You may have heard the term “adrenal fatigue” used to describe a stress-related hormonal condition that sufferers experience chronic fatigue, lack of energy, digestive issues, brain fog, cravings for salt and sweets, and more.
But that’s not something doctors talk about a lot.
This is because “adrenal fatigue” is not a medical diagnosis. It’s a made up term with no real meaning and can prevent patients from getting the care they really need.
I will explain.
Why You Rarely Hear Doctors Discuss ‘Adrenal Fatigue’
If you google “adrenal fatigue,” you’ll find a lot of dubious content: vague (and incorrect) theories that stress depletes your adrenals of essential cortisol. Cloudy symptoms. Causes range from mold exposure to emotional trauma.
You will also often find someone selling something to make it better.
As an endocrinologist with over 20 years of experience, I have yet to find a pill that will alleviate all the symptoms associated with so-called “adrenal fatigue”. It sounds great that you can take a pill (or several pills) to treat your symptoms, but it’s more likely that it’s just the result of some action, and you’ll get the same benefit from an unlabeled sugar pill (“sugar pill”). placebo effect”).
While these supposed “medicines” are rarely harmful, their primary effect may be to lighten the patient’s wallet.
The fact is that modern medical science – and in particular the Endocrine Society, an international organization of endocrinologists and physicians – does not recognize the condition of “adrenal fatigue” – a term coined in the late 1990s by a chiropractor and naturopath.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms May Be Real
I don’t want to downplay the symptoms associated with what others call adrenal fatigue. Patients who experience them can be unhappy. It’s always worth trying to find the root cause of why you might be feeling tired and low on energy – you might have real adrenal problems or other hormonal issues like adrenal insufficiency, for example, or a mental health condition like depression – and we can start tests and examinations to see if your body is not working the way it should.
But when fake diagnoses pop up in popular culture, it’s often because people are frustrated and looking for easy, quick answers, and others have found a way to capitalize on it.
Beware of a “diagnosis” that is not supported by the scientific medical community, and be suspicious of salespeople who claim to have the answers. Often we do not have clear and simple medical answers. I know that if you don’t feel like you should, it’s good to have an official seal of diagnosis.
But there is not always a medical diagnosis of how we feel.
When it comes to the symptoms associated with “adrenal fatigue”, if we rule out more serious, legitimate conditions, often the best way to improve your health is through general wellness activities. Regular exercise, healthy eating, time with loved ones, and getting enough sleep can go a long way towards regaining energy and feeling good. They are definitely better than the expensive magic pill from the Internet.