“Adrenal glands, are small, triangular glands located on top of both kidneys. An adrenal gland is made of two parts: the outer region is called the adrenal cortex and the inner region is called the adrenal medulla. (Sargis). In response to stress, the hypothalamus stimulates the adrenal glands to produce and release adrenaline and corticosteroid hormones into the blood such as cortisol. Over the course of chronic stress the adrenal glands can become overused and tired from the overproduction which causes adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is a very common condition that women experience and it directly effects energy levels and the body’s ability to heal; however, it is a treatable condition. (Caldwell). One of the symptoms of lupus patients is extreme fatigue. No matter how much one sleeps and rests it feels as if there is no recovery. “You’re fighting an uphill battle because your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to function and heal efficiently.” (Caldwell). This may be caused by chronic stress which is the number one cause of adrenal fatigue. This includes emotional, physical, and spiritual stress. One of the most overlooked are spiritual stressors such as: not loving yourself fully, being critical of yourself, allowing thoughts to ruminate, and the pursuit of perfection all cause chronic long-term stress. Unresolved emotional pain such as anger, grief, shame or loneliness, also take a toll. (Caldwell).
With constant levels of stress, cortisol levels will remain elevated for extended periods of time, making it difficult for the body to return to a state of rest where energy is restored and the body can heal. (Caldwell). “In the early stages of adrenal fatigue, consistently high levels of cortisol suppresses the immune response and leaves one vulnerable to infection. In the later stages of adrenal fatigue, low levels of cortisol can lead to chronic inflammation, allergies and autoimmune diseases.” (Lam). When the adrenals become unable to produce enough of the hormones that are needed is when fatigue, or that drained energy feeling comes into play. This means that levels of cortisol, along with neurotransmitters like adrenaline and norepinephrine, are lower than they should be.
Common Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- Chronic fatigue that is not relieved by rest.
- Sleep disturbances such as insomnia, or trouble falling or staying asleep.
- Memory or cognition issues like brain fog, feeling spacey, or trouble concentrating.
- Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, feelings of overwhelm or crying more easily.
- Hormonal imbalances or changes such as worsening PMS, changes in menstruation or irregular cycles.
- Thyroid disorders or symptoms like hypothyroidism, cold or heat intolerance, or dry skin and hair.
- Metabolic disorders or weight issues like excess belly fat, and high or low blood sugar issues.
- Craving salt, sugar or caffeine to help “boost” your energy throughout the day.
- Low blood pressure symptoms like feeling dizzy or woozy if you stand up too quickly.
- Other symptoms
- Asthma, allergies or respiratory complaints
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Dry skin
- Extreme tiredness an hour after exercise
- Frequent urination
- Joint pain
- Lines in your fingertips
- Loss of muscle tone
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Low sex drive
- Lower back pain
- Numbness in your fingers / Poor circulation
- Weight gain (AdrenalFatigueSolution)