Are you constantly feeling exhausted and worn out all the time no matter how much you sleep? Yet you can’t seem to figure out what is wrong with you? You may in fact have what is typically known as “adrenal fatigue” (adrenal dysfunction). Adrenal dysfunction is quite an ambiguous condition as there is no evidence that this condition even exists.
Many of you will be more familiar with the term “Adrenal Fatigue”, however, most traditional doctors will argue that this condition actually does not exist. But Adrenal dysfunction is something that can occur individuals and many people will experience some level of stress on the adrenal glands at some point throughout their life.
I suffered from a chronic case of adrenal dysfunction for a few years. This occurred from years of a stressful lifestyle both physically and mentally. As a consequence my body faced a storm of hormonal imbalances which left my adrenal glands exhausted.
It has taken me years of recovery to try and achieve an optimal hormonal balance and it's still a work in progress.
Depending on the severity of your case, It can take a long time to recover once you have burnt the candle at both ends, and it can be a very long and frustrating process.
I was at a point where I was in a deep hole of a hormonal and fatigue shiz storm where even something as simple as brushing my teeth before bed seemed like the biggest most strenuous task which took up all of my effort and energy.
But you definitely do not need to be an athlete or live an extreme lifestyle to experience these symptoms. So let me make you aware of what it is and the things you can do if you feel you may have this condition.
What Are The Adrenal Glands?
The adrenal glands a small little glands that are located on the top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce hormones that you need for survival. These include sex hormones and cortisol. The body not only needs these hormones to function optimally, but also uses these hormones in response to stress.
What Is Adrenal Dysfunction?
Adrenal dysfunction is where the adrenal glands decrease their ability to carry out their normal functions. Even though there is no scientific evidence that “adrenal fatigue” or dysfunction actually exists, those who experience it correlate the symptoms they experience with overworked adrenal glands producing too little hormones.
So What Causes Adrenal Dysfunction?
Our bodies are a very clever thing, they are after all built to survive. When your body becomes stressed it has coping mechanisms to deal with that stress and the body will make adjustments depending on the amount of stress it is placed under at any given time.
Adrenal dysfunction occurs when your body is placed under stress, whether that be physical, emotional, mental or environmental stressors (or a combination) and the demands of those stressors exceed the bodies ability to cope and adjust.
So basically, your coping mechanisms can no longer cope with the stress. When this happens the adrenal glands simply can not keep up so they become fatigued and can not longer respond properly to any further stress.
Types Of Stress:
It's important to note that adrenal dysfunction is not the issue, but is actually the result of other hormonal imbalances in the body, usually caused by ongoing stress from either emotional or physical stress or a combination of both
The most common causes of adrenal dysfunction that overwhelm the body and its coping mechanisms include:
Physical stress – surgery, poor nutrition, injury, exhaustion
Emotional stress - relationships, work related, psychological
Continuous environmental stress – from toxins, household chemicals, pollutants, food intolerances
Recurrent Illness – bronchitis or flu, autoimmune, pneumonia
Continuous repealed stress , no matter where the stress comes from can add up over time and make an individual more prone to having hormonal adaptation which lead to adrenal dysfunction.
The tough part is, is that for many of us, we don't recognize certain things as stressors, but instead as normal day to day life.
Trust me i know his first hand, I thought I was invincible and continued to say "yes" to everything. Eventually, my crazy 6am-10pm days were pretty much the norm, however, I did not realize that this continuous stress on my body from long work hours, long training hours, poor nutrition and little downtime lead to my body's breaking point.
Stressors can be something as simple as being a single parent, constant lack of sleep, unhappy in work life, little or no downtime, financial stress, a death of a close friend or family to name a few.
Here are some signs and symptoms that could be a good indication that you may have some level of adrenal exhaustion. If you have one or more of these its OK don't panic, it will just make you aware of what the situation may be from and may be worth investigating.
Symptoms Of Adrenal Dysfunction
Difficulty waking up and getting up in the morning – you are a snoozer and even after a few alarms you still struggle to get your head up off the pillow let alone yourself out of bed.
Fatigue that continues to hang around – when you are constantly tired and exhausted and you can not relieve it no matter how much sleep you get. No matter what you just can not seem to feel refreshed.
Lethargic and lack of energy – even the simplest and smallest of tasks seem like a huge chose that takes maximum effort and energy.
Simple tasks take extra effort – everything seems to be so much harder than it should be.
Decreased libido – you hardly have the energy to function let alone have sex.
Reduced ability to handle stress or higher stress situations – your are more irritable, the smallest things get to you easily. You may react by yelling, rage, anxiety, compulsive eating.
Frequent colds and longer time to recover from illness, injury – your cold lingers around for a few months instead of a couple of weeks or day, or that small cut takes weeks to heal.
Light-headedness or dizziness when you stand up – sometimes you get dizzy spells or feel like you might pass out when you stand up too quickly after sitting down.
Mild depression – everything seems pointless and you find yourself down a lot of the time.
Cravings for salty foods – all the salt! You find you are drawn to salty foods and even add extra salt most of the time.
Less happiness with everyday life – you have a lack of interest in life or fun events. You would rather stay home and lay on the couch than go to a party or social gathering.
Increased PMS – bloating, tired, moody, cramping more than usual.
Brain fog – constant loss of train of thought. It becomes harder to concentrate and make decisions, you are less productive.
Memory loss or fuzziness – you forget things easily, like where you left your keys or why you walked into a room.
Decreased tolerance and patience – people become more irritating.
Highest energy after dinner – the only time you feel better is after your evening meal where you start to feel more alive than you do all day.
Now that's a huge list pf possible symptoms. I know because looking back now I had pretty much every single one of these. However, it had gotten to a point where it just felt "normal" to feel like this, but I can assure you it most definitely is not.
It's important to note that no single one of these symptoms indicates that you 100% have adrenal dysfunction however they are a good indication that adrenal dysfunction may be present and it could be worth investigating further.
Regardless, if you are feeling like this, then its no way to live, they are mere warning signs that something needs to change in order to ensure you are living life to its fullest potential and at the most optimal of health possible.
So Now what?
If you think you may have some adrenal dysfunction then it is important that you investigate it further. But I want you to know what to expect. It's a tough condition to diagnose because many medical practitioners and even some endocrinologists (hormones specialists) have never heard of or have never dealt with the condition or simply do not believe that it is an actual condition.
This is because it's something has become difficult to detect in modern medicine as it requires a combination of symptom profile and test results to detect. I went to many different GPs stating my symptoms and they were all dismissed. Luckily I knew something was really wrong and I kept trying to find the answers, I didn't give up until I found someone who was familiar with the condition and could help me figure out what was actually happening with my body and how it was functioning.
I think it's important that you keep asking questions and never take one opinion as gospel. If something feels wrong then find out what it is, because it's not normal to live the life that way.
Note* I am not a medical practitioner. I am only sharing what i have learned through my own experience and research. This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition. Please consult with your health care professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.