Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: Common Symptoms

You may have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome if you are experiencing some of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue, lethargy:
    • Lack of energy in the mornings, and also in the afternoon between 3 and 5 pm.
    • Often feel tired between 9 and 10 pm, but resist going to bed.
  • Lightheadedness (including dizziness and fainting) when rising from a sitting or laying-down position.
  • Lowered blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering (brain fog).
  • Consistently feeling unwell or difficulty recovering from infections.
  • Craving either salty or sugary foods to keep going.
  • Unexplained hair loss.
  • Nausea.
  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea.
  • Mild depression.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Sleep difficulties.
  • Unexplained pain in the upper back or neck.
  • Increased symptoms of PMS for women – periods are heavy and then stop (or almost stop) on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day.
  • Tendency to gain weight and inability to lose it – especially around the waist.
  • High frequency of getting the flu and other respiratory diseases – plus a tendency for them to last longer than usual.

All of these symptoms might be caused by an inability of your body to produce enough cortisol – the root cause of adrenal fatigue syndrome.


The following tests and procedures may help you find out what is causing Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome:

  • Adrenal Function Test (AFT) – Measures levels of DHEA and cortisol during four periods of the day to determine if there is a hormone imbalance. This is a comprehensive evaluation of adrenal functioning recommended for those with excessive stress, allergies, chronic fatigue, and sleep problems—all indicators of immune dysfunction.1
  • AM Cortisol – Too much or too little cortisol can signal a hormone imbalance. If there are noticeable levels of stress or fatigue in the morning, this test may indicate problems with cortisol levels.1
  • AM/PM Cortisol – Too much or too little cortisol can signal a hormone imbalance. If there are noticeable levels of stress and fatigue in the mornings and again in the afternoon, this test may indicate problems with cortisol levels.
  • DHEA-S – Measures levels of the DHEA hormone using saliva sent to a lab for analysis. DHEA, with testosterone, are key factors in muscle mass and energy—and are strongly linked to depression, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Hormone Profile III + AFT – Measures levels of estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and all four cortisols—morning, noon, evening, and night. This is the most complete test of how hormone levels relate to symptoms of menopause, andropause, and adrenal function.
  • ACTH Challenge Test – The ACTH test is generally ordered when cortisol levels are low. It measures the levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)—a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that, in turn, tells the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol.
  • Cortisol test – Measures levels of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol helps keep blood sugar levels normal, control inflammation, boost the immune system, regulate metabolism and body temperature, and influence blood pressure. A doctor-ordered cortisol test may be done using blood samples taken in the morning and again in the afternoon. Or it can be done using urine collected over a 24-hour period. Often the results can be affected by stress, pregnancy, hypoglycemia, eating or drinking prior to the test, or other medications.

Additional Information about Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

  1. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Overview
  2. Common causes of adrenal fatigue syndrome
  3. Natural and alternative treatments for adrenal fatigue syndrome
  4. Dietary and lifestyle recommendations that may help in the treatment of adrenal fatigue syndrome
  5. Conventional or prescription medications used in the treatment of adrenal fatigue syndrome
  6. Additional reading for adrenal fatigue syndrome

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