We are all faced with an incredible amount of pressure in our day to day life. Pressure to be the perfect parent, the perfect spouse, the perfect employee, child, sibling or friend.
As the pressure adds up we spend more and more time attempting to live up to the expectations of others, and not enough time taking care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The outcome is a crippling amount of stress that in turn leads to further problems.
Chronic stress can become toxic to the human body, leading to many ailments, one of which is adrenal fatigue. This condition occurs when your adrenal glands are unable to cope with the constant high amounts of stress.
Here we will take a look at the signs, symptoms and causes of Adrenal Fatigue and how to treat it.
Adrenal Fatigue 101
While you are busy filling an already tight schedule, chasing after the kids, or preparing for a major presentation at work, your adrenal glands are getting a major workout.
The adrenal gland is the head honcho of stress control, sitting on top of your kidneys; its major function is to control how your body handles stress through hormone production.
In order for this system to run smoothly, your adrenal glands have to create an adequate amount of cortisol (also known as the stress hormone).
Cortisol is produced from cholesterol and is released in response to events such as waking up, intense workouts, and acute stress (2). When your adrenals cannot keep up with production you find yourself facing adrenal fatigue.
8 Warning Signs of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal Fatigue usually begins with the general feeling of being “burnt out.” You may find yourself feeling sluggish, having trouble getting out of bed, or beginning to look a bit worn out.
While busy schedules catch up with the best of us, pay attention to the following symptoms to see if you are experiencing adrenal fatigue (3):
- Inability to sleep
- Under eye circles
- Feeling “puffy” or sore
- Bloating or poor digestion
- Extreme exhaustion after workouts
- Low Sex Drive
- Confusion or Lightheadedness
Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue?
If you find yourself experiencing one or multiple symptoms from the list above, it may be a good idea to try the Iris Contraction Test.
It is always recommended to seek the advice of your doctor, however, this test may give you a better idea of what you are dealing with.
The IC test will determine your body’s current stamina through the use of light stimulation. (4)
How To Do The Iris Contraction Test
The following test can be done in the comfort of your own home, with the use of a few household items. The test will be done by shining a weak light or flashlight, into your eye to see how your pupil dilates in response.
You will need the following:
- Weak flashlight
- Stop Watch
- Dark Room or Closet
- Step into a dark room or closet, give yourself a minute to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
- Once your eyes have adjusted, shine the weak flashlight across one eye, but not directly into it. Keep your flashlight 6 inches away from your face.
- Continue shining the light across one eye and look in the mirror with the other. Your pupil should contract immediately and then dilate.
- Time how long the contraction of your iris lasts.
If your adrenals are healthy, the light should cause your iris (the colored circle portion around your pupil) to contract, making your pupil appear smaller.
Under normal circumstances, they should stay that way, but if you have adrenal gland fatigue, your iris will be weak and will not be able to hold the contraction. It will either waver between contracted and relaxed, or will contract initially, but then open up after 10-30 seconds. (5)
How To Recover From Adrenal Fatigue?
The best way to recover from Adrenal Fatigue is through proper rest. Keep in mind that just as it took time for your body to get to a state of fatigue, it will also take time to recover. You can start off by making these lifestyle changes:
- Avoid keeping electronics next to your bed and sleep early. (6)
- Increase your amount of Vitamin B intake (7)
- Incorporate plenty of Omega- 3 fatty acids into your diet to help lower inflammation levels (8)
- Be sure that you are drinking enough water and staying hydrated (9)
- Practice meditation and work on adjusting your perspective to better manage stressful situations (10)
- Do light to moderate exercises such as walking or yoga
- Avoid highly processed foods