Why Adrenal Fatigue in Women Is So Prevalent
Women are asked to do and be so much. They juggle careers, family, and social obligations. They often feel like they need to be in three places at once.
By the time they hit the mattress, they’re drained. All this cumulative stress throws the delicate bodily systems off balance and leads to a stress-response dysfunction (aka Adrenal Fatigue).
In my 20 years as a naturopathic doctor specializing in Adrenal Fatigue, I have found these 6 warning signs to be reliable indicators that addressing Adrenal Fatigue now is an urgent matter.
#1 Worsening Allergies and Recurring Illness
Immune system imbalance is a hallmark of an overworked stress response and Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue leaves you vulnerable to flu, viruses, cold sores, and reoccurrence of Epstein-Barr Virus flare-up.
Month after month, you’re trying to fight off a bug. More often than not, you’re losing the battle.
You may also find yourself dealing with new or increased food allergies and sensitivities. You develop issues with dairy, wheat/gluten, eggs, and more.
Sometimes you just have problems with digestion in general, and it can be hard to identify what’s triggering it. Immune dysfunction touches each aspect of daily living and ultimately compromises every cell in the body, causing a perpetual body-wide drain. There is no energy left to enjoy your life.
Your body is telling you that Adrenal Fatigue has taken over.
#2 “Where Has My Sex Drive Gone?”
Even your intimate relationships can suffer because of the reproductive hormone imbalances caused by Adrenal Fatigue. Your libido leaves the room.
You may also be irritable beyond belief. Hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness: you’re living with one or all of those symptoms every day. A low sex drive is one of the most common signs of extreme Adrenal Fatigue in women. There’s a good reason for that.
Adrenal support is especially important when women begin menopausal years.
The adrenals offer fine-tuning support of ovarian hormones such as progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. This support is even more important when women begin perimenopausal and menopausal years. If the adrenals aren’t functioning properly, how can they tell the ovarian hormones to function properly?
#3 Unwanted (and Unexpected) Weight Gain
Weakened adrenals cause your thyroid function to slow. When your thyroid slows, your metabolism slows. You are fatigued and depressed. You may be constipated, gaining weight, or losing your hair.
If your body were a car, the thyroid would be its engine, driving your energy and metabolism. The adrenals would be your oil and gas. Of course, if you had no oil or gas, your car’s engine would not run. When the body realizes that the adrenals are depleted, it slows the engine (the thyroid) so that it doesn’t burn out.
Dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, and depression are telltale signs of thyroid disorders and Adrenal Fatigue.
The result of this slow-down leads to the many familiar symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, and depression.
Your body is telling you that your Adrenal Fatigue has become dangerous, and it’s time to rebalance your body. Most doctors, however, attempt to “crank up” your engine with hypothyroid medication without first addressing the real reason for the slowdown: your adrenals!
#4 Antidepressants or Anti-Anxiety Meds
Many well-meaning physicians can find no abnormal test results for Adrenal Fatigue and its resultant symptoms, particularly depression. The next logical step—albeit inaccurate—is to tell the patient, “It’s all in your head.” It’s not all in your head! You’re exhausted. You can barely participate in life.
Conventional treatment is purely symptomatic and almost always uses pharmaceuticals. But treating the imbalance in a woman’s body only on a symptomatic level is shortsighted. When you have this condition, your body is suffering from hormonal and neurotransmitter dysregulation.
You feel “wired but tired,” maybe even depressed for the first time in your life.
Antidepressant drugs are not the answer. Instead, we must address the root cause of your stress response dysfunction (aka Adrenal Fatigue).
#5 Insomnia and Poor Quality of Sleep
Exhaustion or sleep dysfunction is a big sign of severe Adrenal Fatigue in women. Here are some of the common complaints:
“I get tired too early in the evening.”
“I’m just a night owl, and nothing can change that.”
“I have to pee almost every two or three hours, night and day.”
“I wake up like clockwork every few hours.”
“A couple of hours after I go to sleep, I’ll wake up and feel both exhausted and wide awake, as if I’ve had three cups of coffee.”
Do you relate to any of these? These signs of classic sleep dysfunctions are a big part of extreme Adrenal Fatigue in women. The symptoms increase as Adrenal Fatigue worsens.
#6 Brain Fog and Poor Concentration
Brain fog is one of the most common and frustrating symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. It can also be the scariest.
To call it “brain fog” greatly diminishes the debilitating effects that the cognitive dysfunction creates in your life.
Brain fog is simply one of the scariest symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue.
The symptom that we refer to as simply brain fog actually incorporates numerous cognitive deficits: short-term memory loss, poor working memory and recall, decreased long term potentiation, poor decision making, decreased executive function, and disorganized thinking.
Many researchers compare the cognitive dysfunction in Adrenal Fatigue to that of an aging or traumatically injured brain. Healing Adrenal Fatigue steadily and gradually diminishes “brain fog.”
How Can Anyone Possibly Enjoy A Life Like This?
As these symptom occur and worsen, the chronic exhaustion associated with Adrenal Fatigue increases.
Even basic tasks—climbing stairs, folding laundry, a trip to the store—can leave you spent for the rest of the day. You drive yourself with caffeine (or sugar), but you experience only a brief lift in energy before the inevitable crash.
A “detox” or artificial hormones alone won’t fix things either. These are all just well-marketed, one-size-fits-all products aimed at temporarily alleviating symptoms. None of these will address the root cause of your exhaustion, depression, insomnia, or weight gain.
Healing the Root of These Symptoms Starts Here
Fixing the entire stress response system, not just the dysfunctional adrenals, heals the root cause of these symptoms. We must balance the hormones of the HPA Axis, heal the autonomic nervous system, and calm the limbic system of the brain. I do this using My “Trilateral” Approach to Healing Adrenal Fatigue.