How to Identify Adrenal Imbalance

Is your stress level putting your health at risk?

Every day, your body is subjected to a wide range of physical and psychological situations that it senses as stressful.

Typically, we think of work, finances or relationships when it comes to stress. But the list is much bigger and broader than this. Lack of sleep, dieting and winning the lottery are also stressful! Why? Because all of these situations signal your body to produce cortisol. One of your stress hormones.

This is helpful up to a point (because it helps us get our to-do lists done), but when our adrenals are required to chronically crank out cortisol, they eventually become impaired in their ability to respond. The resulting adrenal imbalance not only zaps your mojo in a big way, but also affects your body’s ability to produce and balance other feel-good hormones like DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. This throws your hormone symphony way off key!

Signs that Trouble is Ahead

When symptoms develop, it’s your body’s way of waving a red flag and letting you know that it is not receiving the support it needs. Ignoring what’s going on WON’T make it better….this is not a situation you want to just “power through”.

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Here are some of the signs and symptoms that can indicate adrenal imbalance. See if you recognize any of these tendencies in yourself:


High Cortisol

Low cortisol


  • Difficulty winding down
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Difficulty getting out of bed in the AM
  • Sleep is not refreshing


  • Always running
  • “Wired and tired”
  • Constant fatigue
  • Weariness
  • Lethargic
  • No energy

Coping style

  • Anxious
  • Panic attacks
  • Short-tempered
  • “Driven”
  • Inability to handle everyday stress
  • Overwhelmed by little things
  • Mild depression
  • Struggling to get through the day
  • Avoid conflict

What Your Mind is Doing

  • Racing
  • Scattered and splattered thoughts
  • Can’t focus
  • Foggy
  • Fuzzy thinking


  • Abdominal weight gain
  • Eating more at night
  • Carb cravings
  • Caffeine is your best friend

There is a lot of overlap of the signs and symptoms listed above with sex hormone imbalances or other illnesses, so adrenal imbalance may not always be the root cause.  Saliva testing can identify which imbalance is the actual problem, allowing you and your provider to target treatment appropriately and get your mojo back on the right track.

The remedy for adrenal fatigue may be as simple as getting more sleep or cleaning up your diet. But for more advanced cases, support with herbs and vitamins may be necessary. The good news is, when addressed in time with proper support, you can heal adrenal imbalance and reverse the damaging effects of chronic stress.

Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.

Find out more about working with her at

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Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony

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