Adrenal Fatigue

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Posted by Miss Lizzy
April 7, 2014

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Low energy, feeling tired and run-down, frequently waking up at night, craving salty or sweet snacks, frequent illness, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty waking up in the morning are all possible signs up Adrenal Fatigue.

With Adrenal Fatigue the body burns itself out trying to produce Cortisol. If you’ve had a poorly functioning thyroid, the body considers this a kind of stress which could then drain the adrenal system leading to a host of symptoms.

According to AdrenalFatigue.org, as the name suggests, the paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep. You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of un-wellness, tiredness or “gray” feelings.

People experiencing adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.

Another important detail is that Cortisol helps move the thyroid hormone from the blood to the cells. So while you might be taking Natural Desiccated Thyroid Medicine for Hypothyroidism, it may not be making into the cells because of the low Cortisol. In short, treating Hypothyroidism also means looking at Adrenal Fatigue.

Well we all know stress is bad. But why?

The adrenals are what handle the Fight or Flight” response in the body. Meaning, we experience stress, adrenaline kicks in and gives our body an energy boost.  As cave women, it was great for fighting the occasional tiger (or running from said tiger) which we only had to do on occasion. But in the modern world we can experience stress every day from work, family stress, financial stress, poor diets, sickness, chronic illness or disease which means continually draining the adrenal system. When we are sick with a condition like Hypothyroidism, our bodies are continually draining the adrenals. Many people who have hypothyroidism also find they have adrenal fatigue.

What happens when we continually exhaust the Adrenals?

We risk burning out the adrenals, resulting in a “crash”.  You know that feeling, for example, after a big family holiday ends you just want to lie on the couch for days?  Or you’ve finished a big work deadline and either you get sick, or simply can’t do anything for a few days? That’s the adrenal crash from stress.  When you say “you burned yourself out” that’s totally true! You did. You fought that tiger, and you won, sister! But now you’re paying.

Why Don’t People Talk About Adrenal Fatigue More?

Although adrenal fatigue affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome. According to AdrenalFatigue.org, Adrenal Fatigue has been known by many other names, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, and adrenal apathy. 

Personally, I think every doctor, and every person would benefit from knowing about this condition. Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc with your life. In more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day.

As the adrenals become more tired, every organ and system in the body is increasingly and profoundly affected. Changes occur in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive.

Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue. The body does its best to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.

Learn more at According to AdrenalFatigue.org, or read Dr. Wilson’s book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.

What causes adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is produced when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress.* The adrenal glands mobilize your body’s responses to every kind of stress (whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond to the stress and maintain homeostasis. If their response is inadequate, you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue.*

During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not well enough to maintain optimal homeostasis because their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation.* Over-stimulation of your adrenals can be caused either by a very intense single stress, or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.*

How can I tell if my adrenals are fatigued?

You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if you regularly notice one or more of the following:

  1. You feel tired for no reason.
  2. You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
  3. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
  4. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
  5. You crave salty and sweet snacks.
  6. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.

Read the full symptom list.

Are there health conditions related to adrenal fatigue?

The processes that take place in any chronic disease, from arthritis to cancer, place demands on your adrenal glands. Therefore, it is likely that if you are suffering from a chronic disease and morning fatigue is one of your symptoms, your adrenals may be fatigued to some degree.

Can people experiencing adrenal fatigue heal and feel good?

According to AdrenalFatigue.org, YES. And in my own experience, and reports from other patients, YES. It is possible to heal struggling adrenals and feel better again.

What It Means For Me, Miss Lizzy

With proper care most people experiencing adrenal fatigue can expect to feel good again. For me personally, I brought myself to good heath and was able to treat my adrenal fatigue and feel better. It is an on-going journey. I am careful to protect my body from stressors so I can remain in good health. If I stress my body too much, it lets me know and I listen.

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Any statements made on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition. Always consult your professional health care provider. DISCLAIMER: I AM AN ORDINARY PERSON, NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, SO THESE ARE MY EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS ONLY. EVERYONE IS INDIVIDUAL, AND WHAT WORKS FOR ME MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU! NOR IS MY STORY MEANT TO REPLACE WHAT YOU WHAT YOU AND YOUR DOCTOR DISCUSS. ANY INFORMATION AND WHAT YOU DO IS AT YOUR OWN RISK! PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF AS BEST YOU CAN AND CONSULT A GOOD DOCTOR.