So many women come to see me suffering from adrenal dysfunction. Symptoms include overwhelming fatigue, sleep disruptions, fuzzy thinking, irritability, inability to cope with stress, recurrent infections and low libido. Many women have seen one health care practitioner after another only to be told that there’s nothing that can be done to make them feel better. Sadly, many conventional practitioners don’t even acknowledge the possibility of adrenal dysfunction.
Adrenal fatigue is recognized in many parts of the world. Yet, here in the U.S. the conventional medical world still harbors much skepticism. Many physicians seem to want to point to other health issues before they accept adrenals role in the matter. Hypothyroidism, depression and fibromyalgia can all exhibit similar symptoms to adrenal dysfunction.
Testing for Adrenal Dysfunction
Many conventional doctors use testing that looks only at the very extremes of adrenal imbalance:
- Cushing’s syndrome – when the body produces excessive levels of cortisol.
- Addison’s disease – occurs when cortisol production is deficient.
These two extremes both require immediate medical intervention.
Unfortunately, if your test results fall within the “normal” range – even if you are very close to being outside it – you will probably be told your adrenal function is normal. The sad part is sometimes credence isn’t given to the way a patient feels, which can be a strong indicator of what is really going on.
In my practice, I find that saliva tests are the most accurate way to evaluate adrenal function. Women who come to me with symptoms of adrenal imbalance are tested. The tests evaluate cortisol and DHEA levels along with other metabolic tests to ensure no other major health concerns are present.
Out of the thousands of patients seen in a year at our clinic, 25 percent or less have cortisol levels which are consistent with healthy adrenal function. A resounding 75 percent or more have impaired function.