Adrenal Fatigue—How Chronic Stress Affects Your Hormones

Have you ever wanted to cut your own arm off for 20 more minutes of sleep?

Does walking up the stairs make you feel like you’re running a marathon?

Are you stressed, irritable or anxious when you’re usually a happy-go-lucky-my-glass-is-half-full sort of gal?

You don’t feel well.
Your energy’s in the toilet.

And you don’t know why because your doctor says “you’re fine.”

Trust me, I know how you feel. I’ve been struggling with this for over a year and finally have some answers.

So why not celebrate by discussing all my private lab tests with you?!

  1. I want you to see how traditional medical testing can easily miss your diagnosis leaving you frustrated and hopeless. I don’t want this to happen to you!
  2. I want you learn from my mistakes—I didn’t piece together the warning signs. The longer you feel crappy, the longer it takes to recover.

video transcript

Can you relate?

Hey it’s Mariah from, your busy mom headquarters to help you love the skin you’re in and today I’m getting personal. So personal, that I’m sharing all my private lab tests with you.

So what do my lab tests have to do with you and how can you benefit from this information?

Because I’m the perfect example of somebody who was doing all the right things, and still got sick.

So if you’re gaining weight, fatigued all the time, can’t focus, are stressed/anxious/irritable or depressed, have ruthless PMS symptoms wreaking hormone havoc and you have no idea why because you’re doing all the right things, you need to watch this video.

Secondly, if you’ve been shuffled around from doctor to doctor telling you there’s nothing wrong with you and you’re normal, you need to watch this video.

Over the past year, I’ve been struggling with some health issues that I didn’t want to tell you about, primarily because I’m a physical therapist, personal trainer and a health coach.

How can I possibly have any health issues? I’m supposed to be the model of optimum health, right?

But here’s the deal. I’m human too. Just because I have a fancy health education doesn’t make me immune to disease.

So I decided that if I withhold my personal health struggles from you, that’s such a disservice. What if right now, you’re experiencing the same symptoms that I have?

I want you to be able to use me as an example of what to do, and what NOT to do, so that you don’t have to struggle like I did.

Warning Signs

One year ago, I started getting tired, like reeeeeeeallly tired. My alarm clock would go off, and I would just lay there and think, “oh my gosh, I will cut off my right arm for 20 more minutes of sleep!”

The problem was, this incredible sense of fatigue I had, never went away, even if I got enough sleep. So that was warning sign #1.

Eventually, I’d roll out of bed, drag my sluggish body downstairs to workout before my kids woke up.

I’d complete my workout, and literally feel like I did nothing. Seriously, not a drop of sweat on my body, not even that glow that you get like when you just worked out. So that was warning sign #2.

Warning sign #3: I started gaining weight. Now this was the most frustrating symptom of all, because I was doing all the right things. I was eating clean, I was working out, yet I was storing fat around my midsection and couldn’t help it.

Warning sign #4

I had constant PMS symptoms. (Again, another fun one.) I had breast tenderness and swelling, bloating, water retention, irritability, and the strongest high-fat high-carb cravings I’ve ever had. The best way I can describe it is always feeling like you’re just about to get your period. That’s how I felt…all. the. time.

Warning sign #5

I started spotting between periods. Then my periods started getting closer together, then every 2 weeks, to where I eventually never stopped bleeding. And this went on for 2 months. So you can imagine this was the symptom that finally did me in. It was a physical symptom that I couldn’t make an excuse for.

So I went to my doctor like most people would where she ran some blood tests, and there was nothing wrong with me.

Then I went to my gynecologist about the prolonged bleeding, she ordered a vaginal ultrasound and yep, nothing wrong with me.

She prescribed birth control pills, 20 mcg of estrogen per day, to get me back on track. And I’ll tell you, something just didn’t sit right with me that we were throwing something at my symptoms without knowing why.

Plus birth control pills aren’t recommended for women over the age of 35. And yep, I’m over 35!

So here I was, feeling like crap, with nothing wrong with me.

So, I started doing all the wrong things like eating sugar and drinking caffeine because I was desperately trying to borrow energy to get through my day.

Of course this only caused more weight gain and made my energy problems worse.

That’s when I finally decided to find a naturopathic doctor who I hoped would listen, and run some unconventional tests to figure out why I was feeling so crummy.

Here’s what we found.

Blood Testing

The CBC (which stands for complete blood count) tests for some standards like your white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin etc, and this showed I was low in many areas but still within normal limits range. For example normal hemoglobin is 12-16 and I was at a 12.9.

Next up was iron testing. And normal is 40-170 and I was at a 49. Again, really low on the “normal” range.

Next up was TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which measures thyroid function. Normal range is 0.36-3.74 and I’m at 3.27.

These three tests—CBC, iron and TSH is what my primary doctor initially measured in which case found nothing wrong with me because I was technically within normal limits, but still on the outer edges of normal.

So let’s talk about some extra tests my naturopathic doctor ordered.

She wanted to test ferritin since my iron results were low. Ferritin is the major iron storage protein of the body. Ferritin levels can drop quite a bit before you’ll see a dip in iron.

There’s a wide range of normal on this one at 8-388 but here’s the kicker. Mine was 5. My doctor said she didn’t think she’d ever seen a case with that low of ferritin.

Finally, we’re starting to get somewhere! My low levels of hemoglobin and iron coupled with off the charts low ferritin puts me in the anemic category, which starts to explain my severe fatigue.

Next up T3 and T4—which are thyroid hormones. Basically speaking hypothyroidism involves high levels of TSH and low levels of T3 and T4.

Normal T3 is 2.18-3.98 and mine was 3.1.

Normal T4 is 0.76-1.46 and mine was 0.96.

All in all not too shabby for me. It looks like my thyroid is hanging in there, but it definitely could be better.

The takeaway from this is similar to the iron testing. Your thyroid may be considered normal based on TSH results from your primary doctor, but you may have abnormal T3 and T4 which could require thyroid medication, but you’ll never know that because T3 and T4 aren’t normally tested.

Hormone Testing

Moving onto hormones.

DHEA—is a hormone made by the adrenal glands that’s considered a precursor to your sex hormones. So basically you need the DHEA hormone to make estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Normal is 4-11 for somebody my age. Mine was 2.9.

Testosterone—normal is 16-55. For a woman my age testosterone should be in the 30’s. Mine was 19.

Estrogen—normal estrogen is 1.3-3.3. Mine is 1.6. So technically within normal limits but on the low range.

Progesterone—normal is 75-270 mine is 42. Off the charts, waaaaaaay to low.

So even though my estrogen is on the low side of normal, my estrogen to progesterone ratio makes me extremely estrogen dominant. And when you’re estrogen dominant you get symptoms of  weight gain, cravings, messed up menstrual cycles and prolonged bleeding—just all that yuck!

Now can you imagine if I would have taken those estrogen birth control pills prescribed to me by my gynecologist? It would have put me into more estrogen dominance which would have compounded my problems only to make me feel worse.

A quick aside—I don’t want to demonize traditional doctors in any way. They can’t possibly know everything about everything, right? Nobody can. Their scope of practice is limited to what they’re taught, so you can’t fault them for that, it just means you have to keep looking for answers.

Last but not least cortisol. Cortisol gets tested 4 times per day, because cortisol naturally fluctuates throughout the day.

As you can see cortisol levels start to raise in early morning around 3:00 am and continue to raise until about 7:00 am, in which case they start to come back down again.

By the way this is why I recommend you work out first thing in the morning around this 5:00am-7:00am area when you’re cortisol levels are naturally elevated.

So I’ve graphed out what’s considered normal, and that is anything between these two lines. This line would be considered low, this one high, and the one in the middle, average.

Here I am first thing in the morning at 2.9—so not even on the charts. Which is MORE  evidence of why I could not get out of bed in the morning let alone work out.

As the day progresses I pop back on around the average mark, fall off again early evening then just pop back in again before bed.

This would be categorized as adrenal insufficient. Adrenal fatigue is when you sort of flat-line out like there’s little cortisol response anymore.

Stress is the culprit

At this point you’re probably asking yourself the same question I did…WHY? What happened that caused my system to get so whacked?

And the answer is stress.

If we take a look at this diagram of the hormones you see that cholesterol is at the top making it the backbone of hormones, and then you see the hormones branch out.

When you have all of this stress coming in it stimulates cortisol production. (Which is why cortisol is known as the stress hormone.) As you can see that affects all of your other hormones because it works it’s way up the chain.

So here I am anemic, estrogen dominant, adrenal insufficient verging on adrenal fatigue with off the charts low hormones and a sub-optimal thyroid, yet there was nothing wrong with me.

My goal in sharing this information with you today is two-fold.

#1. For the love of all things holy, do NOT let stress go unchecked. And in my next video, I’ll talk about how to do this.

#2.  Fight for your health. If you know there’s something wrong don’t settle—find somebody who will listen and order some unconventional tests.

In the U.S. these doctors are called Naturopathic Doctors or Functional Medicine Doctors. Here’s a link to my Naturopathic Doctor. 

There’s a wonderful book called The Adrenal Fatigue Solution by Fawn Henson that is a must read. It covers everything you need about adrenal fatigue and how to cure it. It’s my new Adrenal Fatigue Bible. If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, run and get this!

In my next video we’ll cover how to treat adrenal fatigue, chronic stress and hormone havoc in order to get your energy back so if you haven’t already signed up for updates scurry on over to

Now I want to hear from you.

If you’ve ever suffered from hormone changes or adrenal fatigue due to chronic stress, what are your best recovery tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

Cheers to your health,


  1. Heather Benson

    Thank you so much for your latest video
    regarding stress. All the symptoms you mentioned I find that I have some. Very helpful!!!

    • Mariah Dolan


      I’m so glad you found the video helpful. There’s so many people who have adrenal fatigue/insufficiency + hormone disturbances and don’t know it. I specifically asked my gynecologist to test my hormones and she said I was “too young.” That’s why I wanted to share my story—I want to bring awareness to others who may be suffering. Thank you for your comment 🙂

  2. Joy

    Thank you for this informative piece, Mariah. I too struggle with energy issues, horrible PMS and mid section weight gain. I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism but have resisted medication because I want to try to fix it with lifestyle, so far I’m not doing very well. I’m very interested in your successes.

    I do find that not pushing myself to such high standards helps me. I tried getting up early and exercising and being really diligent about my family’s diet but that led to a stressful lifestyle. I’ve found that if relax a bit on the exercise piece and stay active when and where it is convenient I’m much happier (i.e. taking a run after dinner while my family bikes as opposed to going for a run in the dark before everyone gets up). My workouts are less intense (wrong time of day, wrong time of pre and post meal) but more fun. Also, I had to let up on the food issues. My kids are in school/ride the bus and are constantly “sharing” food with their friends. Without a medical reaction, it was hard to get them to stay on a gluten free/dairy free diet. I stressed about it so much. We do things as a family so now we’re back to our normal diet, which is fairly healthy but nothing as healthy as your diet. I have to say it’s much easier though.

    Thanks for being so candid with us. I look forward to your next posts.

    • Mariah Dolan


      If you have hypothyroidism or any type of adrenal insufficiencies you’re totally doing the right thing by slowing down and relaxing more. As you know I’m a huge believer in the power of diet and exercise, but if you don’t do anything to remove the stress, your progress most certainly will halt.

      Exercise is stress but it’s a good stress (normally.) But when you’re burned out, your body registers any type of stress as bad stress. That’s why it’s important to exercise lightly if you’re suffering, and put the focus on healing (which it looks like you’ve done, Bravo!)

      Thanks for sharing your story with me. I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only worn-out mom!

  3. Daniela

    Hi Mariah,

    thank you so much for this post and your honesty!
    I read this right when I saw it in my inbox a few weeks ago (for some reason it struck my attention) but it wasn’t until today that it really made sense. I was wondering why I always feel so easily exhausted when moving the body and why my heart is beating so fast most of the time. Then it struck me – I must have an huuge iron deficiency but haven’t recognized it because, when I tested that a few years ago, the doctor wouldn’t test those other parameters. Thanks to your post – that was still somewhere in the backyard of my mind – I thought about that today and my internet research confirmed it. Now all my symptoms begin to make sense! So I went to the doctor today and am getting the results tomorrow. I hope that I was right and can finally do something against that to help my body restore its energy!
    Also, I would love to hear about your findings and things you did and do to reduce stress and get those levels even again!
    Thank you so much!
    Lots of Love from Austria,

    • Mariah Dolan


      I’m so glad my post helped. That was my sole purpose for laying out all of my symptoms and test results, because I knew there were many women suffering like I was. I wanted to bring some attention to the matter, because conventional doctors aren’t schooled up on this, and can actually make things worse. (Like in my case, prescribing estrogen pills.)

      My next post will address how to treat these symptoms. Also, I found a book called The Adrenal Fatigue Solution very helpful. Definitely check that out if your test results come back showing your adrenal glands are compromised.

      Much luck to you with your test results. I’d love to know what you find!

      P.S. I would love to visit Austria someday 🙂

      • Daniela

        Dear Mariah,

        thank you SO much for your reply, I really appreciate that!! :´)

        Yes absolutely, come and visit us someday! It’s really beautiful here 🙂 I live near Salzburg, on the countryside, besides many lakes! I’ve just moved into the city though to study (that’s why I’m so stressed right now).

        So I was pretty shocked to find out that everything is OK with me! My blood test results were all fine, only the Ferritin is a bit on the low side but other than that – everything’s normal. The doctor said she was sorry but she can’t do anything for me. FT3 & FT4 are also ok, with FT4 being on the lower “normal” range. I actually don’t know what to do, I feel like I’m a 80 year old woman although I’m just 21! I surely had a lot of stress the last couple of weeks, but can that alone really be the reason for such severe health issues?

        Well anyways, I read your article again and realized I wasn’t thinking of the hormones. I haven’t tested cortisol or the adrenal glands (although I’m still a bit confused about where or how to do this). Also I’m pretty sure that there’s something wrong with my estrogen levels, as I haven’t had my menstruation for almost a year now! Unfortunately the gynecologist is fully booked until next year.

        So I’m really looking forward to your next video! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and insights with us!

        I surely will continue to educate myself about that topic and hopefully will find some solution soon.

        Lots of Love,

        • Mariah Dolan


          Your test results sound very much like mine (the blood tests, which test the thyroid hormones and iron).

          My hormones and cortisol levels were way off, however, and those are tested through saliva.

          In the states you can get the saliva test directly through the company. ZRT laboratory is one of them. You need the first one listed (male/female saliva profile III) because that tests your saliva 4 times throughout the day.

          I’m not sure if they ship internationally, but just wanted you to have the information in case you could find a company in Austria that sells these tests. Then all you have to do is find a naturopath to go over the tests with you, which shouldn’t be hard since many do consults over Skype.

          I hope that helps. I don’t want you feeling miserable amy more. You’re too young for that!


          P.S. Okay, I’m going to be honest. My favorite movie of all time is The Sound of Music. I’ve been obsessed with Austria since I was a little girl. Someday I’m going to visit…I promise!

          • Daniela

            Thanks again for your reply Mariah! And thank you so much for the information, that helps a lot!

            And, it’s so funny because most Austrians – like myself – have never seen that movie!! I know it exists and that many Americans are crazy about it.. but I don’t know why 😀 However, I’m happy you like it so much 🙂 In Salzburg we even have “Sound of Music” city tour buses and everything 😀 You’re welcome anytime 😉


  4. Shell

    Hi, very interesting post re lab tests! I have Hashimotos thyroid disease which often hoes hand in hand with adrenal burnout, and one thing that really helps me is take a half teaspoon of himalayan salt first thing every morning in warm water! I read this somewhere and it works! Another tip is to look at the colour of your lips on waking, if they are very pale this indicates adrenal burnout (according to Chinese face reading medicine), but I’ve found it shockingly accurate. If your stressed because of life/relationship issues, my website has support on that (click on my name). Very informative fun videos you have, will bookmark your site! 🙂
    Wellness and love to all x

  5. Jill

    hi Mariah! I think we are soul sisters my dear. I am going through the same thing. Low ferritin, almost exactly the same thyroid numbers, adrenal fatigue galore, and PMS crazy! You nailed the explanation and took the words outta my mouth! It’s nice to know that: 1. I’m not crazy! 2. I’m not alone. I’ll check back to see how everything is going. Best of luck to you as you start to recover!

    • Mariah Dolan


      So sorry to hear you’re going through much of the same. It is the PITS! And yes…you are NOT crazy and NOT alone! Hang in there because it does get better with the right treatment plan. Keep me posted on your progress.



  6. Dana Breckbill

    I was led to your site through Pinterest by way of making the Lavender body cream. The title of your video re: Adrenals caught my eye. I’m 45 and for the past 2 years I have suffered from heavy menstrual bleeding, no energy, sleepless nights, hot sweats, weight gain, loss of hair… To the point my life style changed. I could no longer attend my bootcamp classes, I had to drop out of races for which I registered and could not be or go anywhere unless I had access to a bathroom every 20 min. to change both pad & tampon. I finally gave in and told my husband I can’t live like this anymore. At 32 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism so I figured it had something to do with my thyroid. I went to my doctor and she told me this happens to a lot of women. I cried hearing affirmation that I am not crazy and that I don’t have to live this way. She also found I have 4 fibroid cysts. My tests showed my thyroid “in range” and of course that I am anemic due to low iron. She put me on iron supplement. She suggested hysterectomy but I couldn’t afford downtime from work. My doctor twice tried a band aid approach which was to insert an IUD w/ hormones. Twice my body rejected the IUD and heavy bleeding persisted. I knew the 2nd IUD had failed when I started passing blood clots the size of oranges. I was basically hemorrhaging. At this point My Dr. wanted to perform hysterectomy but I just started a new job (high tech no less) so she performed DNC, burning lining of uterus and removed the cyst that was causing the labor like pains. She told me if this doesn’t work I must get the hysterectomy. My body wreaked havoc. I decided at that point I needed healing from the inside out. I didn’t want to settle for a hysterectomy and hormone therapy at age 45. A friend recommended her Wellness Dr. down in Monterey, CA. (I would love to include her info but not sure it is appropriate to do so on your site) This was a life changing decision!
    I have never had a doctor run a comprehensive blood panel similar to the one you mention in your video. All of my levels were similar to your results. Not one doctor has ever checked my active T3/T4 levels nor do standard doctors tell you what is your “optimal range” within the “normal range” spectrum. Your test results may show you are in range but truly your levels may be “low” or “high” for your optimal range. Long story short my wellness Dr prescribed progesterone, iron, chromium (to help bind iron), Vitamin D, fish oil and potassium magnesium and melatonin to help me sleep. My periods are now manageable. I’m still tired but my energy continues to increase, the hot flashes have decreased and no more leg cramps. She also helped me discover my food intolerance so along with change in diet the weight is starting to drop and I am no longer bloated and feel like I’m 5 months pregnant. There are other issues to address but to start these were the most crucial. I know I’m on the right path to gain back my active lifestyle. It’s about progress not perfection. Most importantly I have hope!
    My Mom has been showing signs of cognitive disorders (struggles to find words, confusion) and loss of memory. Her symptoms rapidly increased after she retired to the point within 6 months she is no longer driving or performing daily tasks. I took her to a Neurologist, had a MRI and blood work done through her regular Dr. In parallel, I took her to my wellness Dr. who ran a comprehensive blood panel along with heavy metal tests and neurotransmitter tests. To summarize, prognosis from the other doctors was test results are normal, nothing conclusive. Could be signs of pseudo dementia which is basically a form of depression. Suggested anti-depressants and told to plan for the worst. My wellness Dr. reviewed my Mom’s test results and pointed out the areas of concern where the test results indicate “in range” but really are low or high for her optimal range. The supplements prescribed in my Mom’s initial treatment plan focus on crucial areas like Serotonin, Gaba, Adrenals, B-12 and thyroid. We continue to see steady improvement!
    If not for my Wellness Dr. I would have gone through a hysterectomy and be on hormone therapy the rest of my life. My Mom would have gone down the road of false positive for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease probably put on antidepressants and told to plan for the worst.
    Because we chose to consult with a naturopathic doctor I feel we both have a fighting chance to live a healthy and productive lifestyle that we so enjoy and desire.
    I’ve learned so much about thyroid function (TSH, T3, T4) and Neurotransmitters (Serotonin, GABA, Cortisol) and the effects on the body, brain and our central nervous system when your levels are not within optimal range. Through my recent research I discovered a low thyroid can contribute to miscarriages. I had 4 miscarriages before I was 40. After the 2nd I questioned why this was happening. The only answer I received was probably due to an extra chromosome. Never was it mentioned that a low thyroid can contribute to miscarriages. It’s probably because my TSH results showed “In range” yet along with T3/T4 results indicate I’m still low even though I’m currently taking levoxyl.
    I recommend anyone who feels out of sort and their Dr. has told them nothing is wrong, you should consult with a Wellness / Naturopathic doctor. You are worth it!
    I advocate not only TSH but also T3/T4 tests should be conducted to rule out thyroid issues. Going forward I will insist T3/T4 panels be included with TSH testing.
    Thank you Mariah for sharing your personal story. More women, including myself, need to share this information and make it known that there is hope, we are NOT crazy and there are more natural treatment options available besides the modern day drugs doctors are so quick to prescribe.
    Cheers to good health and a hopeful spirit,

    • Mariah Dolan


      Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your story. (Plus my apologies for taking so long to get back to you. I just had a hip replacement 3 days ago!)

      I’m amazed by the similarities in our stories, which is why I’m so glad you shared yours. If other women don’t hear our stories, they’ll think there’s nothing else they can do. I wish so badly that naturopathic doctors were “mainstream” and conventional doctors were used when natural remedies didn’t work…so basically the opposite of how it’s done now.

      I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear how well you’re doing! It goes to show you that you have to keep fighting if you’re told there’s “nothing wrong with you.”

      Cheers to your health my friend!



  7. Jessica

    Hello! I’m in this boat right now. Your blog is confirmation that I’m on the right track to fix everything. Thanks!

    • Mariah Dolan

      So sorry to hear you’re struggling, Jessica, but happy to hear you’re on the right track! That’s honestly the hardest part…finding the right person to order the right tests. Once that’s done, it’s smooth sailing from there.

      The best of luck to you. Pop back in and let me know how you’re doing 🙂


      • Jessica

        Yes, I found two wonderful doctors that I’ve been working with for a year and a half now. It’s just taking me a while to bounce back.
        Just out of curiosity, do you know the units of DHEA and cortisol measurements?

  8. robert

    Hi this is a very good page…..maybe one of the best….to my issue….I have elevated cortisol…..after much research for the last six months…..I have ordered my own tests hoping to figure out sum things I have fatigue and all the issues similar cannon exercise heart rate goes up with little things….since taking iron ive noticed mild improvement and I ran into the ferritin and t3 subjects I wanna kno my thyroid hormone function because like u said before and I have had the “regular” thyroid test and hemoglobin and fall in the normal range but feel something isn’t right I’m so curious of my results tomorrow and in regards of what to do….so far I have changed my diet less stress just relax to be honest and I take certain high quality nutrional multi liquid form idk wut to really do but the results will least let me know something and I need a new doctor smh

    t3 thyroid

    these test I will know of tomorrow results I think
    other tests I should maybe get “are some other thyroid ones and the other iron tests like t4 and tsh pretty much stick with the iron and thyroid subject” my endo says my cortisol isn’t that high sumthin like 70? she doesn’t wanna see me for another year or 2…..but if these tests are faulty I will call her with some type of concern and least have something to show…so if the thyroid comes back low and ferritin wut do I do if this is all an adrenal issue do I just focus on the stresss obviously up the ferritn for sure or , i kno i hear of people treating the thyroid but not the adrenals n so on no good?

    • Mariah Dolan

      Hi Robert,

      I’m sorry to hear all that you’re dealing with. It’s frustrating for sure!

      Yes, definitely get T3 and T4 tested if you haven’t already. That will give you more of a “true” thyroid health.

      As far as treatment goes, you have to treat what’s “off.” So if T3 and T4 are off you’ll treat those. If ferritin or iron is low, you’ll take a supplement.

      If all comes back normal, other than your high cortisol, then you’ll most certainly have to focus on stress relief.

      I can’t recommend the Insight Timer app enough for meditating. If you’re not meditating already, definitely give it a go. You have to practice it consistently to see a positive effect, but if you do, you’ll certainly get some stress relief.

      Good luck!


  9. robert

    to addd to my last comment also waiting for vitamin d results tomorrow as well

  10. Karen Pillars

    Just a funny and sad commentary on medical doctors, I am an RN and after much research into my symptoms, I told my Primary Care Physician that I felt that, due to extensive stress and my symptoms, I needed a cortisol test. He replied that I didn’t have any problems with my adrenal glands. When I asked how he knew that without any lab work (?) he said, “because you don’t have a hump on your back.” Most medical doctors do not believe in adrenal fatigue, only in adrenal failure or Addison’s Disease (which causes a hump on the upper back and is extreme adrenal disease) and he would not even consider ordering the appropriate labs! No he is no longer my PCP!

    • Mariah Dolan


      Ugh, so frustrating. I’m sorry you had to deal with that as well.

      Here’s what kills me about the medical community not recognizing adrenal fatigue as “real.” They recognize Addison’s which is basically where the adrenal glands are totally blown out, and the patient can barely get out of bed.

      How do doctor’s think patients get to that stage? We don’t wake up one day not having the energy to dress ourselves, right? It’s an ongoing process. So I’m baffled as to why they refuse to recognize adrenal fatigue.

      Since both of us are in the medical field (physical therapist and RN) we know enough to keep fighting. My heart hurts for those who are suffering and not getting the help they need from their doctors 🙁

  11. Amanda

    I recently went through an extreme period of stress after my mother passed away. Everything you talked about in the video describes me perfectly. I’ve had lots of blood tests both from my primary care and gynecologist and of course nothing is wrong with me and everything is “normal”. Like you, some of the levels were very marginal in my opinion. So frustrating. For the life of my I can’t understand why doctors don’t even consider adrenal fatigue!

    • Mariah Dolan

      I’m so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing, Amanda. Please accept my deepest condolences for your family’s loss.

      Sigh…I have no idea why doctor’s don’t acknowledge it either, especially when they DO acknowledge Addison’s disease where the adrenals have completely stopped working.

      It’s not like one day we feel fine, then the next day our adrenals are completely blown out. It’s a progression, right?

      The best thing you can do at this point is to find a naturopathic doctor who will validate your concerns and progress accordingly.

      I do understand how frustrating it is. The good news is there’s hope! I’ve been where you were and now I feel like my old self.

      Let me know if I can help in any way.



  • (will not be published)