Adrenal fatigue: causes and debilitating symptoms
Adrenal glands: what is Adrenal Fatigue?
What is adrenal fatigue? Long-term, high levels of stress can put your body in what is called, adrenal overdrive. It describes a condition in which the body pumps too much sugar and then insulin to counter the sugar. When it goes on for too long, it can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain, especially around the midsection. Individuals that suffer from this condition tend to crave sugar, salt and fat.
Adrenal fatigue causes
Your adrenal glands play a critical role in the body. They energise us and help us handle stress. During times of excessive, prolonged stress, the adrenal glands can become fatigued. When this happens, you start to slow down, feel sluggish and find it difficult to even fight off the common cold. It becomes difficult to handle stress, even minor worries. Often, you’ll find that your relationships with others suffer too. And even minor tasks can make you feel like you’re climbing a mountain. This is how adrenal fatigue sounds and looks like.
It is a horrific disease and I suffered from it too. If you want to find out how I recovered from adrenal fatigue, read my adrenal fatigue recovery here.
The role of our adrenal glands
You might have heard of adrenal glands, but do you know what and where they are? The adrenal glands are little glands located above each kidney. These glands produce various hormones that help control blood sugar and our reaction to stress, regulate blood pressure and burn fat and proteins. Two of the most important hormones the adrenal glands produce are cortisol and aldosterone.
Fight or flight mechanism when detecting danger
The most common basic human responses are fight or flight which is a mechanism to protect ourselves when we detect danger.
That same fight or flight mechanism kicks in when you become anxious and stressed about everyday issues like work, children, home, marriage and relationships. Your body is unable to tell the difference between the anxiety from being chased by a wild animal and stress caused by worry.
Adrenal fatigue in modern day society
In more primitive times, humans struggled with real and intense danger. However, it lasted just a short time. Picture yourself being chased by an elephant or another animal. You find a way to escape and the problem is over. When in danger, we breathe faster, our heart rate goes up, and we get into high-energy action. Once safely out of harm’s way, the chemical process subsides, and we return to normal.
Cortisol and adrenal glands
Insulin is another hormone pumped out in the fight or flight response. Our bodies are designed to handle short bursts of stress but not extended long periods.
Cortisol produced by your adrenal glands energises you, sharpens your thinking, and prepares your muscles so that you have all it takes to survive a dangerous situation.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue
- Tired and wired syndrome (Trouble falling asleep even when you’re tired) and not feeling rested after waking up.
- Continuing hypothyroid symptoms with a high range of free T3
- Shaky hands and general shakiness
- Bad palps
- Higher heart rate
- Pounding heart
- Feeling of (extreme) weakness and exhaustion
- Easily angry and irritable.
- You’re craving sugar/carbs, fat, salt – or all the above!
- You get tired around 3-4 on most afternoons, and that’s when you crave something sweet or extra caffeine.
- You’ve been gaining weight, especially around your tummy.
- You feel anxious or blue
- Inability to handle stress
- Failure to manage interactions with others
- Inability to focus
- Rage and anger outburst
- Emotionally hyper sensitive
- Herpes attacks (very often)
- Feeling of being ill all the time (or at least more often)
- Your hormones are all over the place, you’re having fertility problems, and perhaps your libido is nowhere to be found.
- Highly defensive
- Feeling paranoid about people or things
- Exacerbated reactions to daily stress
- No patience
- Easily irritated
- Mild to severe hypoglycemic episodes
- Nausea in the face of stress
- Taking days to recover from minor stress
- Taking days to recover from a small surgery or dental visit
- Your memory and focus are not what you think they should be.
- Your digestive system is a mess.
- Continuous flu-like symptoms
- Body pains (unexplainable)
- Super sensitive skin
- Extreme fatigue
- Scalp ache
- Hyper feeling
- Clumsy and confused
- Suddenly feeling famished
- Low back pain
- Dull cloud filled head
- Muscle weakness
- Air hunger similar to hypo
- Motion sickness
- Coffee puts you to sleep or hypoglycemic
- Vomiting even running up to the slightest incline
- Almost passing our every time you wake up
- Dark circles under eyes
- Waking up in the middle of the night frequently
- Difficulty falling asleep (even when you are feeling exhausted)
- Frequent urination (also in the night)
- IBS symptoms
- Worsening allergies (to foods or just about anything)
- Hair loss
- hair thinning
Adrenal fatigue and hair loss and hair thinning
There was a time when hair loss and hair thinning was associated with age. You’d expect to see older men going bald, or older women with thinning hair. But now there’s a significant shift in those who suffer from hair loss. Women as young as twenty are suffering from hair thinning and, due to the alarming rise in autoimmune disease, even children sometimes suffer hair loss too.
What is the cause of this ‘hair crisis’? Dr Bessam Farjo, Trichologist (hair specialist), says that: “Women are leading increasingly stressful lives, with pressures that didn’t exist for their forebears… Their increasingly stressful lives are apparently playing a role in their hair loss”.
In today’s societies, people are under more stress than ever. They’re juggling pressure from work, home, finances, marriage and family. There are also internal pressures we place on ourselves. Some of us feel we should be perfect either in appearance, as parents, at work… the list goes on. All of this stress places the majority of us in a state of adrenal overdrive and adrenal fatigue.
How stress affects the body and causes hair loss
Stress has a negative impact on the body. It can reduce adrenal and thyroid function, and it also produces more free radicals. These cause damage to the body, often leading to hair loss. Today’s reality is that we are under pressure almost 24/7. Family, money, mortgage, health, beauty and looks, etc.
Take for instance a mother. Before her role was to nurture her children, but nowadays she feels pressure to be the perfect mum who has a toned body, looks and dresses immaculately, has an amazingly decorated house, cooks three fresh meals a day, raises the smartest kids and has an incredible career.
It is a never-ending story and imagine how the body is feeling from all this stress?
Other Causes of Hair Thinning
Many other factors contribute to hair thinning such as low iron and other nutritional deficiencies, sometimes caused by crash dieting. Most people also know that chemotherapy often leads to hair loss.
If you would like to learn more about all the hair loss causes I gathered during my research, please visit the 55 hair loss causes page
Empowering others via my anti-ageing wellness platform and holistic health books
I hope you liked this adrenal fatigue page. If you would like to learn more about my tips and tricks on how I saved my hair from falling to regrowing shiny luscious locks ensure to check out other pages of this anti-ageing wellness platform.
Or if you want to discover my no BS guides on how to regain your health, hair and life, ensure to check out my holistic wellness books
After a frustrating decade of battling several chronic illnesses, I became disillusioned with the medical system and decided to take my health into my own hands.
Now, through my books and wellness platform, I want to empower people around the world do the same and regain their health, hair, life and beauty!