Adrenal fatigue can be completely debilitating if left untreated. As our schedule and demands continue to grow, so does our stress level. Humans were simply not designed to handle the low grade and chronic stress in our daily lives. Add in the inflammatory foods we eat on a daily basis, the lack of sleep we get, and the over use of caffeine; its no wonder our bodies our mentally and physically depleted.
If you are chronically fatigued, wired but tired or have been experiencing anxiety/depression, you too could be suffering from adrenal fatigue. Thankfully, our bodies are resilient and there are some incredible ways to heal yourself so you can start thriving in your body again.
WHAT IS ADRENAL FATIGUE?
Our bodies have two thumb sized glands that sit on top of our kidneys, called the adrenals. These glands are responsible for secreting cortisol along with other hormones within the body. Cortisol is your stress hormone and is needed in small amounts to protect you from danger. The problem is that most of us are chronically stressed out, meaning our adrenals are pumping out cortisol non-stop. In later stages of adrenal fatigue (when the adrenals become exhausted) cortisol levels are reduced leaving you in a constant state of high stress.
Cortisol isn’t the only hormone that is produced by our adrenals. They are involved in the secretion of over 50 hormones within the body, many of which are vital for life. This is why when they become burnt out, it leaves our bodies completely out of balance.
It is often prolonged acute stress that causes adrenal fatigue, but it could even be caused by physical stress such as a surgery or exposure to environmental toxins. Other forms of stress that have been shown to cause adrenal fatigue are:
- excessive exercise
- late hours
- low-blood pressure
- gluten intolerance
- chronic infections
- excessive sugar/caffeine
- chronic infections
SYMPTOMS OF ADRENAL FATIGUE
After feeling many of the symptoms myself for months, I decided to get a hair analysis done to test my own cortisol levels which reflect the strength of your adrenals. I used the online practitioner So Ready For Health for this testing and highly recommend him! When my results came back a week later that I not only had adrenal fatigue but a extreme case, I was completely devastated. Though it was bitter sweet because it meant that I could begin my own healing journey.
Looking back, I can see that I’ve been suffering from adrenal fatigue for about 4 years. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism around that time along with experiencing symptoms of leaky gut. Both of these are huge red flags that your adrenals are being over-worked. I was working as a Property Manager and dealt with angry tenants, un-paid rent and lots of investors looking for a higher ROI. I would drink 3-4 cups of coffee daily, get up early, stay up late and spend my car ride home crying from feeling so over whelmed.
After over a year in that position I was completely burnt out but had no idea of the impact it had played on my over all health. It was only the beginning of a downward spiral in my vitality. The symptoms I’ve felt off and on since have been:
- anxiety/feeling constantly stressed
- hair loss
- weight gain (around my abdomen)
- brain fog
- constant digestive distress
- food sensitivities
- feeling nauseous upon waking
- chronic fatigue
- lowered sex drive
- imbalance in my menstrual cycle
There are several other symptoms that you could be experiencing from adrenal fatigue which you can read about here, but these are the ones that have impacted me the most.
THE JOURNEY BACK TO VITALITY
I’ve always striven for a healthy body and take great pride in that. But realizing that all the green smoothies in the world can’t protect me from emotional stressors was a huge wake up call. Nutritional therapy is definitely a major part of healing from adrenal fatigue but you truly need a total lifestyle shift if you want to thrive in your body again.
Your healing journey can take MONTHS, but is with all the dedication to get back to your old self. Think about the years of stressors that you have been enduring. The fact that you can heal in a short 3-4 months is truly remarkable. Though for those with severe adrenal fatigue it can take up to 24 months. Consistency during this time is key. This is why finding a sustainable diet and lifestyle regimen during your healing, will determine your success.
In part two of this blog, I will outline my exact healing protocol. What worked well for me and what did not. I’m still in the beginning stages of my journey so the latter half of this post will be coming in a few weeks.
Until then, i’d love to hear if any of this resonated with you. If you have endured and healed adrenal fatigue yourself, leave a comment below with what has worked for you! If you feel you could use some guidance in your own healing journey, then reach out to me here.