Adrenal fatigue is no longer rare. Managing home and career makes life stressful for 21st-century women, eventually burning out their anti-stress glands- the adrenals. This can also ring true to women of BII, I know I had adrenal fatigue during and after my explant surgery. I am still working hard to fix it but I know it will take time.
This is the age of the superwoman. From attending client meetings to showing up at a friend’s party, from skimming through office files to reading bed-time stories, from being a terrific boss to a perfect homemaker, the superwoman does it all. While she excels and receives accolades for her feats, she also unknowingly becomes a victim of stress.
Stress today is no longer occasional but is acute and continuous. An assault of stressors like work pressure, lack of nourishment, injuries, and exposure to environmental and man-made toxins leads to a more dangerous state of chronic stress, eventually causing adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue. Simply put, it is the fatigue caused by the poor performance of walnut-shaped glands sitting on top of each kidney- the adrenals. Easily disrupted by breast implants or medical devices in your body for years.
The Role Of Adrenal Glands
The adrenal glands produce many important hormones in the body and work in conjunction with important organ systems. The hormones released by these glands regulate blood pressure and metabolic processes, maintain salt and water balance, maintain pregnancy, and initiate puberty and sexual maturation. Adrenals are primarily ‘anti-stress’ glands that rush the body into a “fight or flight” mode to combat any form of stress, i.e., they initiate a healthy stress response.
How They Function During Stress
These glands produce two main hormones- adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is produced in response to situations causing sudden stress like an emergency, exercise, or even excitement. This short-acting hormone prepares the body for action by increasing blood glucose levels for quick energy, increasing heartbeat, and gushing blood to skeletal muscles and brain.
Cortisol, on the other hand, has more prolonged effects and helps the body cope with chronic stress. It promotes the conversion of fats and proteins into glucose, ensuring vital organs like the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles have enough glucose to meet increasing demand. Constant stress forces adrenals to maintain high cortisol levels. Increased cortisol causes muscle and bone weakening, impairs digestion, and metabolism and increases the risk of heart disease. More importantly, it causes adrenal burnout.
Adrenal Fatigue In Women
An elevated level of cortisol (Always good to get your cortisol levels checked ) in the body during chronic stress is a common observation in both men and women. But what are its cascading effects on a woman? Firstly, it compromises the effective functioning of the ovarian system. In the early stages of fatigue, the body tends to neutralize stress by producing more cortisol. Excess cortisol inhibits the normal production of the hormone progesterone, thereby causing an imbalance in the estrogen-progesterone ratio. Often this leads to a condition termed ‘estrogen dominance.’ A consequence of this condition is the development of PMS, fibroids, and pre-menopausal syndrome in women in their mid-thirties and early forties.
Furthermore, estrogen dominance interferes with the release of cortisol from the adrenal gland. We have found that most women of BII have told us they are estrogen dominant. This effectively means that when the body is already in a state of stress, there is no free cortisol available to fight it.
Who Needs An Adrenal Fatigue Test?
Having one or a combination of the following symptoms would necessitate medical attention and a subsequent adrenal fatigue test:
Feeling tired despite sufficient hours of sleep.
Dizziness or lightheadedness upon standing
Muscle and/or joint pain
Depression and difficulty “bouncing back” from stress
Cravings for sugars or carbohydrates and caffeine
Low blood sugar and pressure
Healing Adrenals Naturally
An adrenal test spells out the degree of adrenal exhaustion. For women with very severe symptoms, medical intervention is inevitable. But for those with milder symptoms, natural methods can help restore a healthy adrenal function.
1. Eat Healthy- Reduce consumption of carbohydrates, caffeine, and alcohol as they stress the adrenals. Increase the intake of Vitamin C as, during stress, our bodies excrete this compound rapidly. Never skip breakfast as this lowers sugar levels in the body and signals to the adrenals to produce more cortisol.
2. Get adequate rest- Our bodies need time to rejuvenate and heal after working round the clock. Adrenals work hardest between 10 pm, and 1 am to repair the body. Therefore sleeping by 10 pm reduces the workload on these glands.
3. De-stress- Our stressful lifestyle plays the most important role in the deterioration of health. It is essential to identify stressors, emotional, physical, or environmental, and try and find ways to eliminate them. Nurturing an atmosphere of joy and happiness is the key to staying stress-free. Laughing and doing fun things also complement a joyous atmosphere.
4. Exercise- Deep breathing during exercise oxygenates cells, and releases ‘feel good’ substances called endorphins into the bloodstream. These substances are known to elevate mood and reduce stress. However, keep in mind the degree of adrenal exhaustion and exercise accordingly.
The easy and laid back lifestyle led by our ancestors no longer exists, making adrenal fatigue a very common problem. Unfortunately, diagnosing the problem poses a challenge to mainstream physicians even today. To add to this, most women live in denial and blame work, kids, or age for their lack of energy. Being alert for symptoms and following the right combination of a treatment plan and natural remedies will help in winning your life back.