Feeling stressed, tired, constant sugar cravings and can’t sleep?
You may well have adrenal fatigue.
More than just another trendy buzz phrase, adrenal fatigue is directly related to the constant stress we feel in our lives.
We know that stress can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. And, since your adrenal glands produce your stress hormones, adrenal fatigue (or more formally known as “HPA Axis Dysregulation,”) is an all too common occurrence.
So what are our adrenals?
Your adrenal glands look like little walnuts and live on top of both of your kidneys. These important tiny glands produce many hormones, including our stress hormones.
When we’re under a lot of stress, our adrenal glands become “overworked.”
You’ve heard of adrenaline junkies, right?
Adrenaline and cortisol are the stress hormones that give you the commonly known adrenaline rush; when you’re totally alert and living in the moment. This feeling is known as your body’s “fight or flight” response.
Some people (perhaps you?) just love that intense feeling.
This release of hormones in the fight or flight response is your body’s normal reaction to stress. Stress can sometimes be positive, like when it helps you swerve and prevent a crash. After a short time, the fight or flight response dissipates, your body goes back to normal, and all is good.
But what would happen if you felt constant stress? Like all day, every day, chronic stress.
It wouldn’t feel like an awesome, once-in-a-while, “rush,” anymore would it?
And what do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they’re constantly working?
They get fatigued, right?
Do I have adrenal fatigue?
When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, you can start to experience certain symptoms.
Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight loss or gain, joint pain, sugar cravings, even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are overworked.
First off, I have to tell you that there aren’t medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue.
In fact, it’s not recognised by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnoses of “Adrenal Insufficiency” or even “Addison’s Disease” may apply.
However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions, such as a thyroid condition. Your doctor may be open to discussing adrenal fatigue (or at least HPA Dysregulation), or at the very least, wellness and lifestyle strategies that can help to reduce your stress and your symptoms.
It’s usually at this point, when your blood tests are “normal” (and you feel anything but normal!) where many people seek help from a natural health practitioner such as yours truly. Chronic debilitating symptoms are my jam and I acknowledge that your symptoms are very real and can offer alternative testing and treatment.
What to do if I have adrenal fatigue?
There are lots of strategies you can use to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.
Ideally, if you think stress is starting to burn you out, stress reduction is key. My favourites are meditation, walking in nature, light exercise, more sleep, or taking a bath.
Rather than pushing through your daily to do list, take the time to rest, nourish and restore.
Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body.
So go ahead and do it.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired.
Adrenal fatigue is a controversial condition medically, because it doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific tell-tale symptoms.
The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. You can also try stress reduction techniques like meditation, walks in nature, light exercise, more sleep, or even a lovely bath.
For more tips on self care and how to nourish your adrenals, make sure you download my free eBook
Stress Reducing Lavender Bath Salts
2 cups Epsom salts
10 drops lavender essential oil
As you’re running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved
Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!
Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.