Demanding bosses and managers, traffic jams, caregiving for children or parents, financial worries, deciding what’s for dinner, relationship and career concerns, are just a few of the many pressures we feel every day of our lives. Everybody has some sort of stress in their life.
We know, intellectually, that stress causes a MULTITUDE of symptoms which can include fatigue, insomnia, frequent aches and pains, frequent infections from a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and irritability, among others, but did you know stress is stored in the body as well?
Adrenal Fatigue is NOT recognized as a true medical condition, and the term is used as an umbrella term for a group of symptoms for many of those who are under constant, long-term mental and physical stress, says the Endocrine Society.
Many alternative, functional medicine, holistic, and anti-aging health professionals recognize, diagnose, and treat adrenal fatigue. When our bodies experience stress, it releases the stress hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands. As our blood is sent to the areas that need it most in times of emergency (or so your body thinks) - your brain, your heart, and your muscles - it creates that fight or flight feeling. However, if stress occurs chronically over a long period of time, our adrenal glands burn out, says the article. A weakened immune system, muscle tension, digestive problems, and even reproductive problems are a few symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
In both men and women, the biggest symptom of adrenal fatigue is, you guessed it, is fatigue. Not just a little fatigue, however, but a general, ongoing tiredness that doesn’t seem to pass, says Healthline. For men, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can include sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, sperm production, and maturation, as well as immunity weakness.
To bring your body back to health, treatment unfortunately takes a little more effort than taking a few pills. Think of getting back to basics as a means of treatment for this condition. Your body requires an adequate and rhythmic sleep schedule, a proper nutritionally supportive diet, regular movement, and the removal of drugs, alcohol, smoking, and possibly caffeine. Treating adrenal fatigue is about getting your body back to its regular functioning, as well as addressing and eliminating the cause(s) that got you where you are to start with.
Although adrenal fatigue can affect everyone, it is more common in women than men, says First For Women Magazine. When women’s stress hormone production gets burned out over time from chronic stress, the body instead turns to crave salty, sweet, or carb-laden foods, giving way to unwanted weight gain, explains the article. The feeling of being “hangry” is a big clue. Instead of releasing cortisol early in the day to get the body going, it’s being released at night, leading to insomnia and mood swings.
What Can Be Done to Address Adrenal Fatigue
Addressing the cause is key in reversing and recovering from adrenal fatigue.
Stress management is an essential tool in treating and addressing adrenal fatigue. Stress is not a small thing to ignore, especially in today’s climate of advanced speed and production pressures. It’s important to step back and take care of what gets us, literally, through our days; our bodies and our minds.
Something as simple as breathing exercises can help lower cortisol levels in the body.
Yoga is a powerful tool to reduce stress, focus your brain on your body instead of perceived threats, and help you coordinate your breathing and movement, and increase your body awareness.
Diet changes will be necessary to avoid surges in cortisol and further depleting your body’s energy, and you will need the nutrients and vitamins that are crucial to support your recovery.
Your exercise will need to change and adapt to your current condition, as more vigorous exercise meant to help you lose weight will simply push you deeper into severe fatigue. Discussing your condition with an experienced provider can definitely help, as he/she can guide you to what type of exercise is best for you and at what time of the day you should exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, supplemental treatment includes taking certain vitamins, like vitamin B and C, and certain herbs like ashwagandha, which is an adaptogen supplement that regulates cortisol. “Research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggests that Ashwagandha is safe and effective for helping with chronic stress, anxiety, arthritis, diabetes, and more.”
If you’re in the Thousand Oaks area, and if you believe you are experiencing adrenal fatigue please schedule an appointment with Dr. Mirela Cernaianu of HERA Wellness and Beauty. She will take a holistic approach to your wellness and develop an action plan you can use to treat symptoms and address the root cause(s).