Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Adrenal fatigue is a name given to a variety of symptoms.

Adrenal fatigue is a name given to a variety of symptoms.
beginning of content

Adrenal fatigue

Has someone suggested that ‘adrenal fatigue’ is the reason you constantly feel tired? Adrenal fatigue is an interesting idea, but it is not an accepted medical diagnosis.

There can be many reasons why people feel tired all the time and therefore it is often not easy to pinpoint a cause.

What is adrenal fatigue?

The term adrenal fatigue is used by some people to describe a collection of symptoms, such as:

Your adrenal glands sit on top of each kidney. Their role is to produce hormones, including adrenaline and noradrenaline – both of which are used to prepare your body for fight or flight.

Supporters of the unproven theory of ‘adrenal fatigue’ claim it occurs when the adrenal glands are ‘burnt out’ from producing these hormones in response to stress. Certain conditions, such as the rare Addison’s disease, can prevent your adrenal glands from making enough hormones. The symptoms of Addison’s disease include fatigue, body aches, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, loss of body hair and skin discolouration. Addison’s disease is recognised by doctors and can be detected through blood tests that show insufficient hormone levels. On the other hand, these tests are often normal in adrenal fatigue.

Other causes of fatigue

There are many causes of fatigue. It could be due to lifestyle factors such as:

There are many physical illnesses that cause unexplained fatigue. These include thyroid problems, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, anaemia, kidney or liver disease, infections, heart disease or multiple sclerosis.

What are my options?

Generally, having a healthy lifestyle may help with relieving fatigue. Some self-help tips to try include:

  • getting enough sleep every day – most adults need 6-8 hours
  • reducing stress through activities you find relaxing
  • cutting down on alcohol
  • getting enough rest if you have been doing too much physical activity, or getting more active if you have been sedentary.

If you have unexplained fatigue or exhaustion that persists, see your doctor. Your doctor will probably ask you about your symptoms and run some tests to rule out other health problems. Treating an underlying issue, such as a low thyroid level, can help reverse fatigue.

Sources:

myVMC (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Mayo Clinic (Addison's disease - Is there such a thing as adrenal fatigue?), Mayo Clinic (Fatigue)

Last reviewed: November 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 786 results

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Sleep

Strong feelings of fatigue that don't go away are the main symptom of CFS. Fatigue tends to be worse after an activity (physical or mental).

Read more on Sleep Health Foundation website

Chronic fatigue syndrome - myDr.com.au

All about chronic fatigue syndrome - symptoms, cause, diagnosis and treatment, as well as support and self-help.

Read more on myDr website

Teen Health - Health Topics - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an illness which causes severe, disabling fatigue (tiredness) after physical and mental activity, far beyond what is usually felt. Resting and sleeping will help for a while, but even when people get 'enough' sleep, they still feel tired and get exhausted quickly. Sometimes the pattern of health problemsthat are calledchronic fatigue syndrome are called Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Fatigue

Fatigue is a feeling of constant tiredness or weakness and can be physical, mental or a combination of both. It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an illness which causes severe, disabling fatigue (tiredness) after physical and mental activity, far beyond what is usually felt. Resting and sleeping will help for a while, but even when people get 'enough' sleep, they still feel tired and get exhausted quickly.Sometimes the pattern of health problemsthat are calledchronic fatigue syndrome are called Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Young Adult Health - Health Topics - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an illness which causes severe, disabling fatigue (tiredness) after physical and mental activity, far beyond what is usually felt. Resting and sleeping will help for a while, but even when people get 'enough' sleep, they still feel tired and get exhausted quickly.Sometimes the pattern of health problemsthat are calledchronic fatigue syndrome are called Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Fatigue as an Occupational Hazard

Fatigue affects you mentally and physically. Not enough sleep is a major cause and sleepiness is a major effect.

Read more on Sleep Health Foundation website

Fatigue - Farmer Health | Farmer Health

Fatigue can present serious risks for farmers. Fatigue is when you feel like you are always tired. Its not the same as feeling drowsy, or tired after a busy day. Its more a feeling of pushing yourself through the day,...

Read more on The National Centre for Farmer Health website

Myasthenia gravis - myDr.com.au

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic muscle disease that produces weakness and abnormally rapid fatigue of the voluntary muscles.

Read more on myDr website

New parents

New parents can often feel fatigued and overwhelmed. Here are tips to help you navigate your way through parenthood and become the best parent you can be.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback