I was always tired, no matter how many hour of sleep I got each night. I had constant brain fog. I was always cold when others weren’t. No matter what I did I couldn’t shed the lbs. These issues go hand in hand with my diagnosis of hypothyroidism. After being prescribed my hypothyroidism medications I still was having problems. It wasn’t getting any better. Many doctors over look adrenal fatigue since it is so similar in comparison with my hypothyroidism. The tests for thyroid and adrenal fatigue are often difficult to understand. The two are often confused or misdiagnosed. So, which one do you treat 1st? The chicken or the egg?
What were my adrenals glands?
My adrenals and my thyroid have a strange relationship. They contradict each other all the time. They have a topsy-turvy relationship in which when one thing goes up, the other goes down. My adrenals are my “life saving” organs because they control my body’s hormones and help me to survive in stressful situations. The adrenals act as the control organs for my “fight or flight” response and secrete many of our most important hormones including: pregnenolone, adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol.
Adrenal fatigue is more often than none misunderstood as an autoimmune disorder. Adrenal fatigue can impersonate and look like other common illnesses and diseases. Adrenal fatigue can be caused by:
- Stressful experiences like death of loved one, divorce or surgery
- Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
- Prolonged stress due to financial hardship, bad relationships or work environment, and other conditions that entail feelings of despair
- Negative thinking and emotional trauma
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet and lack of exercise
Unknowingly my adrenals were constantly stressed which set off a chain reaction to my immune system and set up shop for inflammation through my entire body. The adrenal-hypothalamus-pituitary reaction circle controls the release of cortisol. All of my organs and my immunity were being impacted negatively by the resulting continuous hit of cortisol. Actually since my adrenals were out of whack it was causing my hypothyroidism to be much worse than it would be normally. Could this be the reason for my latest diagnosis of Hashimoto’s? Could my weakened adrenal glands be the main reason why I developed a thyroid condition in the 1st place? My life was a chaotic world wind of craziness. I was going to school fulltime to be a nurse and just had my twins which added 3 kids under the age of three. Yes, I was exhausted mentally, physically and what was that thing called sleep? Years of poor eating habits and/or chronic stress had finally caught up with me. All those carb loaded, over processed , refined foods and sugars had also caused an imbalance in my insulin and cortisol hormones.
According to the Endocrine Society, adrenal fatigue is a myth promoted by health books and alternative medicine websites. “There are no scientific facts to support the theory that long-term mental, emotional, or physical stress drains the adrenal glands and causes many common symptoms,” the society says on the Hormone Health Network website.
The constant abuse that I put on my adrenal glands from the bad eating choices and chronic stress lead to more secretion of cortisol which weaken my adrenal glands and lead to my adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue are very similar to symptoms of hypothyroidism. People might experience all of these are just a few . Some of the more common ones:
• Extremely tired, especially in the morning
• Find it difficult to obtain quality sleep
• Crave sweet and salty foods
• Feel stressed out most of the time
• Decreased sex drive
What I’ve come to understand is in most cases, a malfunctioning thyroid gland isn’t the actual cause of the problem. Hypothyroidism has a root cause. My goal was to figure our what was causing my weakened adrenals and to start addressing those issues. 1st I started to address the what I ate. I added more things like:
- Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
- Fatty fish (e.g., wild-caught salmon)
- Chicken and turkey
- Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
- Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia and flax
- Kelp and seaweed
- Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
- coconut oil
- organic butter
- Fish oil (EPA/DHA)
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
Life is an experiment. Be kind to yourself. People really don’t know what you are going through. Be patient, love yourself and step forward without judgement on those who have no clue. Reach for happiest with every breath you take. Trust your heart. Keep your faith and walk ahead!—Audrey Childers
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Health and Happiness,
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