Open M - TH, 8AM-5PM

women sitting on her office chair touching her head

The Women’s Guide to Adrenal Fatigue: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Are you tired all too often? Does fatigue affect how you’re able to live your life? Discover how Dr. Radawi of Tri-Cities Functional Medicine takes a holistic approach to addressing adrenal fatigue and its underlying factors such as chronic stress.

Click Here to Watch Our Free Webinar!

Fatigue of any kind isn’t fun for anyone. Let’s face it, when you’re fatigued you can’t concentrate. You can’t perform at your best and you just feel completely spent. But fatigue can be caused by many factors — and there are also underlying factors that can contribute to feeling depleted.

Adrenal fatigue is a condition that may occur when the adrenal glands become overworked and are unable to keep up with the body’s demands. While this condition can affect anyone, many functional medicine experts notice that women are more likely to experience adrenal fatigue than men. If not treated, adrenal insufficiency may lead to a variety of health problems such as severe abdominal pain, extreme weakness, and low blood pressure — just to name a few.

In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of adrenal fatigue in women.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenal glands are part of your endocrine system. These are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of the kidneys that produce cortisol and other hormones including aldosterone, and adrenaline.

Adrenal fatigue is a condition that occurs when the adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the demands of the body’s stress response system. As adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol — this helps your body respond to stress. And when stress becomes chronic or overwhelming, the adrenal glands may become overworked and unable to produce adequate levels of cortisol, leading to a range of symptoms.

It’s important to note that adrenal fatigue is not an accepted medical term, but rather a term used by functional medicine and alternative healthcare practitioners to describe a collection of symptoms that may occur when the adrenal glands are not functioning optimally.

What are Common Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue in Females?

Adrenal fatigue can affect anyone, but when the adrenal glands aren’t functioning properly, this can lead to a variety of symptoms — some of which may differ between men and women.

The following includes a few common signs of adrenal gland problems in females:

  • Fatigue: Feeling tired even after a good night’s sleep.
  • Brain Fog: Difficulty concentrating or focusing on common tasks.
  • Weight Gain: Unexplained weight gain, particularly in the abdomen.
  • Muscle Weakness: Feeling weak or tired, or having body aches, especially in the legs.
  • High Blood Pressure: Elevated blood pressure that is difficult to control.
  • Skin Changes: Darkening of the skin, particularly in skin folds such as the armpits and groin.
  • Mood Changes: Irritability, anxiety, or depression.
  • Menstrual Irregularities: Changes in menstrual cycles, including missed periods.
  • Decreased Libido: Loss of interest in sex.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep.

While signs and symptoms will vary from person to person, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a functional medicine provider for a proper treatment. For example, unexplained weight loss can also be associated with adrenal fatigue whereas it may trigger weight gain in others.

Additionally, adrenal gland problems may also be caused by a variety of conditions, including Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome and adrenal tumors. Your functional medicine provider can perform blood tests to determine the cause of your symptoms and to recommend appropriate treatment.

If you suspect that you have poor adrenal health, it’s important to take steps to manage your stress, eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. Your functional medicine provider may also recommend supplements or medications to help manage your symptoms. And by taking care of yourself and seeking appropriate treatment, you can improve your quality of life and manage your symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

What is the Root Cause of Adrenal Fatigue in Women?

8 common causes of chronic stress that can effect adrenal health in women infographic

As mentioned, adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction) is a condition that is not recognized as a medical term by most medical professionals. However, it is commonly believed that chronic stress can lead to dysfunction of the adrenal glands, which can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating and sleep disturbances.

In females, chronic or long-term stress is thought to be a major factor for adrenal fatigue. However, many factors can contribute to chronic stress, including the following:

  • Work-Related Stress
  • Physical Stress
  • Emotional Stress
  • Family Obligations
  • Financial Pressures
  • Relationship Difficulties
  • Hormonal Imbalances — particularly those that occur during menopause or premenstrual syndrome (PMS), can also contribute to adrenal dysfunction.
  • Low Immune System Function — poor adrenal function may trigger an adverse immune system response.

Other factors that may contribute to adrenal fatigue in females include poor diet, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation and exposure to toxins. In some cases, underlying medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, or chronic infections may also play a role.

If you are experiencing symptoms of fatigue or other health problems, it’s important to speak with a functional medicine expert to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

How Does Functional Medicine Treat Adrenal Fatigue?

When it comes to treating adrenal fatigue or adrenal dysfunction in women, functional medicine practitioners take a holistic approach that addresses the underlying factors that affect cortisol production and contribute to the condition. The idea here is to treat you — the entire person — not just your symptoms.

The following includes a few ways that your functional medicine provider may approach adrenal fatigue treatment:

  • Identifying Triggers: Functional medicine practitioners work with patients to identify triggers that contribute to stress, such as diet, environmental toxins, and lifestyle factors. By addressing these triggers, this can help reduce stress on the adrenal glands.
  • Balancing Hormones: Supplements or treatments to balance cortisol levels and other hormones that support adrenal function may be recommended in some cases.
  • Managing Stress: Stress is a major contributor to adrenal fatigue. Functional medicine practitioners often work with patients to develop chronic stress management techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques.
  • Nutritional Support: Dietary changes or supplements to support adrenal function may also be recommended — such as increasing the intake of healthy foods such as healthy fats, protein, vitamin C, micronutrients and reducing sugary foods.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Functional medicine practitioners may also recommend lifestyle changes such as engaging in regular exercise and getting enough sleep to support adrenal function.
  • Supplements: In some cases, supplements may be needed to support adrenal function and manage symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

As mentioned, functional medicine practitioners take a personalized approach to treating adrenal fatigue, tailoring treatment plans to the individual needs of each patient. By addressing the root causes of adrenal fatigue and supporting adrenal function, functional medicine can be an effective approach to managing this condition.

4 Steps to Take if You Think You Have Adrenal Fatigue

As previously discussed, adrenal fatigue symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors or other medical conditions. However, if you are experiencing persistent fatigue, depleted energy levels, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, or other symptoms that you suspect may be related to adrenal insufficiency, there are several steps you can take to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms:

  1. Consult with a Functional Medicine Expert

A medical professional can help you determine if your symptoms are related to adrenal glands or if there may be another underlying condition contributing to your symptoms.

  1. Keep a Symptom Diary

Keeping track of your symptoms over time can help you identify patterns or triggers that may be contributing to your fatigue or other symptoms.

  1. Get Tested

Some healthcare professionals may order blood or saliva tests to evaluate adrenal function, such as cortisol levels, to help identify any dysfunction or imbalances.

  1. Address Lifestyle Factors

Making changes to your diet, avoiding junk food, exercise routine, sleep habits, and implementing stress management techniques will help improve overall health and reduce the impact of chronic stress on the body.

It’s important to note that while adrenal fatigue symptoms in females vary widely, the best approach to addressing persistent fatigue or other symptoms is to work with a functional medicine expert to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Want to know more about the long-term effect of fatigue? Read the blog: How Does Stress Affect Your Body? Let’s Talk Long-Term

Treating Adrenal Fatigue at Tri-Cities Functional Medicine

Are you always depleted, stressed, or just can’t find the energy to get through the day? Have you experienced any of the symptoms listed in this guide? Would you like to find some answers and get back to living a full, healthy life? If so, we invite you to come to Tri-Cities Functional Medicine so we can help you get your life back.

At Tri-Cities Functional Medicine, we offer a patient-centered approach, so you will always be treated holistically, and with the respect you deserve — not ‘just another face in the waiting room.’ Dr. Radawi will work with you to find the root cause of your fatigue. And together, our team will work with you to improve your health so that you start feeling energized again.

If you are constantly feeling that you’re unable to make it through the day, we welcome you to Tri-Cities Functional Medicine to find the holistic, personalized care you need most. You can get started by watching our free webinar. Then, if you’re interested, schedule a free discovery call with us.

Here’s how you can take the first step:

  • Watch our free webinar to learn about our approach to the health concerns you are facing.
  • Schedule a free discovery call to discuss your health concerns and goals to see if our practice is a good fit for you.
  • After your discovery call — if we are a good fit, you’ll schedule a consultation with our doctor to dive deeper and formulate an individualized treatment plan for you.

Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and NorthCarolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA