Since the tail end of perimenopause 2 years ago, I have been dealing with fatigue and brain fog. Thyroid was fully tested, including free T3 and free T4 and antibodies, things were either normal or negative. I saw an endo who ruled out other problems, diabetes, etc. All else is fine, just in menopause.
My Gyn has started me on bioidentical estrodiol and I am still tired and can barely get up in the AM or think straight. My anxiety level is way up and any stress is just too much for me. I recently had an 8 AM blood cortisol level drawn and it was 17.4 ( 3.1-22.4). I also had saliva cortisol and it was at 8 AM = 1.86 ( 1.3-10.73) and at 4 PM = .37 ( .3-5.0). These were interpreted as normal. Recently I spoke to a compounding pharamcist who suggested that I take my temp during the day and she suspects that I am dealing with weak adrenals, due to years of emotional stress and now the stress of ovaries not functioning. In the past, I've needed cortisone to combat major hives and severe reactions to posions ivy. Strangely enough, I have high blood pressure, not low....although when I checked it it is higher when I am lying done then when I am standing up. I do not seem to especially crave salt.
The pharmacist suggested trying an application of cortisone cream.... 1/4 t in AM and then later in day to see if that improved my energy level. We are trying to get a doc to interpret the blood work and help me to feel human again. Not to many seem to know how to deal with weak adrenals.
Can anyone suggest any great sites to learn more about how to support weak adrenals?
Thanks, Chris for your response. I will reread the info you posted about cortisol and I will look for the author you mentioned. I am sorry that you are dealing with so much too.
Regarding my thryoid, I have reviewed those results on top notch boards and even pushed for a trial of armour and it was not my answer, even low dose created palps and insomnia. Now the explanation is that if adrenals are weak, they cannot handle additional thyroid. It seems the area that was not fully evaluated were the adrenals ~ in my case. Dear Chris, where did you learn that the early AM cortisol should be in the high 20's. I'm not challenging you...I'd like to find it, print it out and take it to my doc.
I'll ask about the pregnenolone.
ACTH Stim tests....are there any risks with this? I would imagine a person could feel pretty fatigued in the adrenals were not up to the challenge. Is that right?
Thanks for your input and I'd welcome any info from any other people who can relate to any of this. I think they (docs and such) are finally getting closer to identifying why my body is struggling.
Not only pregnenolone, but progesterone cream. This is the estrogen antagonist--I'm very worried about you on estradiol alone as there are many studies linking estrogens with cancer (even bioidentical estrogens). Even estrogen with premarin (mare's progesterone analog) is linked with cancer.
Here's a good site on menopause, hormones, and adrenal fatigue:
Thanks for the site. I had actually found that in my travels through the website and it is helpful. You are kind to share it here and maybe others will find it helpful as well.
Please know that I have an excellent reproductive endocrinologist when it comes to female hormone replacements and he has reviewed all of the studies with me and is able to explain them in light of the total picture. So many scare reports about estrogen are based on the Provera ( synethetic progestin) arm of the study which was d'cd. I avoid progestins and opt for bioidentical (progesterone) for myself. Suzanne Sommers has just written a book, The Sexy Years, which may be of interest to any women who are considering HRT. There is also an excellent board, which deals with menopause and it offers help. It can be found by searching menopause and support, I think. When it all comes down to it, we all need to make our individual choice regarding our health and our quality of life. The choice may certainly change as we transition and no longer require a boost. Menopause is different for each woman and some women seem to move through it without too much trouble; others have more of a struggle. Best wishes to all of us!
I am still looking to learn and gather more info about weak adrenals. I'll check back periodically to see if there are any new addtions resources or tips.
Sending warm wishes for good health to all.
I used to have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning on the weekends too. I started using progesterone cream several years ago for some pms symptoms. Now I get up much earlier on the weekends and I think that my using (natural) progesterone cream is the reason why. I've read that progesterone can be converted into cortisol. John Lee MD is a big believer in the need for progesterone more so than estrogen for women going through the change. He says that while estrogen levels drop maybe something like 40% to 60% progesterone levels can basically drop to zero. In his book, "What your doctor may not tell you about menapause," he says that some of his patients have continued to take progesterone well into their 60's with no problems.
I would also highly recommend the book "Safe Uses of Cortisol," by Jefferies. I think you can find some good information in their about mild adrenal insuficiency.
I have had some low energy lately and have found that using pregnenolone seems to help me. I like the sublingual form because it doesn't get processed through the liver. I find that if I don't take the preg. my energy is pretty zapped by early evening. Unfortunately there is NOT much info available on this hormone, I think, because it is NOT something that can be patented so no company wants to invest in studying it without the chance of recouping their investment. I've read Shahalian's book on preg and found that it still doesn't have all that much info because no one is really doing much research on this hormone or DHEA. But I think you might consider giving it a try.
Last edited by theREDshoes; 05-07-2004 at 07:51 AM.
I just checked back in and I was interested to see the reference to Safe Uses of Cortisol. I just picked up the book through interlibraray loan. You are right, Red Shoes, the 'mild' adrenal dysfunction sounds alot like what I have. Next week, I will be back in touch with my compounding pharmacist and also my doctor to see what effective plan we can come up with for me.
Thanks for your kind replies.