Monday, May 27, 2013

The Adrenal Glands

Today things are even worse - spreading swelling, excoriation, itching, and pain.  No idea why, and I have given up trying to figure out what I have or have not done.  It is just part of the process.  Having difficulty sleeping this week.  Ah, the joys of topical steroid withdrawal! 

I think going back to work has something to do with the worsening skin.  I am only working one shift per week.  But after each shift so far, my skin get s intensely itchy and swells.  I think my adrenal glands have a lot to do with this.  Let me explain...

The adrenal glands are affected by a lot of things - stress, caffeine, sugar, etc.  The adrenal glands produce cortisol - the body's natural steroid.  When we slather cortisone creams all over, some of that cortisone is absorbed, making the adrenals stop producing cortisol since it recognizes that there is some in the body already.  Because absorption can be affected on a daily basis, the adrenal glands I believe become highly dysfunctional - releasing and stopping cortisol production based on the amount of cortisone in the body.  When one stops applying the cortisone cream, the adrenals then have to learn how to function properly.  To add insult to injury, stress and diet will affect the adrenal glands in a negative way, making it harder for the adrenals to function properly. 

Reducing stress is very important in healing for steroid withdrawal.   I feel it is imperative to reduce as much stress as possible - not easy to do in this world.  Catch 22 - if I do not work, our income is reduced by half, causing stress.  If I work, the stress of work itself causes the body stress.  So one needs to look at some other techniques.  One is meditation or deep breathing exercises.  I find this one difficult given that trying to sit very still and NOT itch is near impossible.  I read about a pose where you put your legs up against the wall, while the upper part of your body lies flat on the floor.  This stimulates blood flow to your brain and produces certain hormones that help your adrenals.  I have not tried it yet, but it looks like something worth trying.

The other thing to help the adrenals is diet.  Sugar and caffeine are known to over stimulate and harm the adrenals.  Natural sugar found in honey and maple syrup are not what I am talking about.  I am talking about the WHITE sugar - the processed sugar.  The stuff found in many processed foods.  My goal is to eliminate all processed foods within the next week.  I have done it before and it was near impossible, but I persevered.  We lasted about 2 months as a family and our over all health was much improved.  Time to do it again. 

One more thing is vitamins.  The adrenals are in desperate need of certain B vitamin and Vitamin C.  The natural foods out there are depleted of their vitamins from years of one-crop farming.  For example, a natural peach today has nearly 50% less vitamins and nutrient than a peach 50 years ago had.  Very sad.  I choose to take supplements to help my adrenals.  I find a huge difference in my overall energy levels.  I took a week off of all supplements a few weeks ago and suffered from increasing severe fatigue.  That is now reversing.  Even though my skin is worse, I am better able to handle it sine I do not feel overwhelmingly tired and drained every second of every day.  I do take other supplements other than those vitamins - I take magnesium, calcium, adrenal support, milk thistle, and cod liver oil. 

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