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What are Adrenal Exhaustion Symptoms?

Adrenal exhaustion, often termed 'adrenal fatigue,' manifests through symptoms like chronic tiredness, weakened stress response, and cravings for salty foods. Imagine feeling perpetually drained, regardless of rest. This condition whispers tales of a body's silent struggle against relentless stress. Intrigued by how these symptoms paint a bigger picture? Discover the visual cues that signal adrenal weariness and their implications for your health.
Lynndee Molyneaux
Lynndee Molyneaux

The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and are located directly above the kidneys. They secrete any number of hormones, including the anti-stress hormone cortisol. The primary cause of adrenal fatigue and exhaustion is stress, which can include physical, emotional, mental, or environmental stress. Adrenal exhaustion symptoms generally include chronic fatigue, changes in blood pressure, depression, recurring infections, reduced sex drive, brain fog, fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia, and insomnia. For this reason, the adrenals play an important role in the body's line of defense against stress.

In the presence of chronic stress, the adrenal glands may become dysfunctional. During this condition, the body can require excessive amounts of cortisol. Over time, the adrenals may become unable to keep up with the body's demands for this anti-stress hormone.

An adrenal gland on top of a kidney.
An adrenal gland on top of a kidney.

Adrenal fatigue progresses in stages as the adrenals become less able to manage stress. Stage three of adrenal fatigue is known as adrenal exhaustion. At this stage, cortisol production gradually declines and the affected person is no longer able to function normally throughout the day.

While in a state of adrenal exhaustion, the body's main priority is to conserve energy to ensure survival. It begins to break down muscle tissue as a source of energy; at this point, adrenal exhaustion symptoms typically appear. Exercise capacity is reduced due to muscle waste, and fibromyalgia, depression, and chronic fatigue set in. Toxic metabolites accumulate, thereby causing brain fog and insomnia. Adrenaline rushes, hypoglycemic episodes, unstable blood pressure, and anxiety attacks may be experienced as the body tries to repair itself.

Nausea, fatigue, and vomiting may be symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.
Nausea, fatigue, and vomiting may be symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.

If the body is unable to recover, more adrenal exhaustion symptoms could appear as the body cuts back on non-essential functions in a further attempt to conserve energy. Typically, libido is reduced, metabolism is slowed, and digestion is impaired. Fatigue may become severe, and the affected person may spend most of his or her day in bed.

The final stage of adrenal fatigue, known as adrenal failure, may result if adrenal exhaustion symptoms are allowed to persist. People afflicted with adrenal failure are at high risk for cardiovascular collapse and death. Signs that adrenal failure has occurred may include severe vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and sudden pain in the lower back, abdomen, or legs. To avoid serious health complications, the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion typically should be addressed as soon as possible.

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    • An adrenal gland on top of a kidney.
      By: freshidea
      An adrenal gland on top of a kidney.
    • Nausea, fatigue, and vomiting may be symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.
      By: jedi-master
      Nausea, fatigue, and vomiting may be symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.
    • Insomnia is often a symptom of adrenal exhaustion.
      By: bramgino
      Insomnia is often a symptom of adrenal exhaustion.
    • Chronic fatigue, depression, and insomnia are among the many symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.
      By: yanlev
      Chronic fatigue, depression, and insomnia are among the many symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.
    • Adrenal exhaustion can cause a reduced sex drive.
      By: andreusK
      Adrenal exhaustion can cause a reduced sex drive.
    • Changes in blood pressure can be a symptom of adrenal exhaustion.
      By: niyazz
      Changes in blood pressure can be a symptom of adrenal exhaustion.
    • In some cases, adrenal fatigue syndrome signals an underlying physical ailment.
      By: Alliance
      In some cases, adrenal fatigue syndrome signals an underlying physical ailment.
    • Adrenal exhastion can cause health problems like hypoglycemia.
      By: zothen
      Adrenal exhastion can cause health problems like hypoglycemia.
    • Exercise capacity is reduced during adrenal exhaustion.
      By: expressiovisual
      Exercise capacity is reduced during adrenal exhaustion.
    • Fibromyalgia may be a symptom of adrenal exhaustion.
      By: vadymvdrobot
      Fibromyalgia may be a symptom of adrenal exhaustion.
    • Unexplained fatigue might be caused by adrenal exhaustion.
      By: Brian Jackson
      Unexplained fatigue might be caused by adrenal exhaustion.