It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....

Addison's Disease Message Board

How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-16-2006, 05:17 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 159
also2tired HB User
How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

It is hard to find much information about adrenal exhaustion, but I have read a couple of things on the net about different stages of it. It says that in stage II, you overreact to everything and the cortisol levels are high. In stage III, the cortisol levels are low and the adrenals are exhausted and cannot keep up with the body's demands. It mentions an inability to handle stress, but how would that differ in one's reactions to stress from stage II? I feel like I overreact to the smallest thing, and I have a hard time calming down even after everything is ok. Sometimes I start shaking in response to stress. However, I also notice that I USED to feel better in the evening (like I got a second wind or something), but now I am just exhausted 24 hours a day! I cannot tolerate ANY exercise at all, and if I skip a meal I am so shaky, moody, and even dizzy that I had better get something to eat! Is my reactions to stress typical of stage III, although it also sounds like stage II? The rest of my symptoms sound like stage III to me. In addition, I have bad muscle and joint aches, low blood pressure, cold hands and feet, and twitching.

Sponsors Lightbulb
Old 01-24-2006, 12:52 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 57
alliepat HB User
Re: How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

I can't wait for someone with knowledge of this to respond, cause I sound alot like you.


Old 01-28-2006, 08:13 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 467
Keraly HB User
Re: How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

Dear friends,

I think the reason you may not have gotten answers on this board is that people tend to separate Adrenal insufficiency or Addison's or secondary Addison's from adrenal exhaustion. There are even those who argue about whether adrenal exhaustion (usually putting forth the idea that adrenal glands can be temporarily exhausted but then recoop and get better) is disputed by many. There are doubtless many who think this is a phenomenon that occurs, but there are also probably MORE who believe that these signs and symptoms are merely what occurs prior to complete adrenal failure. So many are afraid or reluctant to speak about your topic "adrenal exhaustion". I know, because I was trying to figure out whether you could have temporary exhaustion and recover or not, too, for my son's sake. He shows the early signs, as you two do, but is not tan, nauseaed or experiencing an actual adrenal CRISIS. What blood or urine tests, if any, have you had? You mention wanting to know the stages, but it seems that no matter what stage, the diagnosis would be very helpful to you. Have you had a morning cortisol draw done (blood)? Or a 24 hr. urine cortisol (which some doctors do)? Have you had an ACTH stim test? Have you ever had a thyroid panel done, taken your temps in the morning, had blood tests of your potassium, sodium, renin, aldosterone, ACTH in plasma, MRI of pituitary or adrenal glands? These with some other tests might be advisable. Some of the feelings you describe suggest hypoglycemia (which is common with adrenal malfunction, as well) and/or diabetes (probably hypo.). All of your symptoms are VERY indicative of low cortisol, no matter what stage of adrenal or pituitary weakening. I think the tests would help you more than identifying the stage of adrenal functioning you are in, if I may say so. ~ Tracy

Old 02-13-2006, 11:48 AM   #4
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 526
Divermon HB User
Re: How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

Well then, that explains why there is less on adrenal exhaustion on this board than I was hoping for - and that makes sense, I think. Let's identify this disorder, for purposes of this post, as secondary hypoadrenia, in which full recovery is possible. Because adrenal exhaustion is a fairly common secondary condition to hypothyroidism, you will find some information, though limited, on that board.

Ok, I'm not the most knowledgeable, but I'll attempt to explain a little more, on top of Tracy's post, if that's ok.

In adrenal exhaustion, typically, the adrenals have been working over-time for years due to chronic stress - stress, meaning mental/emotional, allergies, illness, surgery, etc.... not just mental/emotional. The adrenals can only do this for so long, before they get exhausted. There is also some evidence that they can sort of get stuck in a hypo state from this exhaustion. Generally (I think) it is possible to recover from this exhaustive state, over the course of several months to a few years, give the right environment, nutrition, stress reduction, illness and allergy reduction, etc.

Because adrenal exhaustion is not full-blown adrenal failure, the testing needs to be more sensitive. A single blood test, or a 24 hour urine collection is not suitable to diagnose adrenal exhaustion. The best method for this is the 4 collection saliva test, taken over the course of one day, at morning, noon, evening and midnight. This will show how your cortisol output compares to what is normal for that time of the day. The blood or urine test above, will only average the day out. It is common with this disorder, to have normal output in the morning and midnight, for example, and low output during the day.

I would first, however, have some of the other tests Tracy mentions, to rule out other causes. The ACTH stimulation test, for example. Most of these tests are not uncomfortable, and are easy to have done.

I would also suggest having your thyroid hormones testes. Generally only TSH is tested. This is a useful screening test, but inadequate if you do have hypothyroidism. If so, you will need free T3 and free T4 (not the same as total T3 and total T4), and also TPO and TG antibodies (but this isn't the thyroid forum is it?).

How that helps .... my apologies in advance, on my lack of full adrenal knowledge.
My opinions only, not medical advice. Always follow advice of your Doctor, not what I say here.

Old 04-02-2006, 07:23 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: England
Posts: 3
anyahalmane HB User

No Adrenal Glands.

I read your message and picked up on adrenal exhaustion! I can't really answer regards to your symptoms but would like to tell you that I had my adrenal glands removed 23 years ago. I lead a perfectly normal life on Hydrocortisone and Fludrocortison. I also went on to have 3 more children. I travel a lot and dive. If you would like to get back to me for any further info on my oersonal experience I would be happy to hear from you


Last edited by anyahalmane; 04-02-2006 at 07:33 AM. Reason: wrong title

Old 04-13-2006, 07:32 AM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: England
Posts: 3
anyahalmane HB User
Re: How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

I have no adrenal glands. Removed several years ago. Has anyone else out there had same operation??

Old 04-13-2006, 09:17 AM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 342
WandaB HB User
Re: How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

I know 5 women who have had their adrenals removed because of Cushings. We meet for lunch every few months in the Portland, Oregon area.


Old 04-19-2006, 02:38 PM   #8
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Jacksonville, Fl. USA
Posts: 1
jksmac HB User
Re: How do phase II and phase III differ in adrenal exhaustion?

Hi, I'm new here. I have Adrenal exhaustion (I think). My blood pressure is always low-like 75/54 for example. I cannot stay awake. I've fallen asleep while talking on the phone I am on 4-5 cortef a day and florinef yet this goes on and on. I have had chronic pelvic pain for 24 yrs. (beginning after a c-section) and last year was stressful in almost everyway. I am hypothyroid but after beginning the right med., got better right away. Now, I am having memory blackouts and my bowels have almost come to a screeching halt. This has been going on for months now and I am getting nervous. Help out there, anyone? Thanks.

Last edited by jksmac; 04-19-2006 at 02:41 PM.

Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Adrenal Fatigue/Exhaustion: Symptoms, can we recover? Help! mmee Addison's Disease 3 03-11-2008 10:26 AM
Got my adrenal me out here! SadFreek Addison's Disease 4 02-21-2006 09:43 AM
Does anyone know about Adrenal Exhaustion? jennymar Panic Disorders 1 11-25-2005 09:39 AM
How do I know how far along my adrenal insufficiency is? GettingWellAgain Addison's Disease 15 11-18-2005 06:11 PM
Adrenal fatigue people... got a few questions SadFreek Thyroid Disorders 10 09-29-2005 06:53 PM
Adrenal and Thyroid Problems mbcs Thyroid Disorders 22 09-14-2005 02:42 PM
Is this Adrenal Exhaustion? mletters Addison's Disease 6 03-10-2005 06:22 PM
Need help please. Is this Adrenal Exhaustion? mletters Thyroid Disorders 3 01-23-2005 01:06 PM
Subclinical Adrenal Fatigue Concerned Male Addison's Disease 3 10-22-2004 03:30 PM

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:55 AM.

Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
© 1998-2018 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!