We’ve talked about adrenal fatigue a ton and how it can exacerbate or even cause women’s hormonal issues like PCOS—but today, we’re really diving deep into adrenal fatigue PCOS.
What is PCOS?
Before we get into what exactly adrenal fatigue PCOS is, let’s talk about what PCOS is. PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome, and it is arguably the most common hormone-related issue that women experience today. It can be best defined as high levels of androgens, (a group of hormones that play a big role in male sex traits/puberty and reproductive activity) think testosterone.
When androgen levels are too high in women it can lead to symptoms like:
- Weight gain
- Unwanted body hair growth
- Oily skin and/or acne
- Hair loss or thinning hair on the head
- Irregular or absent period
- Painful periods
Despite its name, it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with cysts on the ovaries, although cysts and endometriosis risk is higher in those with PCOS. The good news is that PCOS can be reversed and healed.
There are 4 common types of PCOS, and when we understand each one, we can better understand what our PCOS is caused by and heal it.
Types of PCOS
- Insulin-Resistance PCOS: the most common type of PCOS. A result of high levels of insulin in the body (think metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes). Higher levels of circulating insulin increase the production of androgens in women, which messes with ovulation and leads to the above symptoms.
- Post-Pill PCOS: if your signs of PCOS started a few months after stopping the pill, your body may produce a temporary surge of androgens. Oral contraceptives that contain androgen-suppressing forms of progesterin (GInet, Yasmin, Yaz) are typically the worst offenders here.
- Inflammatory PCOS: this happens when chronic inflammation in the body is the primary driver of elevated androgens. This can happen form an overactive immune system, causing the ovaries to make too many androgen hormones, leading to irregular periods and infertility.
And last but not least…
Number 4: Adrenal PCOS
Adrenal fatigue PCOS is a result of chronic stress done on the body. Women who struggle with adrenal PCOS typically have experienced/are experiencing high, chronic levels of stress. In this case, you will have high levels of DHEAS, an androgen produced in the adrenal glands, and normal levels of other androgens in the ovaries like testosterone.
You can learn if you have adrenal fatigue PCOS by looking at the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and PCOS. You can also get your DHEAS levels tested, and if those are elevated compared to other androgens, then you are most likely dealing with adrenal PCOS.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Tired but wired before bed, insomnia
- Sluggish all day
- Craving salty foods and fats
- Hair loss
- Mood issues
- Depression and anxiety
- Less resilience to stress
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Afternoon slump
- Reliance on caffeine
- Brain fog
How to Support adrenal fatigue polycystic ovary syndrome
1 – recognize the root of adrenal fatigue
If your adrenal fatigue is causing PCOS, you need to get to the root of adrenal fatigue and heal there.
The root of adrenal fatigue is HPA axis dysregulation. Your HPA axis is your body’s stress response system. If it is constantly overworked, your hypothalamus and pituitary gland will signal to your adrenals to stop producing hormones, or cortisol, causing extreme fatigue and other hormonal issues.
This means that getting to the root of what is causing you stress! It can be friends, family, work, lack of purpose, childhood trauma that lingers. Whatever it is, you need to do some digging and then make serious lifestyle changes.
2 – Prioritize sleep
Sleep is number 1. Go to bed when you feel tired, not when you think you are supposed to. Get as many good quality hours of sleep as possible when healing from adrenal fatigue. It may help to draw a bath before bed, meditate, drink a sleepy tea, self-massage, or read a book in candle light.
3 – Hydrate (properly)
Most people are dehydrated. And most people who are drinking water, aren’t drinking properly mineralized water. There are essential electrolytes that your body needs to function properly on a cellular level. Make sure that you are drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you aren’t sure if you’re getting enough electrolytes, try this.
4 – Add Adaptogens
Adaptogens are herbs that help you adapt to stressors and balance hormones. Including these in you daily routine will help rewire your nervous system and help you become more resilient to stress. Some of the ones I recommend are ashwaghanda and schisandra. Find them both here.
5 – Stress Management
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always got. I need you to create a stress management plan that is manageable. Something realistic that you make a non-negotiable. This can look like a 5 minute meditation daily, a 20 minute walk after dinner or in the morning, journaling, yoga, bath, whatever. Make one and stick to it.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms in Women
It’s not surprising that adrenal fatigue affects more women than men, and at a more intense rate. Meaning that when women have adrenal fatigue, they experience way more symptoms related to their health. Think increased PMS symptoms, infertility, weight gain, head hair loss, and of course PCOS . You can learn more about the top adrenal fatigue symptoms in women in this article.
The saddest part about all of this is that adrenal fatigue is almost always dismissed by conventional doctors as just a “theory”. But we debunked that theory in this article. If you have been struggling with chronic fatigue in addition to PCOS symptoms we mentioned above, you need to make major lifestyle changes like we suggested today.
Learn more about our supplements designed to help you with hormone balance, energy, adrenal fatigue, gut health, mineral deficiencies, hydration, and more. Like we said, everything is connected. Start healing today.
I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions about adrenal PCOS, drop them in the comments section below.