Are you feeling “tired-er than tired”? More exhausted than you’ve ever felt? And nothing you’ve tried has helped you to get your energy back? You aren’t alone.
HPA axis dysfunction, more commonly referred to as “adrenal fatigue”, is an increasingly common condition experienced by women of all ages. It’s easy to feel hopeless when suffering from the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, but you don’t have to stay in the pit of despair. More and more doctors are recognizing adrenal fatigue as a common condition among women, and have found that BHRT is an effective adrenal fatigue treatment.
Let’s take a look at adrenal fatigue, its causes and symptoms, and how bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can get you back to being your “best you” again.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
One of the worst aspects of suffering from adrenal fatigue is that up until recently, there was no name for what women were experiencing. Even today, adrenal fatigue isn’t an accepted medical diagnosis. Doctors finally had to come up with a term to apply to a collection of nonspecific symptoms that they saw over and over again in women. The fact that the term adrenal fatigue now exists is encouraging because:
- It’s very difficult to treat something without a diagnosis.
- Many women were made to feel like they were making things up, and it was all in their heads.
But for many women, and an ever-growing number of researchers, adrenal fatigue is real. It’s a debilitating condition that affects the adrenal glands specifically and the endocrine system as a whole. Women tend to have more complaints about adrenal fatigue because they’re affected by it more often than men. And BHRT can play a role in redressing hormone imbalance symptoms and relieving many of them.
Let’s look at how the cycle of fatigue happens.
The perpetual cycle.
We’ll break down the theory behind adrenal fatigue into its basic elements to help you better understand what’s going on – and why, therefore, BHRT can help.
- Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for making various stress hormones including cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine (also known as adrenaline).
- When a stressor triggers your system, the adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol to fuel your fight-or-flight response.
- If you’re constantly under stress, then your body ends up in a perpetual flight-or-fight response.
- Stress can include not just feeling “stressed out” but also stress on the inside of the body caused by factors such as chronic blood sugar imbalances, excess body fat, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol and caffeine intake, and so much more.
- When your body’s demand for cortisol is too great, it puts a strain on your adrenal glands.
- When your adrenal glands are constantly in overwork mode, they can no longer secrete optimal levels of cortisol and other hormones. They may even shut down altogether.
- When adrenal insufficiency kicks in (and this can be diagnosed with a blood test) your body begins to show the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue: Signs and Symptoms
Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue can cause a cascade of harmful symptoms that can eventually ruin your life. Although female adrenal fatigue symptoms differ from person to person, these can include:
- body aches
- chronic fatigue
- loss of body hair
- skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)
- sleep disturbances
- digestive problems
- frequent feelings of chills or cold sensations
- mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and brain fog
- salty and sweet food cravings.
- diminished ability to handle stress
- respiratory complaints
- undesired weight gain (particularly visceral fat or “belly fat”)
- unexplained weight loss
- new allergies
- dark circles under the eyes
- heart palpitations
- low sex drive (sexual libido)
- poor circulation
- reduced blood pressure
The Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
The most commonly recognized cause of increased demand for cortisol is chronic stress, as we indicated.
Chronic stress comes in many forms, including psychological, emotional, or physical forms. Our modern, fast-paced, go-go-go culture is full of all kinds of unreasonable expectations, devices, traffic, and noise that can leave our senses constantly feeling assaulted.
In addition, the sheer number of violent images and negative stories in the media are enough to keep our stress response on overload.
Sedentary lifestyles, poor diets, pressure from family work, and other social commitments all contribute to the adrenal fatigue epidemic.
How BHRT Can Help Battle Adrenal Fatigue
You may look at the causes of adrenal fatigue and think that lifestyle changes are necessary if you want to treat the underlying cause of your symptoms. Going inward is an essential part of adrenal fatigue treatment as you must address what’s causing you to be under constant stress.
However, you must also address the underlying physiological cause of your symptoms – which is a hormone imbalance. If you don’t get your hormones back into balance, then the lifestyle changes will not be as effective.
BHRT can help treat adrenal fatigue by correcting any hormone imbalances that could be directly affecting the adrenal glands. It can also treat any general hormone imbalance symptoms that can piggy-back onto adrenal fatigue symptoms like sleeplessness, fatigue, body aches, and more.
What Is BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy)?
BHRT is a form of hormone optimization that utilizes 100% plant-derived hormones that are bioidentical to the hormones your body naturally produces. Since these hormones are identical to the ones your body makes on its own, they fit into the hormone receptors much better than synthetic hormones, making them more effective and causing fewer side effects.
Bioidentical hormones can be delivered to your body in a variety of ways, including patches, gels, pills, injections, creams, and pellets. BHRT is safe, well tolerated, and delivers significant results to nearly every woman with a hormone deficiency who receives it.
How Can Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Help Women Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue?
Your hormones work together as a team to keep your body functioning correctly. So if one hormone gets out of balance, other hormones will also be affected. Since adrenal fatigue is associated with disrupted hormone balance, any adrenal fatigue treatment must involve rebalancing the hormones.
Women in perimenopause, menopause or post-menopause are highly susceptible to the hormonal disruptions that characterize adrenal fatigue. For this reason, not only can cortisol replacement therapy benefit someone with adrenal fatigue, but bioidentical estrogen replacement may also help these women feel more vibrant and more energetic.