I suffer with all of these I have fibro,bulging discs, degenerative discs, prolapse, annular tear, carp tunnel, tendonitis, cholesterol levels, folic acid deficiency, panic disorder, fobias, asthma, hypersensitivity to stimuli, ,I have raynauds symptoms, and rheumatoid arthritis getting tests for them they keep saying I don’t have autoimmune illnesses
Conventional medicine will detect only the extremes of these conditions, when damage to the adrenals has already occurred (Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease). Within those extremes, you can feel miserable and still be told your cortisol levels are normal. But by responding to early-stage symptoms of adrenal fatigue, we can reverse the developing dysfunction.
Thank you for the wealth of knowledge you share in your blogs and follow-up comments. What stage of adrenal/HPA-axis dysregulation would you consider a patient with the following results? Symptoms are consistent with abnormal cortisol levels and hypothyroidism; current treatment protocol from primary includes Armour thyroid 30mg. Could Hashimoto’s (or autoimmunity) be a possible cause? Or are lifestyle factors (sleep, glucose regulation and diet, stress, etc.) more likely for the following patterns?
Hi Dr. Jill – I have a theory that i would love to get your opinion on? I believe that i have adrenal fatigue and also urinary retention. I have puffy eyes, especially on the bottom. I have Hashimotos any many other issues. I am trying to figure out the cause of the urinary retention and have noticed that when i get hyped up, such as when rushing for an important occasion, such as a wedding , funeral or such that i have a great release of my bladder when i am rushing to get ready for the occasion. I am wondering if it is the adrenal fatigue that is causing the retention and then when i am rushing around and using up my reserve energy , that is when my bladder releases the urine. Any input would be much appreciated, thank you!
Adrenal Fatigue is a syndrome, meaning that it encompasses multiple systems and aspects of your health. This also makes it a very difficult condition to diagnose for a typical MD, whose training is typically focused on more acute conditions. In other words, MDs are great when you have an acute condition that sends you to hospital, but they're not so helpful when faced with multiple symptoms and general complaints of feeling 'tired and unwell'.
If the intensity and frequency of the stresses in your life — either those internally driven (such as your perceptions about your life) or those externally driven (such as having surgery or working the night shift) — become too great, then over time your adrenal glands will begin to become exhausted. This will mean that you are much more likely to suffer from fatigue and menopausal symptoms. And a woman in a state of adrenal fatigue is likely to find herself at a distinct disadvantage when entering perimenopause, because perimenopause itself is an additional form of stress.
Adrenals. Ahhhhhhh, how I wish I knew about these guys a decade ago before my doctor put me on steroids in my 20’s, which took away my pain but also destroyed my adrenals!!! It’s taken me over 10 years to build back my adrenals. So much fun. Let me tell you. This has become part of my life so I love learning new ways to heal myself and my adrenals have been anything but easy to heal. They’re tricky and they’re exhausting and you end up feeling depleted, tired and fed up most of the time. When I learned about adrenal fatigue treatment from my Functional/Integrative M.D.’s I was amazed at all the knowledge I found on how I could start to heal these babies, which were KEY for my thyroid health. You’ll never have an optimal thyroid if your adrenals are out of whack. So, let’s talk about what adrenals are and how you can make sure they’re in tip-top shape. As Susan Blum, M.D. (she was my 1st Functional MD) mentions in this article for Well&Good, 8 Signs You Have Adrenal Fatigue, “When there’s severe, chronic stress, the adrenal glands can stay in the ‘on’ position, making extra amounts of these stress hormones.”
At some point in all of our lives we go through a period of feeling tired, run down or exhausted without being able to point to a readily identifiable reason. Whilst such symptoms could be attributed to a variety of factors – some lifestyle related and some related to identifiable medical conditions – some people take the view that a condition known as adrenal fatigue could be an underlying cause, and that this is an issue of increasing importance. Your adrenal glands are fundamental to a healthy body and mind – they produce a variety of key hormones, including those underpinning our “fight or flight” responses. Looking after the adrenal glands, and the wider endocrine support system is, therefore fundamental. This book explains why your adrenal glands and the hormones they produce are so important. The book then gives some analysis of why diet, exercise and stress levels are important in relation to the functioning of the adrenal glands – and what you might be able to do to develop a more robust system – also likely improving your overall general health in the process. The goal of this book is to give you the tools to help you understand the condition, consider whether or not you need to seek medical attention, and set yourself on a path to self-treatment and complete recovery. Even in broader terms, if you have ever felt that you may be somewhat low on energy, then we urge you to read this book, and put its advice into practical, daily use.
Here are some typical signs that you have adrenal exhaustion: You awaken feeling groggy and have difficulty dragging yourself out of bed. You can’t get going without that first cup or two of caffeinated coffee or tea. You not only rely on sugary snacks and caffeine to get through the day but find you actually crave sweets, particularly in the late morning or afternoon. (Perhaps you’ve even been diagnosed with hypoglycemia.) Your thinking is foggy and you have memory problems. You suffer from recurrent infections, headaches and depression. At night, though exhausted, you have trouble falling asleep as the worries of the day replay in your head and you suffer from insomnia. Ordinary stresses have an impact that is out of proportion to their importance. You wonder what happened to your interest in sex. If this description fits you, your adrenals may be running on empty, even if all your conventional medical tests are normal.
As we discuss in The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, one of the major causes of Adrenal Fatigue is getting insufficient sleep. Getting more rest is, therefore, one of the best ways to recover. However, when suffering from Adrenal Fatigue many patients wake up extremely tired and ‘foggy’, even after getting a long sleep. This can be caused by one of two factors.
There are also two safe home tests you can try. The first is known as the Iris Contraction Test and was developed in 1924 by a Dr. Arroyo. His theory was that the iris would not be able to properly contract when exposed to light in people with weakened adrenal function, so the test involves sitting in a dark room and shining a flashlight briefly across the eyes repeatedly. If you have adrenal fatigue, it’s possible that the eye contraction will last no more than two minutes and the eyes will dilate even when still exposed to direct light.
Unfortunately, many individuals and physicians continue to deny that this syndrome is a legitimate disease. The medical literature is, however, very clear in proving the opposite; individuals with this disorder have measurable hypothalamic, pituitary, immune and coagulation dysfunction. These abnormalities then result in a cascade of further abnormalities, in which stress plays a role by suppressing immunity and hypothalamic-pituitary function.
This is an excellent introduction to hormone imbalances of all kinds. All hormones are interrelated, and this book will help you sort out your symptoms so that you can determine which symptoms are adrenal, which are thyroid, and which are sex hormone related (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone). They have great diagnostic quizzes, and then outline treatment strategies for each hormone group. This is an easy read, and a great starting place if you're new to learning about health related topics.
I started writing these books having worked in hospitals across a wide range of different specialities. Through my experience I found the most common method to treating a wide range of chronic illness is to prescribe a pill. Very early on in my training I became disillusioned with the grip that the pharmaceutical industry had in dictating that pills should be, the, intervention. The very nature of their intent being primarily focused on profit and subsequently, less so, to actually help heal people from disease, led me to search for alternatives.
Lori, I loved your entire comment. So hopeful, patient, and wise. This new world of social media… so much great help out there especially for getting involved and doing your own research. But also so much judgment, condemnation, lies and more. Baby steps is so true. Starting where it matters most to you is so important as habits change and hope is born. Thank you for being an encouraging voice! Keep up your good work for your own health.
Unfortunately, some types of stress are hard to spot. In his book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, Dr. James Wilson mentions a study which measured the stress hormones of a group of nurses working in a pediatric unit. They weren’t aware of any particular stress in their lives, but their lab tests told a different story. According to Dr. Wilson, they “were totally unaware of being under stress, but their cortisol levels were elevated by 200-300%.”
But can stress cause extreme fatigue? Yes, it absolutely can. One study found that students undergoing chronic, long-term stress when prepping for medical exams at the end of their educational careers impaired the students’ cortisol awakening response. (10) By limiting this surge in cortisol that naturally occurs every morning when you wake up to help you feel alert, stress inhibits your ability to wake up fully, no matter how much sleep you get.
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