Do you feel tired for no reason? Is it really difficult to get going in the morning? Do you feel tired all day but begin to feel energetic after 6pm? You may have Adrenal Fatigue, also known as Adrenal Insufficiency.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue is a syndrome that occurs when the adrenals are functioning below the necessary level. The onset could triggered by a traumatic emotional or physical event, like the death of a loved one or physical injury, or from prolonged stress, illness or lack of sleep. The medical community has not yet recognized Adrenal Fatigue as a medical diagnosis but does recognize Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison’s Disease – which both refer to the inadequate production of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. A comprehensive source for adrenal fatigue reveals that the number of people suffering from this disorder could be many: “Although there are no recent statistics available, Dr. John Tinterra, a medical doctor who specialized in low adrenal function, said in 1969 that he estimated that approximately 16% of the public could be classified as severe, but that if all indications of low cortisol were included, the percentage would be more like 66%.”
Western Medicine Diagnosis and Treatment
Doctors will take tests to determine your hormonal levels. They may order a blood test to check hormone levels as well as red blood cells, glucose electrolytes levels, and presence of autoimmune or endocrine disorders. They may also take a chest x-ray or a CT scan of the abdomen. Finally, they will use an ACTH stimulation test to confirm the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency. If you are found to have adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease, you will be given glucorticoids
to replace cortisol and/or fludrocortisone to replace aldosterone. If serious hormone deficiencies are not detected doctors may take additional tests to determine other causes for your fatigue like sleep apnea or depression. There is some concern that if you take adrenal hormone supplements when you don’t need them, your adrenal glands may go dormant and stop producing hormones on their own which could cause adrenal crisis if you stop taking them.
This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine can be especially useful. If your adrenal system has been stressed and you are experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue but do not have Addison’s or serious Adrenal Insufficiency, you can get restorative help from herbal medicines and acupuncture that do not cause side effects.
How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Help?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views adrenal fatigue as a kidney deficiency. TCM treatment of adrenal fatigue goes right to the source of disfunction. It has been refined by millennia of experience, resulting in a fine tuned understanding of the problem. For instance, the condition of kidney deficiency can be further broken down to one of eight types of differential diagnosis. A differential diagnosis will enable your practitioner to customize a treatment plan specific to your needs. According to your diagnosis, your practitioner will prescribe herbal formulas to correct imbalances and replenish the kidneys and adrenals. Acupuncture will further facilitate the eradication of symptoms and can improve your quality of sleep and restore energy while you are healing.
What Are Simple Ways To Assist Recovery From Adrenal Fatigue?
Replenish Stores of Energy
To replenish your stores of energy that you have tapped in excess, you must get enough sleep and rest every day. You cannot rebuild reserves of energy without rest. You may have to make some emotional adjustments in order to do this, such as learning how to say no. It might be uncomfortable at first but as you stick with it, you will gain confidence as you heal knowing you are honoring your needs. If your fatigue is severe, you may benefit from learning a technique called the Energy Envelope. This technique helps you to become aware of your limits and how to manage your energy proactively.
Follow a Healing Diet
To support the adrenals, it is best to avoid sugar, simple carbohydrates, coffee and other caffeinated drinks. It is important to eat protein with every meal and eat small meals more frequently, like five small meals instead of three larger ones. One of the functions of the adrenal glands is fluid and electrolyte balance. This balance is often disrupted and people suffering from adrenal fatigue often need to supplement minerals. Fill up on brightly colored vegetables but limit the amount of raw foods that you eat. Warm, cooked food is best. A vitamin B-complex will support the adrenals. You might want to take care to eat foods that TCM considers nurturing to kidneys: pork, sprouts, eggs, beans, sardines, blueberries, black sesame seeds, walnuts, asparagus, sweet potato, string beans, celery, parsley, grapes and plums.
Add a stress reduction technique to your day. Try guided meditation, Qi Gong, yoga, or breath techniques and be sure to take time every day to have some fun and laugh. It’s important! Acupuncture is excellent for reducing stress and providing a sense of well being.
It will take time to restore your adrenal system but if you take the necessary steps, you will become more vibrant every day.