Adrenal fatigue: what do you know?

I mentioned on Facebook last week that my midwife was testing me for anemia.  What??  You don’t follow Life in a Shoe on Facebook?  Why not?

Anyway, I was at my midwife’s office last week for a blood draw.  This was my idea, not hers, because I am not currently seeing her for any other conditions including pregnancy.  That’s mainly because I am not, to the best of my knowledge, pregnant.

More accurately, it was Perry’s idea.  He thinks I have been rather more tired than usual over the past few months.  I’m not sure that’s true, but I am sure that I have more confidence in his observation than in my own memory or perception, especially if I’m unusually tired.

This was the first time I have EVER been stuck twice for a single draw.  I have fabulous veins, and have been told by various people in a non-creepy way that I would make a great drug addict.  If I liked needles and had higher blood pressure, I might also make a great blood/plasma donor.  As you’ll see, low blood pressure can be a problem when you’re trying to get something out of a vein.

When she stuck the needle right into my clearly exposed bright blue vein, nothing happened in the little vial.

“Hmm,” she said.  “That’s odd.  I thought it went right into the vein.”  After a little wriggling and jabbing of the needle, we had nothing more than a few pathetic drops.  “I’m so sorry.  I’ll have to try again.”  Poke.  Still very little action in the vial.

I began to think that instead of anemia, she should check me for a pulse.  Death causes lethargy, right?  I squeezed a squishy ball with my hand repeatedly in an effort to bleed compliantly, but it was slow going.  My blood pressure always runs low, but apparently I needed to drink more water that morning.  Looking at the thick dark sludge in the vial, I had to wonder if she was going to reconstitute it before sending to the lab.

After a long time, she smiled brightly and told me that the quarter vial she had would be plenty.

A few days later, the results are in: my bloodwork is beautiful.  No anemia here. (Does anyone know if mild temporary dehydration could skew the results?)

With anemia ruled out, I need to look at other possibilities.

What do you know about adrenal fatigue? My midwife suggested that as a second possibility.  I have enough symptoms to make it a strong possibility, but I also get the impression that doctors don’t necessarily think it’s a real ailment and everyone could have the symptoms on the lists I’m seeing.  (Do you crave sweet and/or salty and/or high protein and/or high fat foods?  Do you sometimes stay up too late, and have a hard time getting started in the morning?  Really?  You too?  No way!!!)

Of course it could also be the fact that I have been pregnant, nursing, or both for over 19 years without a break.

It could be because I am quickly creeping up on my 5th decade.  Er, that would be the 40’s.  Just like the 1900’s were actually the 20th century.  I’m not 50, though I like to think I would look great for my age if I were.

It could be the fact that my still-nursing 20mo baby only recently started sleeping through the night, and only in the loosest sense.  He still wakes often, and winds up in my bed more than what I would call “occasionally,” but less than “frequently.”  Is there a word for that?

It could be because although the baby is finally beginning to sleep a little better at night, the other young children are not.  I get at least one or two visitors each night, and on a busy night my bedroom looks more like a fast food drive through:

“I need a drink of water.”

“I need you to turn on the bathroom light.”

“Bethany has my blanket.”

“I’m scared of that little green guy on that cartoon I watched when I was 4.”

“Pant, pant, pant.”  Stare… (that’s the dog)

“Parker won’t sleep.”

“I need you to turn on the bathroom light.”

“I can’t sleep.”

“Are you asleep?”

“The dogs pooped all over the living floor and I stepped in it.”

Gee, I don’t know why I’m so tired all the time.  Adrenal fatigue, or is it just life?  Or are they both the same?


  1. Hi there,
    I am visiting for the first time and I was browsing through your posts. I wanted to comment on this (and I am sorry if someone already told you this, but I did not read the other comments) because maybe you should have your thyroid levels checked. Hypothyroidism causes tiredness (fatigue) and a whole lot of other symptoms too. They are really similar to being pregnant (tiredness, difficulty to loose weight, constipation, dry skin, hair loss…) so it is very hard to realize something is really wrong. I was diagnosed couple of years ago and when I read through the list of symptoms, I had ALL of them except one (infertility, I have kids). I suffered for years feeling guilty. I was always surprised that my heart rate was low because I knew I was in bad physical condition, and I have low blood pressure too.
    Anyway, please find some more info about thyroid issues…
    I hope you will feel better soon!

    • Henna-Maria,
      Thank you – I’ll keep this in mind, but my body responded very well to adrenal supplements so I *think* that was the problem. Also, it turns out I *am* pregnant, though when I wrote this post originally it was much too soon to tell and the symptoms stretched back long before I would have conceived.

  2. Mind if I second/third/fourth/whatever the vitamin D issue?
    Making babies takes a lot of vitamin D. I lived in the South of France and made a point of sunning myself daily when possible. I also thought that I must have plenty of vitamin D. However after my second pregnancy I was tired, forever sick with one bug or another, and totally lacking any energy. The key epiphany came when I finally had my vitamin D levels tested and found that they were near 0.
    You may well have adrenal fatigue, but I would really suggest you check your vitamin D. It is such an overlooked, vital nutrient. It is an extremely wise move for anyone, and even more so if you might be pregnant at any time in the future. I seem to recall that you don’t like needles… I understand. But for me the improvement in my well-being, and that of my children (and I hope future children) really was so worth it.

    So I think that was my first comment here! I have been enjoying your blog for… Umm… Years! Thanks!

  3. My husband had been leaning towards the self diagnosis of adrenal fatigue. He had been on various prescriptions and then on various OTC herbs and vitamins. Nothing was helping. What did help was a change in his diet and the chiropractor. He wound up getting tested for food intolerance’s and cut out 28+ foods. He also saw the chiropractor a lot more often for a month. HUGE improvements. Huge.

  4. It’s adrenal fatigue. My mom collapsed from it almost two years ago now. Her symptoms were: tiredness, exhaustion, feeling ‘ill’, sensitive to stress, loud noise or you-name-it, heart palpitations, food allergies, hypoglycemia, and more. It was pretty much a nightmare, and she lived on the couch for the better part of a year. NO fun. I would recommend you look into it ASAP–there’s a phenomenal resource that has sure helped my mom tons, and that’s Dr. Lam’s Site:
    Very sweet people there, very helpful, and my mom is very much recovered with their help!

    (hope I’m not being ‘bossy’ or anything– but adrenal failure is nothing to toy with. Best to catch it while it’s young. 😀 )

  5. I think I have a cure….

    For needing to wake up and turn on the bathroom light, that is. I have a night light that I keep in the bathroom for nighttime. This way, everyone can use the restroom on their own and no one is blinded by the bright bathroom lights.

    As far as adrenal fatigue, I think you’re right in supposing it’s synonymous with motherhood. 🙂
    Hope you start getting more rest!

  6. I don’t know if adrenal fatigue and adrenal dysfunction are the same thing, but I’m relatively sure I have the latter. As far as I know, that one doesn’t have anything to do with aging. (I’m only twenty-seven.) I haven’t been officially diagnosed yet, but I have ALL the symptoms. (Including passing out/near fainting when I don’t have enough salt.)

    I gave up caffeine this year, (as I’d read it was something to avoid with adrenal problems) and it has made a world of difference in my ability to function. It was reeeaallly hard at first, but now I feel so much better, and the awful pain in the small of my back is almost gone. You might see if that helps.

    I was more tired at first, but now I’m starting to feel better rested than I did with caffeine. Then again, I don’t have kids yet. It might not be optional with ten of them. 😉 However, I do work in a preschool, with 25 two to five year-olds, without caffeine….

  7. I agree with the last comment, Carey’s. I would definitely look into your diet and into natural ways to nourish your adrenals. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were your thyroid. Simple thing to do to fix that before it gets out of hand, is to take a good sea vegetables supplement. For me, I have dealt with a hypothyroid after baby number 4 and as long as I take some sea vegetables of some sort (seaweeds, spirulina, and other sea veggies) I don’t have a problem. There are many things in our environment as well as in the food system that do much damage to the thyroid.

    As for the adrenals, stay clear of caffeine, it will compound the issue and make the adrenals worse. Anyways, that last post on how to take care of your adrenals is a good one. As is the Weston A Price guidelines for a healthy diet.

    God bless you with wisdom and knowledge on how to heal yourself with what God has provided for us in nature 🙂

  8. Tried to leave a comment with links and it wouldn’t go through so I sent it via your contact page.

    [note from Kim: I’m pasting your full comment below so others can benefit from the info. Thanks, Carey!]

    I had a very similar experience as Kimberly

    Helpful links….

    General overview..

    Diagnostic tool..

    this is what I use to tell if what I’m doing to treat myself is helping or not..

    And I used his list of recommended supplements to find cheaper versions (the Walmart B-complex works great)

    A mom of many blog tracking her adrenal recovery, helpful for a plan

    Not that having babies and nursing isn’t hard on our bodies, but women who have few or no kids are also being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I think eating the Standard American Diet and living in a fallen world that’s causing problems for us. Worth a read..

    Although my temps and bp are still a little low, my 2 and 1/2 month old is my # 6 and this has been my easiest and most energetic pregnancy and recovery, yet!
    It’s worth your time to look into this and try to make a few changes. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad you felt until you start feeling better 🙂
    Feel free to e-mail me to discuss more,
    Carey (In Missouri)

  9. I enjoyed this post Kim. What an interesting life you have 🙂

    I would appreciate prayer from you (and your readers) as we are trying to grow our family.

  10. The fact that you get up a lot through the night fatigue could be just lack of sleep…….an easy non-medical test is to go away with your husband for a night or two and have someone else watch the kids! I have 5 littles so I know it is hard to get away….and my twins were 22 months old and still nursing twice a day at the time we “escaped.” However, I was so tired and felt that I needed a break. My mom AND my mother in law came and spent the weekend with my kids while my husband and I went away (to my moms house that is close.) I nursed the twins then hubbby and I left. I came back in the morning to nurse the twins then spent the day w/hubby sans kids…..It was weird to be away but I came back SO refreshed! Anyway, could just be you need a FULL nights sleep…..and some alone time w/the hubby is nice!

  11. Oh. My. Hysterical! Oh, I thought I was reading myself when I got through this post! HA! You know, sometimes you think you’re the only one that has ‘those’ kinds of kids. Honestly, it’s WONDERFUL that someone else does!
    As for the fatigue, I was struggling with the same thing and then some. My hubby, like yours, became concerned and finally sent me to the doctor (shudder). What we found was that my Vitamin D levels were REALLY low. Which is wierd, because its not like I shy from the sun, even though I burn just looking at it (red hair, fair skin). Anyway, I’ve been 6 weeks on a Rx dose of Vitamin D and WHOA!!! I feel SOOOOO much better!
    Yes, I still lack sleep, and there are moments of weariness that we mommies all know about. But I was no longer feeling unglued, overwhelmed, put-upon, or angry at myself for feeling these things or feeling that I should be able to DO THIS, yet not able.
    God has blessed, blessed, blessed me through the whole thing. It was like He was saying, “See? You’re not in over your head, your body just needed a little help. I’m not disappointed, angry or withdrawn. It was just all you could handle to get up every morning, and now that you’re feeling better, we can just pick up where we left off! I love you and I’m so glad you’re feeling better!”
    Be blessed!!

    • This was so my case, Annie! I am glad that you are doing better! Blessings!

    • Annie,
      Several people have mentioned vitamin D, but I *think* I can safely assume that isn’t my problem. We live in south Texas in a house with lots of windows, so even if I don’t go outside as much as I should I probably get plenty of sun – and I do go outside, too. 🙂
      I’m glad you thought the post was funny. That’s what I was trying to convey, but I always worry that I will come across as complaining instead of laughing at how ridiculous life can be!

      • I don’t want to be the one to burst your bubble Kim… but you can not safely assume you are NOT deficient in Vitamin D3.

        First, your body does not generate ANY D3 unless there is direct skin contact with the sun. Windows will block out the D3 generating rays.

        Second, as a modestly dressed Christian woman you have very little skin exposed. The clothing will also block out the vitamin generating rays from reaching our skin. As far as I can tell THAT is the only downside to dressing modestly. 😉

        Third, when the sun hits your skin the vitamin D3 is generated in the layer just under the top layer of skin. It stays there for 24 hours and then is dispersed into the body. BUT… and this is a biggie…

        when you take your shower and scrub your skin with one of those lovely scrubbies, a washcloth, or whatever, you are scrubbing AWAY the vitamin D that you got that day.

        I assume most of use shower daily. 😀

        If you use ANY lotions or things with sunscreen… another sun blocker from getting that all important vitamin D!! I think some medications can also block the D, but don’t quote me on that.

        Then there are the “medically agreed upon vitamin D levels”. They are for the LOWEST possible maintenance levels for preventing rickets and will NOT help you build your D levels!!

        I take between 8 and 10 THOUSAND IUs daily. I have been vitamin D deficient for many years and NEED to build it back up. Despite all the scare tactics, this level of daily intake will NOT cause D toxicity. Just one hour in the sun, with most of your skin exposed like if you wore shorts, generates something like 124 THOUSAND IUs. Which also says a lot about how critically LOW the “approved” levels really are!!

        The best form to take is the D3. It is the one that is easiest for your body to use. The D2 in most milks is near useless. NO ONE could drink enough of that milk to help their vitamin D levels!

        I am a celiac and have a difficulty absorbing A, D, and some others through my digestive tract. These fat soluble vitamins are absorbed in the very beginning of the digestive tract the duodenum. I am not helped by taking a pill form of the D3. So I take a liquid. The absolute BEST for is from Biotics. I place mine under my tongue to it goes directly into the blood stream.

        Once I started taking the D3 I noticed that my energy levels went up, I slept better, and I had a little bit easier time digesting milk. Not enough to say I have to stay dairy free, but the accidental ingestion doesn’t keep me in the bathroom… in pain. 🙁

        My husband noticed a decrease in his joint pain.

        The medical moment was brought to you my ~Mrs. R!! lol

        • Just wanted to add that as you approach 40, your body’s ability to manufacture Vit D from sun exposure *decreases.*

          (BSN, RN)

  12. I see a holistic doctor. In order to combat fatigue, his nurse once recommended and gave me a vitamin B6 shot (or rather, taught me how to inject myself). I didn’t notice any effect, but I’ve read that many people swear by it. And it’s one of those things your body will just flush out if you have too much.

  13. I have a foot zone therapist friend who believes that almost everyone has adrenal fatigue. Here is her bullet point type outline of what to do, including more information about it.

  14. I don’t have anything to say about the adrenal fatigue, but have a suggestion about your numerous nighttime awakenings. Have you thought about installing a motion detecting light switch in your bathroom?

  15. Hi, Kim. There are a lot of good comments here on adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, and so on that I think would be good to look into. One thing that came to mind as I was reading your post that hasn’t been mentioned in the comments is the possibility of gluten sensitivity or intolerance (the latter of which is known as celiac disease).

    Although I don’t have celiac disease, I do function better when I don’t eat gluten-containing foods (wheat, rye, barley, and oats that aren’t certified free of gluten contamination from other grains). The quality of my sleep is so much better when I’m gluten-free; I can also concentrate better, remember better, be more alert during the day, and be on a much more even keel emotionally (all of which may simply be by-products of better sleep). The most amazing thing that happened, though, when I went gluten-free was that within 48 hours all my sugar cravings went away completely! If you knew me, you would know what a miracle that was 🙂

    If you decide to eliminate gluten from your diet, I would recommend first getting tested for celiac disease if there is any known or suspected celiac history among your blood relatives. You need to be eating gluten to get an accurate test.

    One other thing I thought of: have you heard of the blood-type diet? There are lists of foods labeled “highly beneficial”, “neutral”, and “avoid” for each of the 4 blood types, A, B, AB, and O. Eating right for your blood type can be very helpful in preventing certain diseases and helping you function at a more optimal level.

    Best wishes to you, Kim, as you sort this all out! I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  16. I agree with Karyn regarding diet changes when you’re feeling like that; And it may not be strictly ‘adrenal fatigue’. It may just be many years of overtaxing your body leading to a mild/moderate form of chronic fatigue. Sometimes these conditions are compartmentalized and labeled because that’s the only way the medical community can address them, and it may be wise to look at the symptoms of the other conditions that can so frequently overlap the others. I experience CFS/fibromyalgia, along with those other things like adrenal issues, thyroid issues, etc — And for all these sorts of conditions which all can have similar/overlapping symptoms, for myself, I’ve found that stress level, diet and getting enough sleep are the most important factors in how I feel. High quality supplements have also done me much good. There are some helpful articles on — It’s mainly a CFS/fibro site, but also has good information on adrenal fatigue, and options for natural supplementation.

  17. I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue just before we found out that we were pregnant. My doctor administered a 24 hour saliva test and all the hormones that the adrenals produce were very low.

    As you know I struggled with severe dehydration at the beginning of this pregnancy. Guess what, the adrenal gland produces Aldosterone. If your Aldosterone is low your body has difficulty maintaining hydration even if you are consuming enough liquids. (I was being re-hydrated with IV fluids every 3 days despite drinking between 3/4 – 1 gallon of water plus electrolyte solution every day.) As soon as our doctor recommended adding kelp powder to my diet (balances sodium and potassium which is what gets screwed up when there is not enough aldosterone) I was able to maintain hydration and drink LESS water.

    My history is very similar to yours. I’ve been pregnant, nursing or both for 16 years. Still nursing 18 month old and this post describes my sleep habits.

    I had several of the basic symptoms of adrenal fatigue for a while, but when I finally decided to get tested my exhaustion was severe. I woke exhausted every morning and even a trip to the grocery store was nearly too much to handle.

    There are lots of natural things that you can do to support your adrenals. Vitamin B and an iodine supplement have made a difference for me. I actually have more energy now (3 months pregnant) than I did before starting to take the supplements. Now if I could jet get over the nausea. 🙂

    If you have questions feel free to email.

  18. Hi Kim Your blog is a great blessing to our family! What I know about Adrenal fatigue is that whenever we eat / drink stimulants like caffiene, tanin, sugar, table salt, etc. our adrenal glands are “whipped” up into given us fake energy. Eventually they become exhausted from overwork and unnatural stimulation. The renal glands are also part of the endocrine (or hormonal) system – and so is the thyroid gland – so anything you eat and drink also affects and upsets your hormonal system e.g. sugar, caffeine, added hormones in non-organic meat / dairy, etc. My best advice would be to wean yourself off all stimulants (slowly so that the detox shock is not too great) like coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, etc. Your body should take about 3 months to recover – juicing and eating lots of good fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts seeds, etc. will help hugely. Any medication will only be a short-term solution and exhaust the body even more, not to mention side effects 🙂 Hope you feel better soon. love, Karyn

  19. Question: “occasionally,” but less than “frequently.” Is there a word for that?
    Answer: I think the word should be freecasionally? Surely it could catch on!

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  20. Oh! I forgot to mention this too… the moment I have a headache the VERY FIRST thing I do is drink a glass of water. 9 times out of 10 my headache is relieved. I live in the wet Pacific Northwest and with all the moisture in the air you just don’t ever “feel” thirsty. If you wait for a feeling of thirst, you are already dehydrated!
    ~Mrs. R (the water lady!!)

  21. Kim!!! Yes, Adrenal Fatigue IS real. There are lots of things the Drs don’t recognize… (ie vaccines are dangerous, prescribing a pill for EVERYTHING instead of taking care of the CAUSE – like gallbladder surgery and lots more… I won’t get off on all THAT here).

    I have a very dear, sweet, friend who has VERY serious Adrenal Fatigue. It was so bad she was having heart palpitations (no heart problems though), hyperventilating, feet were blue, and a host of other things I have lost track of. Her problem stemmed from something similar as you suggested – many children and nursing for many years. She also stayed up late, further compromising her adrenals. She has been on the road to recovery for OVER a year now. She’s gotten much better, but not back to full recovery yet.

    My adrenals are also slightly compromised. In my search for a natural “cure” for myself I went to a nutritionist. She explained to me that a young, per-menstrual girl’s hormones are kept balanced by her adrenal glands, at puberty the adrenals hand “the baton” off to the ovaries, and at menopause “the baton” is passed back to the adrenals. If your adrenal glands are taxed at the menopause point in your life, that is where the majority of the hot flashes, ULTRA dry skin ( and other ‘things’), brain fog, etc come in. My brother calls hot flashes, “personal summers”. Cute name for something that can become very disturbing! Even to the point of interrupting your sleep, further taxing the adrenal glands.

    And then, if your adrenal glands are not taxed, a simple lack of water will cause tiredness, brain fog, cravings for sweets and a host of other things. Yes, a simple lack of water. Please head this warning. I don’t want to make you think I am some kind of ‘medical nut’… but you do NOT want to develop kidney stones. I have passed 3 or 4 of them. The pain from passing them is FAR worse than giving birth. I did that twice without any medication, so I KNOW what I am talking about!

    How do you know if you are drinking enough water? Super simple! Take your weight and divide it by 2. THAT number is how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day. NOT all at once before going to bed, but all spread all through the day.

    If you blood is THAT thick when you had your last blood draw I would hazard a guess that you are seriously dehydrated. Your body becomes “used” to that level of LOW water intake and decreases your thirst mechanism so it’s easy to ‘forget’ to drink you r water. Loving in Texas, dry, hot Texas you should be thirsty A LOT! You can reset your thirst mechanism by drinking enough water daily.

    Go drink a glass of water!! 🙂 (said with love, but emphasis!)
    ~Mrs. R

  22. Cristy Taylor says:

    Im struggling with some adrenal fatigue and I’m working with a naturopath dr. currently. He ran some lab work on me and it pretty much spelled out the ugly mess I was in physically: ( goodness is that with diet changes and some supplements for the next few months I’m back on track and feeling much better. One website I found helpful is Anne’ She is a homeschooling mother of 7 who has adrenal fatigue, she is very knowledgable and shares from her own failures/successes on what works and what doesn’t. Also, feel free to write me at my email address and I’d be happy to let you know what testing I did and what supplements I’m on. Take care ~ Cristy

  23. My sister’s adrenal’s were so shot her regular MD told her she would go through early (she just turned 30) menopause if she didn’t take care of it now. She’s been working on it for about 5 months. It is a slow process, but she is starting to notice some good results. Also, check out Stacy McDonald’s blog entitled “Mothering ‘Under the Influence'”. It might be helpful.

    • Oh, and you might just be Vitamin D deficient. I was. My energy level has picked up greatly since I started taking a Vitamin D supplement. Of course, full blown sun is better!!

  24. I have Adrenal Fatigue, and my MD confirmed it, so not ALL in the medical community don’t believe in it. I don’t really think about it because my Hormonal imbalance and thyroid dysfunction are really bothersome as well. I try to help my adrenal fatigue in the same ways as other comments have mentioned above (sunshine, walks, water, healthy eating, praying to God when I am stressed so I do not internalize it!) But some little tidbit that I did read that said it would help (and does seem to) is to drink lemon water first thing in the morning. The reason is this is good for the liver (helps cleanse it). And since the adrenal gland sits on the liver, anything good for the liver is good for the Adrenal. Vice Versa as well, if it’s bad for the liver, probably bad for the Adrenal. #1 cause of Adrenal Fatigue is stress, and internalizing it (carrying it, without realizing it). I am bad at that. I focus more on scriptures now that God calls us to focus on his peace and let go of worldly worries. It helps 🙂

    • Thank you, Valerie, for your focus on Scriptures. I’m trying to find peace at the age of 70 years. I’ll be 71 in March. (St. Patrick’s Day)..Problem is, I think like I did when I was 19 years old. I’m a retired librarian (25 years of public library work) and I want to volunteer with ESL but I’m so tired all the time. I live in a house, do yard work, and feed 2 cats and 1 dog, put out the trash, and I’m nearly too exhausted to go to my Senior Group at the Salvation Army here in San Antonio. I’m divorced, married twice, and both marriages turned into disasters. I want to do work now that is of a spiritual nature, maybe some day go back to library work, but in a Christian setting. My mom is in a nursing home in East Texas and I was trying to go there at least every month, but the travel in Houston and smelling the smoke of travelers was getting me down. I need to get back on the road, take care of things here in San Antonio. One thing I find that helps me are energy drinks but some are so sweet that they throw off my sugar. I also have hypoglycemia, and no one in San Antonio seems to think that is important but there is a lot of emphasis here on diabetes and its consequences. I believe that I was healed of some things while watching the 700 club: hair loss, emotional distress, knee pain, severe throat problems, and very severe fatique, and fungal infection in my foot. Thanks.

  25. It’s easy to check with either a blood test and/or saliva test. I thought for sure I had it, but it came back negative (twice!). So, I’m with you, constant pregnancy/nursing and never sleeping through the night is really taking it’s toll on me now that I’ve turned 40.

  26. I have read that one of the surest signs of adrenal fatigue is having a hard time sleeping at night, but finding it easier to sleep during the day. Also a marked sensitivity to direct sunlight in your eyes. If your sunglasses are getting more and more important to you (and possibly the lenses are needing to be darker and darker) that may be the easiest way to tell. Also there are several fairly easy things you can do to help without feeling even more overwhelmed. The first is to look directly at the sun, without shaded anything. Of course early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, when you have some extra atmosphere to ease the discomfort are the best times to get started. Also eliminate regular table salt, and switch to a high quality sea salt. A good salt should have COLOR. Some are grey, some are yellow, some are even reddish, but white is a no go. Here is a great link with some more information.

  27. Sounds like you need a nap!

  28. Oh, and yes, dehydration can definetly skew the results of the test for amenia, because your blood will be thicker and therefore will contain more iron ect. per mL of blood than usual. My doctor recomends drinking 2 glasses of water 2 hours prior to the test and then 1-2 more glasses 60-45 minutes before the test. It is always a good idea to be hydrated before blood work/ any medical procedure unless they tell you otherwise. Also it is a good idea to test for ferritin in addition to iron when testing for anemia (I dont know if you did or not). My mother had normal iron levels (so she thought she was not anemic), but then after further investigation they found that her ferritin levels were abnormal, which meant she was anemic ( you can find more information on this here: Sometimes fatigue/ loss of energy can be due to a medical problem and sometimes aging is just the answer. There are countless medical issues that can cause fatigue out there, so obviously you cant rule out everyone, but hopefully if you do have one you can easily detect it and correct it. Sometimes even a simple multi vitamin can help fix some issues… have you considered taking one?

  29. I have multiple endocrine problems, and at one point my doctors thought I had adrenal fatigue because my cortisol readings were slightly low (and my ACTH was low as well). They then did a stimulation test at an infusion center to test whether or not my adrenals could actually produce cortisol when stimulated (the test took about 3 hours, but I stayed entertained with books I brought), luckily my stimulation test returned normal so the doctors concluded I might just have a low cortisol reading naturally- which wasn’t something to be worried about since I have allot of other endocrine issues. Another possibility could be that you are becoming hypothyroid (like Hashimotos Thyroid), which is actually one of the things I ended up having. Hypothyroidism is associated with being tired, having difficulty losing weight/weight gain (which I guess you don’t if I remember your “I want to be a loser” correctly), dry skin/ thinning hair, sensitivity to cold.
    Since I have multiple endocrine issues, I started seeing a nutritionist ( a friend who had great results recommended me), and she suggested that I cut out dairy completely and limit wheat products as much as possible ( no bread, pasta…) as well as rice (only wild rice). Instead she said I should try to eat fruit, vegetables, legumes, and white meat as much as possible. This diet seems to be helping some, although I haven’t been on it for a long time. I am also taking a multi-vitamin and some other supplements for specific issues, I really don’t want to be stuck on medicine for the rest of my life, so I am attempting a “natural” healing process first, but I might get desperate enough to start meds.
    If I were you my next steps would be to have a cortisol level(between 8-9am, fasting), ACTH, and perhaps a thyroid panel screening and thyroid antibodies/peroxidase screening. If your cortisol comes below 10 or 9 (assuming you do it between 8-9am) I would recommend additional testing (the cortisol stimulation test), if not your fine. If your husband notices you are still tired in a month or two however, I would really try to get the thyroid hormone levels (T3 and T4) as well as both types of antibodies(TPO and TG). I am not sure what all your symptoms are, but the thyroid is definitely a culprit for fatigue when it comes to aging women. I hope you can figure out if there is something off or not, and if there is treat it quickly and effectively. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am not a doctor, but my whole family is involved in the medical field one way or another, and since I have started having endocrine problems I have done allot of research 🙂

  30. I believe it’s real. I experience similar symptoms after the birth of our second child (over the period of time when he was about 4-9 months old), and recently (our 4th is now 10 months old), I’m beginning to feel the same way: slightly dizzy, feeling foggy/disconnected, sometimes ‘jittery,’ VERY tired (can’t stay up later than the kids!), thinning hair, etc. The story of my first experience could fill several pages, but it involved testing for Lyme’s disease, etc. only to finally realize I needed to take better care of myself! After five visits to my family doctor, he noted that my ‘urine specific gravity’ (?) indicated dehydration. I didn’t FEEL thirsty, and I THOUGHT I was drinking enough water, but I was actually more dehydrated than I realized. DRINKING MORE WATER (lots more) really, really relieved a lot of my symptoms. My family also pitched in to help me get more SLEEP, more fresh air/sunshine, and just more TLC in general… and thankfully, I felt much better quite soon. (My husband is a fantastic guy, but he’s not naturally ‘protective’ in terms of nurture. Our roles are very traditional, and we both like it that way, but he stepped up during this time to help out in practical ways so I could get extra rest, and it was a huge help.) I also took a glandular adrenal supplement from a very reputable health food store in our area at this time. My doctor described my situation as a ‘biochemical’ depression. I wasn’t “depressed” emotionally, but I was quite worn down physically… and I needed a boost in serotonin… which I choose to get naturally (via water, sleep, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, etc.). He offered an antidepressant, but I didn’t want to wean my son (which he said I would have to do) OR be on a medication indefinitely… and he also said I was in a good position to recover naturally due to having great family support.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s timely for me, b/c I’ve been reading up again on adrenal/thyroid issues and trying to get back in the mode of taking better care of myself. I appreciated reading The Modest Mom’s post and the links she included. I’m sort of ‘kicking’ myself for getting so worn down, though with homeschooling and all the other ‘stresses’ of life, it’s so easy to push, push, push myself and much hard to just ‘let it go’ in favor of sleep, etc.. I’m nursing at night too and sometimes up with one or more of the others. Interestingly, this ‘dip’ for me has occurred after a bought of sickness in which each of the kids was up OFTEN at night and I got REALLY tired! Oh – my blood pressure is low too. It was recently 106/63, which is at the low end of normal (I think 100/60 is the threshold for ‘low’). As I was reading about how to ‘raise’ it, rehydration was a main suggestion. I’m trying to get potassium/sodium/etc. naturally too.

    These thoughts haven’t been super-organized, and since I need to get to bed 🙂 I’ll just conclude by saying that I will pray for you! May you soon be feeling energetic and youthful again. 😉 (I’m nearing 40 too…)

    • Still awake… and I have two more thoughts… it’s true that ‘adrenal fatigue’ isn’t a medically recognized term, and as I described my story above, it’s obvious that I never had a diagnosis of such. WHATEVER term you want to use, the ‘cure’ for the symptoms is similar. Though as I read The Modest Mom’s links, I realized that some people take the diagnosis/treatment to a much greater level. Also, I didn’t mention: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” This is such an important addition to the ‘taking better care of myself’ prescription. First and foremost, crying out to Him and resting IN HIM and then doing what we know to do to care for our bodies, which are His temple… all the while patiently waiting for His renewal… is the BEST medicine. I know I’m preaching to the choir! 🙂

  31. “The test of a people is what they can do when they’re tired.” Winston Churchill
    “Life is one long process of getting tired.” Samuel Butler
    I don’t know any thing about adrenal fatigue but these have always amused me when I’ve burned the midnight oil for one reason or another.

  32. Adrenal fatigue is real and not just feeling like your getting old. I have been battling it for about 1 1/2 years. The book Jamie recommends is a great book and has helped me a lot. Besides eating well, sleeping, and resting alot, I take a handful of supplements ( Supermom, adrenal support, magnesium, EPA/DHA, vit C and had taken compounded progesterone.) Now that I am 25 weeks pregnant, the regular pregnancy fatigue isn’t going away and becoming worse. I’m praying that after I deliver, I won’t be so tired and continue on the road to healing. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to try to answer them.

  33. I bought the book ‘Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome’ by James L. Wilson. It is a phenomenal read. And a long one! The remedies he puts forth in the book seem a little overwhelming (and somewhat contributed to MORE a.f. probably!), but in the long run, he really is the expert. Don’t let a doc tell you that you don’t have adrenal fatigue if you are conviced you do. You know your body better than anyone else. It’s become an American epidemic. The key factors to healing are diet, rest, exercise and (don’t laugh), down time. Best wishes!!!

  34. I guess if I said I thought adrenal fatigue probably doesn’t exist I might get hounded off the internet, so I won’t say that. I will say that pretty much all of my friends have had this same complaint right around the time their 40th birthday started to creep up. I’m thinking it could be that you’re just (I’m sorry) getting older. OTOH, there are lots of hidden ailments besides anemia. Keep talking to that midwife or a doctor until you’re satisfied there’s no identifiable medical problem. As someone with thyroid disease, I can tell you that it often takes more than one or two visits, or even one or two doctors to finally get the right treatment. I can also tell you that all the treatment in the world won’t stop you from getting older. I wouldn’t say that to most people, but you don’t seem like the thin-skinned type who can’t handle that thought. 😉

    • Cindy, I’m totally fine with getting older, and I know I can expect changes as I go. I just don’t want to make the mistake of ignoring problems under the assumption that they’re a normal part of aging.

      • They might not be! I’m not saying I think they are. Just noticing a pattern as I get closer to that age myself, and my friends do, too. 🙂

    • This is a very real disease and the worse it gets the more debilitating it gets. Feeling tired every day is just the beginning and we can attribute that to getting older, having lots of kids who keep us busy and trying to please everyone. But when that tiredness turns into an exhaustion where you can’t even get out of bed in the morning despite sleeping for the last 12 hours, can’t take care of your house and family, even the smallest task wears you out, it’s beyond just “getting old”. I went through several different kinds of tests before the diagnosis came back and recovery is not an overnight deal. It took me 6 months before I felt some what normal and now that I am pregnant, I fight every day to keep healthy, so I can be the Mom and wife my family needs me to be. Some may say it is all in my head, but watching my 2 daughters (17 & 15) doing all the cooking and errand running is hard. They have been a huge blessing, but I want to be able to do those things without feeling exhausted. So please don’t say that this isn’t a real disease, but just a part of getting old. It is real, and it can be very debilitating.

  35. Cindy in GA says:

    Kim, I don’t know anything about adrenal fatigue, but this post was hilarious. 🙂 Maybe being tired helps us see the funny side of things somehow.

    I’ve had a loose plan in mind to try to cut down on sugar and make sure I get some exercise more often (in addition to the less realistic “get more sleep” goal) to see whether I’d have more energy. It’s an uphill battle, as being tired makes me want to sit and eat chocolate rather than exercise and eat carrots.

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