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Have you ever heard of “adrenal fatigue?” If you have experienced a lot of stress, this will probably be one of the potential causes.

Common adrenal fatigue symptoms lie in long-term mental, emotional, or physical stress. 

Adrenal fatigue is not a medical diagnosis accepted by mainstream medical practitioners. It is a layman’s term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, including fatigue, body aches, sleep disorders, nervousness, and digestive problems.

There is a reported treatment for adrenal fatigue; however, it hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They are also expensive and much likely not covered by insurance companies. 

Adrenal Fatigue Theory

Adrenal fatigue has a history dating back to the early 1990s. It has gained traction in recent years, alongside other alternative medicine approaches, and many people attribute debilitating symptoms to adrenal fatigue. 

Proponents of adrenal fatigue argue that the adrenal glands, positioned above the kidneys, supply hormones like cortisol when the body is faced with stressors. 

According to the theory of adrenal fatigue, long-term stress leads to an inability of the body to produce enough of these hormones. When this happens, proponents of adrenal fatigue believe that patients may experience many different symptoms.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Your adrenal glands also secrete various hormones that keep your body functioning. A condition called adrenal insufficiency results from inadequate production of these hormones. There are signs and symptoms resulting in this:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of body hair
  • Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)

Adrenal hypofunction can be diagnosed using blood tests that measure levels of adrenal hormones and stimulation tests that show a lack of a rise in adrenal hormone levels after stimulation.

Comparison between Adrenal Fatigue and Adrenal Insufficiency

The proponents of this theory claim that adrenal fatigue is an often-overlooked form of adrenal insufficiency caused by chronic stress. The unproven theory is that your adrenal glands cannot keep up with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal. 

Based on this theory, they say that existing blood tests aren’t sensitive enough to detect such a small decrease in adrenal function, but your body is. 

According to this theory, existing blood tests aren’t sensitive enough to detect small changes in adrenal function. However, your body can detect these changes. 

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is defined as a deficiency of adrenal hormones, particularly cortisol. The symptoms of adrenal fatigue include a lack of energy, trouble falling asleep at night or tired waking up in the morning, craving salt and sugar, and needing stimulants like caffeine to get through the day. 

The Danger of Misdiagnosis

It’s frustrating if you have persistent symptoms and your doctor can’t easily explain and diagnose the root cause. The lack of a precise diagnosis can lead to unnecessary suffering as you try one treatment after another in an attempt to relieve your pain. 

A medically unrecognized diagnosis from an unqualified practitioner may also result in a misdiagnosis, which leaves the real cause—such as fibromyalgia or depression—undiagnosed, and you continue to suffer. 


If you are experiencing any symptoms like trouble falling asleep at night, tiredness or waking up in the morning, salt and sugar craving, and the need for stimulants like caffeine to get through the day, make sure you get an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional. This will help you understand what is wrong with your body and get the proper treatment.

Balanced Body Functional Medicine offers adrenal fatigue functional medicine in Sugar Land. Set an appointment with us to obtain the correct diagnosis if you have adrenal fatigue or know if there are other causes of your tiredness. Contact us to get the proper treatment today!

Kirista Berry

Author Kirista Berry

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