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Old 01-16-2007, 05:52 PM   #1
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adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. I started treatment a year and a half ago which improved some of my symptoms.

I still felt poorly though and was having a variety of female issues also (recurrent miscarriage, cycle irregularities etc...). I went on the patch (ortho-evra) because of constant bleeding. I was amazed at how much better I felt over all and for the 6 months I was on it I had absolutely none of my previous physical complaints.

After discontinuing it (so that we could try for a pregnancy) I started to go downhill quickly (symptomatically). When I ovulated I called my dr and he prescribed progesterone supplements...again I felt wonderful (stayed on the progesterone until 12wks gestation). So I assumed that maybe I was having issues with my estrogen/progesterone levels (my OB said he felt I had low estrogen also based on some of my symptoms...he never tested my levels though since I was already on the "treatment"...birth control)

I'm now 25wks pregnant and have been "flaring up" (symptoms are returning) the past couple of weeks.

Anyway, all of my physical issues started with a flu bug I had in Dec. 2003. Prior to this current flaring up I had been really sick with the flu.

A friend who is going through similar issues mentioned that I might want to look into supporting my adrenals with supplements.

I've looked into adrenal fatigue and adrenal failure in the past. I had my cortisol levels tested a year and a half ago to "rule out" Addison's (my endo ordered the tests because of slight hyperpigmentation). I was hyperthyroid and in the second trimester of a pregnancy at the time; my 8am cortisol level was: 14.3 (range 5-23). My endo never said much more about it so I assumed it was fine (baby died a few days later...no explanation).

I used to come to this forum on and off (jumped up from the thyroid forum) and I remember a product called Isocort being mentioned occasionally. Is it safe to use during pregnancy? I did some digging around but there's not much info (just says to consult my health care provider...LOL...I seriously doubt my endo would ever "okay" something like that...she believes Armour thyroid should be pulled off the market ). What about during breastfeeding?

This is the first pregnancy that has progressed this far since I had that flu bug in Dec. 2003. So I'm not certain what to expect for labor/ delivery and post-partum. I'd like to boost my adrenals before delivery so I can potentially nip anything in the bud (since my symptoms do seem to flare-up after illness).

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. Some of the other supplements I'm considering are: B-complex, vit E, vit C and flax oil (for the omega fatty acids).

Sorry to be so long! Thanks for any info, suggestions...

Kelly

 
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Old 01-17-2007, 05:49 AM   #2
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

I am not sure what to tell you. But if you are still not feeling well , I would go see another doctor. I would keep asking the doctor to run all kinds of test on you . I wouldn't give up untill you know what is going on. I would get another Coritsol test done if it is safe for your baby. Then they need to do a CT barruim scan and a MRI to see if the Adreal gland the Putitary gland shut down. But I don't know if they can do these test on you with you being pregnant. If they can't do the cortisol test on you, then get the results from the doctor that did your test. Have a new doctor look it over. Good luck

 
Old 01-18-2007, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

Thank you for replying. LOL, I don't think there are anymore tests to run (I know that's not entirely true but that's how it feels) . I was debilitatingly ill from Dec. 2003-Dec. 2005 and have had thousands of dollars worth of testing done ...makes my head spin just thinking about it!

I've seen a variety of drs (endo, 2 rheumies, ob/gyn, neuro, PCP and a chiro...I've had appts with a cardio, perinatologist and the fertility clinic at U of M hospital in Ann Arbor Michigan but cancelled them because of finances). I've also researched extensively on my own over the last 3yrs.

All in all the above makes it sound like I must be suffering from a mental disorder, LOL, but honestly, I'm not (my family is riddled with anxiety and depressive disorders so I'm very familiar with them).

I've considered seeing a naturopathic MD (Dr. Brownstein in particular who has written several books about balancing thyroid, adrenal and ovarian hormones...he's 3hrs away) but haven't been able to afford it.

I would like to have my cortisol level tested again but I'm pretty certain my endo wouldn't do it...she is very stubborn and completely dismisses my symptoms (she said her job is to make sure my labs are in range not to help me feel better ). She was leery about doing the testing last time because she said it was "tricky" to interpret results during pg. I also feel she's not very knowlegeable in that particular area (there's only one other endo in this area and she's in the same office...they specialize in diabetic treatment).

As for switching drs, I don't see a good reason to...I'm not sure what else they could do for me. Which is why I'm considering trying supplements before seeking out further medical care (if my symptoms became severe again I would definitely contact my dr...not that they did anything for me before but who knows).

It's been over a year since I've had a flare up and my symptoms aren't too bad at this point: weakness in my hips, shoulders, neck and jaw; tremors; alternating between insomnia and sleeping 12-16hrs; no appetite, fatigue, hands and feet ache; feels like I have "restless leg syndrome" but in my whole body; allergies getting worse; arrhythmias; low blood sugar and low blood pressure symptoms.

All of them are mild at this point (used to be severe and I had many others). I was diagnosed with arrhythmias (harmless PACs) in 2005. I've had reactive hypoglycemia since 1997 (oddly my fasting glucose levels show I have "impaired glucose tolerance") and "symptomatic" low blood pressure for 3 years (although, my blood pressure runs between 88-98/48-58). I was diagnosed with allergies/asthma last summer (primarily causes chronic tonsillitis and low-grade fevers).

I've had 2 MRIs with contrast and my pituitary looks fine. As for my adrenals, I think I'd have to be in an addisonian crisis for them to even consider testing other than the cortisol (am blood draw and 24hr urine).

Sheesh, I didn't mean to write another book!! LOL!

I wasn't sure what the response here would be since I know it's an Addison's board and there's a lot of controversy about whether or not "adrenal fatigue" is a legitimate condition. I figured I'd venture in and ask anyway...can't hurt .

Thanks again for your reply!

Kelly

 
Old 01-18-2007, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

Kelly,

Are you familiar with the ACTH stimulation test? That is the best test to check for adrenal insufficiency/addisons.

 
Old 01-18-2007, 05:56 PM   #5
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

Hi Wanda, I have heard of it. My endo was not willing to do it because my am cortisol and serum ACTH were in range. She had mentioned prior to my test that she may order a stim test depending on my results. I asked her about it at my follow up visit and she said that I "didn't need it done".

We don't get along very well because we both have very different views about why I'm seeing her (as I said in my previous post, she feels her job is to make sure my thyroid labs are normal...not help me to discover why I still feel poorly). She's the only dr I've had that absolutely will not run tests when I request them (and I do tend to push hard...if I'm paying for it I don't understand why a dr would decline...I don't mind telling them that ).

Thank you for reminding me of it though...I hadn't thought about it in a long time. I'm wondering now if I'd be able to get my PCP to order it for me (not sure if I can have it done during pg...do you know?)...I hadn't thought about it from that angle!! That's a definite possibility.

Kelly

 
Old 01-18-2007, 06:22 PM   #6
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

I know nothing about it, but it doesn't seem like having the ACTH test while pregnant is a good idea. I wouldn't do it.

Do you know the results of your tests for the thyroid? What was your TSH level? What are you taking for the thyroid?

If the doctor isn't interested in helping you find out why you don't feel well....get RID of her.

 
Old 01-19-2007, 10:29 AM   #7
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

I'm currently on 75mcg of levoxyl. My TSH really isn't helpful since it's never been out of range high, unless you take into consideration the new **** criteria of 3.0. The highest my TSH has ever been is 3.75. My antibodies however are extremely high and I have a goiter; that coupled with a strong family history and in the presence of symptoms is why they started treatment.

I've come to realize that the TSH level is a really bad indicator of symptoms (my SIL has a VERY high TSH but has never been symptomatic in her life...her mom is a nurse and noticed her thyroid was enlarged...they put her on meds immediately).

LOL, I'd absolutely love to get rid of my endo but that would leave me without options...or rather with very expensive options that I can't afford at this time.

I can live with feeling sub-par but if things became severe again we would make it more of a financial priority. Unfortunately it just has to be that way right now (midwife to pay, orthodontia for my daughter, winter tax bill due...and all before April ).

So that's why I'm kind of looking into some reputable OTC supplements for now.

Kelly

 
Old 01-19-2007, 12:05 PM   #8
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

Hi Kelly,

I tried IsoCort under supervision of a Naturopath. Isocort contains "roughly" the equiv. of 2.5 mg. of hydrocortisone per pellet, derived from glandulars. It contains other stuff as well. The doc I saw thought it was the lomatium, an herbal component of IsoCort, that was giving me liver pain. Lomatium is an irritant. He had no idea why they put it in the IsoCort, however, I was not the first person to react that way & was advised to discontinue it.

There are a couple of reasons I would not recommend IsoCort to you as a mom-to-be. First is the lomatium -- how safe for the fetus. Second is, as a supplement, Isocort is exempt from the sort of scrutiny & regulation that Rx meds get from the FDA. There's nothing in place to guarantee potency, consistency, purity, bioequivalency etc.. Now, I do use a lot of herbs & supplements myself, but I believe that a pregnant woman owes it to her unborn child to be extremely cautious.

Please note: the following does NOT apply to those of you who are diagnosed with Addison's and/or adrenal failure, who MUST take replacement cortisone.

Third reason I would not IsoCort: cortisone replacers are a catch-22. You take a little bit & maybe feel a boost on day 1 & day 2. But your body will adapt & start producing less of its own cortisol. There have been cases of people on asthma inhalers who get just a smidge of steroid a few times a day, who end up in hot water -- serious medical trouble -- because their adrenals go to sleep. So, playing with little extra cortisone can really backfire. And IMO it could be particularly nasty in your circumstance.

Traditionally, licorice (the herb) was used for adrenal fatigue. Licorice contains substances that slow the breakdown of the cortisol the body naturally produces. But here again, feedback loops result in decreased endogenous production of cortisol after a while. I'm not at all sure of the safety of licorice tea during pregnancy, either.

If your BP is running consistently low, you might ck. with your doc whether it would be OK to boost your salt intake. That is a small thing that might help you feel a smidge better. Low blood pressure, all by itself, can be very fatiguing. If you decide to try to increased salt, you may want to start with noniodized, esp. if you have thyroid antibodies, since extra iodine can sometimes flare autoimmune thyroid. (Assuming you get the iodine you & the fetus need from your prenatal vites.)

Best wishes.

 
Old 01-19-2007, 09:25 PM   #9
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Re: adrenal fatigue?? Pregnancy

Thank you so much Elmhar for the info!! I'll ask about the salt intake.

I think that's good counsel also about being careful with herbal/supplemental use during pregnancy; I've always been extra cautious. That's why I'm really glad you posted...I was hoping to hear from someone with personal experience (not necessarily during pg but in general) and some knowledge about it. It's not easy to find information from a source other than those that are trying to sell me something .

It's difficult to get help during pregnancy because most drs will brush off my discomforts as pregnancy related. LOL, they've even suggested that it may because I'm getting older (I just turned 30...it's not as if I'm 50; although I feel like I'm 80 some days).

Well, thank you so much again!

Kelly

 
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