If you’ve been feeling exhausted and it’s lasting for weeks or months, it could be a sign of a hormone imbalance. Hormonal changes can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue. Hormone imbalances can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from changes in lifestyle, nutrition, stress, aging, or health issues. 

Many different hormones can be responsible for fatigue - and a major culprit is called cortisol. The adrenal glands produce cortisol and adrenaline, which help regulate energy levels. If these hormones are not balanced correctly or depleted, it can definitely lead to fatigue. 

Your Adrenal Health and Cortisol Levels

High levels of cortisol can lead to trouble sleeping, decreased energy, and a feeling of stress or irritability. Cortisol imbalance can cause anxiety, depression and weight gain, which can further contribute to fatigue. 

High levels of cortisol for an extended period of time can also lead to adrenal fatigue, which is a condition where the adrenal glands become fatigued from overproduction of cortisol and then fall into a state of underproducing cortisol.

Low levels of cortisol can cause fatigue, body aches, low blood pressure, dizziness, weight gain, low blood sugar, and sensitivity to bright lights and sunlight. Low cortisol levels can also lead to decreased immunity, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections and illnesses.

Cortisol imbalance can be caused by a variety of factors such as chronic stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and other illnesses that stress the body. 

If you suspect you may have adrenal dysfunction and a cortisol imbalance, it's important to see a functional medicine or naturopathic healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and discuss treatment options. 

What’s the best way to test my adrenals?

The best test is a 4-point urine or saliva cortisol measurement done throughout the day - testing morning, afternoon, evening and before bed samples. 

A blood test is what a conventional doctor or hospital may run to check your cortisol, but this is NOT sufficient. At my clinic, Zuma Wellness, our preferred test is the urine adrenal test by Dutch labs. ;)

What’s the best way to treat adrenal dysfunction?

Holistically! A comprehensive treatment plan is best. There is not just one pill to fix this issue. Treatment may include lifestyle changes such as stress management, getting enough sleep and a healthy diet, as well as the right supplements and hormone therapies if necessary. All of my patients receive personalized treatment plans that are customized for their unique needs.

It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a hormone imbalance like adrenal dysfunction and to consider working with a naturopathic doctor if you’re experiencing fatigue. We can order tests to determine if a hormone imbalance like adrenal dysfunction is the cause of your fatigue. Depending on the results of the tests, we can recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments to help you fix your adrenal hormones and feelings of fatigue.