Types Of Adrenal Fatigue
Most women suffering from adrenal fatigue experience symptoms that usually fall into one of three categories along a spectrum of fatigue: wired, tired and wired, or tired. As adrenal imbalances worsen, women may move through these stages until they reach the point of near exhaustion.
Your type of adrenal fatigue determines what kinds of symptoms show up and how you will find relief and restore healthy adrenal function.
Common adrenal fatigue symptoms for wired women
When you have a wired type of adrenal imbalance, your body is creating and responding to a constant flow of stress hormones. This can cause you to remain in active mode, feeling antsy and ready to go. You may be periodically overwhelmed by fatigue, but sleeping feels like a waste of time because you have so much to do.
Many wired women dont realize that their bodies are sending out warning signals with symptoms like these:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, anxiety at night
- Feeling driven or speedy all day
- Anxiety, panic attacks, easily startled
- Racing thoughts, scattered thinking, inability to focus on one task
- PMS, difficult menstrual periods, hormonal shifts of perimenopause or menopause
- Fluid retention
- Food cravings, tendency to eat a lot of calories at night
- Frequent colds or infections due to a suppressed immune system
- High blood pressure
Common adrenal fatigue symptoms for tired and wired women
Tired and wired symptoms can include:
- Fuzzy thinking/forgetfulness
- Low libido
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.
Inability To Handle Stress
Do you find that the slightest amount of stress leaves you feeling overwhelmed? Adrenal Fatigue sufferers often have a difficult time dealing with physical or emotional stress. This is for exactly the same reasons that are behind that unrelenting feeling of tiredness. It all comes back to the low hormone levels associated with late-stage adrenal exhaustion.
When we encounter stress we depend on our adrenals to release hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate our stress response and allow us to increase our strength, focus, and awareness when we need it. However, when the adrenals are fatigued they struggle to release the necessary amount of these hormones. Patients with Adrenal Fatigue often report a lack of enthusiasm, feelings of apathy or disinterest, irritability and anxiety.
Mild Adrenal Insufficiency Is It Real
Adrenal Fatigue is advanced by natural medicine professionals to denote a mild form of adrenal insufficiency where regular laboratory tests are normal but a person is symptomatic. It is also called by a variety of other names, including mild non-Addisons adrenal insufficiency.
Modern medical practice relies heavily on laboratory tests and other diagnostic procedures in mechanized fashion to confirm the presence or absence of disease. Any other approach is considered unscientific. The importance of taking a detailed history and recognizing the uniqueness of each body as the key foundation of arriving at any diagnosis is quickly becoming a lost art, replaced by the over-reliance on laboratory tests. This works rather well for acute illness, because the clinical presentation is dramatic. For chronic conditions, this laboratory reliance model is less than ideal. Most, if not all, chronic conditions evolve through a sub-clinical state as mentioned above. In this state, symptoms are present but all relevant laboratory results are within normal limits.
Distinction From Addisons Disease
Adrenal fatigue is closely related to, but not to be confused with, Addisons Disease, a disorder characterized by insufficient cortisol production due either to a pathology directly affecting the adrenals or a disruption of signaling between the brain and the adrenals. While symptoms of Addisons Disease are similar to adrenal fatigue, the primary difference is that adrenal fatigue is considered a possible result of the overuse of otherwise healthy adrenal glands due to stress.
The adrenals are necessary to have gluconeogenesis to take place in the liver, as well as the glycogen storage where it stimulates the production of blood glucose, says Dr. Wilson. So, most of the major symptoms of either adrenal fatigue or Addisons Disease are a result of either a lack of cortisol or a lack of blood glucose and the many effects that it has systematically throughout the body.
He theorizes, Unlike Addisons, adrenal fatigue doesnt have a pathological origin, with the exception of the overuse of antibiotics which may partially shut down the use of the adrenal glands. So, you do get different symptoms with versus adrenal fatigue, because youre talking about the difference between a body that cant secrete cortisol versus a body that isnt secreting sufficient cortisol.
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What Are Mental And Emotional Stressors
Research tells us what causes a stress response. The stress response happens when peoples lives are disrupted. It does not matter if it is physical, like a car accident or emotional, like the death of a loved one. Stress is stress no matter what the cause. Constant stress that is has bad health effects. Your healthy stress responses become unregulated and exhausted. And, sometimes, they fail altogether.
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.
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How Can The Hcim Help
At the Health Center for Integrative Medicine, we will partner with you in the process of diagnosing and treating adrenal fatigue. Our goal will be to reduce symptoms, seek a mindful change in how our body responds to stress, find the imbalances that have occurred in this process of stress, and use a multi-faceted and integrative treatment approach to restore quality of life.
The Story Behind Adrenal Fatigue
The human body wasnt built for chronic stress, but rather immediate danger. Cortisol causes changes in our bodies to ensure our survival in the face of danger. Imagine a tiger jumping out from behind a bush. Cortisol increases the blood sugar in our bodies to ensure our muscles and brain have the fuel needed to run from the tiger.
Cortisol activates part of our immune system to produce inflammation in case the tiger bites our blood will clot well so we can keep running. It also suppresses another part of our immune system the part that helps us fight viruses and cancer the body isnt worried about cancer when we are facing a tiger! Additionally, blood flow to our intestines decreases because the body isnt concerned with digesting and absorbing food in that moment.
While these bodily changes are important for our survival, they exist for short, intermittent periods of time. If cortisol levels are too high or too low for a prolonged length of time, they cause detrimental changes in the body. Consistently increased blood sugar leads to weight gain and diabetes. Chronically increased inflammation leads to numerous medical problems including hypertension, asthma, allergies, arthritis, obesity, and muscle and joint pain. When our natural killer cells are constantly suppressed, we have an increased risk of viral infections, autoimmunity, and cancer. Low blood flow to the intestines over time causes constipation, diarrhea, or an irritable bowel.
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First Change Your Lifestyle
The two most important steps to take are: 1) Change your hectic lifestyle and 2) learn stress reduction techniques.
The idea here is to lower the demands on your adrenal glands. If you continue an exhausting and demanding way of living, your adrenal glands will be constantly struggling to catch up. Full recovery will be difficult if you dont deal with stress.
For stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer and deep breathing are proven to be effective.
For stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer and deep breathing are proven to be effective. They are simple, and available. Other ways of lowering stress are being out in nature or doing gentle exercises such as walking. There are also many phone apps for guided imagery and meditation. All these things get you out of the high alert mindset.
S To Heal The Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue Naturally
“Adrenal fatigue” describes a disruption of the adrenal glands’ ability to make cortisol in the right amounts at the right times. Chronic stress, an unhealthy diet, and general inflammation are all thought to contribute to it. Though adrenal fatigue is not recognized as a legitimate condition by the traditional medical community, I’ve seen the effects of unsteady cortisol levels play out time and time again with my patients. Here are the signs you might be dealing with them too.
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What Are Overactive Adrenal Glands
When adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of certain hormones, they are called “overactive.” Symptoms and treatment depend on which hormones are being overproduced:
- Androgenic steroids . An overproduction of androgenic steroids, such as testosterone, can lead to exaggerated male characteristics in both men and women, such as hairiness of the face and body, baldness, acne, deeper voice, and more muscularity.
- Corticosteroids. An overproduction of corticosteroids can lead to Cushing’s syndrome .
- Aldosterone. An overproduction of the aldosterone hormone can lead to high blood pressure and to those symptoms associated with low levels of potassium, such as weakness, muscle aches, spasms, and sometimes paralysis.
The symptoms of overactive adrenal glands may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
Top Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue
There are several symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue, but not every individual diagnosed with the condition will experience each symptom. Symptoms include feeling tired and lethargic, even after you have experienced a good night of sleep. As the day continues, you may feel exhausted and have trouble focusing on work or daily activities around the home.
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What Does Adrenal Fatigue Mean
Adrenal fatigue is a condition that usually results from a long period of chronic stress. Over time, this stress taxes the adrenal glands and HPA axis, thereby disrupting the production of cortisol and other hormones. The body initially produces large amounts of cortisol to cope with the stressors, but eventually cortisol levels drop. The cortisol cycle can also become dysregulated, with irregular peaks in the evening.
Adrenal fatigue has been a relatively controversial condition for several reasons. One important reason is the early focus on the adrenal glands becoming tired. We now know that adrenal fatigue and burnout tend to present themselves in the dysregulation of the HPA axis and disturbances in the cortisol cycle.
Is Adrenal Fatigue Real Forget The Label And Treat The Stress
Who isnt tired these days? Were constantly on call for work, family and friends, and often forget to take time for ourselves. Most of us recognize that chronic stress can take its toll on our health and well-being. But what if youre so fatigued that even getting more sleep doesnt seem to help?
Complementary and alternative medicine provide an explanation for stress-induced fatigue that offers hope to the chronically tired. According to naturopathic doctors, holistic nutritionists and others, adrenal fatigue is a condition where the adrenals, glands that sit above the kidneys, dont produce enough cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that plays a role in managing stress and regulating metabolism, sleep, blood sugar and inflammation.
Fatigue is probably the number one complaint among new patients in my practice, says Leila Kirdani, a family physician specializing in functional medicine. Anyone with prolonged fatigue, with difficulty sleeping, who feels burned-out or lack of enjoyment in life, may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Basically, the theory goes that too much stress wears out our adrenal glands they get tired and dont produce enough cortisol for us to feel energized. So why arent our family doctors telling us about this?
And so we see the bipolar worlds of conventional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine are firmly divided into two camps: adrenal fatigue doesnt exist vs. adrenal fatigue is an important medical issue.
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Here Are 20 Steps To Heal Adrenal Fatigue:
1. As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of water along with 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt. Then, throughout the day, have a pinch of sea salt with each glass of water and also use it to season your food. Daily total consumption of about 2 teaspoons of Celtic sea salt is a good place to start. The 80+ minerals in the salt will help nourish the adrenals and endocrine system.
2. Eat breakfast within one hour of waking. If you wait any longer than this, it can cause your blood sugar levels to decrease too much and your adrenals can start producing excess cortisol.
3. Eat regular meals throughout the day and include some protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat in each meal. I know this is a simple step, but skipping meals can put a strain on the adrenals.
4. Remove all processed foods from your diet. Processed foods are a stressor on the body, and the goal is to remove stressors as much as possible to help support the adrenals.
5. Only do low-impact exercise like walking, pilates, gentle yoga or stretching. High impact exercise puts strain on the adrenals, especially when the adrenals are already fatigued. If youre having trouble losing weight, I know this can seem counter-productive, but Ive seen clients lose weight by resting and following the steps Im listing here.
8. Spend more time outdoors. Getting fresh air and being in nature helps reduce the stress response in the body.
13. Consider taking B Vitamins I recommend Cataplex B from Standard Process.
Q: What Is Adrenal Insufficiency
A: Adrenal insufficiency is a state in which your adrenal glands dont function properly and cannot secrete the vital hormones your body needs to function normally.
Adrenal insufficiency can be caused by Addisons disease, a pituitary disorder or another disorder. Some symptoms of this life-threatening dysfunction include extreme exhaustion, lack of appetite , diarrhea, nausea, low blood pressure and low blood sugar.
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The Natural Approach To Adrenal Health
Conventional medicine is still looking for a drug to cure extreme fatigue. But a pharmaceutical solution isnt a good idea or even necessary for the vast majority of women who need to support and rebalance their adrenals. Whether youre wired all the time because of stress and cant wind down, or youre barely able to get out of bed due to fatigue, the good news is that you can use a natural approach to find relief from adrenal fatigue.
Unlike prescription medications that usually just mask symptoms, the natural approach helps break the existing patterns your body has developed as it reacts to negative stress. By combining simple changes in your nutrition, supplements and lifestyle, you can adjust your bodys overall response to stress to dramatically reduce and even completely eliminate symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, weight gain and more.
If youre experiencing adrenal stress symptoms, restoring balance to your adrenal function can help you feel calmer and more energized. Since adrenal dysfunction occurs on a continuum, its a good idea to take action now before you feel even worse.
Based on the results of the thousands of women Womens Health Network has helped with their adrenal issues, here are the three most important questions to ask to start better supporting your adrenals:
Understanding How To Heal Adrenal Fatigue Effectively
Adrenal Fatigue manifests in various ways for different patients, which makes it tricky to recognize. Its the end result of imbalances in bodily systems, triggered by an overburdened Stress Response System. The Stress Response System is more sensitive in some people, and it affects the whole body.
Because of this, effective treatment of Adrenal Fatigue must balance the body on all levels, not merely symptomatically. This requires focusing on physical, psychological, emotional, and environmental factors. An effective approach toward how to heal Adrenal Fatigue takes all of these factors into account.
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