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Adrenal Fatigue: A Contoversial Syndrome

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The adrenal glands, associated with stress, adrenaline, action, energy, and sexual appetite are important and somewhat complex little walnut-shaped glands.

The orange-colored endocrine glands known as the adrenal glands are located on the tops of both kidneys. They are triangular in shape, and measure about one-half inch in height and three inches in length. Each gland consists of a medulla (the center of the gland) which is surrounded by the cortex. The medulla is responsible for producing epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline). Other hormones necessary for fluid and electrolyte balance in the body are also produced, such as cortisone and aldosterone. The adrenal cortex also makes sex hormones but this only becomes important if overproduction is present. (http://www.endocrineweb.com/adrenal.html)

Many of us feel we are suffering from something yet we cannot put our finger on exactly what it is. Constant fatigue, aches and pains, low energy and even changes in appetite and sleep habits interfere with our daily lives and leave us feeling drained and even depressed.

In the course of attempting to figure out what is going on with us physically we may run into a number of different diagnoses and theories.

One controversial diagnosis is that of a syndrome known as adrenal fatigue. The symptoms of this syndrome, according to a website called "Natural Healing and Back Care" include, but are not limited to:
1. Excessive fatigue and exhaustion, chronic fatigue
2. Non-refreshing sleep
3. Sleep disturbance, insomnia
4. Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
5. Craving salty and/or sweet foods
6. Sensitivity to light
7. Low stamina and slow to recover from exercise
8. Slow to recover from injury or illness
9. Difficulty concentrating, brain fog
10. Poor digestion
11. Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS
12. Low immune function
13. Premenstrual syndrome
14. Menopause symptoms
15. Low blood pressure
16. Sensitivity to cold
17. Fearfulness
18. Allergies
19. Frequent influenza
20. Arthritis
21. Anxiety
22. Irritability
23. Depression
24. Reduced memory
25. Low libido, sexual drive or interest
26. Lack of lust for life and/or food
27. Excess hunger
28. Low appetite
29. Panic/anxiety attacks
30. Irritability, impatience, quick to anger.(http://selfadjustingtechnique.com/30-symptoms-of-adrenal-fatigue/)

Practitioners of natural health and holistic health do believe there is a strong connection between the constant stress of the pull between the "fight-or-flight" response and the adrenal gland which causes the symptoms mentioned above. In their eyes, this is a real issue, especially for those under extreme stress for long periods of time, and those who consume a diet high in sugar and processed foods.

The advice of these practitioners is to reduce daily stress and stop eating white sugar, white flour and any overly processed or refined flour products.

The Western medical community feels that the proof of the existence of adrenal fatigue is missing and that if someone has a whole host of symptoms they may have an underlying disorder which is not being treated, such as fibromyalgia or depression. For more on this please see the following link: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adrenal-fatigue/AN01583

There is increasing awareness of the condition among the medical community, specifically as it affects women under stress, in recent years. In another very informative article from 2005, Vicki Wade points out that many women feel differently after a particularly stressful or traumatic time period or even and that their adrenal glands were compromised leaving them with a whole host of medical issues. For more on this article please read the article in its entirety here:

Aimee Boyle lives loves and works on the beautiful shoreline of CT

Add a Comment1 Comments

I don't really think it's as controversial outside the U.S. For example, the World Health ORganization, WHO, actually recognizes AF as a diagnosable condition. Maybe because no drug company has created the drug for it yet? - Jacqueline, Women to Women contributor

November 7, 2012 - 9:40am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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