Adrenal Fatigue - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatment

Adrenal Fatigue

Dr.Ramya Smitha  profile Authored by Dr.Ramya Smitha on 24 Jun 2015 - 12:08.


Adrenal fatigue is represented by collective symptoms like body aches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, nervousness and digestive problems. This term is often seen in popular health books and in websites of alternate medicine, but it is not used in medical diagnosis.

The adrenal glands produce several hormones out of which one is cortisol. Cortisol helps the body to reduce stress. Adrenal fatigue is caused when the adrenal glands are not producing enough cortisol or the cortisol produced is not enough to deal with the high levels of stress which leads to the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is caused when the demands of stress are not met by the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for adapting the body’s responses to different kinds of stress such as physical, emotional or psychological stress. It regulates the energy production and storage, heart rate, immune function, muscle tone and other processes to help the body deal with the stress. If the adrenal glands are not able to produce adequate amounts of hormones then it results in adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is also caused by over stimulation of the adrenal glands during a very intense single stress or repeated stress which leads to insufficiency of the hormones dealing with stress.

The signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Body aches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of body hair
  • Skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite

It is not possible to diagnose adrenal fatigue using a single test or by seeing a single symptom. To make an accurate diagnosis, the physician requires several tests or the same test done several times to note the symptoms. Thorough knowledge of the various systems of the body as well as experience is required to diagnose adrenal fatigue.

The tests which are used in the diagnosis of adrenal fatigue include the following:

  • Cortisol levels
  • ACTH (cosyntropin) stimulation test
  • Blood sugar
  • Serum potassium
  • Serum sodium
  • Serum pH

Factors which can increase the risk of adrenal fatigue include the following:

  • Infection and other physical stress
  • Injury to adrenal or pituitary gland
  • Dehydration
  • Surgery
  • Trauma

The patient suffering from adrenal fatigue may require injection of hydrocortisone. It may be given intravenously or intramuscularly. If the patient is having hypotension (low blood pressure) then intravenous fluids may be given.

If the fatigue is due to excessive stress, then measures are taken to reduce the stress. Antibiotics are prescribed if an infection is discovered.

The following tips should be followed to prevent adrenal fatigue:

  • Avoid fasting and hypoglycemia
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Practice meditation
  • Avoid excessive noise and electromagnetic pollution
  • Exercise regularly but avoid stressful exercises
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean meat
  • Avoid eating junk food.
*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.