Adrenal insufficiency - also known as Addison's disease - is an uncommon condition that affects hormone levels in the body. Only around 1 in every 100,000 people suffer from adrenal insufficiency, making this one of the rarest ailments of its type. Addison's disease occurs when the glands responsible for the production of cortisol - the adrenal glands - don't produce the required number of hormones that the body requires. This causes a range of symptoms to appear, including muscular pain and weight loss.


Different factors can cause you to feel fatigued. Activity levels, age, and general fitness can all influence how energized you feel. But another factor that can leave you feeling overworked and tired is your adrenaline level. That's why fatigue is often considered one of the most indicative signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency. If your body cannot produce high enough amounts of needed hormones, you might end up feeling tired, regardless of how well you've slept. Dietary changes, as well as increased physical activity, can help you recover energy levels.

fatigue adrenal insufficiency

Emotional Distress

Adrenal insufficiency can cause a variety of symptoms to develop in different fronts, including emotional well-being. That's why people with adrenal insufficiency can feel irritable and highly sensible, making this one of the top symptoms to look out for. Besides being more agitated than the average healthy person, adrenal insufficiency patients may have difficulties dealing with highly emotional situations, which can leave them feeling sad or right out angry. Hormone levels in the body are closely linked with our emotions, so it's important to ensure that adrenaline and cortisol levels stay in their ideal ranges.

signs of adrenal insufficiency

Low Libido

One of the most noticeable signs of adrenal insufficiency is a decreased sexual appetite. A disdain for sex may not appear right away, but over time, you may notice lower levels of sexual activity that translate into little to no intimate time; moreover, you may notice lower levels of personal enjoyment. All of these symptoms have to do with the body's natural hormone levels. If they become imbalanced, sexual activity can become greatly impaired. This can also lead to relationship issues. To increase adrenaline levels, you should ensure that your diet is healthy and balanced. You can also consult your doctor for further examination.

symptoms of adrenal insufficiency

Difficulty Sleeping

Low adrenaline levels, as well as other hormonal imbalances, may affect the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling exhausted and irritated in the morning. Even if you've slept for more than 8 hours, you may wake up to a feeling of extreme fatigue, or even dizziness. When your hormone levels are lacking, the REM process may become impaired, leading to lower sleep quality. During waking hours, this means that you'll feel the need to take a nap to compensate for a bad night's sleep. However, you should avoid naps as they may further aggravate symptoms.

sleep adrenal insufficiency

Coffee Dependence

You may develop an insatiable taste for coffee or tea if you suffer from adrenal insufficiency. As your body becomes starved of adrenaline and other hormones, you may start to look for other sources of stimulation, including caffeine-rich products such as coffee and tea. And you probably won't stop at one; it's likely that you'll consume more than a few cups per day, which may not be ideal for your health. If coffee becomes an addiction, it may generate a long-term bond that becomes difficult to break. Instead of consuming coffee, try to consume tea or drinks that are lower in caffeine.


Weak Immune System

Adrenal insufficiency can lead to many serious complications, one of which is a weakened immune system. When cortisol levels become low, it can have unhealthy consequences for the immune system because it can cause inflammation and weakness, therefore limiting the functioning of the immune system. This means that you can become prone to illness, and makes the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu much more probable. It can even increase your risk of developing chronic conditions. To determine immune system health, book an appointment with your doctor for further evaluation.

immune system adrenal insufficiency

Increased Urination

The adrenal glands are responsible for the production of different components, the most important of which is adrenaline. If adrenaline production changes, or becomes limited, this can cause lower levels of aldosterone, which regulated kidney function as well as fluid excretion. Some people with adrenal insufficiency report higher levels of urination, with larger than normal amounts of mineral content. While age, as well as other health-related factors, may be the cause, hormonal imbalances may also be to blame. It is important to analyze the situation for a certain period to get a full picture of bodily functioning.

adrenal insufficiency signs

Abdominal Pain

Adrenal insufficiency may also manifest itself in the stomach, as well as the digestive tract as a whole. If the production of one of the hormones secreted by the adrenal gland becomes modified, the patient may experience pain in the abdomen. Pain may be localized or general, and in most cases, affects the upper quadrant, although the lower quadrants may also be affected. To diagnose adrenal insufficiency, blood cortisol levels are first measured. Then, to confirm the diagnosis, other tests are completed, including ACTH levels. Depending on the results, the doctor will start the required treatment.

symptoms adrenal insufficiency


Another symptom which is commonly by adrenal insufficiency patients is nausea, which may lead to vomiting in some cases. Nausea is the feeling of needing to vomit and is triggered by the brain. Nausea can be mild or severe, and it can cause extremely unpleasant sensations for the affected patient. If you experience pain couples with nausea, you may be experiencing an adrenal crisis, which is a life-threatening situation and requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, it may prove fatal, because hormone levels become extremely unbalanced. An adrenal crisis usually also causes a fever to develop.

nausea adrenal insufficiency

Joint Pain

In many cases, joint pain can be caused by adrenal insufficiency. Millions of people suffer from pain and discomfort of the joints, and it can be challenging to determine the exact cause due to the enormous number of factors involved. If no cause is determined, adrenal insufficiency may be a more lesser-known culprit and should be thoroughly investigated. Patients with adrenal insufficiency can experience pain throughout the joints of the body, especially at the knees and elbows. You can also experience muscular pain, which is closely related to joint pain.

joint pain adrenal insufficiency


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