Adrenal Dysfunction, Hormones and Stress Management
Adrenal Dysfunction (aka Cortisol Issues)
You look completely ok on the outside, but labs come back “normal” and you are told it’s all in your head…. Am I right?? Well I’m here to tell you I feel your frustration too. Since I have walked the healing journey of Adrenal Dysfunction myself, I know what you are going through. It’s a very slow process but once you get on the healing protocol, you are on the road to regaining your energy and clear thinking again.
The issue is not exactly adrenals per se but instead it is the stress put on the body via the nervous system and HPA (hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) axis. Things that fall under that Stress category can include: financial stress, physical stress, emotional / psychological stress (trauma, PTSD).
Some stress we carry for years and years until one day the body says, “NO MORE!” because “The Body Keeps the Score” (book by Bessel van der Kolk) and eventually “The Body Speaks” (book by James L Griffith and Melissa Elliott Griffith).
Do You have These Characteristic Symptoms of Adrenal Dysfunction (sometimes referred to as Adrenal Fatigue)?
- Extreme unexplainable fatigue / needing naps during the day
- Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
- Stressful lifestyle and Inability to handle stress
- Waking up in the middle of the night for no reason (2-3am)
- Heart palpitations at night or when stressed
- Consistently low blood pressure
- Low libido and lack of sex drive
- Low thyroid function, despite thyroid medications
- Feeling of hypoglycemia/low blood sugar – so cravings of sugar for energy
- Depression / Sadness / Cries easily
- Anxiety / fearfulness
- Panic attacks / becoming withdrawn or isolated
- Feeling “wired” but tired and unable to relax
- Feeling of adrenaline rushes in the body
- Foggy thinking / Brain Fog / Inability to concentrate or focus
- Weight gain (especially in lower belly) and Inability to lose weight
- Low Immune system- may often get sick with colds/flu/viral infections, and takes longer to recover
- Undealt with trauma from childhood and adulthood (sexual abuse, divorce, childhood consisted of parents with addiction, death of loved one, etc)
- Waking up feeling tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep
- Needing coffee to get going in the morning and throughout the day
- Craving for salty food such as potato chips
- Unexplained hair loss
- Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
- Delayed food sensitivities, especially to dairy and gluten
- Unable to get pregnant
- Postpartum fatigue and depression
- Temperature intolerance, especially to heat or sunlight
- Premature Peri-menopause and Menopause
- Constipation for no apparent reason
- Joint pain of unknown origin
- Muscle pain of unknown reason
- Muscle mass loss
- Cold hands and feet
- Premature aging skin
- Dizziness for no known cause
- Chronic Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- Shortness of breath even though breathing is fine
- Presence of ovarian cyst
- Estrogen dominance
- Legs that feel heavy at times
- Dark circles under eyes that do not go away with rest
- Body feeling tense all over and unable to relax
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome unimproved with medicine
- Fibromyalgia unresolved after conventional help
- Systemic Candida that gets worse when under stress
What causes Adrenal Dysfunction or HPA Axis Issues?
Chronic stress is very common in western society. The most common causes of stress are work pressure, the death of a loved one, trauma from childhood or adulthood (sexual abuse, raise by a person with an addiction, divorce, etc), moving house, changing jobs, illness and marital disruptions. Adrenal Fatigue occurs when the amount of stress overextends the capacity of the body to compensate and recover from stress.
What are the health conditions related to Adrenal Dysfunction or HPA Axis Issues?
Conditions commonly associated with Adrenal Dysfunction include hypothyroidism, estrogen dominance, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, auto-immune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes just to name a few.
Can people with Adrenal Dysfunction recover fully?
Yes, most definitely! With proper treatment, one can fully recover from HPA axis issues over a span of 6 months to 6 years. The more mild the form, the quicker the recovery. AND the better you stick to the treatment plan, the quicker the recovery.
What are special considerations of women afflicted with Adrenal Dysfunction?
There are very strong interlinked relationships between the ovarian, thyroid, gut and adrenal systems in the women. The internal cortisol often creates a condition of multiple organ resistance, including the thyroid and ovaries. Thyroid tissues fail to respond as efficiently to the hormonal signal. Adrenal Dysfunction / HPA Axis Issues are often accompanied by clinical or sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Laboratory values can be “normal” but classical signs of hypothyroidism may be present.