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Adrenal Fatigue in Women: 5 Warning Signs to Watch

If these five first signs of Adrenal Fatigue are left to worsen, they can have long-term effects on a woman's health and well-being.


Dr. Andrew Neville


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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 three places at once. By the time they hit the mattress, they’re drained.

All this cumulative stress, plus pregnancies, child rearing, and hormonal shifts can throw the delicate bodily systems off balance. All these factors contribute to the prevalence of Adrenal Fatigue in women. 

Adrenal Fatigue generally starts with only a few negative effects on the body. But this only contributes to stress — which leads to more extreme Adrenal Fatigue.  If it is left to worsen, Adrenal Fatigue is dangerous and can have devastating results.

What Is Severe Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue can be hard to diagnose — so how can you tell if your Adrenal Fatigue is getting worse? And how do you know if your Adrenal Fatigue is dangerous?

Extreme Adrenal Fatigue can manifest in different ways. Insomnia and difficulty getting a full night’s sleep is a big one.

Adrenal Fatigue can also spiral into all sorts of immunity issues, from allergies, to colds, to autoimmune diagnosis. It can wreak havoc on your thyroid, skin and hair quality, digestion, and healthy weight maintenance. The health issues tend to build upon one another.

The sooner you address the root issue of Adrenal Fatigue in women, the sooner you can heal. Severe Adrenal Fatigue can be identified through some major warning signs. 

5 Warning Signs of Extreme Adrenal Fatigue

Weakened Immunity — Worsening Allergies and Frequent 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 Epstein-Barr. 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 it’s hard to identify the culprit; 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.

Lack of Libido

Even your intimate relationships can suffer because of the reproductive hormone imbalances caused by Adrenal Fatigue.

Your libido leaves the room. You may 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 telltale signs of extreme Adrenal Fatigue in women. But why?

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?

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.

The result of this slow-down leads to the many familiar symptoms of low thyroid (or hypothyroidism), such as dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, and depression.

Your body is telling you that your level of 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! 

Anxiety and Depression

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. You’re “wired but tired.” Of course, you feel depressed.

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.

Due to severe Adrenal Fatigue, your body is suffering from a hormonal and neurotransmitter dysregulation. Antidepressant drugs are not the answer. Instead, we must address the root cause: extreme Adrenal Fatigue

Insomnia and Poor Quality of Sleep

Exhaustion and 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.”

“As soon as I try to go to sleep, I’m wide awake for hours.”

“I am never refreshed in the morning.”

“I can usually fall asleep okay, but 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 get worse as the Adrenal Fatigue worsens.

Reversing Adrenal Fatigue in Women

If you experience some of these symptoms of severe Adrenal Fatigue, don’t wait for things to  get worse! Adrenal Fatigue is a vicious cycle. The more you’re out of balance, the greater your imbalance grows. Your stress response system is short-circuiting, causing symptoms to pile up. 

Adrenal Fatigue is dangerous from the start. But too often women ignore the symptoms until even basic tasks like climbing stairs, folding laundry, or a trip to the store become impossible burdens. 

You can keep ignoring the signals, driving yourself with caffeine (or sugar), but even these crutches only give you a brief lift in energy before the inevitable crash.

A “detox,” a few suggested supplements, or artificial hormone replacements won’t fix severe Adrenal Fatigue. 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.

In order to reverse Adrenal Fatigue effectively, you must treat both the body and the brain (the limbic system, to be precise).

The Key to Healing Extreme Adrenal Fatigue

The brain’s limbic system is the “boss” of the adrenals. It tells them how to react to stress. It also tells them to overreact again and again, and that’s a problem.

When you soothe and calm your overstimulated limbic system, you can heal all symptoms of extreme Adrenal Fatigue. Effective healing for Adrenal Fatigue requires an analysis of your individual body (via blood and saliva tests). With diet, supplement, and lifestyle changes, as well as adequate support for your unique needs, your body can heal from even the most severe Adrenal Fatigue.


Dr. Andrew Neville


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