With three boys to take care of (four if you count my husband :-)), a big house and garden to maintain, a company to run plus trying to stay in shape and be a good homemaker… it’s no wonder perimenopause struck me hard.
I thought I was the tough woman who could handle it all!
Well, I could, but it had a price. All the built-up stress didn’t help me, and I felt discomforts crashing down on me.
Today, my schedule is still full, but I have “tools” to organize everything, so I’m not bothered anymore.
The adrenal glands, our main stress regulator, is important as we enter menopause. These backup organs produce estrogen and progesterone when our ovaries start to falter. Like any part of the body, our adrenals reach a point of exhaustion too, and we experience adrenal fatigue symptoms.
If the adrenals are not your ally during menopause, you will experience more symptoms. Your adrenals are the first you have to take care of!
Why Am I Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms?
First off, it’s important we know what adrenal fatigue is and why it happens!
Dr. James Wilson of AdrenalFatigue.org says adrenal fatigue syndrome happens when the adrenals don’t function at optimum levels. With the condition comes a group of symptoms that can disturb your daily life.
Our adrenal glands are one of the smallest organs in the body, but they are the most resilient! Before our adrenals slow down, they go through three different stages.
Stage 1: Stress hormone overload.
When under constant stress, the adrenals release large amounts of hormones. You get an adrenalin rush – your energy has no limit, you’re awake, alert and have eagle-eye focus. In this stage, there are no complaints, because you feel good being active.
Through time, stress hormones build up in your blood, overwork organs and the second stage begins.
Get to know your stress hormones in the FACT BOX right after the takeaway!
Stage 2: Stress hormone levels begin to drop.
Adrenal exhaustion starts at this stage, and your adrenals become sluggish. Hormone production goes down and you begin feeling adrenal fatigue symptoms.
- Extreme exhaustion despite long hours of sleep
- Weight gain
- Mood swings, anxiety and depression
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle and joint pains
- Numbness in some parts of the body
- Low libido
- Intense food cravings
- Heart palpitation
Stage 3: Stress hormone levels reach an all-time low.
In this stage, the adrenals hibernate. Sometimes, they wake up and give the body small amounts of hormones, but they remain consistently low. The body goes on “auto-flight mode” when faced with stress. Body functions become sluggish, burnout happens and you experience persistent adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Dr. John Douillard explains adrenal fatigue in Ayurveda perspective. He says that when we are under stress, the adrenals drive us to make energy that we don’t have. It’s like borrowing money from the bank, we always have to pay it back. In our body – the payback comes in the form of symptoms. Watch the interesting video of Dr. Douillard [8:33]:
7 Natural Adrenal Fatigue Treatments to Heal the Adrenals!
Adrenal fatigue symptoms can go away with a healthy lifestyle. Reducing stress, eating good food and doing light exercise can make a huge difference.
Here’s how you can reverse adrenal fatigue syndrome!
1. Say goodbye to stress!
The culprit to adrenal fatigue is chronic stress. It’s the first factor that we should address to prevent adrenal fatigue from happening!
- Prioritize – remember less is more!
- If you feel tired, take the time to rest.
- Avoid staying up late and get quality, sound sleep. 7 to 9 hours daily is a must for most!
- Stress comes from many places – work, relationships, thoughts and finances. Change what is not serving you!
- Don´t take life too seriously. Laugh a lot!
- Try natural therapies like meditation, acupuncture, emotional freedom technique (EFT) or tapping!
- Aromatherapy can also help you relax!
2. Embrace a healthy new way of eating!
Dr. Anna Cabeca, a triple board-certified physician and women’s hormone expert, created the Keto-Green program to help thousands of women with adrenal fatigue and menopause symptoms. By getting the right fuel for the body, you can maintain adrenal health! Below are Keto-Green foods to include in your meals!
- Alkaline foods such as artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and other similar veggies. Fruits such as avocado, berries, apples and apricots are also example of high-alkaline foods.
- Healthy proteins such as grass-fed meat and wild caught fish.
- Non-GMO soy from miso and tempeh.
- Healthy fats like ghee, nuts, olive and coconut oil.
- Superfoods such as Maca, Turmeric, Cinnamon and Green Tea.
Besides all these, the Keto-Green approach also encourages you to take a vitamin E supplement and practice intermittent fasting.
This is the way I eat personally, and I feel great. I’ve also maintained the same weight as from my early twenties.
3. Enjoy being active.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve blood circulation. Chase away your worries, anxiety and depression with an enjoyable exercise routine! Over-exercising is a big NO when you have adrenal fatigue, because this adds more stress to the adrenals. Do gentle exercises like walking, yoga, Pilates and Qigong!
4. Take adrenal fatigue supplements!
Adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Holy Basil have powerful adaptogens that reduce stress and promote hormone balance. Licorice is a spice and herb that can also be good to take as it stimulates DHEA production.
Dehydration is a major concern in adrenal fatigue because cortisol flushes out sodium. Sodium, or salt, helps maintain the fluids in our body. Help your body with some refreshing water.
Avoid alternative beverages which don’t contain the natural minerals found in water. You can add lemon juice or a dash of Himalayan sea salt to your water to help increase water absorption.
6. Return to Mother Earth.
Ever tried grounding or earthing? It is an ancient practice of placing your bare feet on the ground, feeling the grass, the sand or the earth.
Walking barefoot in the garden or along the beach allows you to experience a sense of well-being. One study found that grounding decreases cortisol, improves sleep and reduces pain!
7. Love yourself!
Accept and love yourself as you are, including your imperfections. Did you know that the words you say to yourself can affect your body? It all starts with a positive mindset.
Practice positive self-talk, because this can help you heal from within. It will help you feel lighter and stronger from the inside out. Rewiring your brain to think positively will also change the whole course of your menopause journey.
Dr. David Jockers has some helpful insights on how to overcome adrenal fatigue, you can watch it here (14:17):
How Does Adrenal Fatigue Affect My Menopause Journey?
Adrenal fatigue affects our menopause journey in so many ways!
First, we lose our backup supply of estrogen or progesterone. When the ovaries slow down, the adrenals produce DHEA. This mother hormone activates and converts itself to estrogen or progesterone. The adrenals also produce testosterone which may also convert into estrogen. As a result, we are able to relieve menopause symptoms.
Second, adrenal fatigue can make menopause symptoms worse. Cortisol ruins your balance big time! This stress hormone suppresses metabolism, digestion, brain function and more. Believe it or not, the body sees menopause as a stressor too, and this adds more burden to the adrenals.
Third, adrenal fatigue symptoms can mask menopause! The symptoms of these two conditions are similar in that it can be hard to set them apart. However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, adrenal fatigue symptoms rarely include hot flashes and night sweats!
Why Are Adrenal Gland Functions Important in Menopause?
Your adrenal glands, also known as your suprarenal glands, are small triangle-shaped structures found on top of your kidneys. The main function of your adrenal glands is to regulate stress caused by injury, disease or environmental problems.
The adrenal glands call the shots when you’re stressed, whether it’s to attack or retreat. It also gives your body the energy to fight danger and survive. This structure also produces important hormones which keep the body functioning at optimum levels.
Cortisol – produced in times of stress to keep the body alert. Cortisol regulates the use of fats, proteins and carbs, suppresses inflammation, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure. It also controls the sleep/wake cycle and boosts energy.
Aldosterone – regulates blood pressure, balance blood pH and keeps electrolyte balance, especially sodium and potassium.
DHEA – unknown to many. The adrenal glands also produce a good amount of DHEA, the mother hormone of estrogen and testosterone.
Adrenaline – also called epinephrine. This hormone increases your heart rate, blood flow, increases sugar metabolism and activates your muscles and brain during stress.
Norepinephrine – has the same functions as adrenaline. It also constricts your blood vessels to maintain blood pressure, gives your body additional energy and endures unpleasant situations.
Glucocorticoids – sugar balancing hormones.
Mineralocorticoids – the main hormones that regulate blood pressure.
Your body sends you messages through discomforts. Our job is to slow down and have a special kind of listening ear. In healing adrenal fatigue, there are two important aspects of life that we need to focus on: self-care and better stress management!
How do you handle everyday stress?
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