Exhausted, sleeping poorly and having mood swings? No doubt you have put up with these symptoms for a while now, telling yourself you’re just going through a bad patch. Maybe you’ve seen your doctor who has told you to sleep more or tested you for conditions like low iron. But there may be a particular disorder you are suffering from; one that is common but frequently underdiagnosed: adrenal fatigue.
What are the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system, which makes hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These two small glands are essential to life and are a major factor in the fight-or-flight response. For example, when we get stressed or upset, our adrenals activate stress hormones to help us cope.
Adrenal fatigue and stress explained
There are three stages of stress. The first stage is a very normal kind of stress that we all experience frequently. Take, for example, when you’re running late. You’ll feel a heightened sense of tension and anxiety, but you deal with those feelings and the situation in a particular way – usually helpful – and then the crisis is over.
The second stage of stress is worry. You may worry about money, kids or your job. And it could feel like the situation has no solution and is overwhelming. However, what is interesting is that we often don’t fully understand the dramatic effect it is having on our mind and body. The second stage of stress goes underground because the body’s homeostasis changes and we become used to living a certain way, under a certain level of stress. We simply adjust – but this doesn’t mean we are healthy or happy. In fact, this is the very stage where we must tackle our problems before the problem becomes chronic and we put our adrenal glands into fatigue.
Second stage of stress:
- Tight shoulders and other aches and pains, particularly in the upper body. We tend to hold our muscles in an unnatural, uptight manner when we’re stressed
- An upset stomach or constipation. We don’t need to digest our lunch if a tiger is after us, so the digestive system slows down
- The immune system is compromised because there’s little need to make antibodies during this time. This can lead to inflammation, allergies and many other chronic conditions
- The reproductive system slows because there is a reduced priority on reproduction during times of stress.
Eventually this stress can go to a third-stage, where we get sick and we simply cannot cope. The problem has become long-term and chronic and it’s a harder road to come back from.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are broad and can apply to other ailments, so the condition often isn’t treated as quickly and efficiently as it should be.
Common symptoms you might experience with adrenal fatigue:
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Tired most of the time
- Craving certain foods
- Anger and/or irritability
- Mood swings
- Feeling of weakness
- Apathy or depression
- Pre-menstrual syndrome
- Hungry all the time
- Poor memory
- Always catching colds because your immune system is compromised
- Poor concentration
- Poor sleep
- Muscle and/or joint aches
- Anxiety attacks.
As you can see, these symptoms could be applied to a number of other conditions. However, help is at hand and a Kinesiologist can help you reverse this debilitating condition and set you on the path to increased vitality.
Treating adrenal fatigue
Much of your treatment will be about learning how to cope with the issues in your life.
As Kinesiologists, we are all about bringing balance back to people’s health and lives. We balance the body over a series of sessions (although this varies between individuals and their specific circumstances) during which we are giving the body the tools to heal itself.
A Kinesiology balance helps people respond differently to life and to stress. It helps you change the way you think. Instead of getting uptight, overreacting or getting bothered by things, you retrain your thought patterns.
We also focus on eating good, wholesome food and getting more physical activity. However, if someone is really stressed, they need to do more than “just” exercise and change their diet. We also recommend meditation for adrenal fatigue. This is a long-term solution, but one with excellent rewards down the road.
Adrenal fatigue doesn’t have to ruin your life. Contact our team at O’Neill Kinesiology College on (08) 9330 7443 to make an appointment with one of our qualified Kinesiologists.