Sometimes the body does some pretty whacky things, so it's important to stay in tune with yourself to better understand the warning signs of when something's up. While it's hard to diagnose, the body can show symptoms of adrenal fatigue, and such issues can lead to chronically poorer health and wellbeing over time, if not addressed early on, as explained by Dr. Michael Lam, MD, MPH and Dr. Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM on their joint website.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on balancing their hormones, emotions, work and play schedules, and healthy lifestyles in order to boost happiness and productivity. I love seeing my clients feeling awesome and confident, and when they are hit with adrenal fatigue tendencies, it can squash their positive outlooks and energy stores, leading to loss in progress towards their health goals. Staying in-the-know and connected to your body's responses can make it easier to keep your body protected and balanced, and if you spot an issue, heading to a physician or trying to do some holistic remedies (better diet, exercise, and self-care habits to reduce stress), is a good idea. Here are 11 ways to know if you have adrenal fatigue and what to do about it.
1. You're Stressed AF
Over email with Bustle, certified healthy lifestyle coach, Liz Traines, explains that having chronic and debilitating stress can lead to adrenal fatigue, as the emotional or physical burdens can take a toll on your adrenal glands. If you notice yourself being really stressed out and quick to be hasty, irrational, or emotional, for instance, it might mean you're hurting your adrenals.
2. You're Low In Energy
Traines says that you might experience a drop in energy when you have symptoms of adrenal fatigue. This chronic fatigue and lack of motivation comes from the body's inability to achieve a healthy balance of hormones and from the overworking of the adrenal glands. If it weren't for coffee, who knows what would happen.
3. You're Getting Sick
If you are always catching the common cold or coming down with flu-like symptoms regularly, it could mean that you have adrenal fatigue, advises Traines. With such a condition, the immune system is hindered, leading to a greater likelihood of germ exposure and illness. If you're sick more often than usual, it could definitely mean your body isn't in the best shape.
4. You Have Body Aches
"Adrenal fatigue is not a medical diagnosis. Rather it is a grouping of symptoms including fatigue, body aches and belly complaints," explains Laura Cipullo RD, CDE, CEDRD, over email with Bustle. "The true medical diagnosis is Adrenal Insufficiency," Cipullo specifies. As a tip: if you are treated with corticosteroids, for severe cases, it could increase risk of osteoporosis, Cipullo warns. Cipullo advises having Greek yogurt, with calcium and vitamin D to counter the effects.
5. You Have Lower Sex Drive
Traines says that a lower sex drive might happen due to adrenal fatigue, as a decrease in energy can cause a decrease in libido. In order to amp things up again, try doing activities that excite you, such as having a warm bath, a glass of wine, or a few moments to yourself to listen to sensual music.
6. You Have Brain Fog
When you have adrenal fatigue, it's common to not only feel physically exhausted all the time, but also to encounter decreased memory retention, focus, and productivity, advises Traines. Such lapses in judgment and an inability to stay mentally aware at work can be worrisome for your career, health, and happiness longterm.
7. You Have Cravings
On her website, Fawne Hansen, wellness coach, explained that people who have adrenal fatigue might experience salty cravings throughout the day, often for foods that are processed, high in sugars and fats, and void of real, tangible nutrition. Think hamburgers and fries for lunch, and a bag of chips or a snickers for a snack. If you notice cravings getting out of control, it could be a clear sign.
8. You Can't Seem To Get Out Of Bed
Apart from being chronically tired throughout the day, just getting out of bed could seem like the hardest part for people suffering from adrenal fatigue, advised James Wilson, PhD, the author of Adrenal Fatigue over interview with WebMD. If it seems like a major struggle to pull of the sheets, it's likely due to the condition.
9. You Get Lightheaded When Standing Too Fast
On her website, Dr. Jill Carnahan, MD, ABFM, ABIHM, IFMCP, said that it's a common symptom to experience lightheadedness when standing up too quickly in people who are struggling with adrenal fatigue. If you notice this happens frequently, maybe see a doctor to get a better idea of your condition.
10. You Gain Weight In Your Belly
Carnahan explained that sudden weight gain, especially around the mid-section, that just won't seem to go away with a little tightening on diet and exercise, can be due to a greater problem with your adrenals. Of course, weight gain might not matter to some people as much, but this unexpected gain could signal a larger health issue.
11. Your Hair Falls Out
According to Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D. in interview with Mayo Clinic, hair loss can be a sign of imbalanced hormones and a lack of proper functioning with the adrenal glands. If you notice that your hair is thinning or falling out, despite proper eating and self-care habits, it could be due to adrenal fatigue, and should be checked with a physician.
Having adrenal fatigue is no joke, and while there's no set diagnosis in all clients and conditions, this sensitivity is totally real and can be debilitating to your health and quality of life if left untreated. If you are worried, see a doctor, and remember to keep stress low, eat whole foods, and exercise, for a healthier lifestyle.
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