Last week, in Part 1 of Adrenal Fatigue – A Big Reason Why You’re Tired, I began sharing my experience with burning out my adrenal system. This issue is very real and more prevalent than you might think. This week, I’m delving into the steps I took to regain my health.
Why is Adrenal Fatigue So Ignored?
I fought over the adrenal issue with 5 (!) different doctors. Adrenal fatigue is even worse for women because there’s still a lot of doctors who will simply prescribe some sort of pill and send a woman on her way. The first doctor I went to told me that I was depressed and needed to see a psychiatrist and prescribed an anti-depressant.
I’m still shocked over this – she wasn’t willing to look at anything remotely close to my adrenal system and told me I needed to stop being so stressed out, take this little pill and all would be well.
The second, third and fourth doctors weren’t much better. One told me I was working too hard and I needed to relax. They said that blood tests were in the “normal range” and to stop worrying about it. One even said that I was most likely imagining my symptoms! Can you imagine a doctor saying that to a man?
See what I’m getting at?
What I’ve learned is that doctors are not trained in medical school to be aware of anything except that the adrenal glands exist. There’s no time to learn about chronic stress, there’s no time to dig a bit deeper for the root cause and rare is the physician who knows what a saliva test is. The very best adrenal fatigue test is a saliva test. A saliva test will tell you what’s been going on in your body over the last 3 – 6 months.
Another reason it’s ignored is that the main therapy for regaining your health from adrenal fatigue is through diet and lifestyle adjustments. Ooooh, doctors don’t believe that this is legitimate medicine – you must be on some sort of prescription pill for it to be real!
Many allopathic physicians have never heard of adrenal fatigue (so it must not exist, right?) and if they have heard of it, they’re sadly misinformed.
What I’m about to share with you is what I did – it’s important to talk with a medical professional who understands adrenal fatigue and burnout. Very important.
The Beginning of Getting Healthy
The fifth doctor I saw was an integrative physician but, in 1999, I had to travel 75 miles each way to see her. There was no one in Winston-Salem at the time who understood adrenal fatigue and I’d never heard of functional medicine or naturopaths.
What’s the difference between an allopathic and integrative physician? It turns out a whole lot. The best explanation I’ve found for integrative medicine is this from Dr. Andrew Weil:
Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.
The integrative physician is focused on the body, mind and spirit connection and how each is important to the other. An integrative physician combines the best of Western medicine with the time-honored traditions of Eastern medicine to give his or her patient the best methods for well-being.
Anyway, I digress.
Doctor #5 worked closely with a compounding pharmacy and that compounding pharmacist suggested Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Health products would do the most good. I am not an affiliate, I’m simply giving you the information of what I took – these products have stood the test of time and they worked amazingly well for me.
Doctor #5 told me that it would take approximately one month of taking these supplements for every year my adrenal system had been compromised. For me, that meant several years.
I took the Adrenal Rebuilder and Super Adrenal Stress Formula. I couldn’t afford to take all of the supplements, so I chose the two that would do the most good for me. I also took a probiotic and at the time, that wasn’t as readily available as it is now.
I’m currently a patient at Robinhood Integrative Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Their approach is simple: to focus on the underlying cause of your symptoms. I can tell you from the last 10 years of being a patient at RIH, I believe the medical professionals there want you to be as healthy as possible in the simplest and most natural way possible.
An integrative physician, functional medical professional, naturopath, herbalist and certified aromatherapist all understand that getting to the root cause of your symptoms is the only way to get you back to health.
Diet and Lifestyle Adjustments
Here’s the BIG thing – you can’t just take a few supplements and keep making the same poor lifestyle choices and expect to get any better. For starters, my sleep habits had to change immediately. I was going to bed as late as 11:30 PM and rising at 6:30 AM which is not enough sleep.
My doctor told me that the body processes cortisol around midnight. Your adrenal glands produce cortisol in response to the conditions of your daily life. When you’re constantly stressed out, your adrenal “tank” gets depleted and can’t keep up, especially first thing in the morning. She also said – and this is immensely important – every hour of sleep you get before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight.
Most nights, you’ll find me heading for bed around 10 PM. Sometimes it’s a bit later, but almost always before 10:30 PM.
- How much do you take on in your life and how long will you bend before you break? Learn to say NO!
- And tell me, if you’re chronically stressed and your body rebels and it puts you flat on your back, what then?
- What good are you doing for anyone – much less yourself – if you can’t get out of bed?
- Do you think you’re a super hero and must do everything for everyone?
Okay, I’ll stop asking questions – but think about it!
Next, get rid of any food that is processed. All those chemicals and dyes that are in processed food are stressing your already over-taxed adrenal system. Whole foods that you cook from scratch are the biggest help here. That’s why farmer’s markets are so popular – there’s good clean food from your local farmer and food is medicine!
Caffeine is a no-no. I began drinking coffee the moment I got up and stopped about the time I went to bed. This is disastrous. I immediately cut back and these days, I enjoy one or two cups of coffee in the morning and the rest of the day is water.
Sugar causes more damage to your body than just about anything. Get rid of cakes, cookies, candy – including alcohol. All of that processed sugar taxes your adrenal system beyond belief and causes major inflammation. You don’t have to give up your mixed drink or glass of wine or beer forever, but see if you can’t go without them for at least a few weeks. I had to do this and now enjoy 1 or 2 glasses of wine most evenings.
Another culprit – surprisingly – is over-exercising. Working out too much can spike cortisol levels and your adrenals are already taxed. Take it slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. That seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true.
How Does Aromatherapy Help?
Aromatherapy works incredibly well in conjunction with proper lifestyle choices. Just remember, if you’re not willing to change anything, nothing will help you.
I noticed the same adrenal symptoms a couple of years ago, made the necessary lifestyle changes and added:
- Magnesium Oil – your body is in desperate need of this daily, but especially when your adrenal system is taxed.
- Stress Support Aromatherapy Roller Ball is ideal as a tonic for your stressed out adrenals.
- Peaceful Ease Aromatherapy Roller Ball helps with the wound up feeling and depression.
- Anxiety Ease Aromatherapy Roller Ball is ideal for assisting with anxiety and stress.
Adrenal Fatigue does not go away by itself. You need to talk with an integrative physician, a naturopath, herbalist – or certified aromatherapist. Fill out this simple contact form and let’s talk today. Don’t wait!
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Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your medial professional for any and all health concerns.