Causes of adrenal fatigue are diverse. Sometimes, it is a challenge to find the cause of adrenal fatigue, especially when it is rare. A rare cause of adrenal fatigue is bilateral Hyperplasia of the adrenal medulla, the inner part of the adrenal gland and the treatment is surgical removal of the medulla (medullectomy) of both adrenal glands. This groundbreaking discovery was made by a non-physician, who suffered from this illness himself. After getting no help from his physicians, he took matters in his own hands and made a breakthrough discovery.
Here is his story.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Excessive fatigue due to the malfunction of the adrenal glands.
Common Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
Normally adrenal glands produce several hormones that regulate our well-being. One such hormone is cortisol, produced by the outer region of the adrenal glands called the adrenal cortex. Deficiency of cortisol leads to adrenal fatigue. This deficiency commonly occurs if adrenal glands do not get appropriate signals from its higher regulators in the brain, the Pituitary gland and the Hypothalamus.
The most common causes of adrenal fatigue include corticosteroid drugs such as Prednisone, Dexamethasone, Triamcinolone, Fluticasone, Budesonide and other steroids. These steroids temporarily shut off the signals from the pituitary and hypothalamus to the adrenal glands. Technically, it is called the suppression of the HPA axis – Hypothalamic_ Pituitary_ Adrenal axis. The suppression of the adrenal glands can persist for weeks to months (and even years) depending upon the potency and duration of the steroid drug used.
Other common causes of adrenal fatigue include: suppression of the HPA axis due to chronic stress, diseases of the Hypothalamus and Pituitary glands, and diseases of the adrenal cortex.
Rare Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
Rare causes of adrenal fatigue include tumors of the adrenal medulla, the inner part of the adrenal gland. Normally, the adrenal medulla produces three hormones: adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine. Sometimes, there is a tumor in the adrenal medulla that produces an excess of these hormones. These tumors are called pheochromocytoma. If a pheochromocytoma predominantly produces adrenaline, the predominant symptoms can be excessive fatigue, dizziness and vertigo due to postural hypotension because adrenaline causes blood vessels to dilate. Consequently, blood pressure drops, especially when a person stands up.
Sometimes these tumors can be outside the adrenal glands, anywhere in the body. On rare occasions, these tumors can take a long time to grow to the point of being detected by the imaging procedures such as MRI scan or CT scan.
An even more rare cause of adrenal fatigue is what this gentleman discovered: Bilateral hyperplasia of the adrenal glands, which can take many years to be visible on the imaging procedures such as MRI scan or CT scan.
Take home message: If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, keep searching, and don’t give up till you find the answer.