How Adrenals Can Wreak Havoc

Do one of more of the following fit you??

-Having strange reactions or hyper-like symptoms when trying to raise natural desiccated thyroid or T3 (palps, shakiness, whatever.)

-Not doing as well on desiccated thyroid as you hoped, even when your doctor had you raise to 2 grains or higher

-A high free T3 with continuing hypothyroid symptoms

-Feeling anxiety more than you think you should

-Finding yourself more defensive than normal, or a need to argue

-Internal or external shakiness

-Insomnia, or waking up within an hour or two after you fall asleep

-Waking up at 3-4 am consistently i.e a few hours before you would naturally wake up

-Not waking up refreshed in the morning; feeling sluggish or tired, or feeling that way within a hour after you get up

Here’s a potential reason why:

If you were …

-hypothyroid for several years before being diagnosed (either because no one understood, or your doctor kept using the TSH and saying it was normal)

-if you have been on T4-only medications like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Oroxine, Tirosent, etc (which end up poorly treating your hypothyroidism)

-if you have been through chronic emotional or biological stress of any kind

-if you have chronic inflammation, or Lyme, or any chronic illness.…

….your stress-busting adrenals may have been working hard to keep you going in light of any of the above. They first do this by providing you with extra cortisol and adrenaline–a normal reaction. Even a poor diet and excess exposure to heavy metals and toxins could have further stressed your adrenals.(1) continue:

30 Replies


Excellent post.

Many don't understand the connection or the need to treat both the thyroid & the adrenals together.

My GP certainly didn't when he put me straight on 100mcg Levothyroxine, which I medicated in varying doses for 4 years, my adrenals were shot.

If hypothyroidism has been present for a number of years, the adrenals will be compromised. By speeding up the metabolism with thyroid hormone replacement, in failing and unsupported adrenals, symptoms will continue as the adrenals health will never catch up and cortisol becomes depleted.

I have been doing well but recent hiccups have put strain on my adrenals and I am back to suffering the internal tremors ! ! ..

I support my adrenals with a healthy life style, optimal nutrients, Siberian Ginseng & Liquorice Tincture, Dr Wilsons Super Adrenal Sress Formula & 3000 mg Vit C.

For the last year I have had trouble tolerating glandulars but can now take Cytozyme-PT/HPT (pituitary) and hope to have more success with Dr Wilsons Adrenal Rebuilder (adrenal cortex, gonadal, hypothalamus & pituitary.)

Sleep still avades me some nights a week which is annoying as sleep is probably the most important adrenal support but I consider my health is improving slowly all the time.


Thank you Flower007, posted it after someone supplied link in an answer to me in a different post.

Seems you have the same outlook on thyroid/adrenals as Dr Lam. Thank you for your suggestions regarding adrenal support.

I sleep very well, but can't keep regular awake/sleep patterns. But when I do get tired, can sleep for 8 to 15 hours.

I am on NDT, 4 x 60mcg, taken 2 at bed and 2 in morning.

I always thought it was the T4 that made me jittery, anxious and my heart jump about but now realise my cortisol levels had a lot to do with it.

Still medicating T4 with added T3 and better adrenal consideration and feel so much better. Just wish I could sleep. 8-15 hours sounds like heaven cc ! ! ..


I think also FT3 can pool if T4/T3 too high dosage, causing reverse T3 which can cause jittery symptoms, etc. I see they test for this in the US, but I don't think it is recognised in the UK, so no way of knowing that is the cause.

Think most of us have read that website from start to finish several times! LOL. But interesting as am sure my adrenal glands are not working well and keep going wrong on me, on top of the underactive thyroid. Am waiting for tests to be organised and done to confirm it. In the meantime I am irritable, depressed, crying, angry, not wanting to go out or see people, feeling very under the weather, yesterday I took the herb ashwagandha for the first time ever, it is supposed to balance it and put it in or take it out as necessary, within an hour of taking one dose I had the most awful stomach ache ever which lasted for about twelve hours - then when that went both of my legs hurt and ached and pulled a lot, as did my lower back, which made it very hard to get to sleep, I woke up this morning with my legs feelng better but my lower back still bad and trouble sitting, walking and standing! I cant take painkillers as for some reason when I take them now they rush to my back and make any problem there worse rather than helping - too.

decembersignup... Some of your symptoms sound like mine years ago. I had always been cool as a cucumber in any situation, never depressed, very 'even keel' emotionally. Suddenly, I was moody, cranky, fussing at everybody, crying at the drop of a hat, short term memory was a joke and horrible insomnia (drove me nuts). I was still a few years away from menopause (still having periods). Long story, short... I read Dr. Lee's book and started on natural progesterone cream only taking 1/2 the dosage he recommended since I am always sensitive to any meds.

Within a month, everything started turning around, especially the insomnia.

Twenty years later now and I still use natural progesterone cream.

Maybe something to think about trying? As always do your own research/homework. Google 'estrogen dominance' - 'unopposed estrogen' and papers/articles by Dr. John Lee.

Very interesting thank you. At the risk of this being too long winded... My problems originally were ear infections, earaches, headaches, sinus, nose polyps over and over again, then eventually I said to doctor I am sure I have underactive thyroid and blood tests confirmed it. Started to take thyroxine and then got other symptoms, feeling cold sometimes, going to loo a lot sometimes, crying a lot, wanting to be alone, insomnia, etc. Then one day my back went, all I did was bend over - forward to pick up a pencil - was in agony for days. Then this has come and gone since. I also found a back mouse lower back, like a small fleshy lump in the middle, which is sometimes tender to touch and hurting, other times fine. Have since read these can be signs of adrenal problems. I started to take bicarbonate of soda every day also salt, as previously never had salt at al, and was craving salt a lot.

Then yesterday I tried ashwagandha, to balance the adrenal glands, and woosh quickly got a terrible stomach which lasted for hours and then a bad back and a lot of leg aches for hours. Agony. When I woke the leg aches were much better but the back still bad. I also get times when I wheeze and cough and cannot breath easily. Though one stupid nurse told me this was because I use a blue asthma inhaler. Totally rubbish as I have used one of those on and off for FORTY YEARS without any problems before. And why on earth would anyone take something which gives them asthma instead of taking it away?

To make it worse like you I do a lot of research, when I have time, and found things saying it might be bowel cancer, being a worrier I could have done without reading that.

December... you be as longwinded as you like. That is what we are all here for, right? To be a shoulder to cry on and/or an ear to listen. And I am the queen of

As for how you feel? When you don't feel good or are in pain, you aren't nice to be around. I cracked 5 vertebrae in my spine in an auto accident and, tho they tried to talk me into spinal fusion, I declined and have been treating the pain/discomfort naturally for years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not... depending on my level of activity. Either way, it 'ain't' fun, not for you nor for the people around you.

I am glad you are getting labs done. Sounds to me like you are either undermedicated or you aren't converting the levo to the T 3 that we all need. A few years after I started taking progesterone, high tsh turned up in a routine yearly exam. Thyroid problems run in my family so doc wanted to do the tsh to have a base line. We were both surprised when I turned up with high tsh.

I was young and dumb back then about thyroid and the doc put me on synthroid. Horrible.... I had no symptoms at the start (caught early or maybe the progesterone ??? lol... who knows) but boy I started having symptoms in short order. Cold, depressed, profound exhaustion and bone leg pains/aches.

After a year, I tried NDT and it was like the sun came out. In a week, I was bouncing off the walls, totally happy. I am a non-converter and apparently, that was my whole problem. No low iron, no adrenal issues. I have been stable on NDT for years now.

The pain you experience could be stressing your adrenals. Castor oil packs are great as well as DMSO, acupuncture and biomagnets. I have tried them all and they all work, unfortunately they don't 'fix' the basic problem.

That along with less than an optimal dose of levo or NDT could be the cause of your problems. Keep everyone posted when you get your labs back. Meanwhile, ck out the STTM site for adrenal info. There is probably a good UK site that can give info on adrenal issues as well.

Thanks again. To be honest am scared stiff as my research shows it can be to do with hormones, bowel cancer or whatever. My main concerns now are that I started to have my back just go when I bend over or when I wake up. But also getting days I feel very cold or wee a lot and where the breathing problems are bad. Then it all goes back to normal. Then a month ago I was put on steroids for six days for "asthma" and at the end of the six days there again was the back ache and since then it has gone down hill. Always worse when I wake up. But my mood is awful, tetchy, not wanting to go out or be with people, hard to concentrate or enjoy aything, depressed, tearful, and pushing my partner away all the time - keep telling him he is a fool to be with me and is better off single. It is straining things. Also he tends to be so upbeat and tellig me all will be fine or tomorrow things will be great,and this annoys me no end. He canjust turn off worries where I cannot. Whatever I take - from doctor or natural it tends to disagree with me and give me bad side effects.

Right ow I am taking 75 mg of thyrixine. Have tried the real one and no better or sometimes worse. Depends. SIDE EFFECTSs keep coming and going. I can take something for months with no problem then stop and then when I go back it is a problem. People who saw my figures said it seems too high, and I felt quite well on it until the back kept going out and hurting.

Please get an xray or mri of your back and see what is going on. Putting off finding out isn't the answer and you know that to be true. Time is not your friend.

You could have a slipped disc in your back or a ruptured disc. It can be very painful and it won't go away on it's own.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse because it can give you worst case scenarios that will give you nightmares if you let your imagination run away with you. Get to the doctor... get the xrays.

If it is any comfort, I am a two time cancer survivor.... bladder cancer in 1998 and breast cancer in 2005, having surgery only, refusing chemo/radiation. Just my choice, not a suggestion for anyone else to do what I have done.

Once you have a diagnosis as to the cause of your back pain, you will be able to formulate a battle plan... no matter what that is and maybe give your poor partner a break. He is just trying to make you feel better. You know men. They are pretty useless and helpless when confronted with this sort of thing. They are used to fixing things and it is hard to fix health problems.

You may have adrenal problems. Ck out pooling on the STTM site also. It sounds like T3 isn't getting into your cells. I wouldn't wait on the labs before getting the source of your back pain checked out.

Thanks for your words Phoenix. It is not as simple as that, the way I have to deal with the doctors etc unfortunately. But right now cannot get the fear of the cancer out of my mind, it is driving me nuts. If you would like I will send you a personal reply explaining more, would rather do that than post it here for all to see.

no problem, December. Do send me a private post if you like.

If your in the UK december, be sure to say fingers or toes, or leg has felt numb if you're after a MRI of your back, otherwise GP won't refer you.

p.s. went through menopause ages ago!

me too, December, but I still take progesterone since it is supposed to be good for the bones.

I tried natural progesterone cream, but with other supplements/medication so was hard to tell if it worked.

Perhaps I can convince endo or GP to test sex hormones.

If you can convince gp to test, try to get the saliva tests. Blood tests can yield results that are all over the map depending upon the With natural progesterone cream, we are just trying to restore/mimic our natural cycle and not to overdo or upset the apple cart. It can take a month or two to notice any positive changes. In my case, it was relief of my sudden, onset insomnia. The insomnia drove me crazy but I did get some temporary relief with melatonin for some months before I started using the progesterone cream.

Thank you pheonix23002, I will def be requesting a 24 hour cortisol saliva test. She did a 24 hour urine cortisol test, and thereafter wasn't concerned?!?!

good for you to request the cortisol saliva test. There is also a saliva test for sex hormones as well that is more accurate than a blood test. Outrageous that doctors can ignore facts staring them in the face.

Absolutely, endo authorised tests 'she' thought were valid and hasn't got back to me for the follow up appt she promised.

same old, same old routine, right? If GPs spent half as much time honestly tackling patients' concerns and valid symptoms as they do ducking and justifying their denial of treatment, what a difference in outcomes.

I've come to realise they're a selfish lot.

I think they are as much victims of a bureaucracy as are patients. I deplore their lack of courage tho in defying this system on behalf of their suffering patients. Instead they collude with and join their oppressors. When the focus of any enterprise changes from serving the needs of recipients to one of saving money and greed, all suffer.

I realise they have to be practical but I know of so many people with atypical cancer symptoms that were ignored by GP's for years, until it was too late.

That is a lot of blood on someone's hands.

I don't think most have a conscience.

Hi decembersignup, have you posted previous blood test results, giving symptoms and medication on here?

good post

Thanks for a very useful post cc120 and hope you are improving these days. I am just beginning to feel a little better after treating my adrenals with Thorne Cortex, getting more sleep, which seems easier to do since starting the Thorne Cortex and making sure my vits and mins are optimal. Get anything from 6 to 9 hours sleep lately and feel it has made a vast difference.

Hi j_bee, nice to hear from you. I'm up and down unfortunately. A dizzy spell in the supermarket the other day left me feelign weak for a few days. Thank you for your recommendation. I did try NAE, for awhile but found that I had to limit dosage as got me jittery and wide awake at 3am. I believe I have low day, high evening/night cortisol so is difficult to treat.

Normally I can sleep for long periods, once I am asleep. It's hard to keep normal sleeping patterns, just get up when I awake and go to sleep when sleepy.

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