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Adrenal Fatigue – What is it?

Adrenal Fatigue – What is it?

Are your tired and exhausted ?



Your doctor has run all the tests. They come back "normal", but you're feeling tired all the time. What else could it be?

In 1998 Dr. James Wilson first coined the term “Adrenal Fatigue” to help identify a chronic tiredness that was found in people who had experienced long term stress. Although it isn’t recognised by many in the medical community, it is very real and has long term consequences.

If you’re tired all the time and all your test results from the doctor are coming back as “normal”, then it might be time to consider seeing a naturopath who can help with adrenal fatigue.

Do you want more energy?
Would like to feel less stressed?
How about feel like you can cope with anything that life throws at you?
Let your Naturopath show you, you can stop feeling anxious and depressed!


Adrenal Fatigue is also known as Hypoadrenia. “Hypo” meaning lower and “Adrenia” relating to the adrenals. Here we are not talking about Addison’s Disease, but instead, low cortisol, adrenalin and DHEA.

Causes of adrenal fatigue are usually related to stress; whether it’s physical, emotional, psychological, environmental, infectious or a combination of all of these.

Children born to mothers who have adrenal fatigue while in the womb, typically have lower adrenal function and can be more prone to adrenal fatigue themselves throughout life.

As a general overview, these symptoms are often linked to adrenal fatigue, but we advise to always see your fully qualified health care professional first;

• Difficulty getting up in the mornings
• Continuing fatigue that is not relieved by sleep
• Craving for salt or salty foods
• Lack of energy
• Increased effort to do every day tasks
• Decreased ability to handle stress
• Light headed when standing up quickly
• Feeling down
• Less enjoyment in life
• Increased PMS
• Feeling out of control if meals are missed
• Coffee or caffeinated drinks “keep you going”.
• Not able to focus
• Decreased productivity

THERE ARE THREE STAGES OF ADRENAL FATIGUE:

Acute Stage
This stage is when you use your adrenalin/ cortisol for a short period of time. This is usually in a “Fight of Flight” situation. And this is when you need to be using your adrenal & cortisol. For example if you’re driving your car & a bike swerves out in front of you, your adrenalin set’s in so that you don’t hit the bike rider. This is a necessary process for your body to go through so you can react quickly.

Symptoms can include anxiety, rapid pulse, easily startled, nervous, disrupted sleep, palpitations, inability to concentrate, racing thoughts, diarrhoea

Resistance Stage
This is where you are constantly on the go. When one task is flying at you one after the other & you go into autopilot just to get through the day. Often you’ll use coffee or sugar just to keep your energy up.

Sound Familiar?

You might be starting to experience symptoms such as intense anxiety, hormonal imbalances (including PMS), allergies/ infections/ weight gain or loss, irritable bowel syndrome, low thyroid function, elevated cholesterol, reduced sex drive, emotional tension, depression or melancholy.

Exhaustion Stage
Adrenal Exhaustion often happens when you’ve been on the go for a long time and your body is exhausted. Coffee no longer gives you the pep up you used to get and you feel sick and/or exhausted all time. No matter how much sleep you get, it’s never enough.

Does this sound like you?

If you have adrenal exhaustion, you may be experiencing some of these symptoms:
Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Autoimmune Disease, swollen glands/ sore throat, Chemical sensitivity, nervous breakdown, headaches, back pain, recurrent infections, salt and sugar cravings, neglecting appearance, fatigue of unknown origin, increased abdominal fat, apathy

Why is it often over looked by the medical community?

In some countries, the medical community consider Addisons Disease, a condition where a person has no cortisol, to be the only adrenal diagnosis whereby there is a deficiency, but what if cortisol was simply low?

Will a blood test measuring cortisol show up Adrenal Fatigue?
Blood tests often miss low cortisol. The reason being is that many people have a fear of needles, this fear sets off their cortisol & what cortisol they do have left, is raised, giving a “normal” result.

Is there a better way of measuring Cortisol?
A Saliva Hormone Test, in my opinion, measures cortisol more accurately because, let’s face it, for the majority of people, spitting into a tube is less stressful than going to a nurse to & having blood drawn. It is also done over a 24 hour period to show the pattern of cortisol over the day, giving a much better indication of how your adrenals are functioning.

Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue
It would be great if there was a medicine for your adrenals. A quick fix, take a pill and get back to work. But healing your adrenals takes some time. Depending on the severity it can take a few months and it's preferable to make lifestyle changes to support your adrenals for the long term.

Herbs and nutrients can all help to nourish & improve the adrenal glands. While we can mention what they are, they need to be specifically formulated for you. Magnesium for example is one of those nutrients, but it needs to be the right type of magnesium at the right dose. Taking a magnesium tablet a day, probably won’t do the trick. In this situation, we suggest avoiding the Health Food Store & coming out with a truckload of supplements that you haven’t been assessed for. Instead, come in & see us. Have a full assessment and allow us to help you take targeted herbal and nutritional medicine to help nourish, rebuild, and heal adrenals again.

Feel better, faster.

Andrea Strand works specifically with many people who have adrenal fatigue. To find out how we can help you, call for a free, no obligation 5 minute phone briefing or call to book an appointment and help say good-bye to adrenal fatigue.

This post is from Andrea Strand, a practicing Naturopath at Empowered Health.

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