Thyroid UK

Adrenal Exhaustion

Have been very poorly since beginning September when a stressy experience sent me over the edge. My GP sent me for a cortisol test after I insisted and it came back borderline. I am waiting to see an Endo but my appointment is on the 14th January. In the meantime I have an appointment to see an alternative adrenal specialist in London next Monday, meaning having to pay out private fees which is a struggle for me. At least privately I will be able to have a comprehensive saliva test/thyroid test which I would not have on the NHS. I have been in limbo since Sept with no treatment and I do not feel at all well. I am worried I may have Addisons disease, does anybody here have experience of this stage of adrenal exhaustion. At 74 years of age I am concerned what the NHS treatment may do to me as they tend to prescribe hydrocortisone which has horrible side effects. I do not know which way to turn, the least anxiety and I am floored. My GP reduced my dose of 125 levo down to 100 as he said my TSH was too high, although I cannot believe this slight reduction could cause me to plummet so low. In March my levels were: T4 23.3 T3 5.1 TSH 0.03 In Oct after the reduction they were T4 16 T3 4.1 TSH 0.1

6 Replies

Don't be afraid of taking hydrocortisone. Taken in the right doses it does no harm. I've been taking it for over a year and have no side effects at all. HC has a bad press after people (like my own mother) were prescribed prednisolone in high doses back in the 60s and 70s (pred is artificial and 4 times as strong as HC). The resulting side effects were horrendous - I know, I've seen them with my own eyes. I didn't, and still don't, take going on HC lightly. But I know what to look for and I know it isn't happening to me. Buy the book Stop The Thyroid Madness - that has loads of info on proper and safe dosing with HC.

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I experienced dangerously low cortisol levels but seemed to of upped itself within a few days, according to the stethecan test (though taken at 2pm !? that correct thing to do?).

Continue unwell without regular checks.

I know what you mean re medication effects. I guess its a 'suck it & see situation'. Peoples reactions vary so much.

Good luck, hope your appointment goes well.



The synacthen test is a waste of time - see my posts elsewhere on this forum. The results will always be "normal". Box ticking waste of time used to fob you off


Every time I hear that I wonder how I managed to get an abnormal test ;-)

No treatment, though, just more tests.



I've read how poor they are and it was done privately.

Even more crazy is the Endo (nhs) tried to tell me the extremely low cortisol level was 'normal'! It was so dangerously low that the lab phoned by gp to deal with urgently, hence went next day private. Private is a joke too as they are nhs consultants following same policies in their own private clinics.

To be honest I am sick and tired of having abnormal results that are then ignored. This has happened on so many occasion. Meanwhile, myself & many others left to be poorly.

Does make me mad xx


Thanks Rosetrees for comparisons very helpful. The private specialist I am going to see is not an NHS Consultant and appears to be extremely knowledgeable so fingers crossed and at the very least he will be able to offer tests via Genova and give a decent report on same. Thanks everybody for your kind responses.


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