Adrenal Fatigue - Advice Needed: I've been to see... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK
109,942 members127,796 posts

Adrenal Fatigue - Advice Needed


I've been to see an NHS endocrinologist this afternoon and what a waste of time that was. I was referred because my GP thought my thyroid levels were ok (I'd agree with that) but I'm still suffering with all the symptoms so she suspects something else might be going on. I feel like the endo was totally dismissive. My TSH was 5.5, which my GP said was borderline, when I was first diagnosed but the endo says she obviously treated me based on my symptoms rather than the test results and she doubts I was ever hypo. My symptoms has got considerably worse over the last few months, I'm more fatigued than I've ever been and I'm putting on weight. I've had a really stressful year culminating in my mum passing away 3 weeks ago and I suspect it's all contributed. I think I could be suffering from adrenal fatigue, I have lots of the symptoms I've read about, but despite me suggesting this to the endo she asked me nothing about the amount of stress I've been under. She sent me for a thyroid and vitamin D blood test this afternoon, so that probably won't be particularly reliable, especially as I'd taken my thyroxine this morning as usual, and is going to test for Addisons even though she doesn't believe I've got it (and neither do I). She kept talking about the menopause, which I haven't been tested for yet (I'm 49) and just didn't seem to want to believe it could be anything else. I feel more frustrated than ever now. I'm considering getting a saliva test done privately but is there any point? I'm not sure my GP or the endo will even acknowledge that adrenal fatigue exists. Any advice please?

29 Replies

Hi Julie

It is worth getting the saliva test done so that you know if this is the problem. If it is you can treat yourself with high dose vit C, Nutri adrenal and CoQ10. This is what Dr P told me to take and it has sorted out my adrenal fatigue although it did take a year to 18 months.

To monitor the improvement I had to take my blood pressure sitting down and then standing. While my adrenals were fatigued my blood pressure would drop when i stood up but now it rises slightly.


Julie2805 in reply to Mouse

Thanks Mouse. The endo tested my blood pressure and it didn't drop but I have loads of other symptoms and have felt dizzy in the past when I stand up quickly. It's probably worth doing the saliva test to know for sure if it's the problem.

greygoose in reply to Julie2805

How's your vit B12? Neither doctors nor endos recognise the important part nutrition plays in all this. If you haven't done so already, get your vit D, vit B12, folate, iron and ferritin tested.

And, by the way, 5.5 is openly hypo, not borderline. You need to have your FT4 and FT3 tested, too. :)

As someone that is a hypochondriac I have found myself caught up in my mind. I am not saying you are lying about your conditions but I was once convinced that I was hyper again after months of being normal.

I had a stressful time, had all the symptoms and then decided to go for a blood test. Everything came back normal and once I saw it with my own eyes all the symptoms went away. Stress can put your body under a lot of pressure and you start believing there are symptoms that really just isn't there.

If the results are normal then I would suggest perhaps an anti anxiety pill for a week to see if the symptoms go away once your brain is in a relaxed state.

Julie2805 in reply to Ricky007

Hi Ricky

I understand what you're saying but these symptoms are unfortunately very real. I'm reasonably satisfied that my thyroid levels are ok and I'm not discounting the menopause, the endo could be right, but adrenal fatigue seems the most likely thing. Things are getting so bad that quite frankly I don't care what it is, I just want to know so I can do something about it.

Your bereavement, as well as a major and distressing event, is very recent. Regular walks might help. Walk or sit barefoot in a garden or park when possible (and warmer!) and get your hands in the soil. Sorry I can't be more constructive.

Walking is superior to any other form of exercise. Go to a nearby trail that is somewhat mostly level, and walk in nature. Take the long trail, not the short. You really want to take the time to just relax. The mall or a city/town is distracting and stresses the mind. The body needs to relax and connect to it's natural surroundings, not not man-made. Walking is so wonderful for the adrenals.

greygoose in reply to Ricky007

Ricky, have you never considered that that can work both ways. I mean, being told your blood tests are 'normal' (never mind what they actually were) could cause you to imagine that your symptoms had disappeared? Why would hypochondria be a one-way street?

Ricky007 in reply to greygoose

Well the simple fact is if you indeed have a rapid heart rate no amount of imagining it isn't there will make it go away. Same goes for other factors. Your brain might tell you all is well but the symptoms will still be there.

greygoose in reply to Ricky007

Debatable. :)

Ricky007 in reply to greygoose

The placebo effect is a one way street I am afraid :-)

greygoose in reply to Ricky007

Who says?

Adrenal fatigue is not a condition that is acknowledged by the NHS, they will just deny it's existence or if you show them blood tests say that they're unreliable or meaningless. So if you want to investigate down that route you have to go it alone.

Thanks. I think I'll probably get the test done for my own peace of mind. I'd rather know one way or the other and then I can decide what to do. It might turn out that the Endo's right and it is the menopause but I was really frustrated by her unwillingness to consider anything else.

greygoose in reply to Julie2805

Not her fault, she's been badly educated. She didn't say anything about the stress because she knows nothing about it, nor the effects it can have on the body. She can't treat something she knows nothing about, so her not telling you you have it doesn't mean you haven't got it. If you see what I mean.

Julie2805 in reply to greygoose

Thanks greygoose. If I get the test done and it shows adrenal fatigue I'll see my GP again, she tends to listen and respects your opinion.

greygoose in reply to Julie2805

Well, I hope she will. :)

Julie2805 in reply to greygoose

Thanks. I guess if the test result comes back showing adrenal fatigue it will depend whether she believes it exists or not. She's always been great in the past though and I'm pretty sure she won't just assume it's an age thing like the Endo.

I agree with greygoose

A TSH of 5.5 to me, would be Hypothyroidism.

(You also have Hypo symptoms).

Remembering that in America and in Europe they have lowered their TSH down to 2.5, but unfortunately here in UK we are still in the dark ages.


Just adding that I remember at the time not being able to tell HRT symptoms from Hypo symptoms, they sort of blended together.

I was lucky to be found to be Hypothyroid though I didn't have a clue, I was, apart from going from quite energetic and agile to feeling suddenly old, quick and slowing down.

I was found to be vitamin D deficient, again I did not have a clue I was and low in range of vitamin B12 (in the grey area)

So do get everything else checked out that greygoose mentioned.

As B12 Deficiency can mimic Hypothyroidism and vitamin D Deficiency can cause bone and joint aches too.

I wish I'd never gone onto synthetic HRT. I am now using bio identical Progesterone cream.

I've been tested for vitamin D deficiency so need to wait for the result but b12 wasn't tested this time. I was ok in the past but it could have changed. I'm not just going to give up, something's wrong and I need to find out what. We get private medical care through work. I haven't looked into it yet but it might be worth trying to find out if it would cover me to see someone else.

You probably know already, but if not:-

Remember your Doctor might tell you that your vitamin D and B12 were/are both normal, (in range) but being LOW 'in range' can also mean you might have symptoms and need some supplementing.

Doctors don't normally tell you about being LOW 'in range.'

(I'm sure you have) :- Did you get a printout of any of your recent bloods done and their ranges and popped them up on here Thyroid UK ?

I've never had a vitamin D test until Friday. My B12 was 616 (range 190-910) when it was last tested but that was over a year ago. My thyroid test results in September were:

TSH <0.05 (0.4-5.5)

Free t4 23.1 (11-26)

Free t3 5.8 (3.0-6.0)

Despite only my TSH being out of range my GP reduced my levo from 100mcg to alternating between 75mcg and 100mcg because she said she thought I was over medicated (no symptoms) and the Endo agrees, which is not surprising bearing in mind she said she didn't believe that I was ever hypo!

Your FT4 and FT3 are within range.

My last TSH was the same as yours 0.05, I did not feel 'over medicated'

* How do you actually feel now your Levo dose has been decreased ? or were you better at the dose before ?

I always take my thyroid meds after my thyroid blood tests.

* At what time did you take your last Levo before your blood tests Julie2805 ?

(I believe you are not meant to take thyroid meds 24hours before the blood tests as it can give a false high result.)

Check your vitamin D blood results with other thyroid UK members,even if Doctor says they are 'Normal' as Low in normal range can still cause symptoms.

Sorry I don't know much about adrenals and testing, only that I craved salt which I was told a symptom of adrenals failing, but that and lots of other symptoms fell away once I was optimally medicated with Levo at the time.

I feel you have a good chance of recovery as you have a good understanding of it all.

Good luck Julie2805.

Sorry, only just seen this. It's hard to say if I feel much different because I've had so much else going on since my dose was reduced. I certainly didn't feel over medicated before and can't understand why the doctor thought I was when the only result out of range was my TSH. I took my thyroxine first thing on the day the Endo did my test because I didn't know I was having one. I haven't had the results of the test or the vitamin D test yet. My GP hasn't received them either. I'll make sure I get to see the full result.

You know your own body.

Not knowing you were having your bloods done that same day did not help Julie2805

If you feel worse now, do not sit back and wait, get in contact with your Doctor ASAP.

If no joy from your Doctor, consider either self medicating or part self medicating the extra you know you need.

My Mum was in a similar position, needing more Levothyroxine than her Doctor would give her as her Doctor said she was 'in range,' yes she was 'in range' but feeling terrible 'in range' and foggy brained, we later learned her TSH had gone up to 2.3 at that time.

(everyone needs 'tweaking' in range as we are all different,) so we now top her Levothyroxine up with a bit of NDT and she is back to her normal self again.

Do remember to get those blood results of yours too Julie. :)

Absolutely the stress of losing your mother has caused an upset in the adrenal. You could be going through the stages of adrenal fatigue which start out as high cortisol, and if things don't straighten out on their own, you eventually drop to low cortisol. This takes long time. Most people just 'think' they have low cortisol, when it could be high.

How is your blood pressure? Both high and low cortisol can cause the same symptoms but usually high bp is a symptom of higher cortisol. Yes, get a cortisol test to find out. The best is 4-tube saliva. Physical symptoms of high cortisol are an overall thickness or weight gain everywhere except arms and legs. I used to see a chiro that asks the question "when did all this start", he said 9x out of 10 they say when they lost someone close to them or an accident or a surgery. So before you do anything, def get the test. Grief is a normal process, only time heals the broken heart, not drugs. We all go through this at some point in our lives. These mainstream docs hardly ever do 4-tube saliva. Yes, do it on your own before stressing out asking them for it.


Julie2805 in reply to marvalrus

Thanks. I'm feeling much less stressed now things have settled down but I'm still considering the saliva test just to be sure. I'm sure any damage done by months of stress is not going to have been undone in a few less stressful weeks. My blood pressure is normal so not an issue but my weight gain is all round my middle.

marvalrus in reply to Julie2805

Def get the Cortisol saliva. It's a great marker and assessment of your adrenal status. Worth every penny.

You may also like...