Adrenals

The adrenals are two small glands that live on top of the kidneys. They produce and secrete stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine) in response to physical and psychological stress.

Just like every system in the body, the adrenal glands need to be balanced for optimal health. Cortisol is needed in adequate amounts to balance blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and regulate metabolism. Stress hormones are required to quickly get into fight or flight mode and prime the body to deal with imminent danger.

In our modern lifestyle, problems arise when we are constantly sending this stress signal to the adrenal glands to pump out stress hormones without the actual need to initiate the fight or flight response. When constant states of stress impact the daily rhythm of cortisol secretion we see HPA axis dysfunction, commonly known as adrenal fatigue.

Symptoms

Low Cortisol:

  • Fatigue

  • Low mood

  • Feeling faint on standing

  • Difficulty getting out of bed

  • Low blood pressure

  • Low libido

  • Hypoglycaemia 

High Cortisol:

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Weight gain around midsection

  • Suppressed immune system

  • Wired and tired feeling

  • Irritability

  • Increased blood sugar

Assessment

Symptoms of HPA axis dysfunction (aka adrenal fatigue) can vary from one individual to the next based on the impact chronic stress has had on cortisol production and secretion. Treatment can be guided based on symptoms alone or a 4-point salivary cortisol test can be run to determine how cortisol is being produced in a daily rhythm.

Cortisol production is supposed to be at it’s highest first thing in the morning to wake the body and lowest at night so the body can fall asleep easily and peacefully. In chronically stressed individuals, it is common to see this rhythm change with low cortisol in the morning and high cortisol at night.

Cortisol-High-Evening (1).jpg

Treatment

The foundation of treatment is to address the lifestyle factors that are impacting the chronic stressful state. This involves prioritizing and working on sleep, exercise, diet and eliminating stresses wherever possible. Nutrients and minerals are utilized to support the function of the adrenal glands. Adaptogens are commonly used to modulate cortisol production and secretion. Adaptogens are botanicals that have been found to support the stress response. Physical medicine such as acupuncture can also be used.


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Other HORMONE BALANCE conditions treated include:

Acne, Adrenal fatigue, Amenorrhea, Cortisol Imbalance, HPA axis dysfunction, Hyperthyroidism (Graves Disease), Hypothyroidism (Including Autoimmune Thyroiditis aka Hashimotos), Low libido, Menopause (hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep, mood), PCOS, PMDD, PMS, Post birth control syndrome