When your adrenal function begins to slip, you definitely feel it. You’re exhausted, your weight is becoming difficult to manage, and you may even start to feel depressed. That’s all par for the course with adrenal fatigue.
Thanks to the high-stress, little-sleep society we’ve built, more and more people are beginning to get adrenal fatigue. Essentially, your body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a tiger or stressing out for a big work deadline. You release the exact same stress hormones that dictate your “flight or fight” response. Only now, there is no tiger, and instead of the threat disappearing when you climb the nearest tree, it just looms over you, along with all the other stressors in your life.
Your adrenal glands try to keep up to monitor and regulate these hormones, but when you’ve got adrenal fatigue, they just can’t cut it, and soon you find yourself overwrought with these stress hormones all day (and all night) long. It affects every organ system in your body and can have devastating effects long term.
But adrenal fatigue does not treat everyone the same. In fact, just the sex you were born at birth can have a huge impact on how adrenal fatigue affects you and the way you deal with the condition.
First, let’s cover the universals of adrenal fatigue.
No matter if you’re male or female, there are certain things that are pretty constant with adrenal fatigue:
The Causes: In general, most of the same things contribute to adrenal fatigue. Home or workplace stress, trauma, poor diet, toxin exposure, and lack of sleep.
The Chemicals: In both men and women, adrenal fatigue comes with elevated levels of epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, cortisol, and Insulin, along with decreased levels of DHEA and testosterone.
The Standard Symptoms: In general, both men and women experience the base symtomps – regular tiredness, lacking enthusiasm, increased illness, and a decreased sex drive.
In the general scope, these are the universal causes, reactions, and symptoms that can present themselves in anyone of any sex. But there’s more to it than that. Whether you’re male or female can affect how adrenal fatigue presents itself.
How Adrenal Fatigue Affects Women
It’s generally believed that women are affected by adrenal fatigue, and is considered the most common hormonal imbalance in women today. It’s estimated that 75% of women have some kind of decrease in healthy adrenal function.
One of the reasons women seem to be more at risk for adrenal fatigue is because of the busy lives they’re expected to live today. Many women are balancing taking care of a family and building a career. Especially as women reach middle age, they have hormonal teenagers to look after, senior parents to worry about, and the stressors of their own health and age on top of it.
Perimenopause begins, or full blown menopause strikes, and suddenly many women become totally overwhelmed and exhausted. If they did not already suffer from adrenal fatigue, it’s likely that they do now!
The issue is that, particularly in perimenopause and menopause, the adrenal glands become the only source of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in women. If a woman’s adrenal glands are already fatigued when they reach this milestone, it can be difficult for menopause to proceed smoothly.
What are women with adrenal fatigue likely to suffer from?
- Panic Attacks
- Heart Palpitations
- Emotional Exhaustion
- Worsening Preimenopausal Symptoms
- Severe PMS
How Adrenal Fatigue Affects Men
Adrenal fatigue can be seen in men who have a high stress job, whether that’s an executive position or manual labor. Both are hard on the body and the adrenals. Unfortunately, many men don’t think OR talk about adrenal fatigue, in part because they aren’t realizing the symptoms are connected but also because there is a sense of shame for men to admit to many of the symptoms, from depression and anxiety to a decreased sex drive.
And, while fewer men are thought to suffer from adrenal fatigue than women are, it is still a real problem that needs to be addressed. On top of the standard symptoms experienced by both sexes, men have their own problems to deal with.
What are men with adrenal fatigue likely to suffer from?
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Decreasing Strength
- Tendency to Feel Cold
- Erectile Dysfunction
Additionally, there have been links made between men dealing with low testosterone and adrenal fatigue. It makes sense, considering your entire body works together as a complete system. When testosterone is out of balance, it puts extra stress on your adrenals and can lead to adrenal fatigue.
Let’s talk about actual sex now.
If you’ve paid attention, you’ll notice above that I mention a few symptoms of adrenal fatigue that directly affect your sex life, from low libido in both men and women and erectile dysfunction in men. The stress of having your sex life altered can additionally add up to make your adrenal fatigue worse. It’s a pretty nasty cycle.
But did you know it can affect another aspect of your sex life? Your fertility!
That might not be a big deal to people who aren’t trying to conceive, but if you’re looking to start a family, you may want to look at how adrenal fatigue can impact your fertility – and this affects both men and women!
Studies have shown that increased amounts of cortisol in the blood as a result of high stress and anxiety (and a huge factor in adrenal fatigue) contributes to infertility in women. Long-term elevated cortisol levels can spin hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadotropic axis (HPG) out of balance. HPG is critical in the early stage of the fertilization process. Additionally, estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA are affected. All these hormones play a crucial role in fertility.
Additionally, an increased rate of cortisol can decrease a man’s sperm count. Phychological and physical stress can make a man’s adrenal glands work overtime and produce too much cortisol for their bodies to handle. Additionally, sleep disturbances (which are common in adrenal fatigue) can also alter a man’s sperm quality!
On top of that, the stress from trying to conceive and having fertility issues may just make your adrenal fatigue worse.
So it’s not just your sex drive that can be impacted by adrenal fatigue. Your abilty to grow your family could, too!
4 Ways to Manage your Adrenal Fatigue.
You don’t need to let adrenal fatigue ruin your life. You can take dozens of precautions to treat or prevent the issue on your own.
First, manage the stressors from your life.
If you can’t get out of your stressful situations – like an unsatisfying or unhealthy workplace, a bad relationship, or financial difficulties – you can at the very least manage your stress in a healthy, productive manner.
There are dozens of ways to manage stress. Below are a few of our favorite methods:
- Breathing Exercises
Second, sleep more.
Besides managing stress, simply sleeping more can help combat your adrenal fatigue. It will be easier to get more rest at night when you’re more relaxed, so work on your stress management first!
Third, eat well.
Diet plays a huge part in adrenal fatigue. Sugars, hydrogenated oils, and processed foods are all really stressful on your body and your digestive track, which means they can make adrenal fatigue even worse! Cut out as many of the bad foods as you can, and try to add these adrenal-boosting alternatives in:
- Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and other Cruciferous Veggies
- Fatty, Wild-Caught Fish
- Chicken and Turkey
- Kelp and Seaweed
- Himalayan Sea Salt
Finally, take an adrenal support supplement.
It’s never a bad idea to boost your body’s adrenal function and your own ability to manage stress. Find a high quality adrenal support supplement that can help you both mitigate stress AND give your adrenal glands a good boost of healthy nutrients. Make sure you find a supplement with the following critical ingredients:
- Holy Basil
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
One of the best adrenal support supplements on the market is FlexNatural’s Adrenal Support. You can find it on Amazon.
You don’t have to live with adrenal fatigue. Break the mold and get your life back together!