The adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys and are responsible for regulating the release of hormones such as cortisol. Adrenal fatigue can happen when we have an overload of stress in our lives and our adrenal glands get frazzled and release too much or too little cortisol, or release hormones at the wrong times. If you live in a constant state of “fight or flight”, have a lot of stress or anxiety, or have trouble sleeping, this may be you!
Common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
1. You just don’t have the energy that you used to. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” but it is also the hormone that tells us when it is time to wake up and gives us the energy we need to have a productive day. No cortisol= low energy.
2. Sleep Problems. Adrenals that are not functioning properly release hormones at the wrong times. Tired all day but then can’t get to sleep at night? Your confused adrenals may be releasing cortisol at the wrong time. This used to be a major problem for me! I would spend the day barely able to stay awake (and many times just gave up and took a nap), but when bedtime rolled around I would get this crazy burst of energy and be up for hours.
3. Anxiety. I have pretty much always struggled with anxiety, but before I fixed my adrenals it was much worse. I felt “shell shocked” a lot of the time–jumping at the smallest noise or touch, and unable to deal with even the smallest stressors.
4. Brain fog. Brain fog is the worst. You feel sluggish, unable to concentrate, can’t think straight–feels like you are fighting your way through a thick layer of fog just to form a complete thought or sentence. I spent a lot of months worrying about what was wrong with me (Dementia? Alzheimers?) before I realized that my brain fog was due to a poorly functioning adrenal system.
The great news about adrenal fatigue is that it is easily treated. Modern doctors often don’t recognize it as an actual issue until it progresses into something more serious like Addison’s Disease, but a good Functional Medicine doctor can test for it and provide you with great tools on how to treat it successfully!
There are many things you can do right away to help strengthen your adrenals:
- Find ways to reduce your stress levels. I recommend meditation, yoga, walks outside, and regular technology detoxes.
- Start taking magnesium supplements. Many adults are magnesium deficient. Magnesium oil sprayed directly on my feet at night just before I go to bed has greatly improved my sleep.
- Remove or greatly reduce refined sugars and alcohol.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day. This helps your body to know when to release the proper hormones.
- Learn to say NO! This one was the hardest for me. Go easy on yourself and admit that you can’t do everything. Say no if saying yes means that you will be adding more stress to your already busy life.
Hope this helps! Please feel free to comment with any questions or personal anecdotes in dealing with adrenal fatigue:)
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, and the content on the site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.