Adrenal Fatigue Treatments
In our society today, we are faced with stressors on a day-to-day basis, from everyday stresses at work and home to major events such as a health or financial crisis or death of a loved one.
Cumulative stress can lead to what is described as “adrenal fatigue.” MultiCare MedSpa offers diagnosis and treatment for all three stages of adrenal fatigue, described below.
The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of your kidneys. They are responsible for the production of adrenaline, epinephrine and cortisol in response to stressors in your environment. When confronted with a stressor, you release these hormones, allowing you to see better, run faster, and clamp off your arteries in case of physical harm.
Adrenal fatigue occurs in three stages:
Stage 1- Alarm Reaction
Acute adrenal stress is defined as a prolonged increased excitatory stimulus to the adrenals resulting in increased output of the so-called “stress hormone” cortisol, usually with a prolonged decrease of a hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). To compensate for this the body “steals” the hormone pregnenolone from the DHEA/sex hormone pathway to the progesterone/cortisol pathway. This causes further reduction of DHEA, which leads to a mild decrease in the production of sex hormones.
Despite elevated cortisol, pregnenolone steal reliably indicates that chronic stress has begun to exceed the body’s ability to respond. It is often accompanied by sleep disturbances, ruminating thoughts, hyperexcitability, anxiety and immune suppression.
After assessing lifestyle and reviewing a patient’s medical history and conducting a saliva test to measure levels of cortisol and DHEA, supportive nutrients and supplements designed to decrease the cortisol response may be prescribed.
Stage 2-Stage of Resistance
Mild adrenal fatigue is a transitional phase. It signifies a continuing decline in cortisol output from levels above normal to those below normal due to a decreased ability of the adrenal glands to respond to continual stress. Pregnenolone steal is usually increased with lower DHEA and sex hormone production. At this stage, patients will begin to complain that they are developing night sweats or hot flashes, that they are worn out or tired, and continue to have sleep disturbances and sexual dysfunction.
We prescribe adaptogenic herbs to address symptoms at this stage; licorice root may also be helpful.
Stage 3-Stage of Exhaustion
Severe adrenal fatigue is the final stage of adrenal fatigue. This stage indicates that the demands on the patient’s body are more than the patient’s system can handle. It is characterized by severely depleted cortisol, pregnenolone, and sex hormones and may be accompanied by electrolyte disturbances and severe exhaustion.
Patients complain of severe exhaustion, foggy thinking, lack of motivation and overall listlessness. Treatments available include assessing the stressful situation and prescribing herbs, adrenal concentrates and assuring the patient has a proper hydration level.