As a woman who’s been diagnosed twice with adrenal exhaustion, at different points in my life, I can tell you it’s a tricky condition to diagnose. That’s because it mimics many others.
I developed excruciating nerve pain during my second battle with adrenal fatigue. So, in order to find relief, I had to focus on healing my adrenals, as much as possible.
I’m still not totally pain free. But my pain is nowhere near as excruciating as it once was. I’m so happy someone spotted this problem, and I could deal with it holistically. I totally skipped the part about taking drugs to dull the pain.
I spend time in various Facebook groups for women with fibromyalgia and other types of chronic pain. The stories are heartbreaking. I wish everyone would pay more attention to their adrenal glands.
Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue
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But I was so grateful to get an answer to my problems, so I could begin taking various dietary supplements designed to support these glands. Also, once I knew what was wrong, I could make some lifestyle changes.
If you go to a regular physician, you’ll be subjected to a lot of blood work. If adrenal fatigue is your only problem, everything will likely to be in the normal range. That’s because mainstream medical doctors, for the most part, don’t believe adrenal exhaustion is real. Unless, that is, it’s so severe that it threatens your life, because your adrenal glands no longer function. This condition is known as Addison’s disease, and it’s treated with replacement hormones. (These can have terrible side effects.)
If you’ve been under a lot of stress, and you suffer from some of the classic symptoms of adrenal exhaustion, it’s a good idea to take some steps to preserve and restore your adrenals.
Chronic low-level stress, or ongoing emotional trauma, make your adrenals, located on top of your kidneys, work too hard. Under normal circumstances, these cortisol and adrenaline. Greater amounts of these life-sustaining hormones are produced during an acute “fight or flight” situation. This is a good thing, because they help you respond quickly to emergencies.
However, for someone living in a pressure cooker, either at work or at home, the adrenals kick into high gear. Then they become tired and no longer function well. This is when you may notice a physical reaction to an ongoing emotional event.
Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency in Women
Nearly everyone who’s pushed their adrenals too hard complains of fatigue. Despite the fact you’re constantly tired, you can’t get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, too much cortisol can trigger insomnia. This becomes difficult to manage, as the mere thought of not being able to sleep can keep you awake. Then, this new stress is piled on top of the original problem.
Having too much cortisol coursing through your bloodstream can also lower your immune response, leaving you more likely to catch whatever infection is going around. This is especially common in the early stages of adrenal fatigue, according to some of the experts.
Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Problems in Women
When your adrenals still have a lot of reserves, cortisol can become elevated. This hormone can suppress immunity. Later, as these glands become less efficient, they don’t produce enough cortisol, which keeps inflammation in check. Now, you may notice muscle and joint pains, caused by excess inflammation. (With me, the nerve inflammation became so bad that I was unable to walk.)
Some of the other symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Thyroid problems. Adrenal insufficiency can affect your thyroid.
- Hair loss
- Anxiety and irritability
- Brain fog
- Salt cravings
- Sensitivity to chemicals
- Sensitivity to extreme temperatures, or temperature changes
- Digestive problems
- Irregular periods
- Back pain
- Widespread body pain
Healing Adrenal Exhaustion Naturally
Since the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion resemble so many other problems, some of them serious, you should seek a firm diagnosis from a competent medical professional. A holistic doctor is much more likely to pick up on this problem, and set you on a course of healing, with natural remedies instead of drugs.
Many herbalists believe that certain plants known as “adaptogens” can help us recover from adrenal fatigue, by protecting us from the physical and emotional effects of stress. I still take various adaptogens every day, even though I’ve pretty much recovered from my second case of adrenal exhaustion.
Natural Healing of Adrenal Fatigue
Please understand that I’m not a medical expert, and I can’t give medical advice. Nor can I advise you on what type of supplement you should take, or make any claims a particular formula will work for you. Instead, all I am doing is sharing my story of recovery from adrenal fatigue, to the point where I can now function normally.
There are a number of natural herbal formulas for adrenal insufficiency. Many holistic practitioners, my own included, recommend rotating herbal remedies, as they seem to work better that way. Here’s the herbal blend I’m currently taking.
If you suspect you suffer from adrenal fatigue, my best recommendation is to find a practitioner who believes adrenal fatigue exists, and has successfully helped others recover. It is possible to reverse this process, according to Dr. James Wilson, ND, who has written a book called Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.
So, it appears that your adrenal glands do have the ability to recover, although this can take time and effort. In my case, I started eating healthy foods and avoiding stressful situations. This may include assessing various unhealthy and “toxic” relationships, and learning to put up better boundaries with difficult people.
One of the practitioners who diagnosed my problem urged me to eat many small meals and snacks throughout the day, in order to avoid putting further stress on my weak adrenals.
Good Diet for Healing Adrenal Exhaustion
For me, the healing process gained a lot of traction when I overhauled my diet. Junk food was out. Real food was all I ate.
This meant more cooking and shopping. But the payoff has been totally worth it. My energy has returned and my pain level is almost non-existent. At my worst, my nerve inflammation was so bad I could barely walk.
I encourage my readers who want to eat better to sign up for Real Plans if they think they need help, especially if they’re still tired and suffering from brain fog. Real Plans is designed to make it much easier to eat right, because you receive delicious food recipes, along with a weekly shopping list. This is designed to limit your grocery shopping to once a week. If you’d like more information, click on the picture below.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. People with health concerns should discuss them with a doctor. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use herbal remedies, unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.
I’m not a healthcare professional, so all of the above statements are my personal opinion, and are not intended as medical advice.