Symptoms are the obvious manifestation of an underlying imbalance in your body, but oftentimes symptoms may not directly correspond to the source of what’s causing the problem. Every health issue begins within one of the three body systems: your adrenal, digestive, or detoxification systems. Other body systems become unbalanced when one body system is not functioning normally, and this begins a stress cycle inside your body. Our wellness philosophy addresses the cause of your symptoms — rather than simply treating the symptoms alone — by balancing your three body systems so that the body functions optimally in a state of equilibrium.
The adrenal glands produce and regulate your stress hormones. Everyone experiences stress, but ideally, it dissipates, and the glands have time to rest and prepare for the next event. However, if your stress levels remain chronically high, your body will remain locked in a state of stress. If your stress hormone levels remain elevated for extended periods of time, your body’s ability to recover can be reduced, and the ability of your adrenals to make hormones can be compromised.
Can you recall times in your life when you felt stressed for long periods? How many of the below events have you experienced in the past year? Think back to your childhood: How many have you experienced throughout the course of your lifetime? If you can trace the origins of your health concerns back to the occurrence of one of these major stressors, you are an adrenal type.
- Death of a loved one
- Divorce or end of relationship
- Relationship difficulties, frequent arguments
- Change in residence
- Overwork, or termination of employment
- Addition to family
- Outstanding personal achievement (graduation, promotion)
- Financial stress (mortgage, loans)
- Personal injury or illness
- Frequent skipped meals
- 2Regular consumption of refined sugar (processed foods, sweets, candy, sodas)
- Need caffeine (coffee, colas) to get going
- Too much or too little exercise
- Poor sleep habits
At first, your body’s initial reaction to chronic stress is to produce higher levels of stress hormones, leaving you feeling wired or unable to relax. Because high levels of these hormones cannot be sustained, you’ll eventually become more fatigued. You may also experience weight gain because high stress hormone levels lead to an increase in body fat. Because your adrenal glands regulate your immune system, you may feel run down or more susceptible to illness when they are not functioning normally.
If you continue to experience excess unchecked stress, the adrenals eventually “burn out.” At this point, the glands become so fatigued that they can no longer properly respond to daily stress. Once your adrenals have been depleted and are unable to produce stress hormones, it becomes more and more difficult for the body to recover. Constant and more severe fatigue and low-level depression can appear in otherwise emotionally healthy people.
Stress hormone depletion impacts the female hormones progesterone and estrogen, as well as the predominant male hormone, testosterone. This can cause sex drive to diminish in both men and women. Symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, sweet cravings and headaches can be related to the failure of the adrenals to adapt to stress. Female hormone symptoms such as menstrual cramping, infertility, night sweats and hot flashes can also be related to adrenal insufficiency. Many women feel they are on an emotional roller coaster with their female hormones, and testosterone levels in men also suffer as a result of weak adrenal output.
When your adrenal glands have been functioning in overdrive for a period of time due to poor lifestyle habits or unchecked stress, other body systems begin to suffer as a result of the imbalance. Pain is the most obvious response from the body that something is out of balance, but you may also be experiencing chronic inflammation in other body systems as a result of chronic stress, poor diet, or undetected infection.