We all experience stress, and there are plenty of valid reasons you could be stressed out right now. But if your body experiences constant stress without a break, you could end up one of the millions of people suffering from adrenal fatigue. If you’re feeling especially run down lately, try this easy adrenal fatigue test at home to see how your body is handling all of the stress.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Your adrenal glands are an essential part of the body when it comes to responding to stressful events or circumstances. The hormones that they secrete allow us to be resilient, no matter what kind of stress we’re facing. Whether you’re facing a surgery or a sleepless night, without your adrenals, it would be much harder.
Unfortunately, sometimes even your adrenals get overwhelmed. They need time to recover from stress and when they don’t get that recovery time, they become less able to respond to stress and can fail to produce the hormones your body needs in the proper amounts.
Your adrenals evolved to deal with bursts of stress and periods of calm, but modern life is different. We can have compounding small stressors that build until our body is in a constant state of stress and the adrenals can’t always handle it. This can cause you to be less productive, resilient, and much more irritable.
What are the Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
While there are many symptoms of adrenal fatigue and they can be specific to each person, common symptoms include:
- Fatigue, often most intense when you wake up and with random crashes throughout the day
- Mood fluctuations and heightened stress response
- Brain fog and cognitive issues
- Higher levels of energy in the evening
- Cravings for unhealthy sweet or salty foods
- Excessive consumption of caffeine and other stimulants
- A weakened immune system
Less common symptoms that are associated with adrenal fatigue include:
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Frequent need to urinate
- Loss of muscle tone
- Weight gain
- Poor circulation
- Decreased sex drive
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
Your adrenal glands produce cortisol when you’re stressed. If you’re too stressed for too long, your adrenals can no longer produce the levels of cortisol that are necessary for your body to function correctly. This is called adrenal fatigue.
As it is a result of excess and long-lasting stress, it can be caused by many different stressors depending on the person. Stressors in your environment or diet can play a role or anxiety and emotional stress can cause it as well.
People who have been through intense experiences like grief, trauma, or chronic autoimmune conditions are more likely to suffer from adrenal fatigue. It’s also possible that overexposing your body to antibiotics can negatively impact your body’s ability to produce cortisol.
Try This Easy Adrenal Fatigue Test At Home
If you feel like you are suffering from some of the symptoms on the checklist above, especially if you’ve been exposed to chronic stressors or suffered a traumatic experience, you can take this easy adrenal fatigue test at home to check. This is not an alternative to seeing a medical professional and receiving an official diagnosis, but it can help you come to a better understanding of your health.
To test for adrenal fatigue, you want to do an iris contraction test. This measures your body’s response to light stimulation. If your body lacks stamina in its response, that is, if it is unable to hold its reaction, this may indicate you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. In addition to your other symptoms, this is an easy way to both check and monitor over time your body’s reactions.
Adrenal Fatigue Test at Home Supplies
You can take this easy test with some simple household items.
- A weak flashlight or penlight (you want to avoid a strong or bright light for this test)
- A chair
- A stopwatch (you can use an app on your phone or any clock with a second hand on it)
- A mirror
- A dark room
Adrenal Fatigue Test at Home Directions
Start by sitting or standing in front of the mirror in your darkened room for approximately a minute. This will give your eyes time to adjust and your pupils will expand. Once your eyes are adjusted, take the flashlight in your hand and shine it across one eye from the side of your head, from about six inches away.
With the light shining across one eye, keep the other eye focused in the mirror. When the light hits your eye your pupil (that’s the dark circle right at the center of your eye) should immediately contract. This happens because your iris (that’s the colored part of your eye) is a little bundle of muscles that reacts to light by contracting or dilating the pupil.
In an average eye, that is, one that belongs to someone who is not suffering from adrenal fatigue, the pupil will stay contracted as long as the light remains present. If you do have some form of adrenal fatigue, the pupil will not have the stamina to stay contracted and will dilate again without the light changing.
If you have adrenal fatigue, your pupil will return to its dilated form within about two minutes and will remain that way (again, with the light remaining on your face) for about 30-45 seconds before it is able to recover and contract again. Make a note of how long the dilation lasts and write it down, along with the date.
After you’ve done this once, let your eyes rest. If you are struggling to perform this test on yourself, you can recruit a friend to hold the flashlight while you both watch the pupils.
If your test has shown that you may indeed be suffering from adrenal fatigue, you should perform this test monthly. In addition to being an indicator of fatigue, it can also show you improvement. As you recover, your iris will be able to stay contracted for longer periods of time.
Adrenal fatigue is an increasingly common stress-related disease but if you know that your body is struggling, you can take the steps to safeguard it.
This easy adrenal fatigue test at home will help you figure out where your body needs a little extra love and remind you to take a step back and focus on your self-care a little bit more.