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What Is Adrenal Fatigue

Are you feeling tired no matter how much sleep you get? Maybe your energy is low and you struggle with weight loss too. Maybe it's adrenal fatigue? Maybe it's low thyroid function.

It's Time To Unravel The Connection: Adrenal Fatigue vs. Low Thyroid Function"

Uncovering the root cause of your symptoms is essential to finding effective solutions. In this blog, we will explore the often misunderstood conditions of adrenal fatigue and low thyroid function. By recognizing the symptoms associated with each and understanding how they are connected, you will gain clarity and take steps towards a healthier version of you.

What are common adrenal fatigue symptoms?

Recognizing the signs of adrenal fatigue is a crucial step in identifying your condition. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Overwhelming fatigue: Experience debilitating fatigue that worsens over time.

  • Wired but tired: Feel the need to sleep but struggle to relax or quiet your mind.

  • Abdominal weight gain: Notice weight gain focused in the belly area, a tell-tale sign of adrenal fatigue.

  • Cravings for sugars and carbs: Find yourself longing for sugary and starchy foods as your body seeks energy.

  • Reliance on caffeine: Depend on caffeine to get through the day due to low energy levels.

  • Difficulty winding down: Struggle to relax your brain at night, even when exhausted.

  • Insomnia: Experience trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.

  • Overlapping symptoms with low thyroid function: Note that symptoms of adrenal fatigue can also overlap with those of low thyroid function.

  • Anxiety or depression: Experience anxiety, and in some cases, also depression.

  • Weakened immune system: Find yourself susceptible to frequent infections and illnesses.

  • Decreased sex drive: Notice a lower-than-usual libido due to hormonal imbalances.

  • Inability to handle stress: Feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with additional stressors.

What are common low thyroid symptoms?

Understanding the symptoms of low thyroid function is vital for differentiating between adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues. Here are common common symptoms of low thyroid function:

  • Fatigue: Experience persistent fatigue similar to adrenal fatigue.

  • Cold intolerance: Notice sensitivity to cold due to impaired regulation of body temperature.

  • Depression or anxiety: Encounter feelings of depression or, sometimes, anxiety.

  • Brain fog: Struggle with mental clarity and memory recall.

  • Weight gain: Notice weight gain throughout the body, rather than isolated in the abdomen.

  • Joint and muscle pain: Experience discomfort in the joints and muscles.

  • Dry skin: Encounter dryness and roughness in the skin.

  • Constipation: Suffer from infrequent and difficult bowel movements.

  • Infertility: Face challenges conceiving due to hormonal imbalances.

  • Decreased sex drive: Experience a decline in sexual desire.

Understanding the Connection Between Adrenal Glands and Thyroid

The close relationship between the adrenal glands and thyroid plays a significant role in the overall well-being. It may be difficult to diagnose adrenal fatigue as the root cause and not necessarily a low functioning thyroid. In our office we often see patients primary issue the thyroid, resulting in weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance, and dry skin. They are often placed on thyroid medication but continue to experience symptoms. Over time, they may notice additional weight gain, heightened fatigue, sleep difficulties, cravings, and reliance on caffeine. This progression from thyroid issues to adrenal fatigue is a common occurrence. Understanding this connection is vital for comprehensive treatment. This often requires more than a 5 minute office visit and is often missed in allopathic medicine. It requires some detective work to see that the thyroid may not be the only problem.

Determining the Source of Your Symptoms: Adrenal Fatigue or Low Thyroid Function?

When experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, the first step is to identify whether they are primarily adrenal-related or thyroid-related. Evaluating your symptoms can provide valuable insights. Consider the following questions:

  • How are you feeling?

  • Do your symptoms align more with those associated with adrenal fatigue or low thyroid function?

  • This initial assessment will help you establish a starting point.

If your symptoms are not clearly indicative of one condition or the other, the next step is to undergo testing. Blood tests can provide valuable information for a low functioning thyroid, hypothyroidism, but not necessarily for adrenal fatigue.

Testing and Diagnosis

To confirm your condition, thorough testing is necessary. Here's what you need to know:

  • Adrenal testing: Serum cortisol testing has been the method most doctors use to check the status of adrenals. Unfortunately it's a very archaic method to check the status of the adrenals and why many patients suffering with adrenal fatigue are misdiagnosed. The serum (blood) test only gives you a snap shot of a 24 hour time period. The most effective test is a 24 hour salivary or urine collection over a 24 hour period, which typically requires 4-5 sample collections.

  • Thyroid testing: Blood test for thyroid has been the gold standard however most health care providers usually order the minimum tests that does not give the entire picture of thyroid function. Evaluating your thyroid function requires a comprehensive approach, including TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Total T4 & T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies

Both tests should be done at the same time or your condition may be misdiagnosed and patients are often told nothing is wrong and labs are normal.

In my clinical experience, if the patient has either an adrenal problem or a thyroid problem, I provide treatment for both at the same time. Addressing both conditions through a comprehensive approach involving supplements, dietary adjustments, stress reduction techniques, and other suitable measures will yield the best possible results and help a patient return to optimal health a lot more quicker than most other allopathic approaches.


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