Stress on Stress on Stress: What You Need to Know About Adrenal Fatigue

Stress is a common factor that most people share without even realizing it. The obvious stressors are the busy schedules, paying bills, caring for family, maintaining our relationships, and balancing our lives. Less obvious stressors include: physical stress such as that intense spin class or 6 mile run, physical illness, too little sleep, not enough down time, or working in a toxic environment. Many of my patients tell me “I don’t feel stressed” but it’s important to remember we are adaptable creatures. It’s amazing the level of stress and go-go-go that becomes normal after a while. Remember just because we have adapted to a hectic life doesn’t mean it’s not affecting our health.  Let’s talk about how stress affects our bodies, our health and what symptoms to watch out for.

What are Adrenal Glands Anyway?

Your adrenal glands are two small but potent glands that rest on top of our kidneys. They communicate with every cell, organ and gland in the body during times of stress to help maintain balance and ensure survival. They do this by secreting the hormone cortisol to help us adapt in stressful situations. These little glands influence many processes in the body from the immune system, hormone production, weight, and blood sugar. Cortisol turns off processes we don’t need in stressful situations and turn on processes we do. For example, if we are faced with a snarling bear we need to run, we need blood going to our legs, and heart, we don’t need to be digesting food or fighting off that cold you caught last week.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue, also known as hypoadrenalism or adrenocortical insufficiency, happens when your body is not secreting sufficient amounts of cortisol and other adrenal hormones to meet your physiological needs. In other words, you’re overexerting and stressing yourself out so much that your body cannot keep up with your lifestyle demands.

We are not meant to be in a constant stress state, our adrenals are meant to help us adapt to stress in acute situations. Not to be pushing out cortisol day in and day out as we fight traffic, rush to pick up the kids, work late, then down coffee because we are sleep deprived. This push-push-push fast tracks us into adrenal fatigue, and stimulants like coffee and energy drinks not only mask our bodies signals telling us to slow down but push the adrenals further into fatigue. Essentially our little adrenals can only keep up for so long, before they can’t, and then we begin to feel it.

What are the Symptoms?

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up at night worrying
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Waking up feeling unrefreshed even after sufficient sleep
  • Feeling wired & tired at night
  • Craving salt
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin/malasma
  • Feeling exhausted after workouts or work days
  • Poor tolerance to stress

While mild adrenal fatigue is more common than severe cases, you may recognize the name Addison’s Disease, which is an example of severe hypoadrenalism. If you are experiencing five or more of these symptoms, you’re are most likely experiencing adrenal fatigue.

What are Typical Stressors?

Each person reacts differently to stress, and different situations in life stress people out in different ways. These are considered to be the top 10 most stressful events:

  1. Death of a spouse/child
  2. Divorce
  3. Marital separation
  4. Jail time
  5. Death of close family member
  6. Personal injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Fired at work
  9. Marital reconciliation
  10. Retirement

Other major stressors:

  • Change in health of a family member
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex difficulties
  • Business adjustment
  • Change in financial state
  • Death of close friends
  • Changing jobs
  • Son or daughter leaving home
  • Addition of new family member
  • Change in living conditions
  • Kids starting school/changing schools
  • Change in sleeping and eating habits

The stressors above are sometimes situations that you cannot control, but you can help yourself to adapt better to them. There is a risk that the stress in your life is causing more harm than you realize, and it is pertinent that you develop a self-care routine.  To learn more about what you can do read my next blog.

If you’re interested in learning more about adrenal fatigue, or being tested to find out how your adrenals are doing give us a call at 1-650-271-9543 or book your free 15 minute phone consult online.

Treating Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Seasonal Allergies

As spring continues to move into summer, the weather change bringing the seasonal allergies we all dread. Runny nose, sore throat, red and itchy eyes – the list of symptoms can go on and on. Your first move has always been to go straight towards over-the-counter medicine to treat your symptoms, but have you ever thought of a natural approach to treating your seasonal allergies?

Understanding Allergies: What Are They?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an allergy is “when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it.” Some of the most common allergies are to mold, pollen, dust mites, animal hair, food, and the environment. Seasonal allergy symptoms typically include “sneezing, itchy eyes, nose, or roof of the mouth, runny or stuffy nose, and watery, red, or swollen eyes.” However, many find themselves experiencing seasonal allergies for longer periods of time and at a more intense rate.

Why Treat Allergies Naturopathically?

Instead of trying to suppress the symptoms with pharmaceutical medicine, our holistic approach of treating allergic symptoms goes deeper to the cause as to why a person’s immune system is overreacting. Using herbs, homeopathy, and nutrients, naturopathic doctors aim to find and treat the root of your problem, instead of prescribing our patient’s medicine that will only temporarily treat the symptom.

Holistic Approaches to Treating Allergies

  1. Improve your diet – identify and take out food sensitivities and food allergies. This lowers the burden on the immune system reducing the allergic threshold of the immune system, thus making you more resilient to the allergy season. Avoiding trans fats can help as well.
  2. Integrate nutrients to stabilize the immune system, such as magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B5 and B1.
  3. Support the stress system- when stress is high, the immune system is taxed and allergies can get worse. Adrenal support can help make you and your immune system more resilient.
  4. Hesperidin, a nutrient from citrus fruits, has been shown to reduce symptoms of allergies.
  5. A good quality probiotic is essential to supporting healthy immune system and allergy resilience.
  6. Try correcting hypothyroidism- balancing the thyroid has shown to improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
  7. Quercetin in high dose has been shown to be effective at stabilizing mast cells- 100mg twice daily. 

Dr. Escobedo has had great success helping her patients improve their immune health, reduce allergy symptoms and identify and eliminate food triggers. If you are suffering from allergies, or think you may have food or environmental allergies, come in and get your blood test today. If you’re interested in learning more about the services provided at Wild Women Wellness, you can visit our website or give us a call at (650)-271-9453 today!