You know you have an under-active thyroid but are your adrenal glands part of the problem?
Maybe you’ve heard the term adrenal fatigue and wonder if you have it?
What is adrenal fatigue?
Firstly adrenal fatigue is not a recognised medical condition so don’t expect your doctor to diagnose it. However, it is a term commonly used to describe a collection of symptoms that result from chronic stress.
The idea is that your adrenal glands become depleted after a prolonged period of working too hard. When we are exposed to stress, our adrenal glands release stress hormones to help us handle the situation. When the stress is resolved, stress hormone levels drop again. This works well for short, sharp stresses (think caveman running away from wolf).
However, if the stress carries on and on, as it does for many in the modern world, our levels of stress hormones remain elevated and we don’t get the chance to recover. At first, you will feel on edge and on high alert. If this becomes normal for you, you start to suffer fatigue and may eventually become so exhausted that even getting out of bed to start your day feels like one challenge too much.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue
So how will you feel if your adrenals aren’t functioning optimally?
- low mood / irritability
- foggy brain
- difficulty handling stress
- frequent infections with slow recovery
Differences from Hypothyroidism Symptoms
You may well be thinking that these sound much like the symptoms of low thyroid function and you are right, there is a big overlap, but there are some useful differences too:
|Low Thyroid Function||Low Adrenal function|
|Sleep||always sleepy and sleep a long time||too wired to get to sleep in the evening; waking up in the small hours|
|Energy||always sluggish||exhausted on waking and light-headed when you get up; prone to an energy dip mid afternoon but energy picks up in the evening|
|Bowels||constipated||irritable digestion – diarrhoea or constipation|
|Food cravings||crave fats||crave salt|
Be aware too that if you have hypothyroidism, problems may actually have started with your adrenals. If you have been under chronic stress with frequently high levels of adrenal stress hormones, this can lead to the development of hypothryoidism. Indeed, it is a way that the body uses to slow us down and make us rest.
If the story of prolonged high stress sounds familiar, an essential part of your thyroid recovery will be to look after your adrenals.
How to look after your adrenals
- moderate your stress levels
- get plenty of rest
- eat wholesome food with a wide range of nutrients needed by your thyroid and adrenals
Treatment from a homeopath can take your healing further by:
- directly supporting healthy functioning of thyroid and adrenals
- looking for underlying causes of stress, be they emotional (e.g. unresolved grief or work stress) or physical (e.g. chronic infections or environmental toxicity) & treating as necessary
- addressing any auto-immune aspects
So what have my adrenals to do with my under-active thyroid?
Prolonged stress may well have depleted your adrenals and be part of what led to you developing an under-active thyroid. It is very common for adrenal problems to go hand in hand with hypothyroidism. When I work with people with thyroid problems, I nearly always consider their adrenal function too. Taking measures to support your adrenal glands is likely to be an important part of getting you feeling well.
If reading this leaves you suspecting even more strongly that your thyroid and/or adrenal glands need help, I would love to talk to you about your individual case and how to get you feeling better. You are welcome to book a free chat by phone.