One of the main complaints women have is fatigue, the bone-tired kind that makes it hard to function at home or work. Most of them have husbands, families, jobs or all of those. Many are holding down the family financially as well. What can you do to feel more energy and dig yourself out of that cycle? Millions of women suffer from it and are ignored by their doctors. Your symptoms mean you have pushed your adrenals over the edge into exhaustion. You have worn them down into a point where your health is impacted.
You have two adrenal glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They are tiny glands but have a huge impact on how you feel and how your body works. These little glands manufacture the important hormones, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. These glands are the main ones responsible for keeping you calm and cool during stressful times. Adrenal gland function impacts the way you feel mentally and physically. They are mainly responsible, along with the thyroid for your energy level.
Your adrenal system was designed to work exceptionally well in short term stress whether it is getting out of an emergency physical situation or a temporary mental one. It was a survival mechanism for our body to maintain health.
Now in 2011, we aren’t running away from tigers anymore but dodging creditors after we have lost our job or home. Today’s families have crushing stress from so many levels, both financial and responsibility wise. Many women are holding down two jobs to keep food on the table. This kind of stress wears down the whole body especially the endocrine glands. Both the thyroid and adrenals are important parts of the endocrine system.
Symptoms: The main symptom is fatigue but there are many others. The adrenal glands put out cortisol which is needed but in many women is manufactured to excess. Cortisol causes weight gain on the stomach. Other symptoms include: lowered sex drive; reduction in muscular strength and stamina; weight gain; unstable emotions impacted by hormone imbalances; crying; feeling angry or numb; sensitivity to sound, voices, people, and everything; and hormonal problems such as more severe cramps and pain.
The Problem: When you feel that bad you want all the wrong things: coffee, caffeine, chocolate and comfort food, You want to lie in bed with the covers pulled over your head. You want off the merry-go-round of bills, pressure, and everyone needing you. There is no easy way out of this cycle. It takes both mental and physical steps to regain your energy and adrenal health. I am going to give you steps that are hard but necessary to get well.
Lift Up Your Mental Resolve. You must feel bad enough to initiate life style changes. List the activities you could participate in, if you were feeling better. Imagine the improved quality of your children’s life if you had more energy. Write down the different areas of your life that would improve if you made these changes.You must put several emotional reasons before you so that you have the courage to stick out the program. I have my husband, children, pets, and my writing to keep me focused.
Reduce Your Stress: Out-of-control chronic stress is the main cause for adrenal fatigue. You cannot stop the creditors from calling but you can manage the way you react to the calls. The main thing we do have the ability to control, when our life is a mess, is how we react to it. You can let it give you a heart attack or migraine, or deal with it is a more positive way. I am a born worry-wart. This has been my hardest hurdle constantly is letting go of things I can’t change. It will destroy your health in many ways unless you learn to manage it. At one point in my life, I was almost on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I had to realize if I did not get a hold of things, my kids would not have a mom. Most women have been there more than once.
Learn To Say No: Say no to activities that are not important. Strive to cut down on your schedule so you can rest. Let others take responsibility for their obligations and chores. Make them do their part of the job. Some women hurt their health because they will not delegate to others some of the responsibility they carry.
Support Nerves SOS: You must pull yourself out of that hole and survive in a more positive way. If you are religious, go to church. Many churches offer free counseling. Seek private counseling to learn how to deal with your stress in a positive way.
Activities That Reduce Stress Include: physical exercise being the first and most important one; walking; singing; knitting; sewing; gardening; pets; crafts; calming music; going out into the country; talks with friends; bubble baths; and massage. Whatever it takes to calm you down that is legal and healthy. Magnesium and calcium both help to calm frayed nerves. Vitamin B-Complex helps to build up the nervous system. Supplements of Adrenal complex will help feed tired adrenal glands. Chamomile tea is good for nerves. The herb, Valerian Root is non-addictive and calming. There are stress formulations in the health food store for nerves. Try not to use conventional drugs that are addicting and have dangerous side effects if you help it. May it be your last choice, not the first. Try some lifestyle and diet changes first to get well.
Cut Out Caffeine: You need to cut down on stimulants such as coke, Star-Bucks Coffee, ice tea and all of it. You drink these because your body is craving energy. Your adrenals are tired. Those drinks are exactly what you don’t need. Artificial stimulants are like beating a work horse. In the old days, men whipped horses pulling a wagon until they dropped dead from fatigue. Pouring stimulants into your body, when the adrenals are already shot is the same thing. You will only feel worse. If you feel better, it will be for only a short time before you crash. Cut back on caffeine over several weeks to avoid headaches, nausea, and worse fatigue. I worked with a woman years ago who doctors wanted to put on drugs. Her behavior was erratic and strange. When I asked her how much caffeine she drank, I was shocked. I helped her cut back over several months and she never had to go on drugs. The difference in her behavior by just getting rid of the excess caffeine was dramatic. Her doctor never questioned her on her diet, just wanted to put her on medication.
Trash the Junk Food : Junk food does not supply nutrients to a dragged out body. If you are going to rebuild it, you must give it quality food. Your nervous system cannot repair itself on junk food.
Eat Protein Not Sugar: You need to eat protein not sugar and carbohydrates. Protein stabilizes crashing blood sugar levels. Eat protein in 5 small meals a day. Turkey, eggs, lean meat, and nuts are all good sources of protein. You need to eat organic whole food to replenish you body and adrenals with nutrients to build it up.
Cut Out Sugar: Sugar is what you crave emotionally and physically because of the fatigue. Sugar has the opposite effect of what you body really needs to feel better. It further stresses the glands. It may work for a few hours, but then crash you will. You must cut down drastically on your sugar intake….all of it. That includes sweetened fruit juices and sugar laden foods. If you don’t binge, you can keep a little chocolate in your diet. Just try to keep it very moderate. Cut the damage down with 120 calorie pudding cups or one to two pieces of high quality chocolate. You eat less of the quality pieces.
Toss The Drugs: You need to stop taking diet stimulants or illegal drugs. They are wasting your adrenal function. Cut back on them over several weeks. You may need professional help if you cannot do it on your own. Drug withdrawal symptoms can be horrible so do get help.
Decrease Alcohol Consumption: Wears your body out and reduces some important nutrients in your body. One to two drinks is healthy unless you react to it like I do. I get sick with one drink. Again cut back on drinking over several weeks and seek professional help if needed.
Have a physical check up to make sure your thyroid function has not been impaired by your stress level. There can be other medical reasons your severe fatigue. Find a doctor who does believe in adrenal exhaustion as an illness.
Adrenal fatigue can turn into chronic diseases such as Fibromyalgia and Addison’s disease, just to name two. It can lead to depression including clinical depression. You must get it under control.