When a person undergoes chronic stress for an extended period of time, the adrenal glands become so taxed that they no longer keep up with the demand of the body’s need for cortisol. This is referred to as adrenal fatigue, adrenal dysfunction, or adrenal burnout. Let’s take a look at the varied symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

What are Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce a variety of hormones. These hormones regulate blood pressure, sweating, heart rate, metabolism, immunity, and much more. Let’s take a look at how your adrenal glands work.

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  • When your brain perceives something stressful, it activates your endocrine system.
  • When your endocrine system activates, hormones are released from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands.
  • When the adrenal glands activate, they release the stress hormone, cortisol.
  • Cortisol creates the fight or flight response, which causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase, and prepares the body for action.
  • Once stress subsides, the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands stop producing these stress hormones.

If you are under chronic stress, your body continues to create stress hormones until it can no longer keep up with the demands placed on it. It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of Americans will suffer from adrenal fatigue at one time in their lives, which is why it is so important for you to know the symptoms of adrenal dysfunction.

Stressors Causing Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the body struggles to adapt to large amounts of stress. Some of the most common emotional stressors include-

  • Financial difficulties
  • Job problems
  • symptoms of adrenal fatigue Marital issues
  • Deaths
  • Trauma

In addition to emotional stress, a person can experience physical stress like-

  • Illness
  • Food allergies
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Excess caffeine consumption
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Too much exercise

Both emotional and physical stress can send the adrenal glands into overdrive. The body attempts to maintain homeostasis or proper balance.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue causes a number of unpleasant symptoms. Your symptoms will be determined by how well or poorly your adrenal glands are functioning. Initially in response to stress, your adrenal glands will increase cortisol production. If you have chronic stress, the adrenal glands will attempt to adapt to your stress levels. Over time, unable to keep up with demands, your adrenal glands will begin producing a smaller amount of cortisol, causing the following symptoms.

  • Absent mindedness
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Constipation adrenal dysfunction symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Irritability
  • Memory issues
  • Recurrent infections
  • Restlessness
  • Salt cravings
  • Severe menopause symptoms
  • Severe PMS symptoms
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Slow healing
  • Slow recovery following stress
  • Sugar cravings
  • Waking up feeling tired/unrefreshed
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain

Healing the Adrenal Glands Naturally

If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue or insufficiency, your functional medicine doctor may recommend several lifestyle changes to reset your adrenals and promote health.

  • adrenal fatigue symptoms Adaptogenic Herbs – Adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola and Ashwagandha help balance cortisol levels. If your cortisol is too low, it will increase it, and if your cortisol is too high, it will lower it.
  • Balanced exercise regimen – Exercise is good for the body and soul; however, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Balance is key when it comes to exercise. Include high intensity aerobic exercise with strength training exercises, and mind-body exercise like yoga.
  • Caffeine – You should reduce your caffeine consumption to no more than four to six ounces of caffeine each day. Many individuals find that eliminating caffeine completely helps their adrenal glands heal quicker.
  • Eat Small Meals – Rather than eating three large meals, break your meals into small snack sized meals consume more often. Ensure that each meal contains high quality protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Quiet Time – Devote 15 minutes for quiet time each day. During that time, take a hot bath with Epsom salt, practice meditation, deep breathing, prayer, or journaling. Creating a routine for relaxation will help calm your adrenal glands and reduce the excess stress in your life.
  • Reduce Sugar ConsumptionSugar causes your glucose levels to rise, which causes insulin to spike. When your insulin levels increase, your glucose levels decrease. Low blood sugar causes cortisol levels to increase.
  • Relationships – If your adrenal glands are overtaxed, it may be time to look at your relationships. Are any of your relationships negative and cause excess stress? If so, it may be time to end them to protect your health.
  • Shift Your Perception – There are aspects of your life that you cannot control; however, there are certain things that you can control. Focus on the things that you can change rather than focusing on the areas of your life that you cannot change.
  • Sleep – Your body recovers while you are asleep. To help heal your adrenal glands, seek to get between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. You may need to incorporate good sleep hygiene techniques into your daily life to ensure you are getting an ample amount of sleep.
  • Nutritional Supplements – Supplements ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs for optimal health. Two of the best supplements to include are magnesium and B complex. B vitamins are needed in the production of hormones. Magnesium is considered a relaxing mineral, which means it helps calm your body and mind. adrenal fatigue treatment

Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands have been overworked due to physical and emotional stress. Learning how to minimize stress through diet, exercise, and stress management techniques will help heal the adrenal glands and promote optimal health and well-being. If your symptoms of adrenal dysfunction persist, our functional medicine practitioners can help identify root cause of your adrenal dysfunction and provide treatment for adrenal fatigue.