26 Sep 2013

What to do When Your Adrenal Glands are ready to Surrender

Every day, a wide range of physical and psychological stressors — a demanding job, raising a family, relationship dynamics, lack of sleep, financial pressures, suboptimal nutrition, dieting, unresolved emotional distress — signal your adrenal glands to produce stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol).

This is helpful up to a point (because it helps us get our to-do lists done), but when our adrenal glands are required to chronically crank out cortisol, they eventually become impaired in their ability to respond. The resulting adrenal imbalance not only zaps your mojo in a big way, but also affects your body’s ability to produce and balance other feel-good hormones like DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Help, Help!

When symptoms develop, it’s your body’s way of waving a red flag and letting you know that it is not receiving the support it needs. Ignoring what’s going on WON’T make it better….this is not a situation you want to just “power through”.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms that can indicate adrenal imbalance. See if you recognize these tendencies in yourself:

Adrenal overactivity in response to stress (hyper) Adrenal underactivity in response to stress (hypo)

  • Difficulty winding down
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Difficulty getting out of bed in the AM
  • Sleep is not refreshing

  • Always running
  • “Wired and tired”

  • Constant fatigue
  • Weariness
  • Lethargic
  • No energy
Coping style

  • Anxious
  • Panic attacks
  • Short-tempered
  • “Driven”

  • Inability to handle everyday stress
  • Overwhelmed by little things
  • Mild depression
  • Struggling to get through the day
  • Avoid conflict
What Your Mind is Doing

  • Racing
  • Scattered and splattered thoughts
  • Can’t focus

  • Foggy
  • Fuzzy thinking

  • Abdominal weight gain
  • Eating more at night

  • Carb cravings
  • Caffeine is your best friend


There is a lot of overlap of the signs and symptoms listed above with sex hormone imbalances or other illnesses, so adrenal imbalance may not always be the root cause.  Saliva testing can identify which imbalance is the actual problem, allowing you and your provider to target treatment appropriately and get your mojo back on the right track.

The good news is, when addressed in time with proper support you can heal adrenal imbalance and reverse the damaging effects of chronic stress.


About Dr. Anna

Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.

Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.

Please email info@drannagarrett.com for more info.

Dr. Anna Garrett


  1. Hi,
    This article really struck a chord with me, and I immediately contacted my doctor to see if we checked my cortisol levels. Her reply: since my potassium and sodium levels are OK, she doesn’t think cortisol is to blame. Would you please comment on whether this should still be checked?

    • Hi Jane,

      In the most severe cases of adrenal fatigue, sodium and potassium can be out of balance with each other. The explanation of this is way outside the scope of this comment box! However, there’s a whole spectrum of severity, and you would be unlikely to see a sodium/potassium imbalance with most of these. Lab tests are just one piece of the puzzle…if this struck a chord with you, pay attention to that. You know your body better than anyone. Saliva testing is most useful for finding adrenal fatigue (done at 4 points during the day). That gives a nice pattern of what’s happening with you throughout the day. I offer this testing (and personalized recommendations) as part of my services. If you’d like to explore further, click the Let’s Talk tab and schedule a free 30-minute call with me.

      Hope this helps!
      Dr. Anna

  2. […] Click here to find out if your adrenals are fine or frazzled. […]

  3. […] I’m working with clients (especially those with adrenal fatigue), sleep is the first place we start when it comes to lifestyle changes. This is THE number one […]

  4. […] testosterone naturally fluctuate more during this time. And these hormones are very sensitive to abnormal adrenal function which occurs with ongoing […]

  5. […] to climb no matter what she did, she came to me for hormone testing. Her results showed she has adrenal fatigue and estrogen […]

  6. […] you know it, your body, with its toxic load of stress, worn out adrenal glands, processed food and flabby muscles has become a “bad neighborhood” for your […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *