Graphic describing that this blog post is about the 4 types of PCOS, specifically adrenal PCOS

Adrenal PCOS: How To Balance Hormones

Have you been diagnosed with PCOS and feel a bit relieved because now you know why you’ve been going from happy and energized to tired and crabby all in a matter of minutes? 

You now have the main explanation behind why you’ve been experiencing all of these symptoms that make you feel like crap 24/7, but you’re kind of at a loss for where to even start to start feeling better. 

If you feel like most of your PCOS symptoms are related to your mood and energy, it’s likely that you have adrenal PCOS. 

In this article, I’m going to share more about adrenal PCOS, which is one of the four PCOS types, what you can expect, what tests can confirm it as the main driver of your symptoms and what you can start doing today to balance your adrenals and improve symptoms.

What is adrenal PCOS?

Your adrenals are the two triangle shaped glands that you’ll find right above your kidneys. Their job is to secrete hormones in response to stress – these hormones include cortisol and an androgen called DHEA. When our body’s sense stress, they signal the release of cortisol and DHEA. 

Cortisol’s job is to maintain equilibrium in our bodies during stressful times by shutting down functions of our body and prioritizing only functions that allow your body to use it’s energy for taking care of the stressor. Think of the typical “fight or flight” response. 

However, cortisol can impact PCOS by…

  1. “Dumping” sugar into the bloodstream when it perceives stress, which can impact insulin resistant PCOS
  2. Cause hormone imbalances with both estrogen and progesterone, which can impact period health and ovulation

At the same time cortisol is being secreted, so is DHEA, which is an androgen. As I shared in the four types of PCOS post here, PCOS is considered a condition of excess ANDROGENS that cause symptoms like hirsutism, acne and hair loss. 

Adrenal PCOS Symptoms

To see if you have adrenal PCOS, take a look at the list of common symptoms and see if those are similar to the symptoms you have been experiencing. 

  • Feeling chronically stressed 
  • Feeling anxious or depressed 
  • Easily irritable
  • Mood swings 
  • PMS symptoms, such as breast pain, brain fog, bloating, headaches
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weight gain around abdomen 
  • Dizziness if you stand up too quickly
  • Low libido
  • Muscle weakness
  • Afternoon fatigue 

If you said yes to several of these symptoms, it could mean that adrenal hormones and stress are the main drivers of your PCOS symptoms. 

Tests to Confirm Adrenal PCOS 

When working with clients, lab tests can be helpful to confirm the driver of your symptoms and monitor improvements, however you can still experience symptoms regardless of it showing up on your lab test results and that doesn’t mean that your symptoms aren’t very real. 

One way to see if your symptoms are being driven by your adrenals is to test DHEA-sulfate levels. If they are elevated, it shows that your adrenals producing DHEA, which is an androgen that is only produced by your adrenal glands. Elevated levels show that you have some adrenal issues going on. 


If DHEA-sulfate is elevated higher than free testosterone, it is likely that the adrenal glands are the main driver as testosterone is produced from the ovaries. It is possible to have androgens from both your adrenal glands and ovaries. 

How Do You Treat Adrenal PCOS? 

So now you know whether or not your adrenals and stress levels are the main driver of your PCOS symptoms and if so, you want to work on reducing stress and balancing your adrenal hormones to alleviate symptoms and improve mood symptoms. 

Here is how you can improve adrenal PCOS: 

  1. Try to include protein with every meal and snack 
  2. Incorporate more omega 3 fats into your diet
  3. Create a bedtime routine and ensure adequate sleep (7-8 hours every night)
  4. Reduce stress in your life 
  5. Set boundaries with work-life balance
  6. Incorporate yoga, meditation, mindfulness strategies into your daily routine
  7. May need to adjust time and intensity of workouts 

If adrenal PCOS is your main driver, it is crucial to create diet and lifestyle modifications that support your physical and mental health. Adrenal hormones can impact metabolism, emotional well being, sleep and so much more. So it is likely you will see overall life enhancement when you begin implementing the strategies suggested above.

Are you are sick of feeling mentally and physically overwhelmed, but have no idea where to start with improving symptoms? I can show you how to balance your adrenal hormones and alleviate symptoms sustainably. Click this link to work with me 1:1

  1. […] often see symptoms similar to the others, however you will usually experience worse mood symptoms. Check out this post to see what adrenal PCOS […]

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