The adrenal glands are part of your body’s endocrine system. There are two of these small glands in your body, and they are positioned close to the top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce multiple hormones and manage your body’s response to stress.
Constant stress and/ or poor stress management can compromise the functionality of your adrenal glands as they make and release the hormone cortisol as a natural response to stress. In a healthy body, the cortisone levels can rise in dangerous situations and subsequently diminish when the threat goes away.
When chronic stress occurs, the body’s cortisol levels remain elevated, as the adrenal glands continue to produce cortisol, even when the perceived threat goes away. This can result in adrenal fatigue.
There are three widely recognized stages of adrenal fatigue, including:
Alarm/ Alert Phase
The alarm phase of adrenal fatigue typically occurs when your body fights or kicks its natural flight response into gear. This response leads to the release of multiple hormones into your bloodstream, including cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.
The fight or flight response is a normal, healthy response to stress; however, if you suffer from chronic stress, adrenal fatigue may continue to persist.
Chronic stress poses the need for increased cortisol production as the adrenal glands may struggle to keep up with your body’s demands. This second stage called the “resistance phase,” may cause you to experience symptoms, including fatigue, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, frequent infections, and even weight gain. Fatigue in the resistance phase may even inhibit your ability to carry out daily activities.
In the exhaustion phase, the adrenal glands are no longer able to produce cortisol. As a result, cortisol production falls dramatically, and adrenal exhaustion paired with high-stress levels could potentially inhibit the functionality of other bodily systems, including digestion and reproduction. These systems may then stop functioning at an optimal level and compensate with an adrenal crash.
It’s important to catch adrenal fatigue in its early stages and to prevent low cortisol levels from posing additional complications. For comprehensive adrenal fatigue treatment, schedule an appointment at the Gulf Coast Institute of Rejuvenation today.