Are you feeling achy, exhausted, moody or depressed? A condition called adrenal fatigue may be to blame.
Almost every person can experience adrenal fatigue, also known as hypoadrenia, to some degree at particularly stressful times in their lives. When your body undergoes chronic stress, it constantly triggers the fight-or-flight hormones that help you cope with taxing situations. As a result, your adrenal glands can’t keep up with the demand, and fail to produce sufficient quantities of the hormones that would normally keep you on an even keel.
What Do Your Adrenal Glands Do?
Your adrenal glands are two thumb-sized organs located atop your kidneys. As part of your endocrine system, they play a role in producing more than 50 different hormones that drive almost every bodily function, many of which are vital for life.
Your adrenal glands are also responsible for balancing hormones, such as:
- Glucocorticoids – hormone that balance your body’s blood sugar, regulate energy and food metabolism, aid in stress relief and manage your immune response
- Mineralocorticoids – a group of hormones that regulate the balance of water and electrolytes in your body
- Sex hormones – estrogen and testosterone
- Adrenaline/epinephrine – hormones that affect your heart health and circulation
Normally, the adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol in bursts throughout the day that help us feel alert, and lessen this hormone as the day winds down to help you prepare for sleep. However, stress can disrupt this pattern and throw your body off-balance.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
A relatively new term, the phrase “adrenal fatigue” was coined in 1998 by chiropractor Dr. James Wilson. He believed chronically high levels of stress could lead to an imbalance in cortisol. In addition to improper cortisol levels, people with adrenal fatigue often don’t have enough DHEA, the “parent hormone” responsible for creating many essential hormones in the body.
Because your adrenal glands play such a large role in your health, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can resemble several other conditions, and many doctors fail to recognize and properly diagnose it. Adrenal fatigue symptoms include extreme lethargy, confusion, weight gain and insulin resistance, among other things.
In healthy people, the adrenal glands release a surge of cortisol when you wake up every morning to help you feel alert and well-rested. However, if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, stress inhibits your cortisol levels and prevents you from waking up fully, no matter how much sleep you get.
Some people who are prone to developing adrenal fatigue include busy new parents, university students and people going through life events that cause prolonged stress, such as caring for a sick family member or undergoing a divorce.
Other factors that can cause adrenal fatigue include:
- Exposure to environmental pollution
- Financial difficulties, failing relationships, an unpleasant work environment and other conditions that might cause you to feel like your life is out of control
- Negative thoughts or emotional trauma
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Food sensitivities
- Over-reliance on stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks
Wilson described the development of adrenal fatigue throughout the day as follows: You wake up feeling tired, despite getting the proper amount of sleep. You finally feel a boost of energy during the early part of the day, then your energy levels decrease sharply around 2 p.m., increase around 6 p.m., drop again around 9 p.m. and then finally peak again at 11 p.m.
Are You at Risk for Adrenal Fatigue?
When the adrenal glands stop being able to produce adequate levels of hormones, it affects every function in your body. As your cortisol levels ebb and flow abnormally, your quality of life will begin to suffer when you no longer have the energy or enthusiasm to do the activities you once enjoyed.
In addition to chronic exhaustion, adrenal fatigue symptoms include:
- Autoimmune conditions
- Brain fog
- Hair loss
- Weakened stress response
- Decreased libido
- Moodiness and irritability
- Muscle or bone loss
- Skin ailments
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
If you’ve experienced any of these adrenal fatigue side effects, contact Bespoke Wellness to help treat and support your adrenal system and bring it back into balance with our custom solutions.
Ways to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue
If you’re wondering how you can heal your adrenal glands, the answer may be closer than you think. When you are suffering from hormone imbalance, the most important thing you can do is to practice good self-care habits and pay attention to what your body needs.
- When you feel tired, rest as much as possible.
- Sleep at least eight hours a night.
- Even if you have the day off, maintain a regular sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day.
- Minimize stress as much as you can.
- Eat well-balanced meals, and reduce caffeine and sugar consumption.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Even a brisk walk around your neighborhood can help.
- Try a relaxing activity such as yoga or meditation.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
Many people go for some time without addressing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. However, experiencing hormone imbalance over a long period can take a toll on your physical health.
Contact Bespoke Wellness for tailored adrenal fatigue treatment if you are experiencing any of the following issues.
- Your symptoms have begun interfering with normal activities, such as work, school or leisure time.
- The dietary and lifestyle changes mentioned above have not helped you feel better.
- You are experiencing insomnia, or you cannot get restful sleep, no matter how tired you feel.
- You feel dizzy or weak for multiple days in a row with no other cause.
- You are unsure what remedies will help you feel better.
How Long Does It Take to Heal Adrenal Fatigue?
Even experts are not sure how long it might take you to recover from adrenal fatigue symptoms, because nobody has studied adrenal fatigue recovery time. However, you can expect your recovery to take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the severity of your condition. After all, it took months, maybe years, of stress to imbalance your adrenal glands, so it takes a little time to build up their strength again.
Once you have recovered from adrenal fatigue, you can maintain your adrenal health by committing to lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and avoiding overly stressful situations. If you maintain proper amounts of sleep, exercise and positivity, you can help your adrenal system stay healthy and working for you.