I am so excited to introduce the topics of adrenal fatigue and estrogen dominance. I heard some ladies talking about this at a business retreat I went on recently. I wanted to research more into it, and, as always, I like to share what I’ve learned with you guys.
What is adrenal fatigue?
You have two adrenal glands located above your kidneys. These are responsible for your stress responses, like your fight-or-flight response. Through the release of adrenaline, our body sends more oxygen to the muscles, our heart starts pumping faster, and pain is reduced.
In today’s society, with all of our demands, we are putting ourselves in a state of constant fight-or-flight. Normally our bodies would require plenty of time to recover from a burst, but because we are more or less constantly releasing these hormones, our bodies never have time to properly rest! This is adrenal fatigue, when your body has been constantly producing these hormones without a break. Once your cortisol levels rise to a certain amount, it will crash.
How do I know if I am suffering from adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue has a lot of factors that add up: hormone levels, your thyroid, cortisol, and more! All of these things combined paint a bigger picture of adrenal fatigue. It goes right along with what I always say about the importance of the Study of One. Collecting data on these aspects of your health can help light the way to improving your overall well-being.
For women in particular, fertility is affected by it. Your adrenal glands produce estrogen and progesterone, so issues like estrogen dominance, endometriosis, or frequent miscarriages can be linked to adrenal fatigue as well.
Wait, what is estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance is when the balance between estrogen and progesterone fall out of balance. Either progesterone can be low or estrogen can be high for this condition, but the resulting issues are similar.
Cases where your progesterone is normal but your estrogen is high can be caused by many factors. Xenoestrogens are the biggest culprit. These are things that our body process like estrogen. BPAs in your can liners and plastics mimic estrogen in your body. The same is true for parabens and phthalates in cosmetics, so be mindful of what you are putting on your skin and hair! Beautycounter is a great resource for finding cosmetics that are carefully screened for ingredients that won’t negatively impact your health.
Low progesterone, which in contrast makes your estrogen seem high, is primarily caused by two things. Either your prolactin (a hormone produced in breastfeeding moms) levels are high, or you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.
What are some symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
A huge part of it is feeling exhausted all of the time throughout the day but then awake towards the evening. This is because adrenal fatigue causes cortisol surges later in the day, making you feel tired but wired. Insomnia and other sleep issues are also correlated with adrenal fatigue.
What about estrogen dominance?
Excess estrogen can cause a lot of problems! Things like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and autoimmune diseases have all been linked to high estrogen. That’s why it is so important to monitor! The best ways to avoid excess estrogen are to both limit exposure to xenoestrogens and to take care of your liver, which processes out excess hormones.
Another symptom of estrogen dominance can be polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Smaller signs can be bloating, weight gain in the hip and stomach areas, and heavy, irregular periods.
How do I get officially checked for adrenal fatigue?
One of the best ways is getting your blood drawn for a CBC count, metabolic panel, hormone panel, and a thyroid panel. Cortisol tests, also a good idea, are done through frequent saliva tests to check how the levels fluctuate throughout the day.
Is it the same for estrogen dominance?
There is a very specific test, actually. On day three of your cycle, you will want to get an estrogen and progesterone test as well as general hormone panels. When you come to a doctor for issues possibly related to estrogen dominance, make sure you get a test done before you they just put you on birth control to regulate it.
How do you remedy adrenal fatigue?
Depending on which stage of adrenal fatigue you are in, diet, supplements, or a combination of the two can help. Adrenal fatigue is measured in four stages based on your stress of levels. Think of it as a spectrum where stage one is the stress of something like a big job interview coming up and stage four is the stress of something more serious like fighting cancer.
With regards to diet, micronutrients are so important for your adrenal health! Try taking a micro-green powder. They’re packed with prebiotics, probiotics, and micronutrients. Also, avoiding cold foods can help as well. Room-temperature or hot foods are easier to digest, so your body absorbs more of the nutrients from what you are consuming. Think hearty stews and soups.
As far as supplements are concerned, there is a class of herbs called adaptogenic herbs. These help with stress response and building back your adrenal glands. Ashwagandha is considered one of the best. Gaia Herbs has an adrenal support supplement that contains Rhodiola and Ashwagandha and other nourishing herbs.
I hope this is helpful and eye-opening for some of you! Chasing good health is all a huge journey. Always keep in mind that it is a process of the Study of One and small changes to make your life better. Don’t get too caught up in perfection. Change what you can a little bit at a time.
*Information taken from my interview with Ali Damron, certified holistic coach and acupuncturist. Reach out to her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/alidamron