Stress tips: How could adrenal fatigue be affecting your life?

How many of us feel as if we are constantly under stress these days? Managing stress can be a tricky thing; I know, I have been there, plummeting to near-burnout in 2004, and resurfacing with new vigour after piecing together a holistic health system to help both myself and my clients. It was not a pleasant experience, and it was great to experience vitality again…

Adrenal Fatigue is a name now being coined (not by doctors, who will tend not to recognise the syndrome) for the effects of this chronic day to day stress upon the body. Our adrenal glands are in overdrive trying to cope, releasing almost constant cortisol to a degree that our bodies were never intended to cope with.

Our adrenal glands are small endocrine (hormone-producing) glands situated above the kidneys. They release the hormone cortisol in response to stress – this is a catabolic or “breaking down” type hormone. The adrenal glands also release DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, which is a natural anabolic steroid with anti-ageing effects.

If our adrenals are producing an excess of cortisol, such as happens when we are under stress – which may be from work, family, finances, over-exercising, or other sources – the building blocks for DHEA are diverted and we end up with less DHEA production. Also the flexibility in the system, and ability for the cortisol levels to recover to the low natural background levels after a stress, are reduced with age – so the ravages of stress are multiplied with natural ageing…

The complicating factor is that the sex steroid hormones are all linked together, one being created from another in a cascade, so levels of one hormone such as progesterone will affect others such as testosterone.

So what symptoms would you get with adrenal fatigue? Classically a feeling of general tiredness – “TATT” or “tired all the time” – which is such a common symptom now; a real problem with getting up in the mornings as the energy levels are at an all time lul at that point in the day; you may feel more energetic after 6pm in the evening, although this is by no means universal; and people often find they self-medicate with caffeine or carbs and sugars in a vain attempt to keep their energy levels up.

If you feel that you may be suffering from adrenal stress or fatigue, do consider having hormone levels done – a self managed saliva test can be very helpful (not on the NHS if you are in the UK). It may well be worth your while to work with a trusted holistic healthcare professional who understands the impact of your lifestyle and nutrition on your stress levels and reaction to stress, to come up with a plan going forward.

DHEA is one of the bio-identical hormones that I work with in my holistic medical practice, along with bio-identical (chemically the identical to our own hormones, as opposed to HRT) progesterone and oestrogens.

Wishing you Health and Wellness!

Alison x

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  1. Interesting info. Do you ever combine things like with with Chakra meditations for clearing and unblocking adrenal issues? The Chakra to research is the Root Chakra….tribal issues, culture, family, Mother issue,s and victim mentality etc healing supports healthy adrenal function on the energetic side!


    1. Dr. Alison Grimston

      Yes I do, Allison – I am an energy healer (National Federation of Spiritual Healers, now The Healing Trust) as well as using nutrition, supplements, coaching, acupuncture, Bach Flower remedies & wahtever else feels right for that individual…

  2. I’ve never heard the term before but it makes sense. Sometimes I think all this technology that is supposed to make our lives easier actually just stresses us out even more!

  3. I was tested a few years ago and had some results that pointed to me being headed in the direction of adrenal fatigue. I’m working now on getting more rest – trying to spend less time on the computer (which I think is a major contributor because energetically we are being stimulated by the electronics) and spending more time outdoors – getting out every day and grounding has been helpful to me feeling better. Thanks for the informative article!

  4. Great information, Alison. I can even feel a slight aching in my kidney area when I don’t get enough sleep or binge on sugars.

  5. I was a frequent user of Bach’s remedy for my two asthmatic boys. I’ve worked with clients who are adrenalin junkies but I’ve never heard of the term Adrenalin Fatigue. Thanks for sharing this informative article.

  6. Wow, that is interesting Alison, thanks so much for sharing about Adrenal Fatigue. I guess I’m suffering from that! Find it tough to get up in the morning, big lull in the afternoon, energy in the evenings, fat around the middle, lots of stress. TATT. (well low energy most of the time) I think cutting out sugars is a good start, and more recently I’ve been having much more than I should. Is there anything I can do, aside from doing bio-indentical hormones just as a natural start to improving my health? I’m doing meditation to create less stress, and I intend to wean myself off sugar. 🙂 That’s a start!

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