If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you know that it’s real. However, it’s not yet widely recognized as a syndrome by modern conventional medicine. This explains why it’s known under so many names, such as neurasthenia, hypoadrenia and adrenal apathy. But all of these words mean the same: under-performance of adrenal glands.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones. Some of these hormones, such as cortisol, are designed to combat stress. If you are under significant physical or emotional stress, the adrenal glands may fail to keep up with the amount of hormones your body needs to balance itself out. That’s when, on top of the stress, you may start experiencing the following symptoms:
- Chronic tiredness
- Body aches
- Fogginess and hard time thinking clearly
- Sleeping and digestive issues
- Difficulty getting out of bed and functioning in the morning
- Reduced sex drive
Adrenal fatigue is not always the cause of these symptoms. Sometimes, your adrenal glands may suffer permanent damage from your immune system, which is a condition known as Addison’s disease (an auto-immune disorder). However, if you have Addison’s disease, you would experience a variety of other alarming symptoms, such as low blood pressure, dizziness, weight loss and muscle weakness.
Thankfully, adrenal fatigue is actually treatable with functional nutritional therapy, acupuncture and lifestyle changes. But before we get to the treatment, let’s talk about what causes it.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
- Intense or ongoing stress
- Nutritional deficiency
- Acute or chronic infections, including pneumonia, flu and bronchitis
- Severe emotional distress, such as from a death of a loved one
It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself healthy—stress can bring out adrenal fatigue in anyone. However, people with poor diets, insufficient sleep or chronic medical conditions are more likely to suffer from adrenal fatigue. Coincidently, people with poor nutritional habits tend to have weaker immune systems that can be more susceptible to infections, hence the adrenal fatigue.
Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is a condition that can be effectively treated in most individuals. And by “treated” we don’t mean addressing the symptoms with hormonal supplements—we mean eliminating the cause and returning your adrenal function back to normal. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to get your adrenal health back.
Identify and Eliminate the Causes of Stress
Managing your stress is easier said than done. Sometimes, the source of your stress can be a complicated relationship with a significant other or a high-paying job that you feel trapped in. Other times you could be stressing yourself out over a trifle and all you have to do is change your mindset. In other cases, you might need to cut the ties with your stressor if you want to live in peace. If there is a life crisis or an emotional trauma you have difficulty coping with, a few sessions with a resilience coach can be invaluable.
Relax and Unwind
Learn to find time for yourself. Take breaks from stressful environments, pause to meditate or do something that instantly calms you down. We find that most of our acupuncture clients actually find this needle therapy relaxing and they leave our sessions feeling rejuvenated and thinking clearly. If you haven’t come in for acupuncture yet, you should at least get your 8 hours of sleep to make sure your adrenal fatigue isn’t plain sleep deprivation.
Improve Your Diet
- Establish a regular meal pattern to consistently supply your body with nutrients.
- Choose whole foods versus processed foods.
- Don’t skip breakfast even if it’s just an apple or sprouted grain bread
- Increase the hydrochloric acid in your stomach to help with digestion, making sure all those nutrients you eat actually make it into your bloodstream.
- Eat less sugar.
- Cut down on caffeine and alcohol and instead stay hydrated with water.
Don’t Forgo the Exercise
It’s understandable that working out is probably the last thing on your mind when you have to drag yourself out of bed every morning. But you don’t have to spend hours in the gym or join the runners that pass your house in the AM. Instead, focus on low-stress workouts like a few calisthenics or yoga in your home, swimming, walking, or martial arts. Choose the exercise routine that allows you to clear your mind, as well as stimulate your body. Whenever possible, fit your exercise early in your daily schedule. Exercising late at night may keep you awake way beyond your bed time.
Besides the stress factor, adrenal glands can often get depleted due to our nutritionally deficient diets. By using whole food supplements versus synthetic supplements, we can fill the cells of the adrenal glands with the proper vitamins. When the cells are stronger, they are better able to keep up with the hormonal demand. Acupuncture helps reduce our stress and increase the energy flow through our bodies. Acupuncture, functional nutrition, and stress management techniques combined are a powerful combination.
It is possible to beat adrenal fatigue on your own, but if you need emotional support or professional guidance, we can help you with adrenal fatigue treatment in Lutherville – Timonium and the Baltimore area. At Women in Wellness, we use a combination of acupuncture, functional nutrition and wellness coaching to help men, women and children feel better and live healthier and happier lives. Feel free to fill out the form below and Cara-Michele will be in touch with you to talk about how we can help you feel better!