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Thyroid UK
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Saliva cortisol test results?

Hi, first of all I should mention that I have no thyroid problems, I joined this group because my mum has hypothyroidism and I thought I would ask this question here because you guys seem to know a lot about adrenal problems.

My symptoms are:

-Dry eyes


-Dry skin

-Life long constipation

-Very painful periods

-I'm verging on underweight

-Heart palpitations

-Brain fog, anxiety, low mood


I've been seeing an endocrinologist for the last year and after a year of low b12 results I am going to be given b12 injections next week to see if there are any improvements. However another thing they are looking at right now is my cortisol. I had 2 cortisol blood tests that were normal but they decided to do a salivary one because I am on the pill and it can create false normals.

My results for the salivary test was:

4.6 (5-46) and Serum cortisol 19.7 (18-47)

(I have no idea what the difference between these are)

These were described by my endo as borderline low and I'm having them repeated soon.

I was just wondering whether anyone can comment on these results and tell me how significant they are?

I think adrenal fatigue and the starter symptoms for adrenal insufficiency match me perfectly but my doctor didn't seem convinced at the time and said he wouldn't treat levels like this because the medication has a ton of side effects like weight gain, high blood pressure etc which I can understand but then what will be done to improve these levels? Also how low do the results have to be for it to be considered serious?

If anyone could give me any insight that would be great


PS I've been tested for about every other autoimmune disease out there including thyroid, sjogrens, lupus etc and they were all negative.

1 Reply

Adrenal insufficiency is simply not "recognised" by the NHS. My cortisol levels were lower than yours but a short synacthen test was judged "normal" because I just scraped into the "normal" range - a range which is generally acknowledged not to be representative of everyone!

The fact that your results are borderline low means that you might manage on a "good" day, but your adrenals would struggle under stress or illness. The endo's comment that the medication causes the side effects mentioned is probably based on its mis-use decades ago when people were given doses much higher than the body's natural requirements. That isn't such a concern now since it is more usual practice to give people "physiologic" doses of hydrocortisone, close to the body's output. Soem docs use prednisolone which is much stronger.You probably do need adrenal support - you could self- dose with adrenal glandulars such as Nutri Adrenal or Dr Wilson's adrenal rebuilder ( see his book - adrenal fatigue - the 21st century stress syndrome - it's an excellent practical guide), but perhaps first try to change youe endo's mind? Maybe stick that book under his nose?

Good luck!

PS a good test for adrenal insufficiency is to have your blood pressure measured lying (or sitting) then standing. BP should increase as you stand, If it falls, insufficiency is likely.


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