Fibromyalgia is one of those chronic illnesses that can cause a variety of symptoms and sometimes goes hand-in-hand with other health problems. In particular, adrenal fatigue or dysfunction is often found in patients with fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue often found in combination with fibromyalgia
Some of the most common adrenal fatigue symptoms that are found in fibromyalgia patients are chronic fatigue, difficulty waking in the morning, a weak immune system, muscular pain, depression, decreased sex drive, difficulty managing stress, persistent headaches, and low levels of blood sugar.
Fibromyalgia symptoms that are exacerbated by adrenal fatigue
Some fibromyalgia symptoms are aggravated and increased because of adrenal fatigue. Commonly aggravated fibromyalgia symptoms include pain, depression, lack of energy, flare-ups, and mental fog.
Why is there a correlation between adrenal function and fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is associated with a malfunction in the hypothalamus region of the brain. The hypothalamus plays a critical role in the nervous system, as well as hormone regulation. The hypothalamus is located right above the pituitary. Research has linked fibromyalgia patients that suffer from adrenal fatigue with a condition known as hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction. This condition can affect a wide range of hormone functions, including thyroid, growth hormone, aldosterone, cortisol, estradiol, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone.
Function of the adrenal glands
The adrenal glands are pea-sized structures found on top of the kidneys. When they are functioning properly, adrenal glands allow you to think clearly when faced with stressful situations.
One of the adrenal glands primary functions is the release and regulation of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is important for helping you handle daily stress. It also helps us maintain a healthy level of stamina so we can rebound from situations that are stressful.
The adrenal glands also regulate chemicals that assist you in dealing with long-term sources of stress, such as stages of grief or suffering from a chronic illness. However, continuous and ongoing stress is a primary cause of adrenal fatigue.
Red flags you may have adrenal fatigue
The following are warning signs that you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue:
- Feeling like you are always under stress
- Working more than 50 hours a week
- Suffering from chronic illness
- Lack of regular participation in exercise
- Exercising more than 15 hours a week
- Difficulty sleeping and getting less than adequate amounts each night
- Craving foods with a high sugar content
- Needing more than two cups of coffee to stimulate you
Natural approaches to correcting adrenal function
Drinking water is one of the most important steps to correcting adrenal fatigue. Water — not tea, coffee or soft drinks — is needed because dehydration is a cause of adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands release a hormone called aldosterone, which regulates water levels and mineral concentrations. So when the adrenal system is fatigued, your aldosterone levels are disrupted and you lose more water than you realize.
You need to rest as much as possible. Getting your much-needed eight hours of sleep is crucial. During the hours you spend sleeping, your body is busy restoring all your body systems, including the adrenal glands, back to normal functioning levels.
It’s important to note that correcting your bodily systems can take weeks or even months. There is no overnight fix. In the meantime, avoid stress as much as possible. Take back control of your life and any areas that are causing you stress.
Be sure to eat a healthy, nutritious diet, and do not skip any meals. In fact, you should be supplying your body with a steady stream of healthy foods throughout the day. Shoot for three solid meals and at least two snack periods each day. Be sure to eat many fruits and vegetables and avoid sugars, refined grains, and processed foods.
Whether you have fibromyalgia or not, the symptoms of adrenal fatigue should not be overlooked. Adrenal dysfunction and fatigue are extremely taxing on the body and can lead to other illnesses. If you have concerns and questions, you should consult your physician for evaluation.
— Kristy Toth
Kristy is a freelance writer with more than twenty years of print and digital media writing experience and over seven years of university study in journalism, broadcasting, and mass communications. She specializes in health and wellness, alternative healing methods, news, the environment, and lifestyles. She currently resides in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her family and pets.