Dr Danny Thomas gives an interesting resume of adrenal fatigue in this article.
Our adrenal glands, found on top of both kidneys, are endocrine glands producing hormones. These hormones specifically regulate blood pressure, electrolyte balance, glycogen, lipid metabolism and immune system suppression. Adrenal glands are comprised of an outer and inner part. The outer part, known as the Adrenal Cortex, produces cortisol and aldosterone. These are known as necessary hormones as they regulate stress, metabolism and blood pressure. The inner part, known as the Adrenal Medulla, produces adrenaline, in response to stress.
These hormones collectively influence all of the major physiological processes in our bodies. They closely affect the use of carbohydrates and fats, the conversion of fats and proteins into energy, the distribution of stored fat (waist), normal blood sugar regulation and proper cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function. They also provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help minimize negative and allergic reactions to alcohol, drugs, foods and environmental allergens. During menopause, the adrenal glands slowly become the major source of sex hormones circulating in the body. These hormones affect energy, mood, libido, weight and metabolism.
Patients, in increasing numbers, have steadily complained about feeling constantly tired without explanation, overwhelmed by stress, lacking strength, motivation, desire, vitality, difficult getting out of bed in the morning and most importantly trouble maintaining energy throughout the day. Often individuals will complain of energy highs and lows, feeling worse in the morning and better after 6PM.
Adrenal Fatigue is a stress-related condition that occurs when your adrenal glands, hypothalamus and pituitary gland (together – the HPA axis) are functioning below their optimal level. When over stimulated for a long period of time, they begin to weaken.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue:
Factors that lead to adrenal fatigue include:
- Financial pressures
- Death of a loved one
- Marital stress
- Emotional stress
- Fear, negative attitudes and beliefs
- Infections (acute & chronic)
- Prescription drugs
- Poor wound healing
- Lack of sleep
- Over exertion
- Lack of or excessive exercise
- Lack of relaxation
- Poor eating habits
- Lack of good food
- White flour products
When evaluating for adrenal fatigue, we need to ensure it is measured during the day (upon rising, before lunch, before supper and before sleep). HC (hydrocortisone) will suppress your ACTH (which is the hormone that tells the adrenals to make cortisol) which in turn will suppress your own cortisol production. Normally cortisol is secreted with a distinctive daily pattern called a circadian rhythm. Cortisol levels peak in the morning (usually between 7 and 8 AM) and decrease to substantially lower levels late at night.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue and cortisol disruption include:
- Poor immune function
- Muscle aches/tenderness
- Worsening of thyroid symptoms
- Emotional hypersensitivity
- Feeling better AFTER 6PM
- Weight gain
- Inability to handle stress
- Fluid retention
- Feeling tired after sleeping
- Craving salt and sugar
- Loss of libido
- Rage or sudden angry outbursts
- Tired but wired
Homeopathic treatment plans for Adrenal Fatigue
In clinical practice we have seen varying degrees of adrenal fatigue and insufficiency. Some are tired and wired others flat and burnt out while many are up and down like a yo-yo with their energy in a given day. Homeopathy supports clients by addressing the underlying causes and helping to rebalance the body. A combination of remedies, lifestyle advice and nutrition enables people to achieve a better equilibrium and resolve their physical and emotional symptoms.