Adrenal Fatigue / Insufficiency


What are the adrenal glands?

Your body has two adrenal glands. Each gland is located above a kidney. The adrenal glands secrete many hormones needed for the body’s normal functioning. Two of these hormones are cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol helps the body use sugar and protein for energy and enables the body to recover from infections and stresses (for example: surgery and illness). Aldosterone maintains the right amount of sodium (salt), potassium, and water in the body.

What is adrenal insufficiency?

People with Adrenal Insufficiency (AI) do not have enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Without the right levels of these hormones, your body cannot maintain essential life functions. AI may be permanent or temporary. When AI is permanent, medication must be taken daily for an entire lifetime. Causes of permanent AI include the following:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) discovered in childhood
  • Complete surgical removal of the pituitary gland
  • Surgical removal of the adrenals

What are the signs and symptoms of AI?

When your essential life functions are not being maintained because of a lack of adrenal hormones, you will not feel well. Your symptoms can include:

  • Unusual tiredness and weakness
  • Dizziness when standing up
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Joint aches and pains

Please remember this information is intended for educational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice from a healthcare provider.