Adrenal fatigue symptoms of exhaustion could be implicated in your IBS fatigue symptoms.
It is a common condition characterised by extreme fatigue, sugar craving, weight loss or weight gain, altered mood such as depression and anxiety, salt craving, impotence, lack of libido, muscle aches and pains and symptoms similar to IBS (bloating, diarrhea and constipation).
It is a controversial condition with many medical practitioners disbelieving that adrenal deficiency could underlie symptoms.
It is thought to occur due to a poor response to stress conditions resulting in the adrenal exhaustion experienced by sufferers.
The adrenal glands are present in the human body, lying on the top of each kidney. The produce the hormones cortisol and adrenaline (also known as epinephrine).
Cortisol, a natural steroid is required by the body for many different processes as part of the body’s natural metabolism. Loss of cortisol or adrenal deficiency results in adrenal fatigue symptoms similar to the IBS fatigue symptoms a lot of sufferers have.
So Is there a relationship between your fatigue and the adrenal glands? Well. to understand this more you need to understand what happens if the adrenal glands fail.
If the adrenal gland fails then adrenal fatigue symptoms occur including weight loss, low sugar levels, hyperpigmentation, loss of periods, nausea symptoms, low blood pressure and eventual collapse and coma occurs. This is known as Addison’s disease, a form of adrenal deficiency. The most common cause for this is an autoimmune condition where the bodies immune system causes adrenal failure.
Autoimmune adrenal disease is associated with other conditions such as diabetes mellitus (which can present with weight loss and fatigue too!), thyroid disease which can also cause fatigue, pernicious anaemia and coeliac disease (another cause of fatigue and weight loss in some). There are less common causes of adrenal failure such as tuberculosis and Sarcoidosis.
The diagnosis is made on the collection of fatigue symptoms outlined above. Initially in adrenal exhaustion there is weight gain, but when the full blown adrenal failure occurs there is weight loss as the levels of cortisol eventually drop.
There are hormone tests that can be done including checking the morning cortisol level (cortisol is at its highest around 09.00 in the morning), a short synacthen test where a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol is administered and cortisol measured and also checking levels of DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone which is low in this condition.
The adrenal exhaustion symptoms are usually treated with dietary changes. Because a sugar boost is required in the morning at a time of maximal cortisol production, an adrenal fatigue diet should include a high energy breakfast meal such as porridge, cereals and juices. It should also involve increasing the salt in your diet as well as avoiding potassium containing foods such as bananas and nuts.
The IBS diet model is an ideal adrenal fatigue diet for sufferers as it has all the requirements a sufferer needs. Cutting out stimulants such as caffeine in tea, coffee and carbonated cola’s may be helpful as well as avoiding alcohol. This may result in a weight loss which is often helpful in the earlier stages of the disease as it will help to increase energy and improve fitness.
Supplements with Magnesium, B12 and Vitamin C and Omega oils are often advised too.
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