Doctor questions if adrenal fatigue is real….so is it??

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 1.26.06 PM(This page was updated. Enjoy!)

In 2009, Louis Neipris, M.D., a staff writer who has written many fine articles for, wrote one article titled Adrenal Fatigue: Is it for real?

It appeared on Upper Michigan News, TV 6 website on July 16th and made the rounds on other sites.

His answer to his own question? “Not really”. He adds “It’s not an accepted medical diagnosis.”

Oops. Thyroid patients and a growing body of informed medical practitioners beg to differ.

About the term “Adrenal Fatigue”

Patients in the earliest discussion groups were using the term “adrenal fatigue” right after the turn of the 21st century, probably because they saw it used so often on the internet, as well as referred to in certain books. And we did think that the adrenals became “tired” as a way to explain the low cortisol we outright saw in each other’s saliva results, as well as symptoms. The term “adrenal insufficiency” also fit.

Later, it became more popular with patients to identify the biological cause of our low cortisol as being rooted in a sluggish HPA axis, i.e. the messaging between the Hypothalamus to the Pituitary to the Adrenals. That messaging wasn’t as vibrant as it should be.

Fast forward to the 2014 book Stop the Thyroid Madness II, where the last chapter by Dr. Lena D. Edwards et al does a bang-up job explaining what might really be going on, and which they term “hypocortisolism”. They propose five brilliant and biologically valid reasons why we see low cortisol:

  • a developmental response to high stress
  • a corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) receptor down-regulation
  • inadequate glucocorticoid signaling
  • intrinsic adrenal gland dysfunction
  • an adaptive response towards infection or inflammation.

See Chapter 13, pages 291-292 for more details on each of the five. It’s a brilliant chapter on the subject within the STTM II book.

In other words, there are explainable and logical reasons why certain thyroid patients have low cortisol, and it’s very real, whether you call it adrenal fatigue, adrenal insufficiency or hypocortisolism.

The cortisol saliva test

One excellent method, we as informed patients, prove our low cortisol state is by the use of saliva testing. The important aspect of saliva testing has been two-fold: 1) it reveals our cellular level of cortisol, which we’ve noticed has always fit our symptoms (if the facility we use knows that they are doing, as do the ones listed on the Recommended Labwork page which do not need a doctor’s prescription), and 2) it tests us at four key times during a 24 hour period (which is important to see the fuller picture of what our adrenals are doing.)

We’re learned repeatedly, in comparison, that blood cortisol is not the way to go, since with blood, you are measuring both bound and unbound cortisol. And as informed patients, we have noticed that blood cortisol can look high, yet both saliva testing and our symptoms reveal we are actually low, cellularly. We’ve even seen blood cortisol measure low, yet saliva and our symptoms reveal high…even though it’s less common that the other way around. It’s uncanny! Also, with blood cortisol testing, a misinformed doctor will only do one test instead of the needed four.

What has been the impetus behind the low cortisol state of a large body of thyroid patients?

Two very clear reasons: first, being held hostage to the TSH lab test, giving one a “normal” reading for years in spite of obvious clinical presentation of hypothyroid symptoms, and pushing one’s adrenals into overdrive with high cortisol and adrenaline to keep the patient going, and ultimately leading to the downwards spiral of adrenal fatigue/adrenal insufficiency/hypocortisolism. On page 65 of the revised Stop the Thyroid Madness book, you’ll read about a 44 year old woman who went 15 years with a “normal” TSH result, in spite of obvious clinical presentation of hypothyroidism, and which led to her own low cortisol. This is not uncommon.

Second, the risk of adrenal fatigue is high due to the inadequate treatment of T4 medications like Synthroid, Levoxyl, levothyroxine, Eltroxin, Tirosent and other T4-only meds. Because of being forced to live for conversion alone, and missing out on the compliment of all five thyroid hormones, T4-only meds leave a high percentage of patients with their own brand and intensity of lingering symptoms of a poor treatment…sooner or later…forcing the adrenals to kick in for too long, for many.

Even William Mck. Jeffries MD., who wrote the medical classic Safe Uses of Cortisol around 1984, understood the preponderance of adrenal fatigue and low cortisol, even without the diagnosis of Addison’s disease, and the need for physiologic doses of cortisol treatment, or the amount needed by each individual’s body to function correctly. And he would certainly be amazed by the explosion of adrenal fatigue that has occurred since then in thyroid patients thanks to the lousy TSH and synthetic T4-only ‘affaire de coeur’ with doctors.

Adrenal fatigue may not be an “accepted diagnosis” by some medical professionals. But today, there are a growing body of open-minded practitioners who recognize its reality as an acceptable diagnosis, and for which we are grateful. Now our job as patients is to make sure our more open-minded doctors understand what we have on how to treat it!


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** Chapters 5 and 6 in the revised STTM book contain the best details about adrenals and treatment in any book.

** Here’s a page on STTM listing a variety of symptoms related to a cortisol problem:

Important notes: All the information on this website is copyrighted. STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients worldwide have reported in their treatment and wisdom over the years. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice, nor to replace a relationship with your doctor. By reading this information-only website, you take full responsibility for what you choose to do with this website's information or outcomes. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

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45 Responses to “Doctor questions if adrenal fatigue is real….so is it??”

  1. Susan

    I have just been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue for the second time. I was first diagnosed with it in 2010 that I recovered from but now it is back. I have been on Armour since 2010, previously on synthetic for 7 years, but asked to be switched to a different brand because I have had so many hypo symptoms that have crept back up. I am now on Naturethroid hoping for the best. I just got my saliva test results and I have low cortisol at noon and afternoon along. My morning and bedtime levels are at the very bottom of normal. I was told to start adapt-all, lower my stress, get better sleep and to stop my extreme exercising. There was also other hormone imbalances including high testosterone and low DHEA and progesterone. My estrogen is good and so was my complete thyroid panel. I just want to feel better but I am afraid just the adapt-all is not going to be strong enough to fix my low cortisol. How long will it take for me to notice a difference? I will also be starting a compounded progesterone since the oral progesterone was not being absorbed. So tired of feeling tired!!!

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Susan, we as patients have noted that lab results have nothing to do with just falling in the normal range. It’s where they fall that means something, we’ve seen. And if your morning is at the bottom of the normal range, that is LOW along with the others. Compare your results to this page: And it’s not about adapt-all. It’s about giving ourselves back the cortisol we aren’t making. Study chapter 6 in the revised STTM book. It explains how to give it back. It will mention HC (hydrocortisone, which is by prescription) but also applies to Adrenal Cortex.

  2. Susan

    I have just been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue for the second time. I was first diagnosed with it in 2010 that I recovered from but now it is back. I have been on Armour since 2010, previously on synthetic for 7 years, but asked to be switched to a different brand because I have had so many hypo symptoms that have crept back up. I am now on Naturethroid hoping for the best. I just got my saliva test results and I have low cortisol at noon and afternoon along. My morning and bedtime levels are at the very bottom of normal. I was told to start adapt-all, lower my stress, get better sleep and to stop my extreme exercising. There was also other hormone imbalances including high testosterone and low DHEA and progesterone. My estrogen is good and so was my complete thyroid panel. I just want to feel better but I am afraid just the adapt-all is not going to be strong enough to fix my low cortisol. How long will it take for me to notice a difference? I will also be starting a compounded progesterone since the oral progesterone was not being absorbed. So tired of feeling tired!!!

  3. Paula

    I have just had a classic example of what shouldn’t happen. Since February of this year I have been so fatigued and have been getting more and more hypo symptoms. This is due to an Endo reducing my Levo from 100 to 50 (in the previous 3 months it had been reduced slowly by my doctor from 175. Within 7 days I felt extreemly tired and had air hunger. This continued to get worse until I saw the endo 9 weeks later who just turned round and said “oh go back up to 100, you are better being a little hyper than hypo”! Fast forward to Friday last when I had an appointment with another endo as I have never recovered from the low doseage. Junior doctor tested me for Pituitary/Adrenal problems with the one blood test, then an injection of cortisol and another blood test half an hour later. I guess I should’nt be relying on good results from this test. Oh and on another note as I am now borderline hyper (so they say,(darn TSH) I do not feel one bit hyper, endo now wants to reduce my levo to 75 does not agree that I am better a little hyper!!!!

  4. helen

    what about high cortisol, is that considered adrenal fatigue?

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      High cortisol is more reflective of something causing stress and your body responding to it by pushing cortisol up. The term Adrenal Fatigue is more about having low cortisol.

  5. Anthony L

    You can spend years trying to figure out why your adrenals have low output without ever getting getting an answer. I chose to supplement with cortisol and feel 100%. We do this regularly with other hormones. …so why not try it and evaluate if it works?

  6. Anita Monk Garland

    How do you know if you have Adrenal Problems? Currently, I am on Armour 3 gr. and I don’t sleep well but there are times, late morning after waking at 5 or 6 a.m., I HAVE TO LIE DOWN! I become so sleepy I feel as if I will fall asleep sitting where I am….What are the symptoms I should be looking for??

  7. Brodie

    I recently got switched to erfa thyroid after a lot of persuasion. I started at 30mg, stayed on it for 3 weeks and upped it to 45mg. Only being on it for 3 days I began having extreme heart racing and a feeling of pressure on my throat and a feeling like my heads going to pop off. But only ever in the evening just before I go to sleep. I’m not sure what to do, I know it could be my adrenal and iron levels which I plan to get checked but I’m not sure what to do in the mean time. Do I continue the raised dose and wait it out, see if the symptoms disappear? Do I double dose in through the day, splitting the doses?i feel completely lost and like I just need some sort of advice. My doc is very old school and I have to push for most of the things I want. But I don’t know what to push for anymore

  8. misha

    I have found that cutting out gluten lessens all of my symptoms including fog, fatigue, resp issues, Etc. You should feel improvement within a few days and definitely after a couple of weeks. I am by no means cured but cutting out gluten makes life livable at least. Sugar and eating too many carbs at once also seems to have negative effects the following day.

    Good luck all! If anyone figures out how to cure this without being put on hormones for the rest of time, please let me know Mayz 9 4 5 at g mail.

  9. Marianna

    I think I have adrenal fatigue and my thyroid is messed up. My back hurts like someone whacked me in the kidneys. I can’t seem to stay hydrated enough. I can’t sleep through the night. I fall asleep sitting up at work, lose all control, it’s horrifying. Sometimes I just burst out crying and it feels like I’m getting very fat, very irritable and very weak, very fast. I don’t dare tell the psych-infested medical network here that, they’d want to drug my brain I’m sure. I just found a great Nurse Practitioner who took tests and will help – FINALLY! Unfortunately, I had to have half my thyroid removed 2 months ago, because something was growing there that they thought was cancer. But it wasn’t. Talk about getting worse! I was already having hypo thyroid symptoms, and no one would listen. At one point I said screw them all, and bought Armour thyroid myself, from Canada – but got a pounding heart and increased fatigue, so I stopped out of fear. I didn’t know about the relation to HC, I hope this may help me. Right now my symptoms are so bad, I hope the tests come back before I give out completely. This is crazy scary.



  11. Missie Turnen

    I need advice. I am taking levothyroxine 75 mg and now have been prescribed 20 mg of hydrocortisone in the morning and 10 mg in early evening. I don’t like the way the hydrocortisone makes me feel. I have swelling and some of my joints hurt and sometimes tingling throughout my body. I am thinking of stoping the hydrocortisone and starting homeopathic adreneal support. Any comments/advice?

    (From Janie: I’d strongly recommend joining the NTH Adrenals group: )

    • Rose

      Be careful. I was taking hydrocortisone and then a “natural” supplement. I gained weight and felt awful with both. Make sure your diagnosis is correct.

      • Janie Bowthorpe

        Rose, patients have learned that doing the saliva cortisol test is important to see what’s going on before even considering hydrocortisone. And not everyone with proven low cortisol needs HC! It also sounds like you didn’t understnad how to use NDT. Gaining weight shows that. But yes, it’s important to use the right labs and to dose things correctly.

        • Randa

          I need help fast, please…I have Hashimoto’s, I am on Armour, I did the 24hr saliva (although I knew the outcome already since I am like the cartoon cat hanging from the ceiling because someone dropped a spoon! and I am still as jumpy now) My doc put me on 400mg of Spironolactone daily and it has now been 9 months!! I am also on 180 Armour since less Armour makes me completely hypo(I tried Synthroid it never helped me at all)……I have been reading horror stories about long term use of high dose Spirono, but I don’t know what to do about it? Everything I read says you can’t test adrenals if you’re already being treated?? I’m not certain my doc knows how to deal with the adrenals and I am terrified….I spend hours trying to find info online, but as I said before, it is all aimed at those whom have not yet started treatment on corticosteroids…..I don’t know where to turn, I can’t find anyone to ask, so here I am, I truly need help, I am becoming desperate. I don’t know what kind of tests I need while on Spirono, I don’t know what kind of doc can help me, and obviously I live in the middle of nowhere since all of the internet doctor searches for adrenal and hormonal issues are located 4 (or more) hours away….I have no money so a nateropath is out of the question since they do not take insurance……they too are hours away, so I feel hopeless…..

  12. Gerry Geneva

    These doctors irritate me so much. I constantly hear from people who experience this exact situation. Their doctor simply doesn’t believe them when they bring up adrenal fatigue. My response: fire your doctor and get one that has a clue.

    I think we’ll be seeing a common trend in coming years of people taking their health into their own hands and utilizing the massive amount of information available from sites like this to “treat” themselves.

    Nice post.

  13. Brooke

    I too suffer from Adrenal fatigue, and the westerns doctors are absolutely useless! I display al the classic symptoms of adrenal fatigue, the constant illness and lung infections, the need to sleep 12-16 hours per day, the weight gain (ETC.). The only relief I have found is from Chinese Herbal Medicine. I encourage everyone with adrenal fatigue to explore TCM for possible “cures”. Licorice Root, Chinese Ginseng, and Ashwaghandha are the 3 best herbs to help repair your adrenals. *Unfortunately I can’t remember the case study which provided the evidence for this* You can find adrenal support tonic in health food and vitamin stores, and African Rooibos tea, Chinese white tea, and yerba mate are all excellent substitutes for coffee, and soda. Plus, they help your body repair your adrenals with a huge dose of antioxidants, w/o all the caffeine.

    I have started taking the above mentioned supplements, and substituting tea for coffee and soda for over a year with excellent results. What worked for me may not help everyone, however I felt I had to contribute the little knowledge I’ve acquired to the rest of the Adrenal Fatigue sufferers out there.

  14. Bonnie Monzeglio

    HI Janie, I do have many of the symptoms mentioned, fogginess, dizziness, neck pain, sleep forever, but still tired. I just checked my levels of 1 week ago against the “normal levels” My TSh was 3.71, my FreeT4 was .0.5 and my Total T3 was 1.01. Endo says that my free T4 was low, others were normal. They are not normal. I am going to go back and havean adrenal test done to see what that shows, and maybe try the other armour thyroid compositions. Maybe the new formulation is not working for me. I had radioactive iodine in 2005 after 5 years of suffering with hyperthyroidism. Thought I would be better onthe other side, but not quite. Also, gaining weight. Thanks for all your help.

  15. Bonnie Monzeglio

    OMG! How long have you people been here? feel like I’ve found the end of the rainbow! I have an endo who refuses to listen to me, I have slightly low levels of TSh and FreeT4 and I am on Armour, but I don’t take the same every day, or sometimes I don’t take any at all. In fact, I just went a week without any, and I felt pretty good. I have had many of the symptoms mentioned here, and have told my endo, he just makes me drink water and swallow, tests my reflexes and writes me a new script! I’m doing my own research. I just found out that you are supposed to take Armour 2 x aday, not once, like I have been doing. No wonder I feel like crap! And , you should take Cortisol (Hydrocortisone ?) with it. Well, well, well. I should have gone to medical school. I have a lot of reading to do.

    (From Janie: glad you found STTM. And patients are only taking HC if they prove they have adrenal fatigue. You may not. Here’s how to find a much better doc: )

  16. Jacqueline

    It’s odd that this is the stance that’s taken, since Addison’s and Cushing’s diseases ARE accepted as ligitimate diagnoses. The newsletter I get from Women to Women just covered Adrenal Faitgue. The article came with a handy chart lining up symptoms of AF with Cushing’s and Addison’s — they are more similar than they are not. Here’s a link to the article. Scroll about half way down for the chart.

    Adrenal extremes – could you be on your way to Cushing’s or Addison’s disease?

  17. amanda

    Can someone tell me where to locate a doctor who will be willing to work with me and see if adrenal fatigue is a proper diagnosis? I’ve wondered for the last few months if it isn’t the case or if I might be clinically depressed. But reading over clinical depression symptoms and also adrenal fatigue symptoms, the latter seems much more fitting. From reading all of your posts, it looks like a doctor who is willing to recognize the reality of this diagnosis is rare.

    (Go here:

    Also join groups and ask:

    And it’s strongly recommended to do the 24 hour adrenal saliva test , which does not require a doctor, and take those results to the doctor after you have read this:

  18. Jennyfer

    Adrenal fatigue is real. Many years ago, i could no longer affectively cope with the stress of this world. I shut down. I went to all the doctors. no one could help me. I was irritable, couldn’t sleep, felt better in the evening, was having strange weight fluctuations (it was like diet and exercise didn’t help, it was like the calorie theory just didn’t apply to me, was having menustral difficulties, problems with acne, hair dry and brittle, facial edema. and it goes on) I finally found somebody who tested all my hormones. I was low in dhea and cortisol. my insulin levels were elevated, my thyroid was whacked out “despite being normal” i was vitamin d deficeint. I was low in progesterone. I was a mess.

  19. ibeji

    P.S.: See for instance “Coregulator Interactions with the Thyroid Hormone Receptor” by Jamie M.R. Moore and R. Kiplin Guy in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 4:475-482, 2005, available online at

  20. Laura

    I have adrenal fatigue. When I first took the 24 hour saliva test, two times during the day my levels were so low they were unreadable! I am so blessed to have found a doctor that not only will prescribe Armour, but actually ordered the cortisol test for me and prescribed HC! I felt so much better within days of starting the HC! My mind was lifted from a fog. It was like seeing clearly through glasses for the first time! I had more energy, and actually had enough ambition to get things done, instead of just sitting around all day. It was lovely! Then I got pregnant with my second child and went off the HC. I did “ok” during the pregnancy, but after I had her I crashed horribly, and dr wouldn’t prescribe the HC because I was breastfeeding. I had a really bad 6 months before my body recovered on it’s own enough to function. Just as I was about to get back on HC, I got pregnant with #3. I convinced my dr. (after lots of research) to let me get back on HC. It helped some, but not as much as before. I am afraid to take too much and hurt the baby, I haven’t tried rasing the dose (I was on 20mg), or rasing my Armour. I weaned off of it, but am sure I will need to get right back on again after the baby comes. I am confident that I will be able to figure it out, and get myself back again!

  21. Anita Theodoropoulos

    OMG am I glad you sent me the article on Adrenal Fatigue! I just did another series of blood tests(TSH normal again) and am seeing another doctor tomorrow. The symptoms are VERY REAL. I have been exhausted for one year now and no doctor is listening. I have gone to 3 orthopedics for my neck pain and stifness. I crave salt, I sweat like a pig when I walk outside, and if I can walk I get tired doing that. I go to sleep tired and wake up tired that is when I can sleep. I have constant soar throats and fall asleep during the day with out wanting to. Plus I have 2 small growths on my thyroid but there is nothing wrong with me so the doctors tell me. hopefully the new one I will go to tommorow will listen. If not I need all the articles I can get to self educate myself. The question is when will doctors educate themselves on listening to patients and not just looking at TSH tests and T4 but looking at physical symptoms as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. ibeji

    Dear Janie,

    you wrote: “Because cortisol is needed to facilitate the move of thyroid hormones from the blood to the cells” – as far as I know, there is a receptor molecule in the cell (or even in the nucleus, I can’t remember which right now) which binds to T3 and Cortisol at the same time, only then can it attach to a specific spot onto the DNA in the nucleus and block the expression of that specific gene, which in turn increases the rate of cell metabolism.

    So T3 and Cortisol are in fact co-factors, which by the way also explains why one can “replace” the other, at least up to a certain point, because the concentration of the product, T3+Cortisol+receptor, depends on the concentration of all three reactants, and as long as there are sufficient minimal amounts of two of these, raising the concentration of the third reactant also increases the concentration of the product (law of mass action).


  23. Sam

    This week I took my 24 hour salivary cortisol test to my doctor which in my mind showed my adrenal system was not working properly – my 8am reading was below threshold and all others were just on the lower limit of ‘normal’.

    According to him however my results showed that my adrenal output is normal as if you average it out over the day it just bumps along the bottom of the graph. So I got sent away with – no cortisol treatment, the same level of T4 and T3 and an increase in my anti-depressants because I must have a “rare form of depression which causes tiredness and not depression!”. I want to scream. all I want is to get on with my life not sit in this fog of exhaustion and pain.

  24. Missy

    I have no idea why a doctor would think there are no problems that fall between having normal, healthy adrenals, and having complete adrenal failure! When most any other part of our bodies get sick and it happens gradually, it is treatable early for the relief of symptoms. Why oh why don’t most doctors get a clue and give us the relief we need before we are so sick that it is tough to get well even with cortisol replacement?

    My adrenals can produce a low normal amount of cortisol..but when stimulated, they barely rise. So most doctors would say that I am fine, in other words, I am not at death’s door. But I do not respond well to stress. I lose too much salt, have low blood pressure, ache all over and have chronic fatigue. Quality of life is lacking. This is all helped with a simple replacement of cortisol. The solution is simple and not expensive. I am thankful I have a doctor who understands this.

  25. aprillv68

    I clearly remember when my symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue really went into high gear, and that was when i first started on Armour (approaching 6 years come November) and i could not understand what was happening to me. I had just about every symptom under the sun, including sluggish pupils (when i went to the adrenal page on STTM website). I took some much needed advice and started on Hydrocortisone (with , of course, lowering my Armour temporarily before starting again) ands within a very short period those low cortisol symptoms went away. But,after a few months, i had to experiment and i didn’t want to leave well enough alone, so i made the dumb mistake of weaning off just when i was feeling better, and enough to slowly start raising my Armour and, you guessed it, those adrenal/low cortisol symptoms returned. Long story (to long to post here) but i finally went back on it last fall after a 24 hr adrenal saliva cortisol test showed that it was more than i thought, and it showed adrenal insufficiency! I am now doing better on a regimen of 3 grains of Armour and 25 mg of Hydrocortisone daily.

  26. Nick R.

    Adrenal fatigue is a reality. Period. After struggling for years with I-didn’t-know-what, and then being told I had weak adrenals by natural practitioners, I have been finally coming to learn about my hypothyroid condition and the oh-so-common link between that and my flagging adrenals. I’ve been blessed enough to get a doctor who’s open minded and will listen to what I say (although I don’t think he really believes me) and go along with me for a while. He’s even given me a prescription of armour and HC – I hope it works, I’ve got a lot to prove to him!

  27. Natalie

    This is insane, but I am not surprised. So many hard-headed doctors don’t know how to look past what they has been spoon fed for years. Why do they acknowledge that there is a hypo-functioning thyroid problem before the thyroid completely gives out, but they don’t acknowledge that adrenals give out as well? It is ridiculous. I think it is just because they don’t like to step out of the comfort zone of what they already “know”. I am so glad there are people like you Janie, and other doctors who will open their minds and really take a look at what is going on with our bodies. If I gave myself over to the drug-happy traditional medical doctors, I would be a complete zombie.
    With the new knowledge I am gaining I finally have hope for having a life again.

  28. Rainbow

    If adrenal fatigue isn’t real, then why did I FINALLY start sleeping through the night once I got on 30mg of HC? I had been experiencing insomnia for over a year and nothing else had worked. I am now sleeping beautifully, which I’m SURE is helping my body heal. I sure hope doctors wise up one of these days.

  29. Elenor

    I first started on Iodoral — which gave me energy, lifted a fog I didn’t even realize I was under, and of which I still take 3-4 pills a day! A half-year later, after finding STTM, I started on Isocort. I didn’t notice much response to the Isocort. I am thankful that a local doc was on the STTM list: I took him my proposal (HC and Armour, as per suggested dosing sched. at STTM) and he was willing to go along and prescribe it. (Thank you Janie and STTM!!)

    A bunch of symptoms I thought were “because I was old (52), fat (nearly 300 pounds), and sedentary” were in fact adrenal and thyroid! I did not realize that the feeling I woke up with — like someone had taken a bat to my kidneys! — was adrenal, until it went away. I did not realize that my hyper sensitivity to bright light and loud noises was adrenal. I did not realize my stiff neck every morning (“must be a bad pillow”) was adrenal. It DID take nearly two years on HC to completely relieve those symptoms, and I did gain a real-quick 30 pounds (that I had previously lost {sigh}); but the relief was SO worth it!

    I am now working out the dosing for the (new horrid-bad) Armour (and waiting for the carpal tunnel, that came roaring back when they changed it, to go away again).

  30. Georgia

    I am pretty sure that I have adrenal burnout. I worked for a couple of years in a stressful social work job. During that time I took a stimulant for ADD, lost a brother, and my military husband was sent away for a year.

    My life has been practically stress free for a year now but I feel like I have a debilitating disease. On a scale of 0-10 in terms of energy, with 0 being the lowest I feel like I fluctuate between 1-3. I get an average of 12-16 hours of sleep a day and when I’m not sleeping I lie or sit almost all day. I have most of the hypothyroid symptoms. I am not anemic, diabetic, and my TSH is normal (of course). I tried antidepressants for awhile that made me feel worse. When I did find a doctor willing to treat me for hypothyroidism, he put me on a synthetic T4/T3 combination and progesterone cream regimen. I felt worse and gained an additional 40lbs in 6 months. I was also so depressed on this regimen that I even felt suicidal at times.
    I am not taking any medication, just trying to eat a wholesome, clean diet, get plenty of sunshine and get acupuncture. So far, I haven’t noticed any improvement but I haven’t gotten any worse, either. I am trying to find out as much as I can about adrenal fatigue but I find a lot of the advice to be contradictory (do/don’t take adrenal glandular). I am at such a loss over what to do at this point. I feel despair. I can’t work, can’t exercise, can’t participate in enjoyable activities. Some experts say that it could take years for me to recover. I know I caused a lot of damage to my body during those few high-stress years but how long will I have to pay for it and is there anything that can help me along besides lots of rest and proper nutrition?

  31. Laura

    I have only had to fire two doctors. The one I see now understands adrenal fatigue a little better than most, but I still had to educate myself. No one can afford NOT to educate themselves.

  32. Liza C.

    STTM helped me connect the relationship between HypoT and Adrenal Fatigue. I got treatment for HypoT 3 years ago but things still weren’t great and I still had many symptoms. A year ago, I increased my thyroid meds to 3.5 grains in hopes of solving the remaining symptoms but this caused a severe adrenal crash where I cried for 3 weeks and couldn’t move from the couch. When I read on STTM that the crash was likely due to weak adrenals I realized I had almost all the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. That’s when I asked my doctor for Hydrocortisone.

    The day I started HC my mother and husband said the air around me shifted, I was more alert, moved faster, talked faster, my face lifted, I smiled more. I have been on HC for a year but noticed improvement in my life immediately. I can now exercise like normal people (1 hour, every day if I want and have energy the next day, instead of crashing). I handle life stress with ease, my body temp is definitely more even, I sleep better at night, stay awake and alert all day. The list goes on and it is nothing short of a miracle.

    Given my own journey and both what I have observed in myself, and what my family has confirmed in their observation of me, I am absolutely certain adrenal fatigue is real and can be treated. Thanks to STTM for everything.

    • selina duke

      my doctor has given me a supplement called Adren-all. did you try this before you started the hydrocortisone?

  33. Rachel Pineau

    Oh do i ever know about the nausea in the face of stress. I’m a living example of adrenal fatigue due to inadequate treatment of hypothyroid using synthroid and measured by TSH test. I’ve suffered now for almost 10 years and can’t seem to find a doctor who will listen, except my naturopathic doctor. Unfortunately she could not prescribe either dessicated thyroid or cortisol, but i did get some relief with glandulars and restructured diet, but alas, it’s just not enough to get my life back. Now I’m on the correct meds thanks to some great info i got on the facebook site from some very helpful people. We’ll see how that goes as i only started a few weeks back.

  34. Shae

    I have adrenal fatigue. I am a holistic practitioner, so I also get alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, Reiki and acupressure. EVERY person I see, I am constantly lectured on the low “chi” in my overworked adrenals. I take a supplement for adrenal support and am on Armour (3 months new to Armour after years of Synthroid).
    The dizziness is insane! I have been known to pass out on occasion if I move too quickly. there are also days that I could just lay on the sofa and sleep. I am often grumpy and I cannot stand being grumpy!

    I am very lucky to have a male doctor who is also hypothyroid (I feel like I won the medical lottery) and I pass along a lot of information to him regarding thyroid education. He is very well versed in adrenal fatigue and no matter what my tests say – he believes me, because he, too, lives with it!


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