How adrenal fatigue can negatively impact your life
Are you struggling with body aches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, nervousness, and digestive problems? You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue or insufficiency, which is an imbalance of the endocrine system. Although clinical research is ongoing and the term is still being defined, adrenal fatigue is used in functional medicine to describe symptoms believed to be caused by a fluctuation between the overproduction or underproduction of cortisol, your body’s stress hormone.
Adrenal fatigue and insufficiency can describe the inability of the adrenal glands to keep pace with the demands of life which trigger a perpetual “flight or fight” response. As a result, you can’t produce quite enough of the hormone called cortisol, an important hormone necessary for many bodily functions such as blood pressure regulation, proper digestion, blood sugar regulation, circadian rhythm, and others. If ignored, there may be an increased risk for other conditions such as chronic fatigue, Cushing’s syndrome, and/or Addisons’ disease.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue can drain your energy, cause physical discomfort, and negatively affect your mood. In severe cases, adrenal fatigue may exhaust you to the point that you struggle to stay active for more than a few hours at a time. Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Body aches
- Lower back pain
- Dry skin
- Frequent urination
- Low blood pressure
- Decreased libido
- Cravings for sweet or salty snacks
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of hair
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
Practitioners of naturopathic and functional medicine have observed that in times of recurring or chronic stress, the supply of cortisol-producing cholesterol and pregnenolone from the adrenal glands fluctuates dramatically. Cortisol levels can affect the levels of other hormones like progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), causing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Other causes of adrenal fatigue may include:
- Chronic diseases like asthma and arthritis that cause inflammation, which triggers the production of cortisol to counteract the inflammation
- A high-sugar diet, which causes adrenals to produce more cortisol
- Antibiotics and chemotherapy, which may place stress upon the endocrine system
- Physical trauma (e.g. surgery, sports injury, or car crashes), which may overload the adrenal glands
- Chemicals such as chlorine and pesticides, which may disrupt the adrenal function
Diagnosis and Treatment of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue diagnosis may involve a saliva test to determine an index of your adrenal stress levels. Blood panels are also utilized to rule out any other issues such as blood cell anemia; pancreas, kidney and liver functions; or other gut issues.
Treatments for adrenal fatigue include addressing any vitamin and mineral deficiencies that contribute to the adrenal insufficiency. To correct deficiencies, proper foods must be part of a balanced diet appropriate for your specific genetic needs. Furthermore, healthy sleeping habits must be introduced in addition to exercise and hormonal support.
Many people silently suffer from adrenal fatigue and insufficiency. At the Bio Wellness Center we understand the difficulties with adrenal fatigue and aim to get to the root cause. Give us a call or book an appointment today to get the help you need.