Might I Be Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue?
Medical doctors rarely check adrenal levels, but naturopaths and alternative physicians do. In Chinese Medicine, the adrenals are very important and are considered part of your Kidney Life Force energy. They are also connected with the health of the Root Chakra, and your survival on the Earth. The adrenals can grow depleted, especially if we are experiencing long term stress. Whilst this can have debilitating effects for both men and women, the problems women will experience are specific, because adrenal exhaustion will affect the entire endocrine system , and all female hormones.
What Are Some Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
What occurs when the adrenals get overworked is they start to pump out more cortisol. Cortisol is made in the outer layer of the adrenal gland, and is known as the stress hormone. To cope with short term stress, the adrenals will secrete adrenaline. But for chronic, long term stress, whether from emotional causes, environmental toxins or inflammation within the body, cortisol will be pumped out. This will result in blood sugar imbalances, weight gain (especially around the abdomen), hypertension, sleep problems, hot flashes, dizziness, night sweats, growth of facial hair and other body hair caused by a relative increase in androgens (male hormone) levels within your body. In Chinese Medicine this is called Kidney Yin deficiency. It means that the overworked adrenals have started to overheat your body.
If this continues on, the adrenals will eventually crash: they will no longer be able to supply adrenaline and cortisol or sex hormone production. And they will no longer be able to support the thyroid gland and your metabolic activity. They will no longer be able to synthesize essential minerals: all this will amount to a state of intense fatigue. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is linked to Epstein Barr Virus, may also result from complete adrenal exhaustion. Along with tiredness come irritability, food cravings, extreme insomnia, inability to think straight or to focus, PMS, headaches, anxiety, feelings of internal coldness and often severe drops in blood pressure. In Chinese Medicine, this state is seen as an exhaustion of Kidney Yang as well as Kidney Yin: in other words, both the Fire and Water principles within your Woman’s Life Force have become exhausted.
Are There Other Complications For My Health From This?
Yes, there may be in the long run. Too much cortisol produced by the body will shut down a portion of the immune system, especially the part that deals with infections within the cells. It also interacts with receptors for progesterone, an essential female reproductive hormone. When you don’t have enough progesterone circulating in your body, you will have problems with ovulation and fertility. Also, you will become more prone to bone thinning as a consequence of your progesterone deficiency. Having too little progesterone means having relatively too much estrogen. This condition which is known as estrogen dominance has been linked with fibroids, heavy menstrual cycles, migraines, insulin resistance (diabetes), weight gain/obesity, heart disease and breast cancer. Ironically, your adrenals actually require progesterone as raw material in order to make more cortisol, so when your system has been in chronic stress mode for a while, your body will divert progesterone supplies up to the adrenal glands to be converted into cortisol.
Under chronic stress, your body goes into war mode: progesterone is consigned to the adrenals factories to make more and more cortisol. A vicious cycle has been set up.
How can adrenal fatigue be reversed? Simply taking Bio-identical hormones is a superficial approach that fails to connect hormonal imbalances with deeper, systemic issues. The same goes for oral contraceptives. To really get better, the your body and mind as a “whole” needs to be addressed. We need to do two things:
) Support the Adrenals on a physical level.
2) Remove the stressors, whether psychological, toxic or metabolic that have disturbed your inner ecology.
What Natural Medicines Work Best?
Many women need to start by taking desiccated hormone as a supplement to kickstart the adrenals back into action. After this, or instead of this, Chinese Herbals formulas and other adapatogenic herbs such as Moomiyo, Rhodiola, Eleuthero and Ashwagandha may be of great benefit and work holistically on your entire system. Other key nutrients are B and C Vitamins, in particular B5, minerals such as manganese, chromium, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Whole body detox using natural zeolite to remove heavy metals is recommended, along with Pueraria Root to correct estrogen receptor disruption, several, different forms of folic acid and Methyl Cobalamin (methylated B12 suppplements.)
Can I Get My Cortisol Levels Checked?
Yes, you can order a 24 hour saliva test kit through your naturopath. Please bear in mind that it is advisable to check all your hormones as well to track what may be out of balance in your system.
Can Acupuncture and Far Infra Red ONNETSU Help Me?
Absolutely. Acupuncture can stream energy back into the adrenal glands and kidneys, and it can also take the burden off exhausted adrenals for supporting the energy of the thyroid and the rest of the body. ONNETSU Far Infra-Red therapy will powerfully warm up the adrenal glands, revitalizing the cells and renewing the entire gland.
What Is the Most Important Thing I Can Do For Myself?
Aside from getting the right check ups and natural medicine, you need to get adequate rest. It will take time to restore your adrenals, so you must not over work yourself. Try to reduce stress in every way, learn to meditate and breathe deeply. And get as much restful sleep as possible.
This article is intended for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose or treat bone conditions in women, nor is it intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. All readers are strongly urged not to discontinue any medication without prior discussion with their doctor.