Adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion can be the cause of many ills. When you have unexplainable tiredness, looking to your HPA Axis can help you get to the root of the problem.
Tired? Craving sugar? Can’t sleep?
All of these can be related to the constant stress we feel in our lives. We know that stress can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. And, since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue (or “HPA Axis Dysregulation,”) is a popular theme lately.
Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. These important glands produce many hormones, including stress hormones. Their job is to regulate the hormones in your body to manage your stress.
But what happens when they become “overworked?”
You’ve heard of “adrenaline junkies,” right?
Adrenaline and cortisol are the stress hormones that give you the commonly known adrenaline rush; when you’re totally alert and living in the moment. This feeling is known as your body’s “fight or flight” response. Some people (perhaps you?) just love that intense feeling.
The release of hormones in the fight or flight response is your body’s normal reaction to stress. Stress can sometimes be positive, like when it helps you swerve and prevent a crash. After a short time, the flight or flight response dissipates, your body goes back to normal, and all is good. But what would happen if you felt constant stress? Like all day, every day? Like “chronic” stress?
It wouldn’t feel like an awesome (once-in-a-while) “rush,” anymore would it?
What do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they’re constantly working?
They’d get fatigued!
Do I have Adrenal Fatigue?
When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, they begin to fail to produce enough cortisol to handle your stress and you can start getting symptoms.
Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight loss or gain, joint pain, sugar cravings, even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are overworked.
First off, I have to tell you that there aren’t medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it’s not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnoses of “Adrenal Insufficiency” or “Addison’s Disease” may apply.
However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she may even be open to discussing adrenal fatigue, or at the very least, wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).
As a Functional Diagnostic Practitioner Health Coach, I can help you with wellness strategies.
What Should I Do if I Have Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms?
There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.
Ideally, if you think stress is starting to burn you out, stress management is key. There are tons of ideas how you can reduce your stress. My favorites are prayer and meditation, walking in nature, light exercise, more sleep, and reading.
Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired.
Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific telltale symptoms.
The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. As an FDN practitioner, I can help you get labs completed to look at your cortisol levels throughout the day and design a D.R.E.S.S. protocol for you and your lifestyle.
You can also try stress reduction techniques like meditation, walks in nature, light exercise, more sleep, hobbies, or even a lovely bath.
Recipe (Stress-Reducing Bath Salt): Lavender Bath Salts
- 1 1/2 cups Epsom salts
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
As you’re running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved
Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!
Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.
Caution: Even though lavender is considered a “safe” oil to have on your skin, some people can still be sensitive to it. Use with caution.