Adrenal fatigue refers to a state whereby the adrenal glands do not function at optimal level. The term came into use in 1998 and describes a series of symptoms that can cause someone to feel unwell or ill.
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and are responsible for stress-combating hormones. They also aid in heart and blood pressure health. Iff adrenal glands are continually overworked, they may have difficulty producing sufficient amounts of hormones to promote the best levels of health.
Adrenal fatigue is not typically recognized as a critically serious disorder. However, there is certainly some credibility to the idea that organs can become tired and overworked. As such, it’s not impossible to imagine that symptoms of adrenal fatigue can manifest in certain individuals.
To keep your adrenal glands working in the best way they can, you should keep your eye out for symptoms of their fatigue. Here are some signs of adrenal fatigue most people ignore.
Here Are 10 Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue Most People Ignore
1. Difficulty handling stress
Stressful moments are part and parcel of life. But if you find yourself having a particularly difficult time managing feelings of stress, it may be a sign of adrenal fatigue. This is especially true if you feel overwhelmed from potentially stressful but minor tasks that would usually not have affected you so severely. Closely linked symptoms to this one include:
- Disinterest in everyday activities
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Lack of focus
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Short temper or irritability
The adrenal glands release a variety of hormones that are meant to manage and balance the body’s natural stress responses. These hormones include cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. Where the glands are not functioning correctly, they might fail to help you regulate the stress you’re feeling, no matter how much positive thinking you practice. To help manage your stress from adrenal fatigue, you can try a number of solutions, including:
- Minor exercise
- Deep and calming breathing
- Essential oils
2. Tiredness even after a good sleep
The most common warning sign of adrenal fatigue is lowered energy levels, even when you make sure you get more than enough sleep. You might feel disoriented, tired, and suffer brain fog, even after what should have been a restful snooze.
If this is a problem you’re facing, you may notice that you have difficulty getting out of bed every morning. This will happen regardless of how long you slept the night before. If your sleep schedule is in good order but you’re still feeling exhausted, you likely have adrenal fatigue.
This happens in the early stages of this condition because those who have adrenal fatigue typically are under a good amount of stress, which boosts cortisol and adrenaline hormone levels. In turn, this messes up the body’s natural daily cycle of hormones and disrupts their proper levels. This can cause difficulty in attempts to fall asleep every night.
Another reason this may happen, mainly during later stages of this condition, is because low cortisol levels tend to lead to low blood glucose levels. Essentially, this will make you feel hungry and often force you to wake up earlier than you mean to. Naturally, this will cause morning tiredness.
The adrenal glands have a part known as the cortex, and this area produces a mineralocorticoid known as aldosterone. Essentially, this component is responsible for regulating your kidney’s excretory function.
If you are experiencing adrenal fatigue, this diminished kidney function will cause an imbalance in the body of certain types of minerals, including magnesium, sodium, and potassium. This means you will have less sodium in the body than you are accustomed to. As such, you may begin craving salty foods that will help to replace the lost sodium.
You may also experience sugar cravings if you have adrenal fatigue. This is because when your adrenal glands aren’t producing enough cortisol, your blood sugar levels drop. Not only will this cause you to crave sugary meals, but it may also simply make you hungrier in general. This can lead to unhealthy snacking.
4. Tiredness in the afternoon and more energy at night
Closely linked to our aforementioned point on tiredness even after a good sleep, afternoon fatigue is very common in those with adrenal fatigue. Due to the fact that the adrenal glands are producing too-low levels of cortisol, the late afternoons are the most typical times to experience a crash in blood sugar.
Healthy bodies without adrenal fatigue will follow a normal energy cycle. They will feel most energized during the daytime and begin to feel more tired as the evening wanes on. But those with adrenal fatigue will have the opposite cycle. They will feel tired during the daytime and experience a sudden spike in energy towards the late afternoon. Sometimes, this will result in such high energy at night that insomnia occurs.
Usually, if you find yourself experiencing this particular symptom, you are in the earlier stages of adrenal fatigue. Your best option in preventing these symptoms from becoming worse is to watch your diet. This is because low energy levels tend to lead to excessive snacking and caffeine intake, both of which will make sleeping even more difficult.
5. High levels of fatigue
Once again, this point links closely to the aforementioned ones about energy levels and morning tiredness. But it’s far from a redundant point, and it’s something typically experienced by those further along in adrenal fatigue states.
In later stages of this disorder, the adrenal glands are no longer able to create the hormones that your body requires. This leads to constantly lower levels of all the hormones you would typically need to function every day.
As such, if this is something you’re going through, you might think your energy levels have just dropped permanently. No matter how much coffee you drink or how much sleep you get, you just feel more tired. Most people make the mistake of assuming this is a sign of aging. Usually, it’s just the adrenal glands failing to work well.
Regaining proper, normal energy levels is difficult, but doable. Changing your diet to provide the necessary nutrition for gland recovery is crucial. Look up some good adrenal fatigue recovery diets, keep up with one, and your energy levels will slowly return to normal.
6. Bodily pain, weakness, and sensitivity
The body runs on a variety of hormones that need to be used and produced in balance. When the adrenal glands aren’t able to make these hormones correctly, the body is unable to function at optimum levels.
Laura Cipullo, a Certified Diabetes Educator and a Registered Dietitian, states that adrenal fatigue isn’t so much of a diagnosis as it is a collection of symptoms. Some of the most common of these symptoms are muscle and body pains. Other symptoms you may experience are:
a) Sensitivity to Light
This symptom is surprisingly common in those with adrenal fatigue but is often overlooked. A lack of proper balance between the body’s potassium and sodium levels can cause the eyes to suffer and become more sensitive.
b) Lightheadedness upon Standing
This is a very common struggle for those with adrenal fatigue. If it happens extremely regularly to you, speak to a doctor. This is according to Dr. Jill Carnahan, who is a Medical Doctor with a certification from the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Certification Program. She is also a member of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine and the American Board of Family Medicine.
Your best option in combating these signs of bodily weakness is through changes in diet. Eating foods rich in calcium, consuming extra vitamin D, or eating foods like Greek yogurt can help shield you from these negative effects.
7. Lack of hunger in the morning
If your hormone cycle isn’t in order due to adrenal fatigue, every bodily cycle won’t be in order either. This includes your food schedule. If you used to eat at specific times during the day, you may suddenly lose your appetite or not feel like eating at those times anymore.
This is because, alongside countless other functions, cortisol is the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger in the body. For those in the later stages of adrenal fatigue, early mornings are the worst times for hormone production. Your adrenal glands may have all but chugged to a stop, preventing you from feeling hunger until later in the day.
This may go unnoticed in some cases if you’re not looking out for it. If you notice seemingly unexplained weight loss, question whether you have been eating less due to decreased appetite. While most of us view weight loss as a positive thing, this is something you’ll want to look out for as it is not the healthiest way to drop extra pounds.
8. Higher consumption of stimulants
It makes sense that, when you feel tired, have low blood sugar levels, and are having trouble performing daily tasks, you consume more stimulants. You might drink more coffee, eat more candy, or down several energy drinks.
Unfortunately, overdoing stimulant consumption reduces their effectiveness, which only makes you want to consume more of them. It’s important to keep an eye on your caffeine and sugar consumption, especially if you don’t usually watch what you eat because your regular diet works fine for you in normal circumstances.
In order to combat adrenal fatigue, you’ll want to push away coffee and sweets. These will only add to your stress levels while also making you want more of them. Instead, go for fruits or other low-sugar foods that are still sweet and refreshing.
9. Physical Bodily Changes
There are a number of bodily changes you may notice happening to you on a physical level when you’re going through adrenal fatigue. Here are the most common:
a) Hair loss
Hair loss is often a result of hormonal imbalance – something that occurs in abundance with adrenal fatigue. Thinning hair or increased hair loss can be a sign of this.
It’s especially important to take note of this symptom if you know you have a good diet and live a healthy, positive lifestyle. Irregular hormones can create hair issues that no self-care or hair-care products and routines can fix.
b) Belly weight gain
If you have very sudden weight gain that you can’t pin to an obvious cause, you may have adrenal fatigue. This is even more true if the aforementioned weight gain primarily happens around the stomach.
Even if you try controlling your diet or adding to your exercise routine, you may still find yourself in this negative situation. Speak to a doctor if you’re gaining weight when you shouldn’t be or with no obvious plausible reason.
c) Skin discoloration
Dark spots on the skin could be a sign of hormonal issues based in the adrenal glands. You may also notice worsened dark circles or other skin problems.
10. Getting sick more frequently
A weakened immune system is a sign of many different disorders. One of them is adrenal fatigue. This is because cortisol – being the multi-functioning hormone it is – is responsible for creating anti-inflammatory effects that help keep the immune system running smoothly.
Inflammation plays a crucial role in infection defense. Often, the body will raise its temperature to kill infections. Cortisol helps to prevent that inflammation from getting out of control. So if your cortisol levels are messed up, your immune system suffers.
This can cause your immune system to become compromised and more vulnerable to developing minor conditions. This means you will feel sick more often. Adrenal fatigue that doesn’t get treated can result in more serious diseases, including:
- Chronic inflammation
- Autoimmune conditions
As such, if you notice you get sick more often than usual, you should speak to a doctor. Positive thinking is good, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Final Thoughts On Signs Of Adrenal Fatigue Most People Ignore
Adrenal fatigue can result in a lot of unwanted symptoms and feelings of illness. It can cause you to feel stressed out, result in the formation of unhealthy habits, and be the reason behind unusual tiredness.
By looking out for these 10 signs of adrenal fatigue most people ignore, you’ll be able to notice when your adrenal glands need a break. This will help you take steps to remain happy, positive, and healthy.
That said, please keep in mind that adrenal fatigue is not a medical diagnosis. If your symptoms are severe and are not being alleviated, speak to a doctor immediately as there may be a more serious underlying cause.