confused about the state of adrenals ?

Hi im really confused about the state of m adrenals iv been pretty ill since i had my baby last feb iv now been put on hydrocortisone and pretty scared about the whole thing not had any major improvments and been on it a week and beginning to wonder if i will ever get my life back and feel very sad for my family as there mummy is always unwell and my partner is getting stressed as things are tough , i had a genova test done late last year and that showed that i had low cortisol all day then high in the evening does this mean that my adrenals are still functional as i can produce high cortisone in the evening and possibly could they improve in the long run or have they had it ? it also says on the genova description that it should not be confused with addinsons but the nhs only treat people with hydrocortisone with results that indicate addinsons im confused? any help or hope please would be great im getting rather low with it all thanks


20 Replies

  • Did your doctor prescribe hydrocortisone?

  • I feel the same way. My test from genova said low at all 4 points. I am scared to take anything the doctor hasnt prescribed. I hope you get some advice. If you do pass it on xx

  • Sorry I can't help with the confusion as I've never been prescribed hydrocortisone. Hopefully someone else will come along who can help. However, I've also had 3 Genova adrenal saliva tests which have shown low cortisol all day but higher in the evening. I've been on Nutri Adrenal 4 a day for nearly a year and my latest tests have shown an improvement, although my cortisol levels are still low. But I am feeling better, so for me this has worked, although I know it doesn't suit everyone. LB

  • thanks for your replies yes have been given hydrocortisone from endo as thenhs adrenal test came back adrenals not working properly keep plodding


  • Hi Sararbrown,

    First of all, don't worry! Yes, your adrenals can come back to working properly. All they need is a little rest, and that is what the hydrocortisone (HC) is for.

    The busiest time for the adrenals is the early morning. That's when they have to get you out of bed and washed and dressed and ready for the day. So that's when you should take your biggest dose of HC.

    The rest of the day they can relax a bit. They still have to produce some cortisol to keep you going, but not as much. Then, in the evening, they can Wind down and you can go to sleep.

    But, when your thyroid isn't working properly, the adrenals have to take up the slack, and work doubly hard. They get tired, so they put on an extra spurt and over-do it, and that's why people have high cortisol before it goes low.

    Yours is low all day and then high in the evening. This means that the adrenals are really, really tired and struggling to make enough cortisol. They struggle all day and only manage to put out a meager amount. And then, in the evening, when you're not doing anything, then they can give one last heave and out pops too much cortisol and you can't sleep.

    Poor things. But as I said, they only need a rest and a little helping hand. They especially need that in the morning, and then less as the day goes on. So that, after a certain time, they feel rested and refreshed and ready to get back to full-time work again. Just like you after a good Holiday - well, perhaps not you, not me, but most people. lol How long this is going to take dépends on how long they've been tired and how tired they've been. For me it took about a year, but I was silly and came off them too soon, then had to go back on them again. But everyone's different so there's no one answer to that.

    The information from the Genova testing was correct. You don't have Addison's - that is when the adrenals give up completely and never work again. Your adrenals are just tired, and treated properly have the capacity to heal themselves. However, our doctors are so ill-informed that they know nothing about adrenal fatigue and even go as far as to claim it doesn't exist. For them, your adrenals are either perfect or you're dead. They don't recognise anything in between. So you were very Lucky to get an endo to prescribe HC for you.

    On top of the HC, there's one or two things you can do to help your adrenals yourself. Firstly, lots of vit C, they love that. And salt. They need salt. Do you get cravings for salt? If so, that's your adrenals shouting for help. So give in to it. Also, get yourself a protein-rich breakfast as soon as you get up, so that they're properly nourished for the coming day. That's the best thing you can do for them. Avoid ginseng and liquorice and other herbs called adaptogens, because they stimulate the adrenals and yours do not need that. These things are good for adrenals that aren't too far gone, but yous are far too tired and won't take kindly to being stimulated!

    But, now comes the complicated bit. Dosing. How much and when did your endo tell you to take it? I won't say anymore now, until you answer that question. Because I don't want to confuse you any further. lol

    I hope this has helped you a bit and lessened your confusion.

    Hugs, Grey

  • very well put GG, thank you for the clear explanation.

    (adrenals are something I've tried to ignore, I must sort them too) J :D

  • Thank you, SR. I'm glad someone appréciâtes me!

  • Always :)

  • :)

  • I found this so helpful Grey,I posted yesterday about feeling ill with T3 and couldn't get over 3 weeks being on it as I had unbearable headaches and nausea,I also did an questionnaire someone put about adrenal fatigue and I scored 180 that said my adrenals were severely fatigued so I think I will send away to do the test and see what the say,thank you so much for your wealth of knowledge,all of you experts help people like me so much

  • You're welcome, Dylandolly. Glad to be of help.

    Good luck with your test! x

  • thanks for your reply grey goose really appeciate it im trying so hard to help myself but you cant talk to any gp about it and they dismiss what you say even though iv been right about gallbladders, adrenals,thyroids we know more than them lol! really useful and has given me hope

    ,yes am on 20mg a day split up 10mg 2x5 mg usually 4-5 hours apart im trying to use my head with eating i have a protien shake for breakfast or porriddge with a scoop and trying to eat clean foods quite hard as have no appetite on 3mg vit c quest super once a day vit magnesium q10

    The reason im so frustrated as whatever i do its not enough my thoughts are that i think thats there something underlying thats causing the adrenals to struggle which made me think it cant be addinsons, and my nearest novice guess something to do with candida or fungus in my system(cant think what else) but its hard to pinpoint as no gp will help actually find the underlying cause,

    sorry if i sound like a loon but i put it to the test iv been using antifungals the past 3 weeks and something is going on with them they made me quite rotten first week and not great now im tingling all over especially the head and back area where iv had a lot of on going muscle pain inbetween shoulders and neck and gently need to scratch at night bit odd and my headaches been lot worse but not a normal headache. the reason im thinking this is a link is that the hospital pumped me full of 2 lots of antibiotics after my baby and then i got ill with inner ear infection then thyroid problems started (baby related i think) and that when neck back pain started and other symptoms but this is when all the trouble started im sure their is a link to the adrenals

    I bought a ph test to test my body acidy that arrived today and my body is very acid which is also a sign of this candida im trying some ph balancer tablets to see if i can bring my body back into line and have bought a juicer(wally i know)to make green juice such as cucumbers and things i just want to get well iv cut out sugar/fruit apart from some berries, i feel i might be going on another wild goose chase(excuse the phrase) but i really think more than ever now i know its not addinsons that somthing is out of whack apart from adrenals as the gut is involved

    sorry long reply i just felt i had to explain where i was at with this nightmare journey again thankyou so much for your reply any help with the meds always appreciated


  • Okkkk... Well, it could just be that your adrenals are out of whack because your thyroid is out of whack. That's what usually happens.

    So, your last dose of HC is late in the afternoon? That's what I was afraid of. My old doctor - a hormone specialist - told me never to take it after one pm. The adrenals only need your help in the morning, when they are working hardest. The rest of the time they must be allowed to fend for themselves. If you make it too easy for them, they will just give up altogether. And once that happens, you can't get them back again. OK, you haven't been taking it for long, but some people take it like that for years, and then find they can't come off it.

    Now this is obviously going against what your endo has told you, but I strongly recommend that you bring this up with him. Not many doctors know how to handle HC safely, I'm afraid. I'm not a doctor, but I really think that you would be better off taking 10 plus 10 in the morning. Or 15 plus 5, or something. I honestly think that would be better for you judging by my own exeperience.

    OK, I know we're all different, and he'll probably say it's only a tiny dose, so no harm. But is it Worth the risk? Try googling it a bit and see what you can find. Someone mentioned on another post that she had seen it mentioned that you should do it like that. She thought it was an article by Dr Lam.

    Anyway, for the rest, you seem to be doing the right things. Magnesium is important because your antibiotics will have depleted your magnesium. But how about B12? I didn't see that mentioned. Zinc is also important, see if you can get that tested. I felt a huge improvement when I started taking zinc.

    Do you take lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning? That has huge benefits and will help with your acidity. And if you're having trouble eating, have a look at this :

    Oh, and make sure there's no soy in your protein shake! That is very very bad for you!

    Hugs, Grey

  • thanks very much sorry did not mean to go wild its been bad few days so forgive me. thanks ever so much for the replies and taking the time really helpful and much appreciated i will do some googling and will def look into this thanks, have lots of b12 including spray but i have not got extra zinc! so thats helpful also will try the lemon thanks for mentioning the soy i will check your knowledge is a credit to you i am so glad you managed to get sorted with this

    hugs back


  • Sara, don't apologise for asking questions! That's the only way you can learn. And I had to ask a lot of questions before I got to know as much as I do (still a lot to learn!), we all did.

    I'm just glad it was of some help to you. Always here if you have any other questions! lol

    Take care, Grey

  • Don't lose hope yet. It sounds as if you are on the right track and Grey Goose has been through it so good advice there. This experience is on STTM website:

  • thanks heloise x

  • Low Thyroid will cause low is your thyroid? You need to have your doctor find the reason. The symptoms you have can be only from the low thyroid. What are your symptoms? Putting you on HC will lower your own production and cause dependency, which is not good. Some people can never get off the stuff.

  • hi faith63 my thyroid levels are ok for now there were they were when i was well from a historic blood tests 2012 not perfect but it gives me a good idea , i went to see dr peatfield and he thinks its my adrenals first then thyroid iv been quite poorly with infections viruses gallbladder removed the gp just dont want to help as they say theres nothing wrong with the thyroid levels as they are tons better than what they were a while ago (we all know that old chesnut with nhs guidelines ) so dr peatfield is there when i need to move onto the next stage after sorting adrenals thyroid and see if i need possibly ndt feel thankful have a back up plan thanks for your post iv asked to be refered to a blood specialst to rule further things out


  • Hi, I was also really ill after having my second baby. The exhaustion with the broken sleep is terrible, and it's the adrenals that have to get you up in the middle of the night and also to jump up when your baby is crawling off a step or whatever! Definately you need B12 and iron. I also really really support the salt thing. Two pinches of pink salt in every large glass you drink. Our tap water is completely demineralised and unnatural and this really helps. F. Batmanghelidj writes a good book on it. I also use a magnesium spray on the back of my neck when it aches. And make sure you are getting the FT3 test on your thyroid and it is in the upper part of the range. Good luck. Ax.

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