Referred to endocrinologist! Is there any such thing as adrenal fatigue?

Ok, so I've had under active thyroid for 5 years and my dose is currently 150mcg levo each day. I've had all the obvious symptoms over the years.. Weight gain... Coldness... Sometimes debilitating bouts of depression..

Was diagnosed with IBS this summer but hadn't, until now, realised that it could be connected to my thyroid.

So, before Christmas I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed at work, stressed, depressed, unbelievably exhausted and to that fact, I haven't been to work since December 19th. Had thyroid checked and it came back normal, and have now been diagnosed with SAD!!!

Anyway, to get to the point!! Went to Dr yesterday to get most recent set of blood results, TSH has gone from 0.3 in December to 4.3 even though my dosage is the same. I'm beyond exhausted, I drop my son at school and then have to sleep for 3 hours despite having had 7 hours at night.

Stupidly I've been googling my symptoms and 'adrenal fatigue' sounds like it was written about me, but I've just read on another site that it doesn't even exist!!

Please help, I want to walk into the endocrinologist ready to assert myself, get the answers I need and get myself back to work... What do I need to do/ask to get the care that I need? Thanks in advance!

15 Replies

  • With a tsh that high i am not surprised you feel ill. Most people need a tsh at the lower end of the scale to feel well. The NHS does not recognise or treat adrenal fatigue - you have to wait until you get full blown Addison's disease, which of course by then is life threatening. I would say you are very obviously undermedicated.

  • Apparently my TSH IS 'within normal range'... I'm sick of hearing this!!!

  • This is true Bluedaffodil, the Endo looked at me blank when I asked for the 24 hour cortisol test, but had done the synthaten short test for Addisons. When I was nursing I seem to remember the term "Prevention is better than cure", how things have changed for the worst.

  • The synacthen test is a total farce in the UK. There are no optimal ref ranges on the result - so your results are always "normal" no matter what. This serves their agenda very well as no action is required - and you are left feeling ****. Another total box ticking exercise/waste of time by the NHS.

  • Not entirely true. I had an abnormal results on short synacthen test. That just gets you referred for MRI. ECG and insulin stress test. Even though the insulin stress test made me collapse and have to take two days off work, it came back "normal". That's when I gave up on the NHS and started trying to heal myself using alternative methods.

  • Sam, are you in the UK? I'm in the U.S. and I don't think conventional medicine will address this type of adrenal problem (it does exist but called dysfunction). They only seem to look for Addisons Disease.

    The adrenal gland is very related to thyroid. It has ways of slowing your thyroid down to conserve the energy (or metabolism) you still have. I'm not that clear on how it works but your body is going to protect the basic functions at all costs and slow down everything else if necessary.

    Adrenals address "stress". Sometimes it is the effect of gluten or dairy and as you said, you have had plenty of emotional and work stress. (Have you ever had your heartbeat race after eating something you might be sensitive to?

    There are lots of exploratory actions you could take. Find out your food sensitivities, use stress reduction techniques, take adrenal gland just like we take thyroid gland extract, try to sleep according to your circadian rhythm or take herbals like licorice tea and siberian ginsing.

    There is somewhat of a test of your Adrenal function by seeing what your cortisol levels are. Usually a saliva test taken 4 times during the day effectively tells you where you are falling short. I think a last resort would be to take hydrocortisone but people do.

  • Yes! The saliva test is what my GP suggested...

  • First get a full panel blood testing done. Hemoglobin, RBCs, etc,.....ferritin, folate, B12, vitamins D and A.

    Then go from there. You could just be low on something like these. Not unusual for someone who is hypo. With a high TSH at 150 mcg T4, you may not be absorbing. You need to take the pill on an empty stomach and wait and an hour before eating breakfast.

  • Wow! Just had call from drs! My vitamin D test result has come back 'very low'. So have been given yet more medication...that's now 5 tablets each still seeing through the endo appointment tho!

  • How many IU per day would that be?

    It's not dangerous to take 20,000 IU per day for 1 week and then 4,000 IU per day after that in order to boost the body's level. At 4,000 IU per day it takes a couple of months to get up into a good range. Boosting the dose will reduce the time for that to happen.

  • I would be more abt to say that you are hypothyroid..undermedicated. Why does it have to be about Cortisol?

  • Sam, I agree with gabkad, have you checked all your "levels" or can you get them checked? Have you ever had an antibody test? Developing high TPO sent me on a downward spiral. I then went gluten and lacto free which undoubtedly helped. Just awaiting annual check of my bloods for ferritin, folate, iron, BitB12 and Vit D and to see if TPO's have reduced.

    If you have SAD on top of hypo it really isn't nice, life will be a struggle. Hope you gets some answers soon.

  • Doctors are taught NOT to know the difference between adrenal FATIGUE and adrenal FAILURE!!

  • Adrenal insufficiency does exist and is recognised. However, the testing seems very blunt and might only produce positive results at the severe end of the scale.

    Within conventional medicine, adrenal fatigue is usually regarded as a meaningless term that only exists in alternative medicine. Hence even use of the term can get doctors' backs up.

  • It does exist, my doctor recognised it and prescribed HydroCortisone. It got better. But he's an exception, most doctors don't even seem to know where the adrenals are! They just frown and mutter 'adrenals, adrenals' Under their breath!

    Having SAD could very well mean that you're low in vit D. You can supplement for that with D3.

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