Adrenal fatigue is essentially a disruption of your adrenals caused by the inability of your adrenal glands ability to make cortisol in the amounts your body needs to be healthy and have an appropriate stress response.
If you are often tired, emotional, and stressed out it is possible you may have something called adrenal fatigue. Let’s go over the symptoms, possible causes and treatment options, if you suffer from this condition.
SYMPTOMS OF ADRENAL FATIGUE
There are a lot of general issues that someone with adrenal fatigue may have. Many can be associated with other diseases, so any of these problems should be checked out by a trained medical professional.
- Can’t Get up in the Morning – If you have trouble getting up in the morning it can be super difficult to ever feel good.
- Can’t Sleep at Night – If you’re super tired but you still can’t sleep it can be very frustrating.
- Chronically Tired – If you feel tired, even if you think you slept all night, and just always feel like you are ready to fall asleep at the drop of the hat this can be a sign of a problem.
- Brain Fog – Do you sometimes feel as if you have a fog on your brain that doesn’t allow you to think clearly? If you feel that way it’s important to rule out issues that can cause brain fog.
- Can’t Stick to Your Tasks – If you have trouble focusing and sticking to tasks you may have issues with your adrenals that are causing your inability to focus.
- Feel Depressed – Sometimes depression is caused by an event in your life and that is normal. Other times it can be because something is wrong internally.
- Hyper Stressed Out – When you feel very stressed out without reason it could be something to do with your adrenals or another hormonal issue causing the problem.
- Dark Circles Under the Eyes – Often the issues with your adrenals can cause a lot of problems with your appearance too such as with the appearance of dark circles under your eyes.
- Your Periods are Irregular – If you’re female, and your periods start becoming irregular and you’re also not feeling right, then you may want to look into adrenal issues.
- You’re Puffy, Stiff & Sore – If you start having issues with swelling and you feel stiff and sore all over it could be fibromyalgia but it could also be due to your adrenals.
- Working Out is too Tiring – If you are trying to get healthy but just don’t seem to have the physical energy to work out at all, you may have something underlying that is causing the problem.
- You Get Super Groggy in the Afternoon – That two or three pm crash isn’t normal for everyone. If you find that you can barely make it through the afternoon until you can get home from work and crash then there is a serious problem.
- Poor Digestion – Many people with adrenal issues have poor digestion. They might have constipation, IBS, diarrhea, GERD and other issues.
- Autoimmune Disorders – Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, IBS, and other autoimmune disorders can be traced directly to adrenal fatigue.
There are treatments for each of these issues, but there is also generalized adrenal problems that can be treated in the same way to get rid of these problems.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF ADRENAL FATIGUE
There are basic reasons why people might suffer from adrenal fatigue. They can be lifestyle choices, genetics, and environmental issues. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome these issues.
- Medications – Putting too many unneeded (and even needed) toxins into your body can cause your adrenals to become fatigued. Everyone is different. If you are taking a medication and within six weeks don’t get over the new side effects ask if there is another medication you can try or a natural alternative such as diet and lifestyle changes.
- Environmental Concerns – Pollution in our air and water can cause serious problems for some people. It can be hard to isolate the issue when it has to do with the environment.
- Plastic Contamination – The best thing you can do is get rid of as much plastic in your life as possible especially when it comes to using it for food and beverages.
- Addison’s Disease – This is the result of acute adrenal gland crises. Symptoms include darkening skin under arms, muscle weakness, fatigue, and low blood pressure. It can be caused by infection, accident, or genetics.
- Serious Illness – Diabetes, AIDS, Tuberculosis, MS and other diseases can cause great strain on the adrenals causing adrenal fatigue.
These are all potential causes of adrenal fatigue. While some of these conditions need to be treated via medicine, you can treat your adrenal fatigue naturally.
TREATMENTS FOR ADRENAL FATIGUE
There are three known stages for adrenal fatigue that you should know about so that you know how to treat your situation.
The three stages of adrenal fatigue:
1. High Cortisol Levels – The symptom of this is feeling on edge but also tired and unable to sleep. Usually, this causes insomnia, insulin resistant, and weight gain, especially around the middle.
2. Wrong Cortisol Levels at the Wrong Time – If you feel stressed out and tired, get up way too early in the morning (think 3 or 4 am) and you’re unable to go back to sleep then by the time you get to work you’re tired again. Often you end up with a boost of cortisol before bed, thus not being able to sleep.
3. No Cortisol Curve – By this stage, you’re completely burnt out. You may even have lower hormone levels in other areas such as thyroid hormones and DHEA. When you get to this level you have a lot higher chance of developing autoimmune disorders.
The best way to treat any of these issues is with lifestyle changes. Let’s look at the lifestyle changes you can make to improve your situation. Don’t substitute any of these changes for visits to your doctor in case you have already developed a serious illness.
- Change Your Diet – Essentially, you should eat an inflammatory diet. That means that you should rid your diet of gluten, eat clean proteins, eat lots of vegetables – the more colors the better.
- Get Sleep – The best thing to do to train yourself to sleep better. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Turn off screens a couple hours before bed, and try to sleep at least 8 hours a night. Make your bedroom an oasis so that it’s calming and easy to sleep in.
- Get Your Vitamins – The main vitamins you should worry about are vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin D3. Some people get benefit from adding vitamin C to their diet too.
- Improve Inflammation – If you go on an anti-inflammation diet it will help with this problem. As will drinking enough water. Eat plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. Consider using a curcumin supplement to help further reduce inflammation.
- Improve Your Nutrition – When you put anything in your body consider whether the item will improve your situation or make it worse. Seek to crowd out the bad food and snacks with high nutrition whole foods.
- Eat Fermented Food – Eating foods rich in probiotics can help improve digestion which will also help your body process nutrients better.
- Consider Trying a Ketogenic Diet – For some people, a higher fat diet can improve conditions related to adrenal fatigue while also lessening inflammation.
- Avoid Caffeine – While you may be tempted to use caffeine to help with your fatigue it’s the worst thing you can do. If you’re already addicted cut down slowly until you fully eliminate it.
- Avoid Processed Sugar – White sugar or anything that turns into sugar that you put into your body such as white potatoes, white rice and so forth is very unhealthy and will make your adrenal fatigue worse.
- Drink Plenty of Water – The best thing you can do for yourself in any circumstance is to drink plenty of water. Most people need at least 64 ounces of water a day. If you’re exercising or it’s hot outside drink more.
- Rest Often – It’s best to not overwork yourself if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. The best way to do this is to build in time to your calendar. Set up your calendar to show everything that you need to do for fun or work so that you can learn to say no.
- Exercise, carefully – The first few weeks that you’re treating your condition take it easy. Walk leisurely working up to 10 thousand steps per day. If you can do that without feeling exhausted you can add other exercises.
- Learn to Think Differently – Sometimes it helps if you can change your perception of your situation. Instead of letting it bother, you let it make you a healthier person by making the lifestyle changes necessary to heal.
Adrenal fatigue many have a lot of nonspecific symptoms that are also related to other illnesses but they all go together. Treat the adrenal fatigue and you’re likely to feel a lot better and some of your conditions may totally disappear. However, if you try and you still feel bad, definitely seek help from a medical professional who can test your blood to find out more information.