Always Exhausted? It May Be Adrenal Fatigue. Bioidentical Hormone Therapy May Help!
Adrenal fatigue is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that occur when the adrenal glands – which are responsible for producing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline – become overworked and unable to function properly.
The hormones cortisol and adrenaline play crucial roles in maintaining the proper functioning of the human body – including energy and vitality. But prolonged periods of stress can deplete these essential hormones.
Unfortunately, some ‘old school’ doctors still debate the existence of adrenal fatigue as a distinct condition, leaving their patients undiagnosed, untreated, and frustrated. But patients experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, and the mood swings that are consistent with adrenal fatigue will tell you that adrenal fatigue is very real.
The good news is that bioidentical hormone therapy has emerged as an effective treatment option for individuals with adrenal fatigue, helping to restore hormonal balance and alleviate symptoms of exhaustion and anxiety.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
The adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of each kidney. They are responsible for producing a variety of hormones that help to regulate the body’s response to stress, including cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone. When the body experiences stress, the adrenal glands release these hormones into the bloodstream, allowing the body to respond appropriately.
Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” helps regulate the body’s response to stress by mobilizing energy reserves, increasing blood sugar levels, and enhancing metabolism. Cortisol also aids in suppressing inflammation and supporting the immune system, assisting the body in combating infections and diseases. Additionally, cortisol is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and also plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle.
Adrenaline helps initiate the “fight or flight” response, enabling the body to respond to perceived threats effectively by increasing heart rate and respiration. Aldosterone is responsible for maintaining electrolyte balance and blood pressure regulation.
However, chronic stress can lead to overworking of the adrenal glands, causing them to become fatigued and unable to produce these very necessary hormones at optimal levels.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
There are several factors that can contribute to adrenal fatigue, however chronic stress is the primary culprit. And, honestly, who isn’t under some form of chronic stress these days? Financial concerns, an uncertain job market, demanding careers, and taking care of kids or elderly parents keep most of us in a steady state of stress.
But the body doesn’t know the difference between the stress of modern daily life and the stress our ancestors faced when they were chased by a saber-toothed tiger! So, the adrenal glands go into overdrive, pumping out stress hormones until they are so fatigued that they can no longer produce adequate hormone levels.
Poor diet, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle factors also contribute to adrenal fatigue. Some medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, can also contribute to adrenal fatigue by causing inflammation and disrupting hormonal balance. And in some cases, medications such as steroids or antidepressants can also affect adrenal function and contribute to adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue can vary widely, but may include fatigue, lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, anxiety, depression, brain fog, and decreased libido. Other symptoms may include weight gain, digestive issues, and decreased immune function.
And because adrenal fatigue can present so many different symptoms – many of which can also be caused by other conditions – it is often missed or misdiagnosed. Doctors may attribute these symptoms to menopause, ‘getting older,’ lack of sleep, poor diet, etc. – leaving the patient without answers and still feeling exhausted.
Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue
Because adrenal fatigue is not a distinct medical condition but a cluster of issues, there is no single, standardized diagnostic test for this condition. However, doctors who are willing to look ‘at the big picture’ can use blood and/or saliva tests to measure cortisol levels and assess adrenal function.
In general, adrenal fatigue is characterized by low cortisol levels or irregular cortisol patterns throughout the day. The cortisol saliva test involves collecting saliva samples at various times throughout the day, which are then analyzed for cortisol levels. This test can help to identify abnormalities in cortisol production and provide information about the body’s stress response.
In addition to cortisol, there are other hormones that may be measured in blood work to assess adrenal function. For example, DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that can also be measured in blood work. Low levels of DHEA-S may be indicative of adrenal dysfunction or fatigue.
Other tests that may be used to evaluate adrenal function include the ACTH stimulation test, the insulin tolerance test, and the dexamethasone suppression test. These tests are somewhat more entailed and may not be used as frequently as the cortisol saliva test.
But remember, the symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue can also be caused by other medical conditions, so a comprehensive evaluation and testing by a trained doctor is necessary to rule out other potential causes.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Adrenal Fatigue
Bioidentical hormone therapy has emerged as an exciting and effective treatment option for individuals with adrenal fatigue, as it can help to restore hormonal balance and alleviate symptoms.
Bioidentical hormones are identical in chemical structure to the hormones produced by the body and are derived from natural, plant-based sources such as soy or yam. Unlike synthetic hormones, which are made in a laboratory and may not be identical to the body’s own hormones, bioidentical hormone therapy has been shown in clinical studies to be safer, more effective, and better tolerated by the body than synthetics.
Recent clinical studies have shown promising results in treating adrenal fatigue with bioidentical hormone therapy. One study published in the journal Integrative Medicine found that bioidentical hormone therapy improved symptoms of fatigue and sleep disturbance in individuals with adrenal fatigue. Another study published in the journal Endocrine found that a combination of bioidentical hormones, including cortisol, DHEA, and progesterone, improved symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue in individuals with adrenal fatigue.
Of course, like any medical treatment, bioidentical hormone therapy delivers the best results as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes lifestyle modifications such as stress management, healthy diet, and adequate sleep.
SottoPelle® Method Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Adrenal Fatigue
If you have been suffering from fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, and other frustrating symptoms that your current doctors aren’t explaining, a SottoPelle® Method certified doctor can help! Physicians who have undergone SottoPelle® Method training and certification are trained in recognizing, diagnosing, and treating hormonal imbalances that are impacting your health and quality of life. Once a diagnosis has been made, your SottoPelle® Method certified doctor can determine if bioidentical hormone therapy is right for you.
And because the symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue can also be caused by other medical conditions, a SottoPelle® Method certified doctor can also help to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses your individual needs.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Adrenal Fatigue: (323) 986-5100
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as general information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. While the benefits of hormone replacement are well documented through clinical research, we are not representing that hormone therapy is a “cure” for any disease. Only your treating physician can determine if hormone replacement may be a beneficial part of your healthcare regimen, based on your age, overall health, risk factors, and lifestyle.