from a healthy circadian rhythm can cause real symptoms. However, conventional medicine only recognizes two adrenal diseases, Addison’s and Cushing’s, which are both at the opposite ends of the spectrum. The majority of people with adrenal dysfunction may not reach the criteria to be diagnosed with one of these diseases. Traditional medicine dismisses these people even though their symptoms can be extreme and make it a struggle to get through each day.
Matters can get even worse for women who are starting menopause or are already in it. Once you go into menopause, the ovaries shut down and the adrenals become a backup generator for the production of your sex hormones. The back up generator is not designed to handle this work load on its own. This could magnify both your adrenal and menopausal symptoms.
Now you can understand why supporting your adrenals really helps protect this hormone cascade. Plus hormones aren’t just needed to make babies, but they are also essential to reproduce every cell in your body—hair, skin, nails, muscle, tissue, bones. So in order to age gracefully, you must have strong adrenals.
Yes, it’s possible to fix the adrenals
It starts with tests to pinpoint the root cause of your adrenal imbalance. We can then interpret these results to structure a customized healing program for you. LivingYoung takes a 4-pronged approach on how we assess adrenal function.
#1 Assess your cortisol rhythm. The communication between the hypothalamus and pituitary to the adrenals is key.
#2 Are your adrenals making enough hormones to support function?
#3 How quickly are you metabolizing the adrenal hormones?
#4 Are your sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone at their optimal levels?
If you want to finally get to the bottom of what is causing your symptoms, take the first step and call us about getting tested for adrenal fatigue.