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addisons and digestive problems - link?

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Old 02-09-2003, 03:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 67
breakerfall HB User
Question addisons and digestive problems - link?

I am a 29yo female that has been suffering from chronic gastrointestinal problems since last June without diagnosis. I have been through a gamut of testing and all doctors have found was that I have mild gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying) and hyperthyroidism (which I've had for 6 years.) I was a normal, highly active person before I started developing random attacks of nausea, fatigue, and abdominal pain, which by July became chronic. My general physician wants to try one last test - that for Addisons Disease, of which I'm going to see a new endocrinologist for (but not until the 28th!!! argh).

My question is, are digestive problems common in Addisons? I don't have a lot of the other symptoms like low blood pressure and heart rate, or darkening of the skin. But as I said, I do become fatigued very easily, chronic stomach problems, inability to exercise because I begin to feel sick (where as I used to be able to do long workouts), stomach sensitivity to caffeine, carbonation, and mint. Mild salt cravings. Last week I had a bad episode that last about 4-5 days where I was home sick completely nauseated, extremely fatigued, upper abdominal pain, my digestion was slow, and I had mild diarrhea. Usually the symptoms aren't that severe and I'm able to function okay, tho they never go away.
I'm wondering if the other symptoms aren't showing up because my hyperthyroidism symptoms are counteracting them. I'm scheduled to have surgery to have my thyroid removed as soon as I find out the results of the Addisons Test. Is there any specific tests taht I should ask for? I'm worried that they won't come back accurate because of my thyroid problem, and then i'll be a miserable mess after surgery.

Any input is appreciated.

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Old 02-10-2003, 09:15 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Rochester, NY, USA
Posts: 57

Hi breakerfall-

Nausea was my PRIMARY symptom, or rather, my most critical. I ultimately lost about 65 pounds in 3 1/2 months. Nothing stayed down and even though I didn't eat or drink anything my body kept going through the motions of vomiting. It was really awful.

I had every gastro-intestinal test that was out there. No one suspected Addisons because I did not have the darkened skin and it was thought that Adrenal problems could not cause the digestive problems that I had. After months of testing and hospital stays they tried the cortisol. I went from being IV "fed" through a central line in my neck to almost a normal person within 2 DAYS. No exageration here. The drs. here did tell me that they learned something new from my case. My digestive system simply stopped with the lack of cortisol. That was 11 years ago now. I am now 39 years old and reasonably healthy. So, in my opinion the answer is YES- digestive problems can be severe. How common it is I don't know. Good luck- PVS

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Old 02-10-2003, 09:28 AM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Burnsville, NC
Posts: 1
FJA1975 HB User

Hello, I am a 27 yr old female who has a condition called adrenogenital syndrome, which means my adrenal gland does not produce cortisione. Your symptoms sound somewhat familiar too mine when I do not take my cortisone, so you may want the endocronologist to test your cortisone levels. Good luck!


Old 03-17-2003, 04:47 PM   #4
Janis Rafael
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Baltimore, Md. USA
Posts: 4
Janis Rafael HB User

Hi, I believe that your digestive problems could be a result of cortisol insufficiency, although you may not have all out Addisons. That could be dangerous if you have surgery and they don't know you have this problem. I have mentioned this in other posts that blood and urine do not always show low cortisol. A saliva test taken 4 times throughout the day is inexpensive and will give you a better picture of what is going on hormonally, although most endocrinologists don't use saliva tests. I suggest writing to [url=""][/url] Dr. Poesnecker is wonderful and you can order a saliva test through him. It is very important that you know your levels, plus your DHEA ratio in order to take the necessary steps before surgery to ensure you won't go into a crisis situation. This isn't meant to scare you, but it is urgent that you find out before the stress of surgery. Sincerely, Janis

Old 03-28-2003, 01:54 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Charleston, West Virginia
Posts: 6
Equinox HB User

Gastroparesis, is a common symptom in persons who have both addison's and diabetes. Interestingly, Gastroparesis can present in two ways, in constipation and in diahrea (even though the word refers to paralasis of the gastric system). I have addison's and have had it since I was 10, my mother is diabetic and has gastroparesis, it is very severe for her and she has had to result to both traditional and non-traditional remedies to help with the nausea and the actual moving of her bowels.
I am wondering if you have had the cortisol test yet and whether you have a diagnosis of addision's. Regardless, keep your chin up, there are remedies out there, this will improve.

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