Stress-related conditions such as Adrenal Fatigue are becoming more common, but many in the medical profession still do not give them the necessary recognition and focus. Stress can impact you health in many ways…and chronic stress can often lead to hormonal imbalance, exhaustion and adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Constantly tired? Overwhelmed by stressful situations and find yourself lacking the strength and drive that you once had? Struggle to get out of bed in the morning? If so, you may be suffering from a condition named Adrenal Fatigue.
The adrenals perform several vital roles to maintaining your health. Most importantly, they release hormones in response to stress. These hormones include Cortisol, DHEA and Epinephrine which the body uses to regulate your heart rate, immune system, energy storage and more.
As the adrenal glands are overstimulated over a prolonged period of time, they begin to weaken. Adrenal Fatigue can be caused by long term stress associated with the workplace, relationships in our lives or even chronic disease. At some point, the adrenals can weaken so much that are no longer able to respond effectively when we need them most.
Reported symptoms of adrenal fatigue often include feeling a state of constant fatigue, lack of enthusiasm and depression. Despite sleeping long hours, many report waking up as tired as when they went to bed. Often, people will resort to caffeine to compensate, drinking energy drinks, caffeinated soda or coffee to get them through the day.
The extreme progression of Adrenal Fatigue is manifested when the adrenal glands virtually cease to function in an autoimmune condition named Addison’s disease. But what many physicians fail to recognize is that millions of people suffer from sub-optimal levels of adrenal performance. In other words, the adrenals are still doing their job, but not at normal levels.
Treating Adrenal Fatigue
So how do we treat adrenal fatigue? Adrenal Fatigue can be treated effectively and successfully with an integrated approach that includes bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Combined with simple changes to one’s lifestyle, patients can give their adrenal glands the time they need to recover, and dramatically restore energy levels in the process.
What does Adrenal Fatigue look like?
Adrenal Fatigue results in a wide range of symptoms, most commonly identified as chronic fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue sufferers may get a boost in their energy levels late in the evening, which is related to their disrupted cortisol cycles. Often, they report a general lack of enthusiasm, and inability to cope with stressful situations. When adrenal fatigue sufferers face stressful situations, they often find it difficult to cope with such situations. This is often linked to their body’s inability to adequately produce stress hormones which would normally enable their body to maintain itself in such situations. Many adrenal fatigue sufferers feel “flat” when they should feel enthusiasm for life. They also may find it difficult to maintain focus and energy during stressful situations. Other symptoms may include craving salty foods, low blood sugar, respiratory issues, low sex drive and weight gain. All can be correlated with low adrenal hormone production.
What happens when our adrenals are fatigued?
Fortunately, modern lab testing offers us a very useful diagnostic tool. However, correctly interpreting the test results is important as the lab reference ranges tend to be extremely wide. Your RenewFX physician specializes in evaluating such diagnostics when determining a customized program to address any identifiable imbalances.
Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy is one of the most powerful tools available today. Bioidentical hormone replacement enables us to replicate the actions of our own hormones to address hormonal imbalance. Bioidentical hormones are closely identical, at a molecular level, to the hormones that we produce.
To establish a precise hormone replacement therapy program, RenewFX doctors will first establish a baseline which involves evaluating your blood chemistry with lab analysis. This enables us to identify areas of hormone deficiency and to establish a systematic, integrated treatment plan. Once this plan is in place, you soon will be on the road to optimized hormonal balance. Patients often make thankful statements that this therapy has “given them back their enthusiasm for life”.
Hormonal balance for Adrenal Fatigue includes
Monitoring Cortisol levels
Cortisol is a life sustaining adrenal hormone essential to the maintenance of hormonal balance. Often called “the stress hormone,” cortisol influences, regulates or modulates many of the changes that occur in the body’s response to stress including
- Blood sugar (glucose) levels
- Fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism to maintain blood glucose.
- Immune responses
- Anti-inflammatory actions
- Blood pressure
- Heart and blood vessel tone and contraction
- Central nervous system activation
- Monitoring DHEA levels
Adrenal Fatigue can cause shortages of the following:
DHEA converts easily into testosterone, so this is especially important for women. As with the other hormones in this list, starting with small doses is always advisable.
Pregnenolone is foundational to maintaining the hormonal balance. For patients with reduced levels of either sex or stress hormones, prescribed pregnenolone can be integrated within a hormone replacement protocol.
Testosterone is an important hormone to both men and women. Women produce a lesser amount of testosterone than men, but it is still extremely important, as it contributes to many factors including strength, energy, libido, endurance and mood. For those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, testosterone therapy within an integrated hormone replacement regimen often results in a greatly improved quality of life.
For women, the proper balance between estrogen and progesterone is vital to women’s health. Progesterone begins to fall in the late 30s for women. The resulting imbalance often includes lower energy levels, irritability, weight gain, sleep disorders, hot flashes and mood disorders. Adrenal Fatigue can affect progesterone levels in women.
Estrogen deficiency is often found with Adrenal Fatigue, but tends to emerge much later in the progression of the condition. Typically, progesterone will begin to drop in advance of estrogen level changes. For women, in the later stages of Adrenal Fatigue, estrogen therapy may be a necessary component to a hormone replacement therapy program. In men, falling testosterone levels are often associated with rising estrogen. Proper evaluation of testosterone and estrogen levels in men is vital to achieving proper hormonal balance between these two important hormones.