Do you ever get the feeling of being physically tired but emotionally wired? It’s no wonder, with today’s busy lifestyle that more and more clients have some degree of physical and/or emotional burnout, resulting in stress on the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are an essential part of our hormone system, and produce some very important “feel good” hormones, when our bodies are in balance. When long-term emotional and/or physical stress take over, it’s no wonder that we can get hormonally out of whack. And although it is important to assess for the degree of adrenal stress, to help evaluate the level of adrenal imbalance, addressing the causes of stress on the body are essential to overcoming this common health concern.
Assessment starts with a thorough history, along with objective laboratory testing. Think back to when you felt really good and start documenting what life events may have caused you stress from that point. Objectively, testing for the hormone DHEA-S, with your doctor, along with a complete blood count (CBC), are key initial assessments to evaluate the degree of exhaustion and causes of stress on the body. DHEA is an adrenal hormone that plays a vital role in both physical and emotional wellbeing. If you are found to have low DHEA-S levels (typically less than 3 umol/L in women and 5 umol/L in men) then you are likely feeling the effects of exhaustion. A complete blood count can reveal a lot of information about the body, including information about emotional stress, infections (including chronic viruses, parasites and bacteria), environmental or food allergies, vitamin B12 and folic acid, iron, and zinc levels.
Common symptoms and causes of adrenal exhaustion
|Signs and Symptoms||Causes|
|Physical Exhaustion Emotional Exhaustion
Loss of Sex Drive
Acne (and other skin concerns)
|Emotional Stress Chronic Viral Infections
Chronic Bacterial Infections
The keys to treating adrenal dysfunction starts with removing the underlying causes of stress, along with balancing the blood sugar hormones, cortisol and insulin. Focusing the diet on plenty of healthy fats, proteins and vegetables is a must, while limiting refined starches and sugar. Sleep is a key lifestyle factor to supporting recovery from any degree of chronic stress. Addressing sleep problems is going to help greatly on the road to recovery. Finally, people are often surprised by the suggestion of limiting physical exercise to yoga, pilates, walking or hiking for several months. Meditation can also have profound effects on reducing stress and inflammation in the body. In all exercise and meditation practices, a focus of deep abdominal breathing is essential.