Fatigue and Adrenal Concerns



Fatigue is a feeling of constant physical and/or mental tiredness or weakness that we are all likely to experience at some stage of life. However, when fatigue becomes constant and affects our ability to work, perform daily tasks or starts to affect other areas of health and our quality of life then it must be addressed.

Fatigue is one of the most common reasons people will come to see me, but rather than being a disease in itself, fatigue is a symptom of dysfunction in the body and can be caused by a variety of issues including;

  • Stress and emotional upset
  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Anaemia (low iron levels)
  • Toxicity
  • Poor digestion
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Food sensitivities
  • Poor diet
  • Diabetes and blood sugar metabolism issues
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Chronic infections
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Adrenal dysfunction
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Inactivity and lack of exercise
  • Depression
  • Other diseases

Apart from general tiredness and weakness, additional symptoms of fatigue can include;

  • Irritability & moodiness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle soreness or weakness
  • Poor decision making
  • Cognitive impairment and or poor memory
  • Appetite loss or change
  • Poor immune function and increased susceptibility to infection
  • Poor concentration and attention
  • Melancholy
  • Poor motivation & morning fatigue
  • Slow reflexes and response time
  • Blurry vision
  • Impaired co-ordination
  • Lack of stamina and endurance
  • Poor stress tolerance and increased recovery time from exertion  


Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is not a disease per se, but a condition given to a collection of symptoms thsat primarily involves the adrenal glands & their production/utilage of the hormones cortisol & DHEA.

The adrenal glands are small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and have a huge role in monitoring our stress response by releasing various hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol is one of the main hormones that we release in response to stress. Now short term elevations in cortisol and adrenal function can be beneficial – making us think faster, run quicker and become more productive. However, if we are under stress for a longer period we can see patients with elevated cortisol levels which means they often experience insomnia, anxiety, irritability, heart palpitations etc. Then if the stress becomes chronic, the adrenal glands can struggle to produce enough cortisol, causing levels to decline, and this can be a major trigger for fatigue – known as Adrenal Fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue can trigger a cascade of changes in other hormone pathways (such as insulin release, thyroid hormones and reproductive hormones) which means that symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue often influence many different areas of the body. In addition to tiredness patients may also experience the following;

  • Hormonal issues – irregular periods, increased PMS, increased pain, aggravation of menopausal symptoms.
  • Cognitive issues, frequent yawning, sighing and or cough.
  • Irregular sleep-wake pattern, insomnia & sleep issues
  • Increased sugar/carbohydrate cravings
  • Salt cravings
  • Moods issues – depression, agitation, emotional sensitivity
  • Issues with weight management
  • Poor cognition
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Low libido
  • Low blood pressure, orthostotic hypotension ( light headed upon sudden rising)
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme tiredness and poor recovery after exercise  
  • Often tired at 9-10pm but resists going to bed. If does not go to bed by 11pm gets a second burst of energy at approx 11pm, often lasting until 1-2am. Wants to sleep late into the next morning.
  • Best and most refreshing sleep often comes between 7 and 9am. Often does best work late at night (or early in the morning)  


Frequent related clinical symptoms to Adrenal Fatigue

  • Chronic coughs; frequent or recurring bronchitis, colds and other respiratory involvements.
  • Becomes allergic or has increased frequency or severity of histamine-type reactions. Tendency towards chronic allergic states (skin conditions, rash, dermatitis, etc.)
  • Metabolic diseases; autoimmune illnesses, e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia and Diabetes (type 2) and Chronic illnesses

Adrenal fatigue can be measured through a salivary hormone test that tracks cortisol levels over the course of the day. If adrenal fatigue is an issue, diet and lifestyle strategies, along with herbal and nutritional medicine, can be used to restore adrenal function, assist with energy and reduce symptoms.

If you think you have any of these concerns; please call Lisa for an appointment now.

You can order a saliva adrenal test through Lisa or organise one during a consultation.

Click here to view the article "Finally at 40 on Adrenal Fatigue"


© 2012 - 2015 Lisa Bennett - Naturopath
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