75 Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


There are many symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue The presentation of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) can be affiliated with any of the following signs, symptoms, or conditions. Currently, there is no definitive laboratory test for AFS but you should always be on the lookout if you are suffering from a high number of the following Adrenal Fatigue symptoms.

It’s important to note that not everyone has all of the signs and symptoms listed below associated with Adrenal Fatigue. Everyone’s body is different, and as such, every body presents differently. However, the higher the intensity and the more widespread the symptoms listed below are, the higher the likelihood of having Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome becomes.

Characteristic Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
  2. Waking up in the middle of the night for no reason
  3. Heart palpitations at night or when stressed
  4. Consistently low blood pressure
  5. Low libido and lack of sex drive
  6. Low thyroid function, often despite thyroid medications
  7. Feeling of hypoglycemia though laboratory values are normal
  8. Depression, often unresolved after anti-depressants
  9. Endometriosis
  10. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  11. Uterine fibroids
  12. Fibrocystic breast disease
  13. Hair falling off for no reason
  14. Irritable under stress
  15. Anxiety
  16. Panic attacks
  17. Feeling “wired” and unable to relax
  18. Feeling of adrenaline rushes in the body
  19. Foggy thinking
  20. Inability to handle stress
  21. Waking up feeling tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep
  22. Feeling tired in the afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 pm
  23. Inability to take in simple carbohydrates
  24. Needing coffee to get going in the morning and throughout the day
  25. Coffee, tea or energy drinks triggering adrenaline rush and adrenal crashes
  26. Feeling tired between 9:00 and 10:00 PM, but still finding it hard to go to bed
  27. Craving for fatty food and food high in protein
  28. Craving for salty food such as potato chips
  29. Dry skin more than usual
  30. Unexplained hair loss that is diffuse
  31. Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
  32. Chemical sensitivities to paint, fingernail polish, plastics
  33. Electromagnetic force sensitivity, including cell phone and computer monitors
  34. Delayed food sensitivities, especially to dairy and gluten
  35. Unable to get pregnant, requiring IVF
  36. Post partum fatigue and depression
  37. Recurrent miscarriages during first trimester
  38. Abdominal fat accumulation for no apparent reason
  39. Temperature intolerance, especially to heat or sunlight
  40. Dysmenorrhea advancing to amenorrhea
  41. Premature Menopause
  42. Constipation for no apparent reason
  43. Joint pain of unknown origin
  44. Muscle mass loss
  45. Muscle pain of unknown reason
  46. Cold hands and feet
  47. Premature aging skin
  48. Inability to concentrate or focus
  49. Psoriasis of no known reason
  50. Gastritis despite normal gastroscopy
  51. Low back pain with no history of trauma and normal examination
  52. Dizziness for no known cause
  53. Fructose mal-absorption
  54. Chronic Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  55. Numbness and tingling in extremities bilaterally
  56. Recurrent mouth sores
  57. Shortness of breath even though breathing is fine
  58. Presence of ovarian cyst

Cancer as a result of estrogen dominance is one of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Breast cancer associated with estrogen dominance
  2. Grave’s disease
  3. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  4. Legs that feel heavy at times
  5. Dark circles under eyes that do not go away with rest
  6. Loss of healthy facial skin tone color
  7. Body feeling tense all over and unable to relax
  8. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia
  9. Irritable Bowl Syndrome, with more constipation than diarrhea
  10. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome unimproved with medicine
  11. Fibromyalgia unresolved after conventional help
  12. Systemic Candida that gets worse when under stress
  13. Electrolyte imbalance despite normal laboratory values
  14. Irregular menstrual cycle that “stops and goes”
  15. Lyme Disease but unable to fully recover after medication or intolerance to drugs
  16. H. Pylori infection in the past and was told resolved but never feel the same since
  17. Heavy metal and mineral toxicity may mimic Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

This list is not intended for you to self-diagnose Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. If you think you may have some of these symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, the first task is to get more educated. Because of the rather convoluted and complex nature of this syndrome, always consult a qualified health professional prior embarking on any recovery plan. Most recovery programs fail and the condition may worsen if you lack a clear understanding of the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue and what lies ahead.

© Copyright 2012 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Questions

Is an Adrenal Fatigue diet high enough in calories to support a healthy pregnancy?

Good question. There are several aspects to a diet for AFS are very helpful for healthy pregnancy also. Avoidance of inflammatory foods such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar, trans-fats, processed food, etc. Eating smaller meals to keep blood sugar balanced throughout the day, and should give you enough calories to support a healthy pregnancy.

How does yoga help those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue?

Yoga exercise can be very mild or very intense. With proper guidance, the exercises can be personalized to your need. DrLam’s Adrenal Yoga Exercise is a good example of how to increase the intensity as you improve your AFS.

Is there a way to build muscle without bringing the heart rate up too much, which adversely affects those with Adrenal Fatigue?

Any time you need to build muscle, you need to strain those muscles. As a result, you can affect the heart rate. There should be no issues if your adrenals are strong and able to handle the stress of heavy exercise.

I’ve read that having a sodium/potassium imbalance is a sign of adrenal fatigue. I’ve been taking potassium pills for the last several years. Should I still continue or is that something I need to stop?

Most people take potassium pills because the doctor prescribes it for certain blood pressure medication. You need to check with your doctor whether to continue or not because potassium balance is very critical to be well maintained and is not something you should self-navigate.

Are there any exercises that a person could do that would give them a good idea if they have AFS or not?

If you don’t have advanced stages of AFS, any exercise is good for the body provided they are not extreme. Walking, biking, hiking, yoga and flexibility exercise in moderation are all safe for everyone. If you have advanced stages of AFS, make sure you follow professional guidance before embarking on exercise.

Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Coaching

There are many symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

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