Cortisol testing and hypo symptoms: My doctor won... - Thyroid UK

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Cortisol testing and hypo symptoms

katealive profile image

My doctor won't test for adrenal fatigue and says that a cortisol test is not necessary as any problem with the adrenals would show up on other tests such as kidney blood tests. I am currently taking two and a half grains of Erfa but feeling completely fatigued, hoarse voice etc. Is there any literature I can show which a British GP would consider reliable to encourage further testing of my adrenals. I am just going rapidly downhill!

24 Replies
SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator

I don't think doctors recognise adrenal fatigue, it's all black and white to them and there's no inbetween so it's either Cushings or Addisons.

If you want your adrenals tested I suggest you do a 24 hour saliva test to include cortisol and DHEA with either Regenerus or Genova Diagnostics

thyroiduk.org/tuk/testing/r...

thyroiduk.org/tuk/testing/g...

They are the only two companies that include DHEA (which is important) out of the labs recommended by ThyroidUK.

Even if the results show a problem, unless it's Cushings or Addisons your GP wont do anything, you'd have to address it yourself.

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

Hi. I ordered the cortisol and DHEA a separate tests from Medicheck - with the brain fog it's easier to order from one place and Medicheck has other tests I wanted doing - not to mention the promo on right now. Will this be ok? Is it the same? Cheers.

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Nico101

As far as I am aware, cortisl and DHEA are supposed to be tested from the same saliva sample.

If you've done the Medichecks saliva cortisol test plus a DHEA blood test this wont be the same and possibly will have cost more than doing the 24 hour saliva test with Regenerus or Genova.

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

Oh dear, I keep making expensive mistakes with this. I must admit, I found the Regenerus site impossible to use and it looked dodgy - maybe that's just me. I expect I'll have to stump up again and get the Genova one. Perhaps it's worth ringing Medichecks and asking if it will be the same if I do both tests at exactly the same time?

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Nico101

Is the Medichecks DHEA test you ordered a saliva test?

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

I ordered the 4 times a day cortisol test and have only received 4 swabs - so they are doing the DHEA with the cortisol. The thyroid ones are finger prick (I went for free T3 & T4 and TSH). Phew!

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Nico101

Is this the test you've ordered

medichecks.com/cortisol-tes...

It doesn't include DHEA, it only tests cortisol 4 times a day.

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

Sorry - this answer went elsewhere: Yes - and I ordered a separate DHEA test. However, I have received 4 swabs only. I might call them tomorrow just to confirm they'll use the same sample for both.

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Nico101

I can't see a saliva DHEA on their website, only DHEA blood tests.

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

Damn. I'd better ring to find out. Cheers

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

You were right. The DHEA test is a blood test. Does this mean it's completely useless?

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Nico101

I've no idea if it's completely useless, but if you want DHEA and cortisol it makes sense to test them together in the same test, the same way, ie saliva.

Blue Horizon's cortisol test is as useless as Medichecks, it only tests cortisol and not DHEA.

It's Genova and Regenerus that test both.

The Regenerus test is HOR05 for just cortisol and saliva, the one you've linked to includes sex hormones.

Regenerus test and how to order:

thyroiduk.org/tuk/testing/r...

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

OK. Just ordered it. Be interesting to see what differences there are between the blood V saliva tests. I can just hang on to the Medichecks cortisol test and do that one in a few weeks time - unless you can think of a better use for it?

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Nico101

Well, there is no other use for it, all it can do is test cortisol.

Nico101 profile image
Nico101 in reply to SeasideSusie

Still can't find the tests on Bluehorizon, but got onto the Regenerus site properly today (my internet security doesn't like it, so I had probs the other day) and found this test (and was wondering if this is the test you had in mind?): regeneruslabs.com/shop/prod...

Thank you again for all your help.

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator

None of your previous posts list any vitamin results

You need vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 tested

....hi. My journey if any help was huge fatigue, adrenal urine test came back 'normal' - cortisol test wasn't great, DHEA low at a 3 and thyroid numbers not so bad

On Seeing Dr Peatfield he did his own testing and diagnosed adrenal insufficiency regardless, and I only picked up energy after adrenal support for a few months but was also taking instruction of healing gut and taking the vits, I'm sure the whole thing works together, the importance of the gut care I feel is mostly overlooked in its importance, it's vital for health, worth reading up in my opinion anyway

Good luck

( you are not 'what you eat' but rather 'what you actually digest/absorb' :). I'm still at it, but me too, I was on my knees with fatigue, it was scary so please take heart) x

There’s no such thing as adrenal ‘fatigue’ it’s called adrenal insufficiency and no it won’t show up on kidney tests etc, my kidneys work just fine and my results are normal, however I do have Adrenal Insufficiency, I was diagnosed in October 2017, and they’re still trying to work out if it’s secondary or primary (Addisons) I have all the Addison symptoms, but my antibodies aren’t showing it. My pituitary is fine, I have no problems there. But without my HC my cortisol levels are on the floor! Have a look on the Addisons Self Help Group website, they have literature on there to give to your GP. Because it’s such a rare disease, they are loath to diagnose and even treat it without input from an endocrinologist! And even then, you need to find a decent endo, my first one, lasted one appointment and I refused to see him again- he was a t**t! And knew nothing about AI!!

Keep pushing for it, I had to but if you get the right support for it, it’s bloody worth it!! Good luck lovely xx

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to LuluCops

I would disagree about there being no such thing as "adrenal fatigue".

I understand that very low, below range cortisol is adrenal insufficiency or hypocortisolism or Addison's Disease, and very high, above range cortisol is Cushing's Syndrome or Cushing's Disease, and that these can be very dangerous conditions that can kill. Doctors are only interested in adrenal conditions like these which show up with some test being below range or above range.

But what about the people who have levels of cortisol that are within range but very low or very high in range? Or their circadian rhythm is all over the place with highs and lows in cortisol production occurring at the wrong time of day? The patient won't feel healthy with adrenals misbehaving like this, but the condition won't necessarily require cortisol supplements to treat it. This is what I think of as being adrenal fatigue. It probably won't kill people but it reduces quality of life dramatically.

The other point about cortisol is that it has knock-on effects on lots of other hormones, including the thyroid hormones, sex hormones, adrenaline, and insulin. So ignoring poor cortisol production (either too high or too low with a poor rhythm to the output) can have a huge impact on life generally. Sadly, people usually have to treat this condition themselves because doctors refuse to listen and won't help.

Hi. I’ve had very low 9am cortisol results and was also nit functioning properly with my thyroid. My private Endocrinologist prescribed me T3 medication as my conversion was very poor. Within a month of taking it my 9am cortisol more than doubled from 150 to 311 at 9am. The introduction of T3 gave me energy and increased my cortisol. I’ve gone a little over medicated recently and now gone fatigued again. Over or under medicated can give you fatigue. Have you had your T4 T3 and TSH checked recently. It may be just a tweak with your medication.

Pam

You ought to download the website of Henry Lindner. He is very clear on the links between thyroid problems and hypocortisolism. Go to "Henry Lindner" on Google and visit the website

hormonerestoration.com/

If you download, your doctor might learn something.

Be very careful of what you take. I have hypo and someone diagnosed the wrong medicine. It could have made me seriously ill. Luckily I have had some medical training and was able to recognise that the dispensed drug was incorrect.

A search on Pub Med seems to indicate that the medical world has a big problem with the word "fatigue." ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/275...

Try calling it "adrenal insufficiency" instead. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/257...

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