Q: Why Is An Accurate Diagnosis So Important
A: Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue doesnt truly explain whats going on in your body, which can lead to misdiagnosis, mistreatment and unpleasant side effects. Even more concerning: A diagnosis of adrenal fatigue can potentially mask something else going on in your body something that should be further explored with your care team.
Sometimes, patients who have been misdiagnosed with adrenal fatigue are prescribed prednisone or advised to purchase expensive adrenal supplements to replace the cortisol that is presumed to be missing. But patients experience no benefits from taking these medications and in fact, taking prednisone can result in negative side effects and could ultimately even suppress your bodys own ability to produce cortisol.
Often, it turns out that patients misdiagnosed with adrenal fatigue actually have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome , a surprisingly common condition. Patients may also have various underlying illnesses, making a thorough workup with your primary care team a vital part of your care plan.
Its very important that doctors spend enough time gathering your history details and performing tests before diagnosing the problem and beginning treatment. Sometimes, we can start to help a patient immediately by making modifications to their diet, prescribing an exercise regimen and/or recommending specific supplements.
How To Know If You Have Adrenal Fatigue & What To Do About It
How do you know you have adrenal fatigue? I mean, aren’t we all tired? In my experience, it’s really easy to shrug off the signs of adrenal fatigue and just push through, but that can make things much, much worse over time and can start to negatively affect your entire hormonal system. That’s what happened to me, and it brought me to my knees. I implore you to educate yourself about he signs and symptoms and do what you can to be proactive to begin the healing and make the lifestyle changes that adrenal fatigue requires in order to resolve. Adrenal fatigue is a loud and clear message from your body that things are not well.
Address The Root Causes Of Your Fatigue
Overcoming your fatigue is about addressing the true underlying causes. You may need some help figuring out what these are. Once you know where your fatigue is coming from, focusing on your digestion, your thyroid health, your iron levels, your diet, or your unique stressors can have you feeling energetic again in no time.
Don’t Miss: How To Test For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
You Feel Exhausted After Working Out
Exercise should make you feel more energized, it shouldn’t make you exhausted and fatigued afterwards. Physical stress can be troublesome for your adrenal glands – too much exercise can actually do the opposite of what you want. If your workouts make you feel drained for the rest of the day what youre doing isnt working for your body right now. Switch up your routine when youre feeling overworked to begin with, take part in lower-intensity exercises to create more balance. Dont underestimate the power of a nature walk, pilates, and an at-home yoga session. Support yourself in feeling better, not worse.
Adrenal Fatigue: Signs Symptoms And How To Heal
Are you experiencing brain fog? Irritability? Extreme fatigue? Poor sleep? Or do you just not feel like yourself? You could be experiencing adrenal fatigue. Dont worry, though, you are not alone, and you can heal!
Adrenal fatigue comes from an overstimulation of the adrenal glands brought on by chronic stress. The adrenal glands are small organs above the kidneys. They release cortisol when responding to stress, and they help to regulate blood pressure. Some stress is normal and actually necessary to be an active participant in society, but too much stress that is not managed for a prolonged period of time is not what we want. We need to keep our adrenals healthy!
- Negative thinking
- Food sensitivities
- Simply rest more
- Be kind to yourself
There are herbs and supplements that can be beneficial for someone trying to heal from adrenal fatigue, but I recommend that you work with a medical provider to figure out which ones are right for you. For instance, ashwaganda made my symptoms worse and is commonly recommended for adrenal fatigue. I will say that magnesium has helped me by calming my nervous system down, especially at night. Again, I dont recommend that you take things blindly.
As a health coach, I help people reach their health and wellness goals. If reducing stress is a goal of yours, I would love to see you!
You May Like: Adrenal Fatigue And Hair Loss
Difficulty Getting Up Each Morning Even After A Long Sleep
As we discuss in The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, one of the major causes of Adrenal Fatigue is getting insufficient sleep. Getting more rest is, therefore, one of the best ways to recover. However, when suffering from Adrenal Fatigue many patients wake up extremely tired and foggy, even after getting a long sleep. This can be caused by one of two factors.
Adrenal Fatigue sufferers in the early stages of their condition tend to be under significant stress, and therefore their adrenaline and cortisol levels are high. This interrupts the natural 24-hour cycle of cortisol levels, leading to a state of alertness in the evening that prevents restful sleep.
Those Adrenal Fatigue sufferers who are at a later stage of the condition will have consistently lower levels of cortisol. However, their blood sugar will tend to be much lower during the early morning . Your body realizes its hungry and forces you to wake up. Many Adrenal Fatigue sufferers are chronic late-night snackers for exactly this reason. You can get a better nights sleep by improving your sleep hygiene.
You Might Have Adrenal Fatigue Heres How To Treat It Naturally
- Your adrenal glands are two nickel-sized glands, just above your kidneys. Adrenals produce and control cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Adrenal fatigue comes from chronic stress. When you push your body and mind too hard, your adrenals stop producing cortisol the way they should.
- Signs of adrenal fatigue are low energy, trouble sleeping, weight gain, mood swings, depression, anxiety, brain fog, and autoimmune issues. Get an adrenal fatigue test to know for sure.
- The best adrenal fatigue treatment is stress management. Some of your best biohacking tools are the Bulletproof Diet, sleep hacking, anti-stress supplements, meditation, and possibly changing your caffeine intake.
Balanced adrenal glands are a key part of being Bulletproof. Your adrenals create and regulate cortisol, which makes them essential for hacking stress. When your adrenals work the way they should, you become more resilient, and you have a much easier time taking on lifes challenges.
But if youre overwhelmed by chronic stress, your adrenals can get burnt out from constantly producing cortisol. The result is adrenal fatigue. Your natural cortisol rhythm becomes irregular sometimes you produce too much cortisol, sometimes not enough and you can struggle to make other hormones, like androstenedione .
Adrenal fatigue is real, and its something you can treat.
Lets talk about the signs of adrenal fatigue, what causes it, how to stop it from happening, and how to treat it.
Don’t Miss: Reasons For Fatigue And Tiredness
What Supplements Help Adrenal Fatigue
There are several categories of supplements that can help to treat adrenal fatigue. They should be used in combination with lifestyle changes like avoiding stress, improving diet, and getting more sleep.
There are a few basic nutrients that are particularly important for supporting the adrenal glands and HPA axis, especially during times of stress. These include vitamins B5, B6, and B12, vitamin C, and magnesium. Omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, and probiotics can also be tremendously supportive during this time.
Herbal supplements can be useful for regulating cortisol levels and moderating the stress response. These include ashwagandha, licorice, Rhodiola rosea, Siberian ginseng, and maca.
For the best results, discuss your supplementation with your healthcare professional. Here is some more information on supplements for adrenal fatigue.
The Beginning Stage Adrenal Fatigue
You can see how this constant triggering of the adrenals over time results in overworked and underperforming adrenal gland function. I was at this stage for years. I depended on my coffee to get me going in the morning and again later in the day to keep me going. After my kids were born I became chronically sleep deprived and pushed myself to learn to live with it. certain days I’d fine, others I’d bone tired, and still others I’d feel wired.
Does this beginning stage sound familiar to you, too? It’s at this stage where you ideally need to start making permanent lifestyle changes to avoid the more serious implications of adrenal fatigue. Eating better, getting more sleep, quitting coffee, and making real changes to minimize chronic stress can really help.
Also Check: Upper Back Pain And Fatigue
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue And What Are The Symptoms
Less common symptoms are believed to include: Any kind of excess stress causes the adrenals to increase cortisol production. Adrenal fatigue is thought to occur when the adrenals have been overworked to a degree that they can no longer secrete levels of cortisol that are adequate for optimal function.
How Do You Know If Youre Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue
For me, adrenal fatigue has felt like a general lack of motivation and increase in overwhelm. Tasks appear daunting. Passions I typically enjoy are uninteresting. Im super forgetful. Like: I step out of the shower and cant remember if I washed my hair. I search for my keys only to find theyre in the fridge. I put my supplements in my wallet. Eek.
- afternoon slump with a second wind in the evening
Be sure to check in with your body and mind and do your own research to see what might resonate.
Read Also: Prostate Cancer Fatigue Before Treatment
What Are Adrenal Gland Disorders
When you have an adrenal gland disorder, your body makes too much or too little of one or more hormones. The symptoms depend on the type of problem you have and how much it affects the hormone levels in your body.
There are many types of adrenal gland disorders, including:
- Addison’s Disease – a condition in which the adrenal glands don’t make enough cortisol
- Cushing’s Syndrome – a condition caused by too much cortisol in the body, often from taking steroid medicines for a long time
- Adrenal gland cancer – cancerous tumors, including adrenocortical carcinoma and neuroblastoma
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia – a group of inherited disorders in which the adrenal glands don’t make enough cortisol. The most common type is 21-hydroxylase deficiency . In the United States, newborn babies get a blood test to see if they have CAH. People born with CAH may not have symptoms until childhood or later in life.
Finding Out You Have Adrenal Fatigue And What To Do Next
To diagnose adrenal fatigue, some steps that an integrative practitioner might take include a four-point saliva test to look at the diurnal rhythm of your adrenal glands. This can tell us things like whether your adrenal glands may be really struggling with cortisol production in the morning, but not at night and we can tailor solutions to you what you need and when.
For example, you can start to shift your meal times and some of your food choices to offer support for normalized cortisol production. Another step may be to use adaptogenic herbs to soothe the adrenals and re-balance cortisol production.
I find that many conventional doctors who don’t believe in adrenal fatigue like to say to their patients, Well, what you really are is depressed. The patient will often be prescribed some psychotropic drugs and they will get all the side effects that go along with them. However, if your body is suffering from adrenal fatigue these anti-depressant drugs may be a temporary bandaid, but they wont fix whats actually wrong.
When you know in your gut that its something more, its worth the time and effort to explore whether adrenal fatigue is in play. When you recover from adrenal fatigue and your energy levels start soaring again, you will know it was worth the effort.
Our Women’s Health Network site has so many helpful articles with other tips you can try! I recommend reading Burned Out? Here’s How to Cope and Best Tips on How to Boost Your Energy Naturally.
Recommended Reading: High Blood Pressure Dizziness Fatigue
Get Vitamin D Levels Into A Healthy Range
Spending more time outside in the sun also helps boost levels of vitamin D, because your body manufactures this important vitamin/hormone when it senses the sun on your skin. Vitamin D is responsible for regulating over 200 genetic pathways, so make sure your levels are high enough. I recommend an optimal range of around 60 to 80 ng/ml. Ask your doctor about a simple blood test to help you keep track.
What Is The Cause Of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is usually caused by long-term stressors. These can include financial stress, overwork, family disputes, or marital problems. Often it might a be a combination of factors, such as those experienced by a high-flying executive with young children.
Other factors can come into play too. A poor diet means that your body has fewer reserves and less capacity to deal with stress. Chronic or latent disease can be a factor, as can regular exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants. And dont forget sleep one of the most important requirements for your body to function properly. If youre burning the candle at both ends, consider that a lack of sleep might be damaging your long-term health.
Don’t Miss: What Can Cause Sudden Extreme Fatigue
More Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue
There are a large number of other complaints that are associated with Adrenal Fatigue. Many of these are linked directly to one of the more common complaints listed above. Depending on which stage of Adrenal Fatigue you have reached, you may be experiencing a handful or a large number of these symptoms.
- Numbness in your fingers / Poor circulation
- Weight gain
Symptoms And Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue develops over time in response to chronic stress. The longer it goes on, the more likely you are to develop symptoms. If youre used to a stressful lifestyle, you might think youre handling stress well. But in adrenal fatigue, your body may be telling you a different story.
Some of the more common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety, intense irritability, fuzzy thinking and weight gain. Adrenal fatigue and adrenal stress can create a long and varied list of symptoms because these issues are often intertwined with other hormonal imbalances.
Women in their 40s and beyond who find themselves tired, tense and stressed-out usually suspect their symptoms are caused by perimenopause. But even when women are on the cusp of menopause, adrenal stress can be the driving force behind more difficult symptoms.
All hormones are connected to and affect one another, but major hormones like cortisol have the greatest impact on hormonal balance. As levels of stress hormone become imbalanced, other parts of your endocrine system can be disrupted, amplifying symptoms and creating further problems.
This adrenal connection to other hormones helps explain why the effects of stress can show up in such a variety of unpleasant ways. First taking care of your adrenal problems makes it easier to resolve other hormonal imbalance problems including menopause symptoms.
Don’t Miss: How To Explain Lupus Fatigue
Adrenal Fatigue And Nutrition
The overall nutrition recommendations are similar regardless of the stage of adrenal dysfunction. If you read my article on elevated cortisol levels, you will see some of the same nutrition recommendations. Regardless of the type of adrenal dysfunction, the nutrition plan should address the general healing of the adrenals.
A general rule in good nutrition is to focus on REAL food. Limit or avoid packaged, processed and non-organic foods. Additives, preservatives, GMOs, food dyes/colorings, hormones, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics increase the toxic load to the liver and cause added stress to the body.
Food sensitivities are often common with those diagnosed adrenal fatigue. Two of the most common sensitivities are gluten and dairy. Trying an elimination diet for a period of time of both gluten and dairy can provide symptom relief for many. Talk to your healthcare provider about food allergy/sensitivity blood testing for a more specific elimination approach.
Adrenal fatigue can also cause lower aldosterone levels. Aldosterone is a hormone released by the adrenals that is responsible for maintaining sodium balance. Simply stated, adrenal fatigue can cause lower sodium levels in the blood and thus one of the reasons cravings of salt are elevated. Adding Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to food/beverages helps clients with salt cravings and sodium balance. Adding Himalayan or Celtic salt post workouts is extremely beneficial to restore electrolyte balance.
Cravings For Salty Foods
A part of the adrenal glands named the cortex is responsible for producing aldosterone, a mineralocorticoid which works with the kidney to regulate our fluid and mineral excretion. When the adrenals become fatigued, we produce less aldosterone and tend to excrete large amounts of important minerals in our urine. Individuals with depleted endocrine systems often report frequent urination, which is often attributed to age but may actually be caused by depleted adrenals.
This means that Adrenal Fatigue sufferers effectively lose the ability to balance the levels of minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium in their blood. In turn, this leads to cravings for foods which will replace the sodium that we have lost. If you find yourself suddenly craving salty snacks, you could be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
You May Like: How To Help Fibromyalgia Fatigue
Warning Signs You Have Adrenal Fatigue And How To Beat It Forever
The easy, relaxed lifestyle experienced by our ancestors no longer exists, and we’re not even aware of how much stress we’re under. The problem? “Our lifestyles have changed, but our bodies haven’t,” Dr. James Wilson said in his November lecture at the First Arizona Choices Exposition in Tucson, Ariz. A large portion of our population is feeling tired and stressed out, and we want to know why.
The adrenal glands sit over the kidneys, where they play a significant role in the body, secreting more than 50 hormones necessary for life, including epinephrine , cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone , progesterone and testosterone. Since they produce so many essential hormones, the adrenal glands are responsible for many of the functions we need to stay alive and healthy, including:
- Energy production – carbohydrate, protein and fat conversion to blood glucose for energy
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
- Fat storage
One hormone in particular, cortisol, is extremely important for keeping our body systems in balance, as well as protecting our cells. For example:
- It controls the strength of the immune system: Too much cortisol weakens the immune system, setting the motions for increased susceptibility to infections and cancer, while too little leads to an overactive immune system and autoimmune disease.
- It normalizes blood sugar.
- It regulates blood pressure.