Extreme exhaustion and lack of energy can all be warning signs for adrenal fatigue in women. Adrenal fatigue stems from your adrenal glands, which are responsible for hormone production. While adrenal fatigue can affect everyone, the hormone difference can make symptoms a bit different in women.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Your adrenal glands are in charge of producing hormones that influence different parts of your body. This can include blood sugar and blood pressure levels, the use of fat and protein, and how our bodies control our reactions to stress.
Cortisol is the most common hormone that our adrenal glands produce. It helps our bodies create the “fight-or-flight” response. Cortisol is healthy for our bodies in moderation—but too much of it can cause damage to your adrenal glands, negatively impacting your health as a whole.
Adrenal fatigue comes as a result of chronic stress. When your body is put under stress, you start producing cortisol. An extended amount of stress causes an increased need for cortisol. Your body isn’t able to keep up with production and falls into exhaustion.
Adrenal fatigue in women presents itself in many different ways. While women experience common adrenal fatigue symptoms, like extreme bouts of tiredness and “brain fog,” there is also an even more significant effect on women’s hormones.
If you are a woman experiencing adrenal fatigue, you may see a difference in your libido and body composition. Adrenal fatigue disrupts the normal hormone levels within your body. And with more fat storage and a low sex drive, exhaustion becomes more common.
Why Is Adrenal Fatigue In Women So Common?
Stress can be found in almost every aspect of a woman’s life. It’s so common to experience stress on a day-to-day basis. Whether in your work, personal life, physical health, or mental health, stress permeates our daily lives, especially for women.
With the large amounts of stress put on a woman’s body, cortisol production is already often running on high. Too much cortisol production over a long period of time will cause the adrenal glands to burn out. As a result, cortisol production significantly decreases—and that is adrenal fatigue!
When cortisol production runs at an increased level for long periods of time, it can affect other hormones in your body.
Hormonal imbalances can affect women by creating:
- Body fat build-up
- High blood sugar levels
- Increased fatigue
- Low sex drive
- Bone loss
- Potential for a weakened immune system
Your body can go into adrenal exhaustion once your adrenal glands are completely burnt out. This causes chain reactions in your body that could lead to serious health issues.
Menopause Can Trigger Symptoms
Women experiencing menopause are more likely to experience more serious symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Menopause can affect a woman’s sleep patterns. Factors like hot flashes and restlessness disrupt a good night’s sleep. Sleep greatly impacts our health. Without a consistent sleep schedule, women are more likely to become irritable and stressed.
Adrenal fatigue seriously makes these feelings worse.
20% of a woman’s reproductive hormones are controlled by the adrenal glands. During menopause, your hormone levels decrease. If a woman is experiencing adrenal fatigue on top of that, their hormone balance might be at stake.
Adrenal fatigue causes a painful cycle. Symptoms of exhaustion and stress can cause adrenal fatigue. In turn, adrenal fatigue makes those symptoms worse, while adding on potential further damage to your adrenal system.
How Does Adrenal Fatigue Affect Women?
While women’s bodies function similarly, there can be some differences—that’s right, adrenal fatigue in women can cause various effects! Honestly, that’s why so many women are unaware that they even have adrenal fatigue.
Here are some of the ways that adrenal fatigue can affect women.
Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue
Women could be experiencing multiple symptoms of adrenal fatigue without realizing it.
- Chronic fatigue
- A fragile immune system
- Problems with sleeping
- Chronic anxiety or stress
- Cravings for salty or sweet foods
- Heart palpitations
- New allergies
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Decreased libido
- Decreased muscle mass
- Chronic joint or muscle pain
- Low blood sugar levels
- Low blood pressure levels
- Inconsistent menstrual cycles
- Problems with returning to normal after being sick
- Temperature intolerances
- Hair loss
- Consistent bodily infections
If you have more than one of these symptoms, talk to a medical professional about adrenal fatigue.
Hormones and Your Body
Your body’s hormone levels affect so much of your day-to-day life. They can help boost your mood, improve sleep, and increase energy levels.
But if you’re a woman experiencing adrenal fatigue, your hormone balance is disrupted. A hormone imbalance in the body can leave your immune system more susceptible to illness.
You run a higher risk of catching a cold or the flu because of it. If your immune system is weak, your body isn’t able to protect itself. As a result, you become more vulnerable to your own stress. Your stress can cause you to keep getting sick.
An imbalance in your hormones, specifically your cortisol level, can influence your weight too. The more cortisol is produced, the more your body thinks that it needs to be storing fat. As a result, your body can start retaining more weight in your midsection.
Though your adrenal glands are small, they can do a lot of damage. Adrenal fatigue in women caused by chronic stress can be debilitating.
Monitoring potential symptoms and talking to your doctor is the best way to stay vigilant and prevent adrenal fatigue.