Adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue is a term used to describe a state of exhaustion in which the adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing stress hormones like cortisol, become depleted. Stress can come in a variety of forms, but your body’s response is the same. It can become difficult for your adrenal glands to meet the demands of your daily stressful life, ultimately, resulting in adrenal exhaustion.
This results in the symptoms described below:
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
- Lack of energy
- Have trouble getting up in the morning
- Either have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Need caffeine or energy drinks to keep going
- Abdominal weight gain
- Feeling exhausted for no reason
- Crave either salty or sweet snacks
- Inability to handle stress
- Chronic allergies
- Poor memory, brain fog
- Poor concentration
- Menstrual cycle irregularities
- Chronic pain
- Slow healing from injuries
- Bruise easily
- Low blood pressure
- Cystic breasts
- Feeling momentarily lightheaded or dizzy after standing up
- Sensitive to cold
- Feeling “tired but wired”
- Sensitivity to bright light or loud noise
If you answered yes to any of these questions then consider adrenal fatigue as a possible explanation.
What Are Some of the Causes and Triggers of Adrenal Fatigue?
- An acute life stress — death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, etc.
- Being over-scheduled for long periods of time
- Prolonged emotional or life stress (like 3+ years of Covid “stuff”)
- Infectious illness (acute and chronic)
- An accident or surgery
- Other hormonal deficiencies or imbalances
- Insufficient levels of good-quality sleep
- Overuse of stimulants
- Substance abuse
Sleep: In sleep-deprived individuals, the mean cortisol levels are elevated. Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce a person’s energy, mental vitality and induce depression.
Energy: Abnormal rhythms can alter the cells’ ability to produce energy. That is why all people with adrenal fatigue will be affected in this area. You might have a hard time rising in the morning or have low energy levels throughout the day. These are signs of exhausted adrenals.
Memory: Chronic, long-term stress makes it difficult to think, organize and store new memories or retrieve long-term ones. An abnormal cortisol level interferes with the chemicals the brain uses for its cellular intercommunication. This also decreases the function of the hippocampus, which is the part of your brain that forms memories.
Thyroid Function: Often, hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue and low body temperature are due to stress or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal stress can also reduce the conversion of T4 to T3, leading to hypothyroidism.
Immune System: Short and long-term stress is known to suppress the immune response in the lungs, throat, urinary tract, and intestines. If the cortisol cycle is disrupted, especially at night, then the immune system is adversely affected; allergic reactions increase and the resistance to infection is decreased.
Muscles, Joints and Bones: Abnormal adrenal rhythms lead to compromised tissue healing, reduced tissue repair, increased tissue breakdown and chronic pain. If cortisol levels are imbalanced, our bones do not rebuild well, and we are more prone to osteoporosis.
Skin regeneration: Yes, you have to take your “beauty sleep” if you want good-looking skin! This is because human skin regenerates mostly at night. When you are stressed or don’t sleep, less skin regeneration takes place.
Luckily, there are many, efficient, natural, and non-invasive treatments that can help you bring your adrenals back into balance. Proper treatment for adrenal dysfunction can have profound effects.
A diagnosis for this condition can be made via a thorough consultation with a trained physician and/or adrenal hormone levels can be accurately tested via blood, urine or saliva (type of testing may vary depending on the case). If you think you are suffering from adrenal dysfunction and feel you are not getting the help you need, contact us at Arbour Wellness Centre – we can help!