Adrenal Fatigue in Women
Adrenal dysfunction is a decrease in function of the adrenal glands that characteristically manifests as a reduced output or alteration in the pattern of cortisol secretion. People suffering from decreased adrenal function commonly complain of fatigue but may also experience sleep disruptions, weight changes, salt and/or sugar cravings, allergies, anxiousness, nervousness, low blood pressure and numerous other symptoms.
Saliva testing reveals that adrenal fatigue is widespread in the United States. Over 85% of patients are experiencing some level of adrenal dysfunction or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue does not discriminate, it may be experienced by men as well as women and occur at any age. Today, many individuals in their early twenties are already experiencing adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal dysfunction is caused from continuous or sudden stress. It may begin abruptly, or as a result of periods of prolonged, repeated stress. Sources of stress may be positive or negative and can include recurrent disease or illness, physical stress such as injury, diet, surgery, tobacco/alcohol addiction, emotional stress such as marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, strenuous work relationships, a new baby, financial insecurity, or even environmental stress including pollution of air, water, food, etc.
Successful support and treatment protocols for all people suffering from decreased adrenal function include: Lifestyle modification to include exercise, healthy sleep patterns with 8 hours of sleep, balanced diet high in vegetables and including healthy fats and proteins, frequent laughter and deep breathing exercises. Avoidance of food allergies/sensitivities, caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars
Individualized treatment plans may include the following depending upon the saliva testing results and what phase of adrenal fatigue one is in. Treatments may include:
- Supplementation of dietary cofactors necessary for adrenal function including Vitamins C, B5, B6 and E
- Adaptogen therapy including licorice, rhodiola, etc.
- Adrenal glandular supplementation
- Physiologic cortisol supplementation
- Phosphorylated serine (elevated cortisol levels only)
It is important to note that the different stages of adrenal dysfunction may all present with the same symptoms, yet treatment protocols can be significantly different depending on the diurnal pattern and volume of cortisol production for each individual patient. Testing adrenal function is a critical first step in devising the correct treatment plan for you!