Hormone Havoc: Stress & Adrenal Glands

by Lisa Breitenwischer

March 11, 2024

Hormone Havoc: Stress & Adrenal Glands

More than a quarter of U.S. adults say they’re so stressed they can’t function. Many experienced at least one symptom such as-headache, fatigue, feeling nervous or anxious, sad or depressed. Many experienced additional symptoms including feeling overwhelmed, a change is sleep patterns, or constant worry.

The term “adrenal fatigue” has been used to explain a group of symptoms that are said to occur in people who are under long-term mental, emotional, or physical stress. Our adrenal glands are small organs with a big purpose. They usually deal with stress by producing hormones like cortisol and they’re quite useful when a flight-or-fight situation arises. However, our bodies can start to experience hormonal havoc when that same surge of the flight-or-fight response occurs several times per day.

When people are faced with long-term (chronic) stress, their adrenal glands cannot keep up with the body’s need for these hormones. When this occurs, adrenal fatigue symptoms may appear.

What are some signs or symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

When adrenals are overworked your energy becomes depleted.

  • You might feel wired and tired at the same time.
  • You may have palpitations, feel anxious or insomnia.
  • You may have low blood pressure, or feel dizzy when you stand up.
  • You might crave salt, or even sugar because your body can’t regulate your blood sugar properly.

How can you treat adrenal fatigue?

If you are uncertain whether you are experiencing adrenal fatigue or not, a Certified Health Coach trained in hormone health can help in the detective process by identifying patterns and recommending possible tests. Through testing, a medical provider can evaluate your hormones, cortisol levels, or anything else that may be causing the symptoms listed above. From there a coach can work in conjunction with medical professionals to guide their clients toward better health through diet, exercise and lifestyle recommendations.

Other ways to treat adrenal fatigue include:

Find stress relief: Laughter, deep breathing, or time with supportive friends.

Earthing: Getting in contact with the earth every day is grounding. Walk barefoot in the grass or on the beach, garden, swim in a lake or ocean, lay out under the stars at night. Connecting directly with the earth’s energy can reduce stress, reduce inflammation and improve immune response!

Exercise: Move your body at least 20-30 minutes a day. Include aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic (weights and resistance), along with flexibility (stretching or yoga). Don’t go over board as excessive or intense exercise can lead to elevated levels of cortisol in the blood stream, and heightened symptoms of physical stress.

Sleep: It is important to go to sleep by 10 p.m. because our adrenals do most of their work repairing the body between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Decrease usage of electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Diet: Focus on whole foods and anti-inflammatory foods including wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats: red and purple berries (rich in polyphenols), dark green leafy vegetables, orange sweet potatoes, and nuts.

There’s no need to stress out and fatigue your adrenals more by trying to implement all the suggested remedies at once. Think about just one that you can try this week, and then add another each week so that you can focus on becoming healthier over time rather than stressed by your “to-do” list!

Interested in a Health Consultation? Find out more here.

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