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)?

  1. Extreme unexplainable fatigue / needing naps during the day
  2. Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
  3. Stressful lifestyle and Inability to handle stress
  4. Waking up in the middle of the night for no reason (2-3am)
  5. Heart palpitations at night or when stressed
  6. Consistently low blood pressure
  7. Low libido and lack of sex drive
  8. Low thyroid function, despite thyroid medications
  9. Feeling of hypoglycemia/low blood sugar – so cravings of sugar for energy
  10. Depression / Sadness / Cries easily
  11. Anxiety / fearfulness
  12. Panic attacks / becoming withdrawn or isolated
  13. Feeling “wired” but tired and unable to relax
  14. Feeling of adrenaline rushes in the body
  15. Foggy thinking / Brain Fog / Inability to concentrate or focus
  16. Weight gain (especially in lower belly) and Inability to lose weight
  17. Low Immune system- may often get sick with colds/flu/viral infections, and takes longer to recover
  18. Undealt with trauma from childhood and adulthood (sexual abuse, divorce, childhood consisted of parents with addiction, death of loved one, etc)
  19. Waking up feeling tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep
  20. Needing coffee to get going in the morning and throughout the day
  21. Craving for salty food such as potato chips
  22. Unexplained hair loss
  23. Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
  24. Delayed food sensitivities, especially to dairy and gluten
  25. Unable to get pregnant
  26. Postpartum fatigue and depression
  27. Temperature intolerance, especially to heat or sunlight
  28. Premature Peri-menopause and Menopause
  29. Constipation for no apparent reason
  30. Joint pain of unknown origin
  31. Muscle pain of unknown reason
  32. Muscle mass loss
  33. Cold hands and feet
  34. Premature aging skin
  35. Dizziness for no known cause
  36. Chronic Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  37. Shortness of breath even though breathing is fine
  38. Presence of ovarian cyst
  39. Estrogen dominance
  40. Legs that feel heavy at times
  41. Dark circles under eyes that do not go away with rest
  42. Body feeling tense all over and unable to relax
  43. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome unimproved with medicine
  44. Fibromyalgia unresolved after conventional help
  45. 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.