*If you missed the first part of this series you can read it here.
I learned that your adrenal glands keep your body working properly to handle the stress in your life. That when you are overtaxed whether it be by working lots of hours, eating really bad food, not getting proper rest, or emotional stress, it can finally wear your adrenal glands out where you can’t handle stress of any sort anymore. Even just normal stress that you don’t think of as stress, such as shopping, driving, etc. becomes too much for your body to handle and it views it as stress. This diagnose made perfect sense as I grew up in a household where I was at times under a tremendous amount of family stress. When I finally got married and was away from the stress, my body totally crashed.
Things didn’t get better overnight. The Dr I went to put me on very mild herbs as I was breastfeeding at the time, and so I still struggled a lot. It was helpful to know what was wrong, and to know over time it would get better. My second pregnancy was difficult as my body was under a lot of strain still. I almost miscarriage at 14 weeks, and went into preterm labour at 32 weeks. They were able to stop the labour with medicine, and I made it until 37 weeks and had a home birth. Later I was told I had such problems because my adrenal glands were worn out still.
I finally found a different Dr. who put me on Cortef (hydrocortisone), a prescription medicine. Our adrenal glands make cortisol, and Cortef mimics the cortisol our body makes. It is a strong medicine, and so most Drs. would not consider putting me on it knowing I was in a cycle of nursing and getting pregnant. When I saw this Dr. for the first time, she told me I was not in a state to get pregnant again for at least another year. I left in tears at the thought, and my husband and I had made the decision for the sake of my health to wait on having another baby to let my body have time to heal. God knows better than us though, as I was already pregnant and didn’t even know it when I had went to the Dr!
I called the Dr back, and as she was a former OBGYN for years before switching to dealing with natural hormones, she felt it was safe for me to stay on the Cortef during my pregnancy. If your adrenal glands get to low during pregnancy, your body will actually start to use your baby’s adrenal gland, which obviously isn’t healthy for your baby! I was also put on Prometrium, to help me stay pregnant this time around. The only issue I had during that pregnancy was my heart would race really fast. I slowly became much healthier, and when I delivered our third child, and first daughter, my midwife said it was one of the best births she had ever been to. I felt so blessed.
For the past two years now, my life has pretty much been back to normal. I haven’t had to take any supplements, and I have been able to handle everyday stresses much better. Before having our fourth child, I had enough energy to start my own business from home, making and selling custom made maternity and women’s skirts. In July of 2010 my mother passed away after a long struggle with Lupus, and dealing with all of that has been a strain on my health. I am blessed to know why I am tired though, and have started on some supplements again to boost my adrenal glands. I have also just gone through another 24 hour adrenal test to get a better idea of what state my adrenals are in.
If you feel like this might be an issue that you struggle with, here are some important things to know:
*Most Drs. only believe in Cushings disease, the complete and total death of your adrenal gland. You have no option at that point but to take medicine the rest of your life. If you feel like you might have low adrenal glands, you really need to find a natural MD, or a naturopath
*A simple blood test will not be enough to tell if your adrenal glands are really low. You need a 24 hour saliva test. My tests have always come back with my adrenals up at certain points, and really low at other times. A blood test would not be able to test your adrenals all throughout the day, just the one time you go into the Drs. office.
*Your adrenals and Thyroid are very closely related. Many times if one is down the other will be weak also. So make sure that you have both tested, and you need a complete Thyroid test done, not just a basic T3 test.
*If you want to study further about this, or read more about symptoms of weak adrenals, you can go to www.stopthethyroidmadness.com
*If for various reasons you can not, or do not want to go on Cortef, a good alternative would be Isocort. You can take up to 8 a day if your adrenals are really low.
Finally, be gentle with yourself. There may be things you have to start saying no to, because you are either so fatigued, anxious, or just overwhelmed. I have had to say no at seasons in my life to being on the Music Schedule at church, shopping by myself, planning day long activities for the children, going certain places, etc. It just wasn't worth the strain it would bring. I am tempted to beat myself up over this, or feel stupid. It doesn't help at all, and it doesn't change the fact that you still have this issue of adrenal problems. Give yourself time, and just spend this season staying home, and learning to be content.
I have also spent many hours pleading with the Lord, and praying during these seasons of fatigue. Trials do bring you closer to God, if you let them.
I do not recommend treating yourself for your adrenals before being tested to make sure that is what is wrong with you. I am not a health professional, I just simply wanted to share what I have learned over researching for the past six years now on adrenal glands. While having a large family and children close together is a blessing, it can also be taxing on your health at times. We need to make sure we take care of ourselves so we can continue to be the wife and mother we all want to be!