How to Recognize Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

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Studies show that a majority of adults will suffer from adrenal fatigue syndrome, but not everyone knows all of the symptoms to look out for. Adrenal fatigue syndrome is caused by traumatic and/or chronic stress. Examples are the death of a loved one, or prolonged financial or marital stress. If someone has one or a couple of the symptoms, it probably does not indicate adrenal fatigue syndrome; the diagnosis is made if you have several of the following symptoms.

  • Gauge your level of energy. Patients with adrenal fatigue syndrome are exhausted for no apparent reason (meaning they've not had any prolonged physical exertion), and are tired and unrefreshed when waking up. Most sufferers also experience extreme fatigue in the afternoon (typically between 3 and 5 PM).

  • Decide if you feel your thinking is muddled or cloudy. Adrenal fatigue syndrome affects the brain, causing patients to have difficulty processing simple problems that they didn't have problems with before. They often have difficulty with their memory, having trouble remembering things in the short term (where they put their keys, their friends' phone new phone number, etc). It's not uncommon for someone with this syndrome to lose their train of thought, in the middle of a conversation.

  • Notice that you have become less interested in sex. Adrenal fatigue causes several body systems to be affected. One of the most common complaints is a complete loss of libido. Sufferers know they should be interested in having sex with their partner, but they are completely unable to become aroused. This in itself adds more stress to the patient's life, and can exacerbate the adrenal condition.

  • Get on the scale and/or take body measurements with a measuring tape. People with adrenal fatigue syndrome tend to put on weight inexplicably, with no major changes in their lifestyle. Weight gain due to this condition is generally distributed around the waist/midsection, creating a thick layer of belly fat. Another effect of the syndrome is the inability to lose weight, despite dieting. Restrictive diets and heavy exercise put the body in further stress, which just worsens the adrenal condition and weight problem.

  • Check your nerves. If you recall feeling more nervous and anxious lately, there may be a good reason. Because of the stress hormones circulating in the body, patients can experience anxiety. They typically have jittery hands when they are nervous or under pressure.

  • Pay close attention to your food intake and food cravings. Due to the body's needs, the brain will try to medicate itself with foods. Adrenal fatigue patients will try to fix their exhaustion with sugar or salted starchy foods. They often develop a dependence on caffeine, relying on the jolt to help pep them up.

  • If you're female, keep a calendar to keep track of your monthly cycles. Many female patients experience intensified PMS symptoms before their monthly period, including very painful menstrual cramps. It's very common for women with adrenal fatigue to have menstrual periods that are heavy for the first few days, then stop on the fourth day, and resuming flow on the fifth day.

  • Pay close attention to the hours you spend awake and asleep. Most people with adrenal fatigue struggle to get through the day, but then feel a burst of energy around 6-8pm. They find it easy to stay up beyond midnight, no matter what time they woke up.

  • Notice if things that didn't use to cause you stress are now making you stressed out. Even the most benign stress, such as a minor traffic jam, or stubbing one's toe can cause the adrenal fatigue sufferer's stress levels to go up. They may feel rage, or may get weepy.

  • Pay close attention to your bowels. Adrenal fatigue syndrome affects people's digestion and elimination. It causes patients to alternate between diarrhea and constipation.

  • Keep an eye out for other physical symptoms. Other physical symptoms are heart palpitations, unexplained hair loss, dry skin, low blood pressure, low blood sugar levels, low body temperature, and mild depression.

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