Definition - What does Adrenal Fatigue mean?
Adrenal fatigue is the belief that high levels of long-term stress have a significant impact on the body’s ability to cope and maintain normal functioning.
Adrenal fatigue supporters believe the condition has a consistent list of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms and manifestations caused by the gland’s naturally inadequate tactics.
One such symptom may be infertility. However, adrenal fatigue is not a medically or scientifically documented, proven, or supported condition.
Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency is a medical condition, also known as Addison’s disease.
FertilitySmarts explains Adrenal Fatigue
The adrenal glands are two thumb-sized organs that reside on top of the kidneys. The adrenals are responsible for secreting over 50 hormones that the body relies on upon in order to function properly. The adrenals also work in collaboration with the HPA axis, which is the system of balance between the adrenals, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland. The three of these organs work to synchronize a complex and extensive number of processes throughout the body.
One of the primary responsibilities of the adrenal gland is in dealing with stress response. When the body identifies stress or stimulation, the adrenal glands secrete a series of hormones that allow the individual to process, respond to, and recover from the situation.
Adrenal fatigue is based on the belief that modern-day life contains more stressors then the adrenal gland was designed to address. Additionally, many people experience long term stress, requiring long term secretion of hormones. This is something, it is theorized, the body has not adapted to cope with.
The assumption with adrenal fatigue is that high levels of stress cause the adrenal glands to overexert themselves, causing an imbalance throughout the entire HPA axis. The symptoms classified as adrenal fatigue are considered to be due to the resulting hormonal imbalance.
The most commonly stated symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Chronic exhaustion, even first thing in the morning
- Trouble finishing tasks
- Fuzzy thinking
- Reliance on caffeine
- Sugar or salt cravings
- Hair loss
- Weight changes
- Sleep problems
- Trouble conceiving
Suggested treatment to address adrenal fatigue includes:
- Diet changes
- Stress reduction
Adrenal fatigue is not considered a health condition by the traditional medical community. While many naturopathic, holistic, or alternative health professionals support it, the research backed medical community has yet to prove or disprove its existence.