The adrenal glands are tiny glands situated on top of each kidney. They produce sex hormones and cortisol. If the hormones released by the adrenal glands are in perfect balance, it would regulate your body weight, help you sleep well, increase your sex drive, and help in metabolism. An imbalance in the hormones occurs when you are stressed.
The cortisol level remains high in the case of chronic stress along with a reduction in the serotonin level. Such a condition can lead to depression, anxiety, and adrenal burnout. Watch out for these early signs of adrenal fatigue:
Do you feel stressed all the time? Have you rapidly gained a lot of weight? Do you feel tired very easily? Can you focus on anything for too long? Are you having trouble sleeping at night? Are you becoming more vulnerable to diseases? Are you feeling constipated? Have the sugar or salt cravings increased? Are you PMSing more than usual? Do you have prolonged hot flashes? These are just some of the symptoms of adrenal burnout. Wellness mama has pointed out the stages of this condition-
Stage One: Wired
The level of cortisol usually remains high during the morning and that is pretty normal. The problem arises when the levels don’t go down at night. It could lead to sleeplessness, feeling “wired” and agitated. In this stage, you may also feel “on the edge” most of the time.
Stage Two: Stressed
Have you heard of the 3 p.m crash? In the second stage, the cortisol disruption is more severe and drops suddenly in the afternoon. The sudden disruption in the level of cortisol makes you feel foggy and exhausted. There’s a second wind at night and usually, the people who experience it wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to sleep again.
Stage Three: Burnout
Have you ever spoken to a pregnant woman or a woman who has a toddler at home? The one thing they’ll always tell you is that they are tired. No matter how much they try to sleep, they feel drained 24*7. The cortisol pattern in this final stage is either totally disrupted or runs completely flat. You become susceptible to thyroid, autoimmune diseases, and diseases of the gut.
Stress can be both positive and negative. In the case of the former, you are stressed about getting married, pregnancy, a big opportunity, and in the case of the later, death, a bad breakup, or even work-related trouble. In addition to the stress, if you consume a lot of processed food, the burnout is even more severe and may lead to insomnia or chronic inflammation.
How To Take Care Of Yourself:
Go for a saliva test to know your cortisol level. Eat healthily and pace your meals at 4 hours’ intervals. Meditation can help you calm your nerves. See a doctor and have Vitamin B and C supplements if prescribed. Adaptogenic herbs like tulsi, maca, and licorice root help to lower stress. Avoid excess caffeine and sugar.