Adrenal dysfunction can impact so many aspects of your life – your mood, energy levels, ability to think clearly, and ability to maintain a desired weight. It’s no wonder women want an answer – and you deserve one! But all too often, if you can even get a conventional practitioner to acknowledge that adrenal imbalance is behind your symptoms, they quickly turn to prescription medications to solve the problem.
But there’s a big issue with that approach: prescriptions won’t actually address the adrenal imbalance. Instead, these medications will mask your symptoms, leaving room for your condition to worsen instead of getting better. When you stop the medication – or even if you continue taking it – you might find yourself completely exhausted and unable to function at all.
So what should you do instead? The first step is to have a full physical exam to rule out underlying disease or other factors.
Supporting Your Adrenals Naturally
Once you’ve ruled out other serious conditions, you can focus on supporting your body naturally. Take note, and talk to your practitioner about, what level of dysfunction you may have reached. What you do might depend on how badly your adrenals are in need of attention and support.
Mild to Moderate Dysfunction
If you haven’t reached total dysfunction, some simple lifestyle changes can help substantially. In my experience, women with mild to moderate cases of adrenal dysfunction can see such life changing improvement through the following steps:
- Dietary changes to improve nutrition. One of my first recommendations is to reduce your consumption of carbohydrates and stimulants. Sure, coffee and sugar can give you a quick boost, but this is soon followed by a crash. Focus on eating the right foods, at the right times. Consider adding pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements, and including essential fatty acids from fish oil.
- Stress reduction, including exercise and taking more time for yourself. Stress is a huge factor in adrenal dysfunction. Exercise can help, if it’s the right kind of gentle exercise. It can be helpful to make a list of your stressors, especially those that are constant. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can take steps to change the stress cycle.
- Get more rest. Sleep is essential to good adrenal health. While you are healing, it’s even more important to be sure you get at least seven hours of sleep per night; preferably more!
When I see women with more severe symptom – those that I call “Flatliners” in my book Is it Me or My Adrenals? – I know they have reached complete adrenal dysfunction. Completely drained and barely able to get out of bed, these women usually need greater intervention and more time to heal.
In these cases, I not only recommend the above steps but also add the natural support of phosphorylated serines, adaptogenic herbs, sometimes low-dose compounded DHEA, and occasionally deglycyrrhizinated licorice (if the person does not have high blood pressure). Every woman is unique, so I personalize the therapy to each one’s individual symptoms and test results. I urge you not to self-prescribe these substances, as they can have adverse health effects.
Emotional factors can also play a significant role in stress – and adrenal imbalance. Holding onto pain from past hurts can lead to self-destructive habits such as overconsumption of alcohol, overeating, and working yourself too hard. All of these emotional responses keep stress levels high, ultimately making your symptoms worse. Learning to confront emotional issues head on is far more beneficial than trying to overcompensate for the stresses they create.
How Long Does Healing Take?
There’s no magic time frame for restoring adrenal health, but in all but the most extreme cases, I expect to see dramatic improvement within about four months. This may sound like forever, but remember – it took you a long time to get to this point; it may take a while to see results. For mild to moderate adrenal fatigue the turnaround can be much faster.
Once you have healed, remember that natural support for your adrenals can keep imbalance from reoccurring. These lifestyle tips are good practices all the time, not just as a response to crisis. Giving your adrenals the natural support they deserve can give you the energy and happiness you deserve!
For more in-depth information on how to support your adrenals naturally, read my article Natural Treatments for Adrenal Dysfunction.