10 Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

By iliriana
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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Adrenal fatigue consists of a group of symptoms which are caused due to an adrenal gland insufficiency. Adrenal glands are two small glands located on top of the kidneys. They produce several hormones that have quite a few important actions in the body, including response to stress, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, immune system, sex drive, and so on. The hormones produced by the adrenal glands are cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and androgens. Adrenal fatigue is often seen in women aged 35 to 50. An interesting fact is that adrenal fatigue is not a proven medical condition.

Adrenal fatigue usually occurs as a result of ongoing stress, which normally affects the entire body, interrupting important processes such as hormone production, immune system function, sleep, kidney function, and so on.

As the name suggests, the main symptom of adrenal fatigue is of course fatigue, which is not relieved by sleep and that is also not related to any known factor which might be causing it. Read on about other symptoms of this condition besides fatigue.

Symptom #1: Fatigue

One of the main symptoms of adrenal fatigue is of course fatigue. Those affected by this condition will have a lack of energy, feel tired or exhausted during the entire day, day after day, and even after getting rest or sleep they still continue to feel tired and overwhelmed.

If you are a person who drinks coffee every day to keep going then maybe it’s time to stop and think about the underlying cause. It is thought by some that constant stress is the main reason leading to adrenal fatigue. This constant burden on the the adrenal gland could cause a hormonal imbalance making you feel tired and without energy all the time.

Adrenal Fatigue

Symptom #2: Exhaustion

Feeling tired every now and then is something that we have all experienced. However, after a good night’s sleep and rest, most of us gain the strength back to continue with normal life activities.

In the case of adrenal fatigue, ongoing lethargy and exhaustion occurs day after day. Even if a person sleeps during the night, takes a nap during the day, or tries to relax, they still continue to feel very exhausted. The hormonal imbalance caused by the low levels of adrenal hormones could be the cause of this chronic lethargy and exhaustion.

Symptom #3: Anxiety

Anxiety is also common among those suffering from adrenal fatigue, especially in the early stages of this condition. Chronic stress and high levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline will lead to anxiety.

However, as the condition progresses and the adrenal glands’ function is impaired further, they won’t be able to produce hormones, so their level in the body will significantly drop, leading to mood changes, depression, brain fog, impaired memory, and so on. If you notice any changes that might concern you, seek medical help.

Adrenal Fatigue

Symptom #4: Depression

It is well known that adrenal hormones are involved in many brain functions, such as cognitive functions, mental state, mood, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, and so on. According to supporters of adrenal fatigue, constant stress and the inability to produce cortisol, which are characteristic for adrenal fatigue, lead to the development of a mild form of depression.

Besides depression, those suffering from adrenal fatigue often experience brain fog, difficulty concentrating, less acute memory recall, and so on. This situation gets worse due to low levels of night-time cortisol, which significantly affects sleep.

Symptom #5: Craving Salt

Craving for salt is common for those suffering from adrenal fatigue. One of the ways our body tells us that something is wrong is by a craving for certain foods, besides other possible signs and symptoms. Craving for salt is a way that our body tells us that the adrenal gland hormones are out of a balance.

The cortex of the adrenal glands is in charge of producing aldosterone. If adrenal fatigue causes increased production of aldosterone then more minerals are excreted with the urine. The balance of important minerals for the human body such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, and so on, will be impaired leading to cravings for salty food.

Adrenal Fatigue

Symptom #6: Dry Skin

Having dry skin is another symptom of adrenal fatigue, which is caused by low levels of aldosterone in the human body. However, adrenal fatigue can lead to other skin problems as well, such as skin discoloration, acne, dark circles under the eyes, and so on. Skin problems just get worse because of exacerbated stress related to adrenal fatigue, as well as a constant lack of energy and tiredness.

If you notice any skin dryness you should start by hydrating your skin, especially during the winter time when the skin is more prone to dehydration. However, if your skin problems are not resolved within a couple of days, or your skin problems such as dry skin are associated with other signs and symptoms, you should talk to a doctor. Maybe adrenal fatigue is causing you all these problems.

Symptom #7: Difficulty Waking Up

One of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue is difficulty waking up. Regardless how many hours one person with adrenal fatigue manages to sleep during the night, in the morning it will be very hard to wake up, and once awake, patients feel very tired and foggy at the same time. Significant and chronic stress will interrupt the normal 24-hour cycle of cortisol levels, which means that the cortisol and adrenaline levels are higher than normal and they even remain higher than they should during the night, maintaining the person in an alerted state and preventing them from getting a deep and restful sleep. This is more likely to occur in the early stages of adrenal fatigue.

On the other hand, if the condition persists and you don’t get treatment, the cortisol levels will start to drop and a person will feel tired, not get enough sleep and rest, or feel very tired the next morning and even have difficulty waking up because of low cortisol levels. Try improving your sleep hygiene as it might help you get a good night’s sleep.

Adrenal Fatigue

Symptom #8: Insomnia

Insomnia is another problem that those suffering from adrenal fatigue often have to deal with. Difficulty getting to sleep is not the only problem they have, but also waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep again. Once awake, the person feels very tired.

Another reason leading to insomnia in cases of adrenal fatigue is that those affected often get up for snacks during the night due to low glucose levels in the body. Normally, blood sugar levels drop during the night, but in cases of adrenal fatigue, blood sugar levels get so low that the person needs to wake up and eat something.

Symptom #9: Poor Immune System

The adrenal glands produce certain hormones in the human body that participate in many body functions. In cases of adrenal fatigue because there is a lack of these hormones produced by the adrenal glands, the entire body will be affected including the immune system. If you notice that you get sick more often than normal, such as from a common cold, flu, other respiratory problems, digestive problems, or even allergies, then this means that your immune system is weaker than before.

One of the reasons that can lead to a poor immune system is adrenal fatigue. Increased stress in life leads to adrenal stress, which will eventually cause problems with the immune system.

Symptom #10: Weight Gain

Have you been gaining weight lately without a reason, or are you finding it very hard to lose weight despite counting calories or exercising regularly? If your answer is yes, then it’s probably time to check your adrenal glands function.

High cortisol levels are directly related to weight gain, and they can make it impossible to lose weight. If you are slowly and steadily gaining weight then visit a doctor. The sooner the adrenal fatigue is diagnosed and treatment is started, the sooner you will be back to yourself again and can reach your desired body weight.

Adrenal Fatigue

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