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07/04/2010 05:24 PM

HYPOTHYROID OR LOW CORTISOL SYMPTOMS?

cpileggi
Posts: 40
Member

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to ask anyone if they could help me with knowing the difference of symptoms of hypothyroid and low cortisol symptoms because I do have thyroid problems but now i have found out from a saliva test that my cortisol levels are low and now I'm not sure if the symptoms i'm feeling are that or thyroid? I've noticed I can't handle stress very well, at times I can't move and my arms feel like dead weights, no energy., but these can be hypothyroid symptoms too. Boy, this can get very tricky. Now can your hair start thinning out also with low cortisol?

Also, can you correct this by taking cortisol for 5 wks and then try and wean off to give your adrenals a rest or is this forever and taking cortisol?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm new to this and it seems like alot to deal with, I already have to deal with my thyroid.

Appreciate any info.

Thanks,

Chris

Reply

07/04/2010 08:05 PM
bob3bob3
bob3bob3Posts: 4213
Senior Member

Hey Chris

Dont be sorry! The usual caveats about opinion...

There are a lot of interdependencies thyroid vs adrenal. As a general rule of thumb if you are cortisol low you also become hypothyroid. You can see that this will also mix the symptoms up! One site I found with a good symptom comparison is;

http://www.drrind.com/therapies/metabolic-symptoms-matrix

I should point out that if you are being treated as hypothyroid and then start treating for the low cortisol, you'll go hyperthyroid! And you thought medicine was fun!

The "fixing" of a hypoadrenal condition by ramped dosing generally only works if the initial reason for it was steroid (overuse) induced. (like joint pain Dex injections) The pituitary is a command and control system in this respect and swamping it with external steroids kind of makes it lose calibration. ie it thinks a lower level is okay. This treatment is usually 3-6 months of hell! You only take enough replacement to live in a constant fatigued state to try to "wake up" the pituitary. It isn't always successful either. Of the highly active 20 or so members on this group only one has recovered this way. I should point out though that most of us have shock, growths and surgical induced problems.

You can also get three different (or mixed) reasons for low cortisol. The problem can either be the pituitary, adrenal or hypothalamus glands. (in order of most to least likely)

Have you had a pit MRI?

Ask anyone anything. We don't have boundaries here. Any question is fair.. There is also unconditional empathetic (if you need it) support.

Cheers Bob (Australia)


07/05/2010 07:39 AM
cpileggi
Posts: 40
Member

Yes I have had a pit mri, which showed negative for tumor although one Dr that viewed it thought it looked alittle enlarged but that was it. I had my adrenals checked and nothing showed. I had very high cortisol levels a few years ago and the Dr. checked to see if it was tumor related and then she didn't find anything so, she told me to go to a neurologist and they didn't think I had MS (MRI showed white matter)but it wasn't ruled out because they said I could develop symtoms later. I do have Hashi's and I'm finding out that this autoimmune disease can affect all organs, so I have a feeling that is what it is but not 100%. I've had alot of tests over the years. Also i know is that the saliva test showed low cortisol but not bad in the am and evening. I'm not flat lined, i'm in the low end of the range.

I was told to start 25mg of HC in a 10-7.5-5-2.5mg a day to start. My temps are alittle unstable and I'm feeling hypo bbut I need to address my cortisol first before I increase my thyroid meds, don't want to become hyper.

Thanks

Christie


07/05/2010 07:59 AM
ITeach91
ITeach91  
Posts: 1872
VIP Member

Hi Christie,

Definitely I've heard from others that Hashimoto can cause both adrenal insufficiency and thyroid problems - the glands get attacked by the autoimmune. If this is the problem, chances of the glands recovering aren't as good as if it had been caused by steroid use...but I don't know a lot about this.

Bob is totally right about the fact that many who start on the adrenal hormones then get thyroid complications. It's all a complex interaction. Sometimes people who start on thyroid meds will later find they are adrenal insufficient as well.

Your doctor should be checking thyroid levels to make sure you don't go hyper - thyroid levels change very slowly, so usually that check is a three month thing to see a difference.

Deb


07/05/2010 10:40 AM
crz49
crz49  
Posts: 1141
Senior Member

Hi Chris!

I can only tell you what I know from personal experience.

At 2wks of age my thymus, the gland that provides antibodies, was destroyed chemically because it was blocking my esophagus. From then I had infection after infection, fevers of 103+. I remember as a child not being able to play w/the kids..I was always too tired. I was labeled 'anti-social'. I was anemic at 6, treated, and still exhibited the symptoms. As a teen, along w/the fatigue and brain fog [which was labeled 'laziness'] I presented with leg and flank pain. "Growing pains', said the docs.

The symptoms persisted. In 1971 I had 90% of my thyroid removed for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. This left me hypothyroid. At that time, the fatigue was the same; did not get worse. However, it was then that I began to steadily gain weight. I never ate large amts of food, and RARELY ate junk food. I was quite active as a mother of 2 young sons. I was ACTIVE, but I pushed myself every inch of the way. My weight went from 111lbs to 235 in a 5'6" average-build frame. "Laziness", "Eat too much", "Not enough exercise". It wasn't until age 61 that a wonderful doc, after treating me for hypothyroidism for 7 years, thought to herself out loud [and I was there when she said the 'hmmm'] "Hmmmm. I wonder if you have low cortisol". 1- STIM test and 1week later, I was dx'd. I was AI my ENTIRE LIFE!

Not much help abt the hypothyroidism, but I CAN tell you, you WILL GAIN WEIGHT!

I hope someone here will be able to help you.

WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!!!!! You'll LOVE it here!

CorriCool

Post edited by: crz49, at: 07/05/2010 10:44 AM


07/05/2010 01:58 PM
cpileggi
Posts: 40
Member

Well I haven't gained weight yet, probably because my cortisol levels were so high for so long, probably years, and now they are decreased and along with hypothyroid...well I can see how that happens. I do take thyroid meds but I am not at my optimum level yet and I still have symptoms. So many symptoms of adrenal and thyroid are very close, this is a hard situation to manage. Hashi's is difficult because one minute you can be hypo and them BAM you are hyper. Some Dr say to forget the lab work when it comes to Hashi's, just go by your symptoms on dosing your thyroid meds.

I've had Hashi's for along time, Dx at 2003 but wasn't treated until years later because my labs Tsh, etc..were all normal

and now the adrenals (the curve ball). I guess what doesn't kill us makes us stronger so they say.

Is anyone here taking HC and weaned off or was unable to wean off. Is it true that once you start it's hard to go back?

Christie

Christie


07/05/2010 03:05 PM
bob3bob3
bob3bob3Posts: 4213
Senior Member

Hi Christie

Basically once you start HC you'll find that the more you take the better you'll feel. That makes it real difficult to succeed holding yourself at the low level needed for "recovery". Taking HC to the required body level will actually suppress natural production entirely. I didn't go the weaning process as such. Mine appears hereditary.

I'd disagree about the not killing us/stronger thing with adrenal system. You basically wear out quicker when left untreated!

Bob


07/05/2010 04:55 PM
cpileggi
Posts: 40
Member

Well I just need to start my HC, I'm alittle scared because it will directly affect my thyroid meds so I have to get that balance which will take time and that I don't have much of but I have no choice but to make time and learn how to say NO to everyone else.

Thanks

Christie


07/05/2010 05:09 PM
crz49
crz49  
Posts: 1141
Senior Member

As soon as I started the HC, as Bob mentioned....I, as in most folks went hyper-.

I had a doc that forgot the labs and treated the symptoms,but that was YEARS ago. I felt extremely well; then he died.

MY great fear is going from hyper- to hypo....after living in hell for over 60 years, I'd like to live the remaining years feeling like what I now believe a human being feels.

I'm currently on 112mcg synthroid; my tsh shows me to be hyper-. The endo wants to lower me to 100mcg...I talked her into waiting 6wks longer to see if I level. BECAUSE levels switch so quickly, and I fear going hypo- I don't want to jump down too soon.

Bob...

What is the likelihood, once a person maintains a level of cortisol to function, that said person who is now hyper- 'goes' hypo?

[I wonder of whom I speakWink ]

CorriCool


07/05/2010 05:41 PM
cpileggi
Posts: 40
Member

I stopped synthroid because it didn't work for me it turned to reverse T3 instead of t3, so now I only take t3 not t4 (synthroid) and it works for me it's just that I decreased my dose until I start my cortisol, get my temps stable and then I will increase my t3 back up. I'm now at 65mcg but I was at 100mcgs and increasing until I found out about the adrenals and I'm not getting the t3 in my cells because of the low cortisol...see it was explained to me that if your cortisol is low, iron, aldosterone, salt, then the thyroid med doesn't get into the cells to work and it just pools inthe bloodbuilding up and you remain hypo. This is how it was explained to me so I need to get my cortisol up in the blood. There is so much to know when it comes to the endocrine system, and hard to find a real doctor that knows how to manage all systems to get them to work right. It is truly an art.
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