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Adrenal Fatigue: What Causes It, and How to Treat It


With the world undergoing drastic changes and our individual lives feeling tossed around, many people feel stressed. This stress can build up and zap energy. It can also lead to adrenal fatigue. If you have been feeling exhausted even after sleeping well, are having headaches or dizziness for no reason, or are feeling depressed or anxious without cause, Serenity Health Care Center in the Milwaukee-Waukesha, Wisconsin can help heal your adrenal glands.

What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal gland fatigue is the name of several signs and symptoms that happen when your adrenal glands stop functioning at the normal level. Your adrenal glands produce important hormones that affect almost every organ in your body. If your glands are functioning at a lower level than necessary, your whole body will feel the weight and impact. This syndrome has had many other names through the years, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, and adrenal apathy.

The most common and debilitating symptom is in the name: fatigue. Fatigue is a tiredness that doesn’t ease with rest or sleep. It can be so debilitating that you may only be able to get out of bed for a couple of hours at a time. You may feel like you need to live on coffee or other energy drinks just to make it through a day. You may also have other symptoms such as feeling dizzy, generally unwell, depressed or experiencing headaches. 

Typically, it follows intense stress, but chronic infections can also cause it. It is not something to take lightly. It can affect every part of your body, from your heart to your metabolism to even your sex drive. Left untreated, it can become debilitating for some people. However, it is treatable. If you feel you are experiencing adrenal gland fatigue, you can make some simple lifestyle changes to begin healing it.

The Theory of Adrenal Fatigue

When you are under stress, your body’s immune system kicks into action. Your body produces hormones like cortisol and adrenaline when your brain signals a “flight or fight” mode. These hormones increase your heart rate and blood pressure. That helps you when you are in a high-stress moment, such as saving a child from a burning building or escaping a hungry bear. However, this mode can hurt us when we are intensely stressed for long periods of time.

Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and produce cortisone and adrenaline. When your body is over-producing them, it can wear your glands out and cause fatigue. Your adrenal glands can’t produce the necessary hormones properly and your body will feel exhausted. Adrenal fatigue can also be related to decreased thyroid function. It’s important to get properly tested. Anyone can experience it, even a completely healthy person who has suddenly gone through an intensely stressful period.

What Causes It?

This condition is caused typically by intense periods of prolonged stress. As the stress demands the production of the hormones, your adrenal glands slow and wear. They begin to be unable to meet the demands. This can also commonly occur after chronic infections, a type of immune stress, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or the flu. 

Stress can manifest in a few different ways. You can experience emotional stress, such as after losing a job or a loved one. You can also have physical stress, such as when dealing with a chronic illness or after a surgery. Intense stress can come from a single moment or from a set of repeated chronic stresses which build over time. If your glands are unable to keep up with production or maintain homeostasis, that’s when they are becoming fatigued from the stress. 


Whenever you feel you may have a syndrome or disorder, the best thing to do is consult a doctor. When testing for adrenal gland fatigue, seeking out a holistic medical practitioner may be your best bet. Conventional practitioners often overlook this syndrome, causing patients to suffer for years before being properly diagnosed. Testing can help your practitioner find the right diagnosis for you and help them create a treatment plan. 

Adrenal testing can be done using saliva or blood. The main hormone tested in adrenal testing is cortisone. It can be tested at home using a simple saliva test. If your body is producing too much or too little cortisone, it can be a sign of adrenal fatigue. You should also test other hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, aldosterone, and progesterone. These can be tested during an office visit or at a lab through a blood test or using a saliva test. If these other hormones are also out of homeostasis, it may be time to seek treatment.


There are many different ways to treat adrenal gland fatigue. Many of them are things you can begin doing right in your home. The most important place to begin in helping your body heal itself is relieving stress. If you do not relieve your stress, your adrenal glands will only become more fatigued and your syndrome worsen. Yoga, warm baths, meditation, and other alternative therapies can help you destress. Sleeping well is also vital for your health.

Nutrition is another big one. If your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, it won’t have the proper building blocks to heal itself. A good place to start is cutting out junk food and caffeine. A low-sugar diet will also help with your energy levels. Boosting your vitamins and minerals by eating colorful fruits and veggies will help your body get back to healthy. You can also seek vitamin supplement recommendations or hormone supplements from your holistic physician.

Related Health Issues

Chronic illness can place intense stress and demands on your adrenal glands. Chronic illnesses are chronically stressful to your body. This means if you have a chronic health issue, such as arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, etc., you may also have adrenal fatigue. The fatigue of the adrenal glands can follow chronic infections as well. Even certain medical treatments can decrease adrenal gland function. 

Thyroid and other hormone deficiencies are also related to adrenal deficiency. These can include syndromes like Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism. Your thyroid and adrenal glands both produce hormones that control most of your bodily functions. When either of these systems is out of homeostasis, it can affect the other system. This means thyroid issues can create adrenal wear and vice versa. 

If you think you may be experiencing adrenal gland fatigue, you don’t have to worry. While it can be a debilitating syndrome if left untreated, you can also make simple changes to your life today to begin the healing process. Emotional and physical stress can cause it, but eating well, sleeping well, exercising, and getting some stress relief are all important to treating fatigue.

Get the Help You Need

Some conventional doctors may overlook your adrenal symptoms, but adrenal testing from a holistic practitioner can help you determine what you have and get you the treatment that’s right for you. Visit us at Serenity Health Care Center in the Milwaukee-Waukesha metropolitan area, where we believe in creating optimal health and wellness to help your body heal itself.

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