Fixing Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a system wide failure of health. The adrenal gland has to be mobilized to fight all offending stresses and toxins, and if the adrenal system gets overwhelmed, you begin to have poor health, poor fitness, poor libido, and premature aging.

DHEA, one of the important adrenal hormones, is actually a steroid precursor. It’s balance is critical and an often overlooked aspect of fatigue. And decreases in the serum levels of this hormone can lead to a variety of problems including genitourinary system, skeleton, vasomotor system, skin, brain, cardiovascular system and perhaps all other… and both hair loss and VVA.

One of the most common complaints from women, with no other identifiable problem is that they are losing their hair. This can oddly be due to adrenal fatigue to too much DHEA, like women with PCOS, or in the case of adrenal fatigue, too little DHEA. Healthy shedding of old hairs from their follicles and allowing new ones to grow in can be very healthy, so some loss on a natural basis is good for our hair and if you have no hair loss those hairs left will be brittle and unhealthy. This natural hair loss is cyclical, some seasons it will grow and in some seasons you will lose more, but modern life, modern lighting and hormone exposure in all sorts of ways has thrown those cycles off. So if you didn’t lose much hair this summer it may be ok that you are losing more mid winter without meaning that your hair is about to thin. In general we lose about 100 hairs a day. Exactly how much you lose, and how thick your hair is at the end of the hair loss is related to both age and genetics. All hair follicles can respond to nutrition, stress, pregnancy, menopause, and medication exposure; and there are many more conditions that can produce hair loss. But, certain hair loss may be related to unique hormonal patterns. Adrenal fatigue and other causes of inflammation are why hair loss responds so well to PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy.

Adrenal fatigue has specific physical signs, including breast changes. Breast sagging, breast discomfort, and breast changes can signal adrenal and DHEA changes. In puberty, usually breast development occurs first and then the adrenal gland male hormones, like DHEA.

Pubic hair changes can be secondary to adrenal fatigue and DHEA changes. This adrenal gland hormone is thus a stimulus for,(ah hum) pubic hair growth and maintenance. The pubic hair appearance and underarm (axillary) hair, comes from a separate but similar hormonal influences. And changes in adrenal hormones can cause loss of pubic hair as well.

Although usually vaginal symptoms are due to estrogen issues, adrenal hormones can affect the vagina as well. Vaginal dryness, discomfort, and perhaps bacterial infections can be due to problems with DHEA, and there are DHEA vaginal treatments.

Adrenal stress can be confused with other conditions, and it can manifest by several symptoms, and tested for with blood work, but one obvious physical sign may just be losing pubic hair, even if you have not yet noticed a change in the loss of hair from your head. It is possible that women can notice the hair loss before symptoms of vaginal again, called VVA have begun. Factors that cause graying of hair and factors that cause hair loss might be related, but they may be separate as well. Age and medication and stress are more likely to be related to graying of the hair, rather than loss of hair. It is best to come in and gab with your gyno to determine whether any hormone imbalances are causing hair greying, hair loss, VVA, fatigue, weight gain, all the things you think of when you think of adrenal stress.

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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