Adrenal Fatigue Q & A

by Rashmi Gulati, MD

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, failing to produce normal levels of hormones that play a vital role in maintaining health. Adrenal fatigue most commonly occurs as a result of prolonged or chronic stress, but it can also develop following an illness such as the flu, pneumonia or bronchitis or during or after chronic or acute infections.

What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

Unlike many other medical conditions, adrenal fatigue causes symptoms that can be difficult to pinpoint. The most common symptoms include:

  • general malaise, or a feeling of being unwell or not in optimal health
  • weight gain, especially in the midsection
  • decreased sex drive
  • memory problems
  • frequent illnesses or prolonged recovery from illnesses
  • lack of energy
  • lightheaded feelings after standing up quickly or getting up from a prone (lying down) position
  • feeling better for a short time after eating

Not every person with adrenal fatigue will experience all these symptoms. Discussing your symptoms and having a medical exam with lab testing is the best way to determine if you might be suffering from adrenal fatigue.

How can adrenal fatigue be treated?

Adrenal fatigue can be treated by providing your adrenal glands with the support they need for proper functioning. In most cases, that means using a combination of techniques, including nutritional support using herbs and nutraceuticals aimed at improving the body's response to stress. In some cases, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can be useful in helping the body return to its normal levels of hormones while the adrenal glands recover. Other techniques for treating adrenal fatigue include infrared light treatment to stimulate adrenal function, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, mind-body supplements and medications, and techniques to reduce stress.

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Many of us will benefit by taking supplements for the issues discussed on this page.

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