Adrenal Fatigue: When Stress Becomes Too Much!
Stressed? Tired? Craving sugar? Can’t sleep?
All of these can be related to the constant stress we feel in our lives.....especially if you are a busy working mum like me! We know that stress can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. And, since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue (or “HPA Axis Dysregulation,”) is something you need to be aware of.
Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and produce many necessary hormones, including stress hormones.
But sometimes our adrenal glands are forced to work more than is necessary and this can have a detrimental impact on our physical, mental and emotional health.
Would you consider yourself to be an "adrenaline junkie,”?
Adrenaline and cortisol are the stress hormones that give you the commonly known adrenaline rush; when you're totally alert and living in the moment. This feeling is known as your body's "fight or flight" response.
Most people LOOOOOVVVE this feeling because it makes you feel ALIVE!
The release of hormones in the fight or flight response is your body's normal reaction to stress whether it is good stress or bad stress. Stress can sometimes be positive, like when it helps you swerve and prevent a crash.
In an ideal situation, once the need for the adrenaline rush is over, your flight or flight response decreases and your adrenal glands calm down and your body goes back into its normal rhythm.
But what would happen if you felt under stress ALL OF THE TIME? Like all day, every day? This is called “chronic” stress and leads the body into bigger, more long-term problems. This type of stress is not fun :(
Unfortunately, I know first hand what this type of chronic stress feels like and I'm sure all you other busy, working mums have felt it too!
So it shouldn't come as any surprise that if you are feeling fatigued when under chronic stress, your adrenal glands are exhausted too from being constantly overworked.
So when do you know if chronic stress has become too much and you have adrenal fatigue?
When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, you can start getting other symptoms.
Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight loss or gain, joint pain, sugar cravings, even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are overworked.
Now it's important to note that there isn't a typical blood test that can easily identify adrenal fatigue. In fact, it's often not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so exhausted that they almost stop working altogether! At that point, the official diagnoses of "Adrenal Insufficiency" or "Addison's Disease" may apply.
However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she may even be willing to discuss adrenal fatigue, or at the very least, suggest some stress-coping techniques and other wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).
What to do if I have these symptoms?
There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.
Ideally, if you think stress is starting to burn you out, stress reduction is key. There are tons of ways you can reduce your stress. Try meditation strategies, walking in nature, light exercise, more sleep, or taking a bath with essential oils such as lavender and chamomile. Try my favourite bath "recipe" below:
Recipe (Stress-reducing bath salt): Lavender Bath Salts
2 cups epsom salts
10 drops lavender essential oil
As you're running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved
Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!
Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.
Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake as these are also body stressors. Eating more fruits and vegetables will also provide better nutrition which can only help your body to feel more balanced overall.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired.
Adrenal fatigue is an often misunderstood condition that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific telltale symptoms but it is important to understand when your stress levels are too high for too long as this is the main contributing factor.
The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions and then focus on using healthy nutrition and lifestyle changes to get your stress levels under control.
If chronic stress is a constant challenge in your life and you often find yourself struggling to stick to a healthy eating regime or a weight loss plan, CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE STRATEGY SESSION so we can brainstorm options that will help to keep you on track this time.