Stressed? Tired? Craving sugar? Can’t sleep?
All of these can be related to the constant stress we feel in our lives. As you know, stress can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. Since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue (or “HPA Axis Dysregulation,” has been a popular topic lately and I wanted to learn more about it so I could share it with you.
Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. These important glands produce many hormones, including stress hormones.
But what happens when they 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 (possibly you?) can’t get enough of that intense feeling.
The 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 react to 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? Your body would be in that fight or flight response mode all the time.
It wouldn’t feel like an awesome rush you got once in a while anymore, would it?
And what do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they are constantly working? They’d get tired or 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 get other symptoms.
Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight loss or gain, joint pain, sugar cravings, even frequent colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are overworked.
I have found that there aren’t medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it’s not recognized 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 “Addison’s Disease” may be given.
However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she may even be open to discussing adrenal fatigue, or at the very least, wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).
What to do if I have these symptoms?
There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.
Ideally, if you think stress is starting to burn you out, then stress reduction is your key. There are a lot of ways how you can reduce your stress. Such as meditation (breathing techniques), yoga, walking in nature, light exercise, a warm bath, enjoying a cup of tea or more sleep.
As well, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake while increasing your water intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body cope. So, go ahead and do it.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired or plain old wore out.
Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific telltale symptoms.
The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. You can also try the stress reduction techniques as mentioned above.