Adrenal fatigue could be the underlying issue behind your hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance and/or progesterone deficiency.
You probably never gave much thought to your adrenal glands.
Yet, these two little glands perched on top of your kidneys play a mighty role in balancing your hormones, managing your weight (especially around your middle), insuring uninterrupted sleep, even-keeled moods and a fighting fit immune system!!
When resolving hormonal problems, women are led to believe that all that is required is tweaking their hormonal levels and hormonal issues with treatments such as bioidentical hormones or oral contraceptives.
However, hormonal imbalances, rather than merely aberrations of a wayward reproductive system, are, in fact, symptoms of deeper root cause issues that need your attention.
The Adrenals and Hormones
The adrenals are involved in manufacturing numerous hormones; blood sugar regulation; the regulation of the body’s minerals; producing and maintaining the body’s energy levels in conjunction with the thyroid; and producing stress-monitoring hormones.
Adrenals Help Us Deal with Stress
The adrenals, the body’s shock absorbers, are the core of the endocrine stress response system. Two of their most important hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are responsible for the fight-or-flight response.
Adrenaline deals primarily with short-term stress while cortisol is produced as a result of both acute and long-term stress.
Prolonged stress, whether as a result of emotional, environmental or physical causes, is disastrous for the adrenals.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Initially, it results in chronically elevated cortisol levels, leading to weight gain (especially around the midsection), blood sugar imbalances, thinning skin, muscle wasting, memory loss, high blood pressure, dizziness, hot flashes, night sweats, excessive facial hair, and other masculizing tendencies.
Overworked adrenals eventually crash, leading to adrenal exhaustion, where the body is unable to maintain adequate adrenal hormone production.
Symptoms of overtaxed adrenals include extreme fatigue (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), irritability, inability to concentrate, frustration, insomnia, addictions to either sweet or salty foods, allergies, nervousness, depression, anxiety, PMS, sensitivity to cold, diabetes and headaches. Chronic low blood pressure can be a key symptom of adrenal exhaustion.
Why Adrenal Exhaustion Leads to Estrogen Dominance
Since the adrenals contribute to about 35% of premenopausal female hormones and almost 50% of postmenopausal hormones, compromised adrenal function profoundly affects hormonal balance.
Progesterone Steal Can Lead to Estrogen Dominance and Progesterone Deficiency
Progesterone is the primary raw material for producing cortisol. When the glands are in overdrive, the body will divert progesterone to the adrenals to support cortisol production.
With reduced progesterone, the body may experience signs of estrogen dominance, i.e. PMS, hot flashes, night sweats, migraines, fibroids, heavy bleeding, breast tenderness, weight gain, etc.
Excessive cortisol also blocks progesterone receptors, further contributing to low progesterone.
These two imbalances are the primary reasons why adrenal exhaustion leads to estrogen dominance.
Restoring Adrenal Function
Restoring adrenal function is a pre-requisite for hormonal balance.
Certain herbs are known for their abilities to support the kidney adrenal functions. Among them are:
- Ashwagandha/Indian ginseng
- Eleuthero/Siberian ginseng
- Maca/Peruvian ginseng
- American ginseng
- Astragalus root
- Schisandra/five flavor berry
- Rhodiola rosea
- Licorice root
You can experiment with these wonderful herbs and supplements, and see which one works best for you. Or alternatively, you can take an adrenal formula that contains several of these herbs, for example, Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health: #1 herbal formula for adrenal support.
Rest is mandatory for rebuilding the adrenals.
Individuals who suspect adrenal exhaustion can determine whether the body is producing healthy levels of adrenal hormones through proper testing. Cortisol levels can be measured with a saliva test that collects at least four samples over 24 hours.
Unfortunately, medical doctors rarely check for adrenal issues nor make the connection that adrenal dysfunction is the underlying issue behind a majority of hormonal problems and other more chronic health issues.
This article is generally shared by Dr. Sellman ND. If you are interested in getting your cortisol levels checked with a saliva test, please email Dr. Sellman at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a test kit to be sent to you. The test is done at home and then sent to the lab.
Chasteberry (proven to help treat low progesterone and regulate menstrual cycles in more than 60 years of clinical research, including 5 randomized trials)
Vitamin B6 (one of the best vitamins to boost progesterone)
Progesterone Cream (bio-identical hormonal support)
Reduce Estrogen Dominance
Liver Cleanse Detox and Repair Formula (support liver functions)
Dim Plus (improve estrogen metabolism)
Support Adrenal and Thyroid Functions
Adrenal Health Daily Support (promote overall hormone balance)
Thyroid Support Complex (support energy and metabolism)
Once Daily Organic Whole Food Vitamin Supplement (provide essential nutrients for health and hormone balance)
Liquid Iron (support healthy blood)
The Hormone Cure, by Dr. Sara Gottfried
Cooking for Hormone Balance, by Magdalena Wszelaki