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Adrenal Fatigue – What’s That Nasty Smell?

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Believe it or not, an increased awareness of unpleasant smells is one of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. I discovered this little tidbit recently when I found out that I suffer from Adrenal Fatigue… along with an estimated 80% of the American population. You might find it strange that a cowgirl like me would pick up on more nasty smells when she’s surrounded by horse poo, dirt, male goats and cows like me, but I noticed. So it all made sense when my doctor told me I had fatigued my adrenal glands.

What is Adrenal Fatigue or Fatigue?

So what is adrenal fatigue? It’s exactly what it sounds like: it happens when your adrenal glands become overloaded and malnourished, causing them to tire. Why are adrenal glands important? Well, those little pea-sized glands that sit on top of the kidneys secrete hormones that allow us to deal with both immediate and long-term stress. The adrenal glands secrete over 50 different hormones, including adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and DHEA. You’ve probably heard of most of these hormones. These hormones give us the ability to “get up and walk” and provide the energy we need to cope with our hectic and overstimulated lives.

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Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Unfortunately, when these glands become overworked, they eventually stop working, and then we end up with adrenal fatigue, or symptoms of fatigue, including:

  • Chronic fatigue and tiredness

  • Depressions

  • Inability to think clearly

  • chronic anxiety

  • low blood sugar

  • decreased metabolism

  • Skin color changes

  • Desire for sweet or salty foods

  • Joint pain

  • decreased immune function

  • low body temperature

  • Allergies and food intolerances

  • dark circles under the eyes

There are other symptoms of adrenal fatigue that could be added to the list, but you get the general idea. Our adrenal glands do a lot for our bodies and when we overwork them, they burn out.

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue

In general, our modern lifestyle is a recipe for adrenal fatigue and burnout. Our adrenal glands suffer when we ask too much of them. Our minds are active and full of ideas, but our bodies can’t keep up. Lifestyle habits that overload the adrenal glands include:

  • too less sleep

  • poor diet

  • Use of caffeine or other stimulants

  • Taking medication to fall asleep at night

  • Taking medication to treat anxiety or depression

  • Perfectionism

  • constant physical, mental or emotional stress

  • Overstimulation from cell phones, music, traffic, pagers and email

You get the picture… it’s nothing out of the ordinary in our modern life. For most people it is just a snapshot of everyday life. But it’s adrenal hell. In fact, modern life has such a negative impact on the adrenal glands that some women who suffer from adrenal fatigue are already showing signs of menopause in their mid-30s. Oops! That’s right, adrenal burnout can cause premature aging.

Treatment of Adrenal Fatigue

Fortunately, treatment for this condition is possible. Treatments fall into three basic categories:

1) Herbal and Nutritional Support (I like X51/Eleviv by XanGo, other people like pure herbs)

2) Lifestyle changes

3) resuscitation practices

This article is the first in a series on regaining health from adrenal fatigue, and future articles will cover specific strategies for doing so. The prognosis for overcoming adrenal fatigue is generally quite positive, and many doctors offer the following time frame for recovery:

  • 6 to 9 months with slight fatigue

  • 12 to 18 months with moderate fatigue

  • Up to 24 months in case of severe fatigue

As you can see, the road back to energetic and vital health is not a short one…but then again, most people don’t achieve adrenal fatigue overnight either! Stay tuned for more Adrenal Fatigue Treatment articles or browse the Zen Cowgirl blog to read more.

Thanks to Stephanie H. Yeh

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