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    Old 03-16-2005, 06:36 AM   #1
    robinhy
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    thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    I've been taking thyroid meds for 2 years now...it only makes me more sick. After lots of research and support groups and doctors I finally had my adrenals checked. (I had an ITT which showed low cort and very low GH however I have not yet actually seen the test results...I'm waiting for them in the post) So now I take thyroid and adrenal meds...still no help. I insist it's because my adrenal med isn't strong enough. My doc insists it's because I'm meno. Has anyone every had the problem when they take thyroid meds they get sicker because it's making/causing menopause.

    I always thought, thyroid meds reduce cortisol so you need more cortisol and low cortisol reduces estrogen so you need more cortisol. It also states on my thyroid meds that untreated adrenal insufficiency can worsen thyroid symptoms. There is no mention of this causing lowered estrogen.

    Before I started my thyroid meds my FSH LH and estrogen were check...they were OK. 3 months after starting thyroid meds my FSH LH showed I was meno and my estrogen was too low. My cycle came every 3 months. I stopped thyroid meds for 2 months, my cycle got better. Meno is the norm. in my family before the age of 45 (I'm 41) but meno symptoms are the same as many other hormone symptoms...some of which my brother also has. Adrenal insufficiency can affect they cycle and I wonder if this runs in my family and not early meno.

    I started taking black cohosh, today is only day 1. How much time until I start to notice (or not) if it works.

    So who had thyroid meds cause or worsen menopause?

    (I'm posting this one on the menopause, addison and thryoid boards)

    Robin

     
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    Old 03-16-2005, 09:21 AM   #2
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Hi Robin,
    I'm confused...if you have low growth hormone documented with an ITT, is your doctor planning on placing you on growth hormone? I don't see how you can possibly feel better without all of your lacking hormones replaced. Lack of growth hormone can make you feel absolutely horrible: fatigue, sore muscles and joints, depression...

    Everyone's dose of cortisol is different and some require more than others. But, in your case, when there is a clear problem that isn't yet addressed it seems your doctor should be putting that at the top of the list. Has he acknowledged it?

    How weird that going on and off thyroid is so dramatically affecting your estrogen levels. I wonder how that ties in, too.

    Basically, until everything that is missing is replaced, you probably wont feel your best. My husband is panhypopituitary and just started cortef. It has helped more than the other drugs but I also think that finally getting everything going will make it easier to tweak the dosing and maximize how he feels.

    Sadie

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 09:37 AM   #3
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Thanks for your reply. I've posted on 4 boards and you were the first to reply. I am so scared at this point. I'm going in circles. The doc does an ITT. She amazed at the results. She says that nobody should feel worse when taking armour...only better. Tells me to start taking armour and hydro. She wants me to see her and only her for several months. Then, I go back on my armour and start getting sick again...within 24 hours. 2 weeks later i visit the doc again. She says it's menopause and that hydro won't help no matter how much I take and sends me on my way...I assume she never want to see me again. I'm desperately trying to find out someone who has had worsening symptoms while taking thyroid meds that is caused by menopause and not (or almost not) cause by adrenals. I can't find the connection. I was told that armour raises estrogen not lowering it.
    And to make things worse..if in fact i do need hdyro, I don't have any...she didn't give me a script. The meno symptoms and adrenal insufficent symptoms are almost the same so I have no idea if there might be some truth to what she says. I though cort helps make estrogen and therefore low cort could cause low estrogen but I can't confirm this. It's also very possible that I am going into menopause but that doesn't explain why my armour is making me sick again. I should have asked the doc, how many women have been so sick they were rushed to the hospital because of menopause.

    Robin

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 09:43 AM   #4
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    And another thing in regards to GH. I was told that by raising thyroid and adrenal hormones via medication that my GH will probably improve automatically. What I would like to know is can low GH cause low estrogen. Would that mean high or low FSH and LH levels.

    Robin

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 10:39 AM   #5
    sadie-mae
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Oi!

    I just got back from my own incredibly frustrating doctor appointment. What are they thinking sometimes? This one told me that things happen in life, there are no answers and there are no effective treatments for anything elusive like I have anyway-not that she knew what is whas or cared to contemplate the possibilities. What a ****. I got so angry at her she didn't charge me for the appointment. Small graces.

    I am not sure what to make of your doctor's comments but I agree with you that generally women aren't hospitalized for menopause. (!!) While it is true that estrogen is a steroid hormone, it comes primarily from the ovaries which shouldn't be affected by your low cortisol levels. But, that said, there is alot of cross over...people with autoimmune addison's disease of the adrenals can also often have early menopause because of autoimmune destruction of the ovaries. But-I almost wonder if your issue isn't your adrenals directly causing the addison's, but your pituitary, since your growth hormone is also low.

    Regarding your reaction to armour...I don't know if this might contribute but if you are growth hormone deficient, you cannot effectively make T4 into active T3. Is there some chance that your T4 levels are normal but your T3 is low? If you kept taking more T4, I would think you wouldn't feel too good. Also, if you are trying to take armour without any cortef, you will definitely feel worse because increasing your thyroid function will lower your available cortisol and make you more addisonian.

    Alot of endocrinologists believe that treating the other hormone deficiencies ahead of growth hormone will raise it...and in some borderline cases that is true. It is NOT true, however, if you were as substantially abnormal as you say. And, you really need everything in the right doses to get things balanced out-one affects another like cascade. If you were shown to have low cortisol levels on the ITT and low GH, it would seem logical that you might have a problem with your pituitary.

    Most doctors, including endocrinologists just don't know much about the pituitary gland. It still shocks me silly to think that is true-but they are just so used to treating more common ailments, like diabetes and thyroid, that they don't have the experience or exposure to recognize big issues.

    I don't know what your insurance situation is but I would recommend getting online and doing a search for pituitary experts across the country. This is a rare enough problem that you may ned to consider traveling to find answers. The money spent up front will be far less than you might spend visitng countless less experienced doctors. Also-you need to be able to get help soon!! There are pituitary centers in several states that are highly regarded. Los Angeles, Portland, Nashville are three places to start. You might want to do a search for Cushing's disease and check the recommendations of those with Cushing's disease on the message boards you find--these people have really good recommendations of doctors. (I don't think you have Cushing's, they are just good patients to get resources from)

    My husband and I travel to see a doctor in Los Angeles. My husband had been to seven endocrinologists, even at teaching hospitals, before finally having someone run the right tests. The process was relatively quick once we went to the right kind of doctor. Our personal experiences involved searching with the words good and hormone and health. You need to say goodbye to this doctor and find someone who really knows their stuff when it comes to the pituitary. This is too devastating of a disease to just wait and hope a doctor will figure it out.

    Let me know if I can offer any other info...I want you to get the help you so desperately need.
    Sadie

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 10:59 AM   #6
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    My medical coverage is great here in Germany but useless in the states. I don't have addison's I have secondary adrenal insufficiency (pituitary cause...sorry maybe thats stating the obvious to you). i currently take armour which has t4 and t3. Before I took t4 only...results were the same. It's possible that I have menopause but that doesn't explain why my armour makes me sick..I can't find the connection. I'm trying really hard to do some research and find some answers but it seems half of the web sites say one thing and the other half say the opposite. My head is spinning and I can't stop crying.

    Robin

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 11:03 AM   #7
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robinhy
    She says that nobody should feel worse when taking armour...only better.
    Robin, I'm not sure this is helpful information, but I am someone who feels worse on Armour. You can read my thread over on the Thyroid board--"Having Trouble with Armour".

    Essentially, I felt great on Armour for the first 3-4 weeks, then a major crash with muscle/joint pain, depression, brain fog. Doctor decided to increase the dose because she checked my TSH and it was high. The week on the increased dose of Armour was pure hell. All of the above symptoms, only 10 times worse.

    After a week, I quit the Armour cold turkey and the next day I felt completely back to "normal". Thought maybe I should go back to the smaller dose of Armour, so I tried it again that night, and boom, all the symptoms were back in the morning.

    From what I've read, some people cannot tolerate the ratio of T4 to T3 in Armour--it's too much T3.

    I feel for you. I too am dealing with low cortisol (but low progesterone instead of estrogen). It's such a pain in the butt, isn't it?

    Hang in there.

    Christy

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 11:19 AM   #8
    sadie-mae
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Oh, Robin,
    I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you and hope I haven't. I forgot that you are in Germany-I remembered as soon as I read your post.

    So, you already know the issue is pituitary. Now you need to find another doctor to try again. You can't give up and the one you've got has outlived their usefulness.

    I spent much of my morning crying, too. I empathize with the hopelessness of not being able to find someone to aggressively do something to help. There just have to be pituitary experts (more than one, if you're already seeing one) that can help.

    I'm so sorry and I wish I could say more than that to help. I'm glad Christy answered you with personal experiences with Armour-that sounds like very validating information for you.

    Take care,
    Sadie

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 01:13 PM   #9
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Christy,

    For me I have the same problems with armour as I do with synthetic, t4 only. How about you? Since you're not taking
    armour what do you take?

    Robin

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 03:34 PM   #10
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robinhy
    For me I have the same problems with armour as I do with synthetic, t4 only. How about you? Since you're not taking armour what do you take?
    Ahhh, I'm sorry, I didn't understand this. I've been on meds for about 5 years, most of that time has been Levoxyl. That's what I went back to when I stopped taking the Armour.

    After this recent Armour mess, I decided (upon other people's advice on this and Thyroid board) to treat the adrenals first and worry about the thyroid second. So, I'm currently trying adrenal glandulars, and I've noticed some improvement. I just ordered some Isocort (not exactly sure how Isocort is different from glandulars except that Isocort is sheep adrenal, and I'm taking bovine adrenal, but I'm willing to give it a try.).

    If Isocort doesn't work, I'm going to push my doc or find a doc who is willing to try Cortef. After adrenals are better, then I may start messing around with Levoxyl/Cytomel or Synthroid/Cytomel, but I'm hoping that I may not even need to do anything. I'm thinking that if I get my adrenals under control that my thyroid stuff may balance out as well.

    Here's something I just found in Dr. Kenneth Blanchard's book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism:

    Part of the problem in distinguishing the two conditions [menopause and hypothyroidism] is that they are closely linked. As catalysts for metabolism, thyroid hormones affect all cells, including the production of progesterone and estrogen in ovarian tissue. In addition, estrogens can reduce the effect of thyroid hormone and lock it out from receptor sites on tissue cells. As a result, thyroid hormone fails to reach its metabolic destination. In addition, estrogen increases the level of ciculating carrier proteins, resulting in a shortage of free, active thyroid hormones.

    I'm not sure my point with this quote, but it seems to support what you've read about estrogen reducing thyroid? Sorry if I'm getting confused on this.

    Anyway, have you checked out Dr. Lee's book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause? I've read his What Your...PreMenopause, and I found the info very helpful.

    I'll keep the board posted on my adrenal glandulars/Isocort adventures. Maybe it will help someone in the future.

    Christy

    P.S. If the thyroid meds make you feel bad, what happens to your symptoms when you quit taking the thyroid? What happens to your TSH/T4/T3 levels?

    Last edited by ChristyE; 03-16-2005 at 03:37 PM.

     
    Old 03-16-2005, 10:35 PM   #11
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Christy,

    I went 2.5 months without thyroid, my TSH went up to 30 and my t4, I thin, was about 0.9. I also have low cort and even lower GH. I'm waiting to get my test info from the doc so I can post the info and get more feedback. Sadie's comments are interesting about GH. So I want to confirm exactly how low I really am.

    What about you, you're not taking any thyroids meds until your adrenals are better. How bad is you thyorid. Do you have hashimoto? How long have you been off of the thyroid meds. If I go off of mine again how long can I 'survive". How do you know when you adrenals are doing better if you're not taking thyroid meds? If I take adrenal support without thyroid meds will I still notice a difference? With Hydro I didn't feel anything except the first day I took 20 mgs. I was taking 10 mg for several weeks then I decided to try 20 mg. For 1 day I was on top of the world. Actually this happens sometimes. I feel like hell for weeks or months then out of the blue I have a good day...whats up with that.

    What are all of these different adrenal products you are talking about. Whats the dif between cortef, isocort, adrenal glandular, from sheep etc... Another health board I post on it was suggested that I try a synthetic adrenal hormone. It's stronger and probably more effective for me. Getting such drugs in the states without a script is much easier than here so I don't see how I can get this without a script. Therefore i want to know if changing my hydro from one brand to another might help. Or some other details about the things that you menitoned.

    The books you mentioned from Dr. Lee, I read these. I've tried to get my progesterone tested my latest doc sees not point and therefore won't test it. The passage you quoted from the book...I didn't understand it. Or maybe its giveing information that is the opposite of what I'm looking for. I've read that high estrogen can lower thyroid function but can thyroid medication lower estrogen function in the same way it can lower adrenal function.

    In regards to GH...can low GH cause non pituitary menopause. If low GH can prevent puberty could it also cause meno?

    Robin

     
    Old 03-17-2005, 06:12 AM   #12
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Robin,

    Good morning! I'm still on the Levoxyl. After the Armour, I went back to the Levoxyl. I don't know what would happen if I quit taking thyroid, but I don't think it's a good idea to find out. So, if your TSH went up to 30, then I would think going off thyroid meds isn't a good idea for you either.

    As far as knowing if the adrenal supplements are working, I'm looking for improvement in my hypoglycemia, depression and brain fog to feel like I am getting benefits from the glandulars. I am already seeing a big improvement in my hypoglycemia, but the depression and brain fog are still pretty bad.

    Cortef is natural cortisone, Isocort is sheep adrenals, and I'm currently taking bovine adrenals. I don't really know the difference between the Isocort and regular adrenal glandulars. I have read that Isocort contains 2.5 mg of natural cortisone per tablet, but I don't know if this is something that has been added or if it means that all glandulars inherently have some amount of natural cortisone in them. I'm not sure. Maybe someone can help clarify here?

    As far as a synthetic adrenal hormone, I've not heard of this. Maybe someone could also comment on this?

    Christy

     
    Old 03-17-2005, 06:51 AM   #13
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    P.S. I also meant to tell you that you can always get your progesterone tested on your own. This is what I did. I got all of my hormones and cortisol tested using an online saliva-testing laboratory (no doctor prescription necessary). It's fairly inexpensive and easy, and the lab I used has a very good reputation.

    Christy

     
    Old 03-19-2005, 08:04 AM   #14
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Just to add two cents here because I'm in the middle of a similar dillema....

    It is a FACT that if adrenals go unsupported, it can be very difficult to take thryoid hormone. Armour can be wonderful, but under the circumstance of weak adrenals its a blunt instrument. You just feel really beat up. I know...I'm on Armour.

    On good adrenals...Armour if you ask me, is the clear choice of thryoid replacement because it has so many properties that a pure t4 doesn't offer. The t3 in Armour, as Doc. Blanchard says can OUT pace the t4 over time, so its best to add in a synthetic "t4 kick stand." Those are my words...but a version of his theory.

    I took Isocort..but it hasn't done anything for me. Doc says perhpas its to weak for someone in my condition. I had blood drawn for cortisol to see what the results are. Not in yet.

    The whole sex hormone thing has its own intereseting factors. I'm just learning about those. It turns out that birth control pills are not a good choice for those on thryoid replacement. Here's why: The receptor sites get plugged up with the FAKE esrtogen making it impossible for the thryoid hormone to get in there and do its thing. This will leave you hypo...even though tests come back "normal." I've been to ten docs...NOT one ever mentioned this to me...and partly explains why I'm still in such bad shape.

    As Doc Blanchard...points out this is an issue to be noted.

    The last doc I went to took a test called SEX HORMONE BINDING GLOBULIN. Mine was off the charts...four times what it should be. It hangs up your androgens (testoterone) and even throid hormone. I was on birth contol pills....so....obviously I needed to kick those birth control pills to the curb right quick.

    Hypothyroidism...can deplete a lot of the other hormones...and that is why doctors should be checking all the rest to make sure you aren't losing them. You need them to feel good. Its that simple.

    My progesterone and estrogen levels are low...a few weeks after stopping the B.C pills. It will likely take a few cycles to clear the system for a recheck. So..we shall see.

    In the meantime....my DHEA (also turnes into estrogen and testoterone) was low too. So...without testosterone and DHEA its no wonder I'm still half dead. Those are your AGRESSIVE fighting hormones. You need those to feel like you can take on the world. Here I sit all vulnerable...running away from the slightest shadow. No wonder.

    I take melatonin at night to get to sleep. Too bad I'm wide awake by 3AM. That is likely the cortisol freaking out so early. I found some great melatonin at GNC that is sublingual and it tasts like cherry candies. I've heard that other brands can cause tummy irritation.

    Pregnenolone is generated from chloresterol. Its sold on over the internet and you can find it at your local health food store or vitamin store. It can help balance the rest of the hormones.

    No matter what I read....the adrenals are the place to start. Then everything else can be built on top of them.

    This all just so interesting. Isn't it?

    I have just picked up three books on the subect and they all basically say the same thing....and talk about how important these other factors are in a woman regaining her capacities.

    I hope this helps.

    ~S

    Last edited by softcrush; 03-19-2005 at 08:13 AM. Reason: spelling

     
    Old 03-19-2005, 02:32 PM   #15
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    Re: thyroid v. adrenals. v. menopause

    Great information, softcrush. I'm totally agreeing with you on the adrenals first advice. That's what I'm seeing out there in my reading, and that's what people here have advised. I think it makes a lot of sense.

    Christy

     
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