9 Adrenal Exhaustion Symptoms That You Should Know

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Many people suffer from insomnia, but few suspect it may be one of the adrenal exhaustion symptomsAdrenal Fatigue Syndrome affects every organ system in the body, leading to a wide range of symptoms that can be confusing to interpret. Most people, and even conventional doctors, are unaware that all these symptoms are related to a single condition, and do not understand that they are adrenal exhaustion symptoms. Treatments often focus on each symptom one at a time and can cause side effects or make some other symptoms worse. The symptoms need to be looked at together to come to an informed conclusion about their underlying cause.

Adrenal Exhaustion Symptoms:

Below are some adrenal exhaustion symptoms that appear common, but together point towards their underlying common cause.


This is the number one symptom most people complain of. The body is often unable to get proper rest due to high levels of cortisol in the early stages of Adrenal Fatigue, and norepinephrine and epinephrine in the later stages keep the body amped up and unable to relax properly to rest. Mid-afternoon slump followed by a 2nd wind in the early evening is a classic sign.


In addition to keeping the body alert and from getting proper rest, the consistently high levels of these stress hormones disturb the body’s daily rhythm, making it hard to go to sleep at the right time and to stay asleep throughout the night. Their entire 24-hour cycle is disrupted. The more advanced the AFS, the more frequently nighttime awakening can occur. Sometimes they are accompanied by heart palpitations and sweating. This is a sign that the body’s fight-or-flight response is on full throttle and metabolic derangement may be at hand.

Low blood pressure

In early stages of adrenal fatigue, blood pressure can be higher than normal. During the later stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, weakened adrenals put out lower amounts of cortisol, which help regulate blood pressure, and therefore blood pressure tends to drop. If you find that you constantly are thirsty and have a need to carry a water bottle around, consider it may be adrenal exhaustion symptoms.

Worsening allergies

Cortisol, released by the adrenals, also play a key role in controlling histamines, the major hormone in allergic reactions. When cortisol levels become lower, the histamines exert a greater effect, exaggerating existing allergies and flaring up some that were not a problem before. Skin problems, bloating, food sensitivities often worsen when this occurs. Suppressing the allergies with medication does not solve the problem and only leads to dependency issues further down the road. Nurturing the adrenal glands back to optimum health remains the foundational approach that helps the body heal itself over time.

Low body temperature

If you have low body temperature, you may want to be on the lookout for other adrenal exhaustion symptomsMetabolism can be affected by Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, leading to poor thermal regulation and tending towards a lower body temperature than normal. Low body temperature despite being put on thyroid replacement medication is a classic sign that the low metabolism and fatigue experienced is not due to a primary thyroid problem, but rather a condition of low thyroid function caused by adrenal gland weakness.

Menstrual irregularities and PMS

As part of a hormonal axis with the thyroid and ovaries, the decline in function of the adrenal glands causes imbalances in other hormones throughout the body, including those regulating the female reproductive cycle.

Salt cravings

The adrenal glands are also responsible for secreting aldosterone, an important hormone that helps regulate salt levels in the body. Aldosterone is generally low in those with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, which lowers the amount of sodium in the body.

Heart palpitations

Heart palpitations can be concerning if you do not know their cause, they may be adrenal exhaustion symptomsSodium imbalance in the body creates its own set of problems, which at their most severe, can include cardiac problems.


Low cortisol levels hamper the body’s ability to convert glycogen, fats, and proteins into new glucose supplies, leading to a faster drop in blood sugar after eating.

These and more symptoms form a dizzying array of afflictions that can be hard to decipher for even a medical professional. What’s more, as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome progresses, many symptoms can change in severity and new symptoms can arise. The important thing to remember is that the symptoms can all be interconnected, and there may not be any need to isolate and treat them as different diseases.

Not every sufferer of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome will have all of these adrenal exhaustion symptoms, some may even have many more not listed. If you have a variety of unexplained symptoms, it may pay to investigate Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome as a potential culprit.

Adrenal exhaustion symptoms