A constant feeling of fatigue or exhaustion can be an indication of adrenal fatigue.
So what are adrenals and why are they fatigued?
Adrenals are small glands located above your kidneys and are part of the endocrine system (the system that secretes hormones into the body). The adrenals produce hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and adrenaline (epinephrine).
Adrenal fatigue is when these glands stop producing the right amount of these hormones, especially cortisol. Cortisol is typically referred to as the "stress hormone" and is classified as a steroid hormone. This hormone increases blood sugar and aids the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbs in order to provide us with energy, hence the reason that you get tired when experiencing adrenal fatigue.
This condition can be brought on by a number of things which include,
- Stress (either chronic or acute)
- Poor diet
- Acute illnesses (such as pneumonia or bronchitis)
- Other hormone deficiencies
- And more!
When these things happen the result is either not enough of the cortisol hormone is produced or the cycle of the cortisol gets reversed. In a healthy individual cortisol will go through a certain rhythm in order for the body to function properly. The level of cortisol will spike in the morning to allow you to wake up and start your day. It will then gradually go through smaller and smaller spikes in order to prepare your body for rest. If you are plagued with adrenal fatigue, the spikes can start to come in the evening when it is time for bed causing insomnia.
If left untreated, the body may stop producing cortisol all together leaving you in a serious state of lethargy and/or anxiety.
While the symptom of fatigue/exhaustion is bad enough, it isn't the only symptom that accompanies adrenal fatigue. Symptoms also include,
- Tiredness upon waking
- Difficulty waking up
- Energetic at night
- Waking up throughout the night
- Unable to handle stress
- Abnormally exhausted after exercise
- Poor immune system (reoccurring infections)
- Poor concentration
- And much, much more!
So what are you supposed to do when this happens?
First and foremost, you need to remove stress from your life. Everyone knows that that is not an easy thing to do, but it is important for your health! This could mean staying away from certain people, considering a career change, or simply taking a much needed vacation. If these don't seem feasible (let's face it, everyone should do the last one), try engaging in stress-free and stress-relieving activities like reading, writing, drawing, yoga, meditation, etc. Find something calming that you enjoy and DO IT!
The next thing that you should consider doing to combat this fatigue is find a doctor that is trained/experienced in balancing hormones. This is a big step in recovery!
While searching out that trained professional and even while you are working with them, begin to monitor your eating habits. Make healthy, protein-filled food to give you the energy you need. This may take a little research on your part if you are not used to creating those types of meals, but that isn't an excuse to skip this step. There are plenty of pins out there waiting to be explored.
So if you are experiencing a constant sense of exhaustion that you just can't seem to shake, you may want to consider getting checked for adrenal fatigue.