Catherine Tanaka
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Understanding Adrenal Fatigue: A Guide for Busy Women Over 40

Feeling overwhelmed? Exhausted? Craving sugar and unable to sleep? These experiences are often connected to the constant stress we face in our busy lives. As women over 40, we know all too well the impact stress can have on our health and well-being. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about understanding adrenal fatigue, also known as “HPA Axis Dysregulation,” which relates to the functioning of our adrenal glands.

Imagine your adrenal glands as small walnut-shaped organs perched on top of your kidneys. These glands play a vital role in producing various hormones, including stress hormones.

But what happens when our adrenal glands become overburdened and overworked?

You might have heard of the term “adrenaline junkies” before. Adrenaline and cortisol are the stress hormones responsible for that familiar adrenaline rush, which makes us feel completely alert and in the present moment. This sensation is often referred to as the “fight or flight” response.

Some of us may even enjoy that intense feeling from time to time. The release of hormones during the fight or flight response is a normal bodily reaction to stress. Stress can be beneficial in certain situations, such as helping us quickly pull our child out of oncoming traffic.

However, what if you are experiencing constant stress? What if it persists throughout the day, every day? We’re talking about chronic stress here.

In that case, feeling constantly on alert, wondering when the next shoe is going to drop, no longer seems awesome. Instead, it’s draining and depleting. Think what this constant stress is doing to your poor adrenal glands—those hardworking little organs.

They would inevitably become fatigued!

Do I have Adrenal Fatigue?

So, how can you determine if you have adrenal fatigue?

When your adrenal glands become exhausted from continuously producing stress hormones, you may start experiencing other symptoms. These can include fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight fluctuations, joint pain, intense sugar cravings, and frequent infections like colds and the flu. I know you are thinking these symptoms are just what a busy working mother deals with but these signs indicate that your adrenals are under considerable strain.

It’s important to note that there aren’t any widely accepted medical tests specifically for diagnosing adrenal fatigue. In fact, most medical professionals only recognize it when the adrenal glands are so fatigued that they are almost non-functional. At that point, a diagnosis of “Adrenal Insufficiency” or “Addison’s Disease” might be made.

Nevertheless, if you experience these symptoms, it’s time to consult your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions. Your doctor might even be open to discussing adrenal fatigue or suggest wellness strategies to help alleviate your stress and manage your symptoms effectively.

What Can You Do

So, what can you do if you’re dealing with these symptoms?

Fortunately, there are things you can take to reduce stress and improve your overall health and energy levels in your busy life. Stress reduction is key, and that can be tough when it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day. My favorite things to reduce stress in my busy life that you can easly fit in your day include; a quick 5 min meditation, a hike in nature with the family, 5-10 min light exercise, prioritizing quality sleep, or indulging in a relaxing bath.

Additionally, I highly recommend reducing your sugar and processed foods while increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables. Nourish your body with better nutrition will impact your body and hormone levels in a postive way. Make those quick subsitutes of fruit for sugar and snack veggies for chips, you will thank yourself when you feel light and fresh vs. tired and muddle headed.

In conclusion, your adrenal glands respond to stress by producing hormones. However, prolonged and intense stress can lead to adrenal fatigue. It’s worth noting that adrenal fatigue remains a controversial condition without a definitive diagnostic test or specific symptoms.

The most important step you can take is to consult your doctor for appropriate testing to exclude other potential conditions. 

Alongside that, consider incorporating stress reduction techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, nature walks, light exercise, adequate sleep,or even a lovely bath. Below is a recipe to help you relax 

Lavender Bath Salts

Stress-reducing bath salt recipe : Lavender Bath Salts

Per bath

2 cups epsom salts

10 drops lavender essential oil

While running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub.

Mix until dissolved

Optional: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.

Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!

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About the Author Catherine Tanaka

My name is Catherine Tanaka. I am a Personal Trainer, Transformation Coach, Yogi enthusiast and Mom of two. I am on a mission to make a difference in others happiness through fitness using the best research available to give you the best fitness hacks to make being the best version of you possible. Learn more about my one-on-one coaching or check out my Online Course - The Body Project Protocol.

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