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Hi Briswharf. If you do the salivary cortisol test, you can speak to an endocrinologist or an integrative doctor who is familiar with chronic fatigue and hormonal issues. Remember that GPs and family doctors only have a cursory understanding of these things – their main role is to refer you on to someone with deeper knowledge.
Adrenal fatigue and HPA Axis dysfunction can affect your levels of a hormone named aldosterone. This controls your salt balance and therefore affects your blood pressure. If you find that your blood pressure is low and you get dizzy when you stand up, that could be the reason.
Hi Teesh, there are no posts on your blog 🙁
There was a recent conversation about Cortef, here:
The coffee might feel like it helps you in the short term, but it might be making your issue worse in the long run. Green tea is better because it has the l-theanine which calms you down and counteracts the caffeine. Matcha is even better.
It sounds like you might well be in late stage adrenal fatigue, with the general hormonal depletion and chronic fatigue that you mention.
Cortef can help but it does tend to have side effects. Other members of the forum have had withdrawal issues when they come off it, and it can prevent your own adrenal glands from making the hormones that they should.
You said that you were on steroids because of your hives. What caused the hives in the first place? Was it stress? If so, have you addressed that stress yet? I think that might be the first step to a longer term solution.
Hi Lisa, I’m really sorry to hear about your health problems.
First of all, do you have a good doctor? If your heart is in good shape, it sounds like this may be a hormonal problem. A good endocrinologist or integrative doctor can order a full thyroid panel, a 24 hour salivary cortisol test, and other tests to find out what is going on.
Things like dizziness, low blood pressure, poor circulation can certainly be related to adrenal fatigue (which your doctor might know better as HPA Axis dysfunction).
Have you been under a lot of stress for the last few months or years? Are there any other existing health issues which might be related?
Don’t give up, ask for lots of advice, and try to find a good doctor who can run some tests for you 🙂
Frequent urination can certainly be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Depleted levels of hormones and hormone precursors (as often seen in adrenal fatigue) can lead to lower aldosterone levels. Aldosterone is a hormone that controls your salt balance, how much water you retain, and how frequently you urinate. High levels of aldosterone can cause excess water retention, but low levels can lead to polyuria (frequent urination).
Low aldosterone levels are very common among those with adrenal fatigue, or HPA axis dysfunction. Taking 1-2 teaspoons of salt per day (mixed in water) can help. Many people experience cravings for salt and feel better immediately after drinking it. Note that you might want to consult or doctor, or at check your blood pressure, before adding lots of salt to your diet. I hope that helps!
Hi malenacorl. As far as I know, the Thorne supplement has all the cortisol removed. It certainly should be supportive of long-term adrenal health, but it shouldn’t have an immediate stimulatory effect.
Having said that, it’s perfectly possible that you might be having a reaction to something in the supplement. If your symptoms are mild, I would consider taking it for a few more days so you can properly judge whether it’s the cause of the nausea and insomnia.
Out of interest, what caused your adrenal fatigue in the first place?
Great idea to use the blood glucose monitor!
Do you drink alcohol in the evenings? That can lead to a sharp drop in blood sugar at around 2am.
What have you tried eating for dinner? I think a carb-heavy meal in the evening might be counter-productive. How about more fats and proteins to keep blood sugar stable for longer? Some plain, probiotic yogurt with nuts, for example.
You could also try gymnema sylvestre. Fawne recommends it in her book as a useful tool to regulate blood sugar. It’s usually used to stop blood glucose from spiking, but I believe there’s also some evidence that it improves the way that your body uses glucose. It might be something that’s worth trying, in small doses at first.
Have you looked at your sleep hygiene? There are things that can help like limiting screen time before bed, eating the right foods, and having a truly dark bedroom environment.
Are you sure that it’s low blood sugar ruining your sleep? What are the symptoms?February 24, 2017 at 7:58 am in reply to: Recovering from Stage 4 & Weaning off of the steroids! #10659
Thanks for keeping us updated 🙂
You’ve mentioned stabilizing your blood sugar a few times. Have you looked at a herb named Gymnema Sylvestre? Fawne and Dr Eric recommend it in their book. It helps to stabilize blood sugars and prevent blood sugar spikes. There’s been some research into using it for diabetes management:
If you do decide to give it a try, you should probably mention it to your doctor, especially given the other meds that you’re taking.
When you ask for an adrenal test, try to get the 24 hour salivary test. This way, you and your doctor will see the peaks and troughs of your daily cortisol cycle, rather than just an average.
Muscle pains are definitely a frequent symptom of adrenal fatigue, and I had them in my case. Does everyone experience them? I honestly don’t know.
Here are some tips that Fawne wrote about constipation:
As for your increased sensitivity to sunlight, there is a link there to adrenal fatigue. AF frequently leads to lower levels of aldosterone, the hormone that controls your sodium-potassium balance. Then this balance gets disturbed, it can prevent your pupils from constricting as much as they should in bright sunlight. That lets too much sunlight in, which explains the increased sensitivity.
Let me go through those one by one:
-I have a lack of energy even if I sleep for nine or ten hours daily, I usually go to bed at one o’clock at night and I wake up at about half past eleven in the morning. I am not currently working.
One of the main symptoms of adrenal fatigue (or HPA axis dysregulation) is a disrupted cortisol cycle. This can result in being tired in the mornings and early afternoons, then having a burst of energy late in the evening.
-I suffer from insomnia. For me it is difficult to sleep well. Even if go to bed early I usually find difficult to sleep the first two or three hours. It is like having a light sleep and I don’t fall sound sleep.
Check out some of Fawne’s sleep hygiene tips:
You might benefit from adopting a more regular routine, i.e. waking up earlier and then trying to get to sleep a little earlier. On a temporary basis, melatonin can help to adjust your sleep cycle.
-I am a bit better in the morning but in the afternoon or evening I am worse. I take vitamins and supplements but despite that I feel a lack of energy in the afternoon. It is even worse in the evening.
If you feel exhausted in the afternoon, and you don’t have a job to go to, try taking a nap! If your body is tired, don’t fight it.
-When I am going to go to bed there are sometimes “topics of the day” even if they are positive ideas revolving my mind.
This is that familiar ‘wired but tired’ feeling. If your thoughts are racing, try writing down your ideas as they happen. One of the things that keeps us awake is this worry that we might forget any ideas that we discover late at night. Write them down, and you can forget about them until morning.
-I have periods of time during the year when I am worse. Then my libido goes down and I don’t have very much energy. This has happened me these last weeks when I had a cold.
In the later stages of adrenal fatigue, there is something called the ‘pregnenolone steal’. Your body diverts resources towards cortisol production, at the expense of other hormones like the sex hormones. So it’s perfectly possible that chronic stress and a resulting hormonal imbalance can reduce your libido. This is particularly true when your body is under stress, as it is when you have a cold.
-I suffer from hypothyroidism.
There is a strong connection between the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenals) and HPT axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid). The reality is that any hormonal imbalance is likely to affect both the adrenals and the thyroid.
If you think you have adrenal fatigue, why not get tested? A salivary cortisol test would give you a good idea of where your cortisol cycle stands, and at what stage (if any) of adrenal fatigue you’re at.
I hope that helps!February 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm in reply to: Recovering from Stage 4 & Weaning off of the steroids! #10538
Good tips, thanks for sharing 🙂 Please do keep us updated!February 14, 2017 at 6:41 am in reply to: Recovering from Stage 4 & Weaning off of the steroids! #10509
Getting outside lots during the day will certainly help your sleep patterns. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise too (lots of walking would probably be best in your case). Have you asked your doctor about using melatonin, on a short term basis, to help you sleep?
Fawne wrote an awesome article on sleep hygiene, which might help:
As for the weight loss, make sure that you are eating lots of healthy fats. Fats and protein will help with your blood sugar too. Foods like egg, avocado, coconut oil etc.February 13, 2017 at 8:41 am in reply to: Recovering from Stage 4 & Weaning off of the steroids! #10492
Hi Beetlybug. It’s interesting that you feel awful when you take the hydrocortisone now, and that you feel better when you don’t take it. That seems to suggest that you’ve made some progress, and that your body perhaps no longer requires the dose that you’re taking. Weaning yourself off, under your doctor’s supervision, sounds like a good plan.
If you’ve eliminated many of the sources of inflammation (stress, diet, etc), then your body probably doesn’t need those high doses of cortef any more.
As with most steroid therapies, you need to wean off slowly to allow your body to adjust. So it might just be a case of having a little more patience. Better to feel kinda awful from slightly too much hydrocortisone than to risk serious health problems from having too little!
Overall, it sounds like you’re on the right track.
Couple of other ideas – are you getting enough sleep, getting enough sunlight, taking any adrenal-supportive supplements? All these can help.