What is Adrenal Fatigue?
We are all familiar with stress — it is a constant element in our busy lives. But what we aren’t so familiar with is the body’s response to stress and the ways in which the stress we face today is far greater than the kind of stress we faced as we evolved — and ends up depleting our energy and health.
Adrenal fatigue and stress go hand-in-hand. The adrenal glands, two triangle-shaped glands that sit just above the kidneys, are responsible for regulating the body’s response to stress by controlling the hormones released during stress. The chief adrenal hormone used to manage stress is cortisol. The adrenal glands normally secret cortisol in response to stress, low blood sugar, excitement, and exercise, and adrenal fatigue is the diminished release of cortisol during those situations. Thus, adrenal fatigue is most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep.
Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc with your life. In the more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. If stress levels remains excessive for a prolonged length of time, the adrenal glands respond by producing cortisol continually. This over-exertion taxes the adrenal glands to the point where the glands are unable to produce the necessary levels of cortisol to keep up with the demand; and subsequently these drastically diminished levels of cortisol eventually lead to adrenal fatigue. This hormone imbalance induced fatigue affects all the other hormones in the body, producing a chain-like reaction. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Your body does its best to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Most of us put enormous demands on our bodies — much more stress than they were designed to handle — and we don’t give them adequate support.
Chronic stress is especially harmful. Most of us have demanding jobs, run households, and are parents and caregivers, often for aging parents. Many of these relationships are themselves stressful.
The demands of an always-on-the-go lifestyle fall most heavily on the adrenals which were not designed to sustain this constant toll. The cumulative effect over many years is enormous — and it tends to peak between the ages of 35 and 55. If left unchecked, these stresses can create serious problems including fatigue, insomnia, sleep disturbances, digestive problems, loss of libido, and stubborn weight gain.
Methods of stress reduction, such as yoga and meditation, are helpful, but considering that most of us can’t substantially reduce the level of stress in our lives, it is critical that we give our bodies the support that they need. What we’ve found is that once you address your underlying adrenal imbalance, you’ll return to your natural state of equilibrium.
What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if you regularly notice one or more of the following:
- You feel tired for no reason.
- You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
- You are feeling run down or overwhelmed.
- You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
- You crave salty and sweet snacks.
- You feel more awake, alert, and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.
So many of the people we see fit this profile: fatigued, craving sleep, often unable to get to sleep or stay asleep, and dependent on coffee and snacks simply to get through the day.
What can be done about adrenal fatigue?
The stress caused by hormone imbalances, namely in menopause and perimenopause for women, and andropause (declining testosterone) in men, is a huge contributor to adrenal fatigue. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) balances your hormones, including the hormones released during stress, with customized prescriptions that fit your body chemistry and provide what your body needs. When combined with an individualized nutrition and fitness program, the Divinity BHRT Protocol maintains normal hormone levels and can effectively eliminate the symptoms associated with menopause and perimenopause.
At Divinity Med Spa & Wellness, we provide dietary supplements to treat adrenal fatigue, and our nutrition plan ensures that your body will have a healthy ratio of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. This healthy ratio works in concert with the bioidentical hormone therapy to provide some relief from adrenal fatigue symptoms and help ensure that the symptoms do not return. The vitamins and minerals are customized for each person’s unique situation and will aid your adrenal glands in handling stress. Our individualized plan for hormonal balance and proper nutrition serve to greatly reduce your stress and adrenal fatigue.
Contact Divinity Med Spa & Wellness for a consultation to learn more about how you can help support your adrenal glands, promote healthy adrenal function and maintain your health during stressful times.