How Do You Know If Your Adrenal Glands Are Compromised?

Adrenal Glands

How are you reacting to world events? Not just now but over the past year or two. With fear? Anger? A feeling of hopelessness? How are you reacting to your own life?

If you are reacting with fear, anxiety, worry or anger this will be putting the body and mind into a state of stress. As I’ve covered in the past few posts this does our health, immunity and energy levels no favors!

In the glandular system the strongest reaction is to be found in the adrenal glands and a prolonged strain here will shift the body into survival mode and stops sending signals of hyper alertness. In survival mode the body will endeavor to conserve as much energy for vital functions as possible, brain function slows, immune function is less efficient, digestive problems or food intolerances manifest and fatigue becomes relentless.  

A state of anxiety may ensue or if anxiety is already there this can shift into deep and debilitating depression.

General symptoms of compromised adrenal glands:

  • Excessive fatigue and exhaustion
  • Run down, very little stamina
  • Easily overwhelmed by stress, a feeling that you can’t cope
  • Craving sweet food
  • Slow recovery from injuries and infections
  • Impaired immunity
  • Excessive weight gain or weight that doesn’t shift
  • Intolerances and allergies
  • Lower than normal blood pressure
  • Difficulty staying warm

Possible causes of adrenal fatigue

  • A trauma or extremely stressful life event occurs
  • Constant stress levels with diminishing self care
  • A feeling of relentlessness – i.e. living from the next to the next to the next – “when I achieve this, get that, it will be ok” 
  • A chronic lack of self-care, accompanied by low self esteem, poor boundaries, feeling abandoned by life
  • Believing you have made the wrong decision in a major area of life
  • Post viral fatigue syndrome, for instance the Epstein-Barr virus lives in the liver and is a large cause of adrenal fatigue.

The four stages of adrenal fatigue:

1: Hyper-Cortisol

Feeling constantly stressed and wired – away from stress still feel keyed up. At this point may already be experiencing low immunity, insomnia and an anxious state.

2: Cortisol Dominance

Without proper relaxation the person may now be suffering from mood swings, worsening sleep issues. hormonal imbalances, brain fog, energy crashes, difficulty losing weight and blood sugar problems.

3: Hypo-Cortisol

This is when complete exhaustion sets in and simple tasks feel like too much. Additionally, depression, pain or severe inflammation, digestive issues and allergies may be present.

4: Adrenal failure

This is life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention.

Adrenal gland dysfunction and fatigue

If you are exhausted as a result of adrenal burnout it will take time to heal – look at taking up to a year to address all the different facets of what is needed and be patient and compassionate with yourself. 

Here is a helpful – and easy – yoga pose to reset cortisol levels

It’s well known that sitting or lying for long periods of time has a negative impact on our health, for those of us unable, or unwilling(!), to do headstands the following can begin to undo the deleterious effects of this. The benefits, apart from the balancing effect on cortisol levels (adrenal gland secretions), will help drain lymph and other fluids away from the ankles, legs and pelvis. It also activates the rest and digest response.

Place a yoga mat or a folded duvet against  the wall, have folded blanket close to hand. Lay on your side with buttocks close to the wall, roll on to your back and extend legs up the wall. Now place the folded blanket under the pelvis to cause a slight tilt and elevate the hips slightly.

Lie and relax for 5-10 minutes, perhaps listen to a short, soothing meditation.

Published by Catherine Strang

I have been passionate about health and well-being since my teenage years when a health problem prompted me to use diet to regain my strength. By the end of the 80's I was working as a chef in a Rudolf Steiner based vegetarian cafe in Edinburgh and this led me (through working with some very alternatives types!) to pursue a career as a massage therapist and healer, which I began in 1990. Since then I have trained in many different forms of therapy, including Hypnotherapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), EmoTrance (a form of deeply mindful emotional processing). I retired completely from bodywork in 2017 and at present only occasionally work as a 1:1 therapist. My focus now is teaching and I have been doing this since 1991 when I taught Aromatherapy and massage courses for the Edinburgh Council Adult Education Programme, by the time I finished these courses in 2000 I had also taught aromatherapy/massage sessions across Edinburgh in Community Centers, Health Projects and a variety of other non profit organisations. By this time however I was beginning to develop Stress Management and later Meditation and personal development courses/sessions and was including corporate settings as well as private teaching events. The list of places I have taught in is extensive and over the past three decades I've no doubt forgotten quite a few! I am dedicated to personal development, health and meditation and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to each session. I am well aware of the struggles, often hidden from work colleagues, that many go through during the course of their life and endeavor always to be kind, non-intrusive and in a work setting discreet.

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