Welcome to Dr. James Wilson's Adrenal Fatigue Blog

How to Diagnose and Help Adrenal Fatigue

How do doctors diagnose adrenal fatigue?

saliva-testMedicine generally only recognizes Addison’s disease, which is the most extreme end of low adrenal function. Doctors who are familiar with the varying degrees of decreased adrenal function usually test the adrenal hormone levels in your saliva. This is an accurate and useful indicator of adrenal fatigue that is simple and relatively inexpensive. A test kit can be obtained from the lab and the test completed at home by simply spitting into the test tubes 4 times throughout a 24 hour day and filling out an activity sheet to go with the saliva samples. There are other common lab tests that can be used more indirectly to detect adrenal fatigue if the practitioner knows how to interpret them. So if you suspect you are experiencing adrenal fatigue, seek out a healthcare practitioner who is familiar with this problem.

What helps someone with adrenal fatigue?

For most people, a focused program of lifestyle modifications, body-mind practices, specific nutrients and targeted supplementation for adrenal support can help revitalize adrenal function and greatly enhance stress hardiness. In adrenal fatigue, hormone therapy with corticosteroids is usually not necessary or desirable. In fact, taking adrenal steroid hormones suppresses adrenal function and can exacerbate adrenal fatigue. This situation differs from Addison’s disease in which the adrenals are incapable of producing adequate adrenal hormones and an external source is required for continued survival. With adrenal fatigue, the adrenals are still functioning and are capable of returning to optimum with proper support.

What keeps the adrenal glands healthy?

coffee by Flickr user dyobmitThe guidelines for keeping your adrenal glands healthy are very similar to the overall principles of good health but there are a few factors especially important for adrenal support and building stress resilience: Eat regular meals with good quality food that combines balanced amounts of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates at every meal and snack – including breakfast; avoid sugar and stimulants like caffeine (even though it temporarily makes you feel better, it only depletes your adrenals more); exercise moderately; get adequate rest (go to bed by 9:30 PM and sleep in as long as you can in the morning); learn to manage your stressors. Because modern life is so stressful, nutritional supplements designed specifically for adrenal support may also be a great help.

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6 Responses to How to Diagnose and Help Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Jan says:

    I am 55! Female & still having periods monthly. Last month I started experiencing hot flashes, mainly at night. I’m very nervous & have anxiety especially around my period. I had vertigo that was diagnosed as BPPV. Could this be adrenals? I take several vitamin supplements & magnesium liquid. Vertigo Is gone but still experience imbalance from time to time.
    V

  2. Ashly says:

    Is it possible to have adrenal fatigue with no real symptoms of fatigue?
    I have taken two saliva tests in the past year at work and DHEA and cortisol were low-low normal for my age (30). My progesterone was really low, which makes me think I have progesterone deficiency secondary to adrenal insufficiency.
    I’ve always been a worry wart-even as a kid- so my ability to cope with stress is probably not great. But when I look at a list of symptoms of adrenal fatigue, I largely do not fit.
    Would it hurt to take the Super Stress formula? Would it help?

    Thanks for your time!
    Ashly

    • Hi Ashley,

      Thank you for your question. It is possible that the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenals are being stressed before someone notices symptoms of fatigue because they are still able to compensate. The hormonal balance is very complex and there are many reasons someone’s hormone levels may be low. We would encourage you to have a professional help interpret your labs within the context of what signs and symptoms you do have, as well as the relationship of each of the hormone levels to one other. The Super Adrenal Stress Formula provides building blocks to create the steroid hormones, including cortisol and progesterone, so even if you are not experiencing fatigue, the product should help your body continue to adapt to and cope with stress.

      We hope this information helps!

      -Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  3. Stephanie says:

    I have been on a roller coaster of thyroid treatment for several years. Things have gotten progressively worse over the years. With a toxic moldy environment, mono at one point and hypothyroidism, my adrenals are shot! I can’t tolerate thyroid medicine but I need it. I feel bad when I’m low but I feel another bad when I’m within “normal” range. When I’m hypo I feel so sluggish and so tired. when the dose is raised I feel some symptoms leave and others arise.

    I can’t seem to find a balance and its very disheartening. Which one should I focus on to finally heal!

    • Hi Stephanie,

      That’s a frustrating problem, and a great question. Many will say that the adrenal glands should be addressed first, as this will help better facilitate things with the thyroid. Dr. Wilson created his thyroid supplement to be able to work along with his adrenal supplements, so it is possible to support both at the same time. Are you currently working with a practitioner? If not, you may want to check out the practitioner database on our website (enter state and click search): http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/find-a-healthcare-provider

      Hope this helps – all the best!
      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

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