Every day, your body deals with stress as you handle career and family responsibilities. While some stress can be a good thing since it motivates you to make decisions to improve your life, too much stress can stretch your body beyond its limits.
When everyday stressors, such as emotional distress or challenges at work occur, they send a signal to your adrenal glands to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. In small amounts, these hormones give you the kick you need to stay alert and focused while you work through stressful situations.
Unfortunately, prolonged stress can throw off the delicate hormonal balance by causing your adrenal glands to sustain high levels of cortisol for long periods of time. When this happens, your adrenal glands will be too busy producing stress hormones to make others that are essential for your health such as DHEA and progesterone.
This hormonal imbalance then leads to a wide range of symptoms that develops slowly over time. Recognizing these symptoms as a signal that your body is struggling to cope with adrenal fatigue is the first step toward finding the right treatment to restore your vitality.
Here are 11 common signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue:
1. Difficulty Waking Up After a Long Night of Sleep
Do you do everything right by going to bed early, only to wake up feeling as though you never got rest at all?
Sluggishness in the morning is one of the most common symptoms experienced by people with adrenal fatigue, and it can be attributed to the high level of stress hormones causing you to be in a constant state of alertness that interferes with deep sleep.
2. Low Daytime Energy
After that rough morning wake up, you may also find that you have trouble keeping your energy levels up enough to manage your responsibilities throughout the day.
You may find yourself wondering why a simple activity seems to wear you out, and this symptom is a sign that your adrenal glands have reached the point where they are unable to keep your hormones at a healthy level.
3. Inability to Cope with Stress
Your body depends upon hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol to regulate your stress response to challenging situations so that you can have the energy and focus you need to successfully handle them.
Since adrenal fatigue makes it hard for your body to produce these hormones, you may find yourself dealing with feelings of apathy and irritability that make it harder to find positive coping strategies when you are under stress.
4. Frequent Urination
The adrenal glands are also responsible for producing aldosterone that helps to stimulate your kidneys to regulate the fluids and minerals in your body. When this critical hormone gets low, you will experience frequent urination as your kidneys begin to excrete large amounts of important minerals.
5. Food Cravings
As adrenal fatigue forces your body to deplete its stores of vital minerals such as sodium, magnesium and potassium, you may develop strong cravings for food as your body attempts to compensate for the loss. This is one reason why people with adrenal fatigue tend to crave salty foods the most, often at uncontrollable levels.
6. Weight Gain
If you find that you have been accumulating more fat around your abdomen and thighs, then you can blame it on the cortisol. During the early stages of adrenal fatigue, your body has excess cortisol levels that affect weight gain around the middle. As your cortisol levels begin to plummet, your body will attempt to hold on to the excess fat in an attempt to regulate your body’s processes.
7. Poor Immune Response
Cortisol has anti-inflammatory properties that help to regulate the immune system. When your cortisol levels are high, this anti-inflammatory effect can become too strong and cause your immune system to become weak. For this reason, adrenal fatigue is often accompanied by more frequent illnesses and slower healing times for recovery.
8. Increased Hormonal Symptoms
Women going through perimenopause will often find that the hormonal imbalances caused by adrenal fatigue can worsen symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. It is also important to note that younger women can also be affected by worsened PMS and a low libido.
9. Abnormal Blood Pressure
As the body attempts to deal with fluctuating hormones and an abnormal response to stress, you may also experience high or low blood pressure. When this becomes severe enough, you may also have symptoms such as headaches and dizziness that are caused by your abnormal blood pressure.
10. Foggy Thinking
Out of all of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, difficulty thinking is one of the most disruptive. Not only will you find it hard to stay focused, but you may also find yourself dealing with short-term memory loss and an inability to make critical decisions. Fortunately, this and the other symptoms will quickly clear up once you have your adrenal glands functioning properly again.
11. Depression / Anxiety / Mood Issues
Common with adrenal fatigue is depression, anxiety and general mood issues.
These are the top 10 most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms, be sure to get evaluated.