One of the most common problems in patients with fibromyalgia is adrenal fatigue, which is characterized by symptoms that look similar to fibro such as constant tiredness, difficulty getting up in the morning, inability to cope with stress, and weakened immune system. Additional symptoms include cold hands and feet, muscle pain, low blood sugar, depression, low sex drive, allergies, chronic headaches, and more.
Did You Miss My Special Teleconference on Adrenal Fatigue?
If so you can listen to the recording or listen again. Find out what you need to know about how adrenal fatigue dramatically contributes to your fibro symptoms of low energy, pain, low moods, brain fog, and flares. More importantly learn what you can do to correct adrenal fatigue (see link below for free audio playback).
These pea-sized glands are located at the top of each kidney and secrete the vital stress-coping hormone cortisol (and others), which help us deal with day-to-day stress. Normal functioning adrenal glands allow us to be more resilient and clear-headed in times of stress (physical, mental, or emotional). These hormones help us build stamina with the stressful situation and allow us to rebound quickly.
There are two sections of the adrenal gland: the medulla (inner portion) and the cortex (outer portion), each having their own functions to release chemicals and keep our bodies functioning normally. The hormones released by the adrenals not only help us deal with immediate stress, but they help us cope with long-term stressful situations as well, such has dealing with a chronic disease or experiencing grief.
It is persistent, unrelenting stress without rest that exhaust the adrenal glands. Adrenal “burn-out” will make you helpless against the damage caused by the continuous flow of hormones that can’t seem to restore properly.
Adrenal fatigue is most often caused by stress. You may have stress-induced adrenal “burn-out” if you can say the following:
- I’m always under stress, and it seems to last for long periods.
- I/spouse work more than 50 hours per week
- I have a chronic illness; I have a nervous stomach; I’m overweight.
- I don’t exercise and/or I have been on a low-fat diet within the last 12 months.
- I exercise a lot (more than 14-15 hours weekly).
- I drink a lot of caffeine (more than 2 cups of coffee and/or soda a day).
- I smoke.
- I have trouble sleeping at night and get less than seven hours
- I eat a lot of sugary foods
- I’ve had surgery within the last 12 months, or more than one in the last two years.
- I’m a caregiver.
- I take medications (prescription or over-the-counter) to help stimulate me.
The body becomes completely exhausted after years of unrelenting fatigue, chronic pain, stimulant use, poor diet, poor sleep, and medications. The hormones and adrenals are completely used up and need to be restored before used again. This is very difficult to do for someone who cannot control outer circumstances, which is all of us.
Chronic poor health is the result of adrenal fatigue if not dealt with, but there are ways to determine if adrenal fatigue is a problem, which will help you treat it from home.
Self-testing will help you determine whether or not you should seek supplementation and/or help from a practitioner.
The Ragland’s sign is an abnormal drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number of the reading) when you go from a lying to standing position. There should actually be a rise of 8-10 mmHg in this situation, so the drop signifies adrenal fatigue.
You could perform the pupil dilation exam with a flashlight and mirror. Looking in the mirror, shine the light in one eye. After 30 seconds, if the pupil dilates, you probably have adrenal deficiency.
I have found that patients with chronic illnesses have significantly low levels of DHEA, which is produced by the adrenal cortex.
DHEA helps us build resistance to stress, improves our immune system, boosts our energy, increases our sex drive, and gives us a better sense of general well-being. Most of my patients with adrenal “burn-out” have extremely low DHEA levels. DHEA certainly needs to be replaced in those with the condition, but it’s not the only thing that needs to be done.
Five Ways to Correct Adrenal Fatigue:
- Drink lots of water, about half your weight in ounces every day. Only pure water counts, not cola’s, teas, coffee, etc.
- Rest! You won’t get better unless you’re getting at least eight hours of restorative sleep every night. This is when and how the adrenal glands (and all other bodily systems) restore to their natural level of functioning. Melatonin and/or 5-HTP would help.
- Stress reduction. It’s time now to take it easy for a while. If you want to get better, you must reduce the amount of stress in your life somehow. You must take control. It may take months for you to rebuild your hormone levels and gland function, so even if you are feeling better for a day, pace yourself instead of overdoing it.
- Never skip meals, especially breakfast. You probably aren’t hungry, and maybe even a little sick at the thought of food when you wake up, but you have to fight through this. It will go away as you start to feel better. Don’t go straight for the stimulant. A small snack of something with protein and fiber is all you need.
- Use adrenal restoration extracts and supplements, which will help restore normal adrenal function.
Learn more about adrenal fatigue and listen to Jolene tell her fibro story by clicking the recording link for the play back here: