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  #1   ^
Old Mon, Mar-03-14, 07:43
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/161/150 Female 67
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Location: USA
Default A question for thyroid experts

Only... it's not exclusively about thryoid. My doctor did the usual test and I have stellar numbers, but I also got him doing a saliva cortisol test and I'm waiting for that to come back.

I know I have Adrenal Fatigue, and the more I research the whole HPA axis, the more I figure I have a longstanding problem which needs a systematic solution. But I am asking a question no one seems to have asked before:

Could my estrogen/progesterone HRT medication be masking my underlying adrenal problem?

I have a tough history: endometriosis put me on birth control pills for two decades. When I was forced off them, disaster: unpredictable heavy periods, pain, lost an ovary to uncontrollable cysts and fell into menopause. I didn't have any physical menopause symptoms, but plenty of mental ones: my sleep went down to 2 hours a night, and my memory and stress handling also suffered.

After a year of struggling to get to the end, which never came, I got on HRT and it was like magic... sleep & brain returned.

But what if it was Adrenal Fatigue all along, brought on by the stress of the operation and the torment? Could that be? If so, should I still be on HRT? Or should I address the AF without it, and taper off it since it might be getting in my way now?

My question is prompted by the insights I've been gleaning by how the adrenals and the thyroid interact, and how the adrenals are now my main source for sex hormones, as well. If I heal adrenals, will they get on the ball, which they obviously weren't during menopause? I don't want to be taking too much estrogen, especially since birth control pills seemed to keep estrogen dominance in check until they were taken away from me.

I'd appreciate any insights.
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  #2   ^
Old Mon, Mar-03-14, 08:25
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Plan: Paleo 99.5%
Stats: 210/170/160 Female 67.5"
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Location: San Diego, CA
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I have no idea. Sounds like you really need an adrenal expert. :\
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  #3   ^
Old Mon, Mar-03-14, 14:14
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/161/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 84%
Location: USA
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Cripes! That's just it. I'm asking questions that no one on the Internet has asked before.
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  #4   ^
Old Mon, Apr-07-14, 05:26
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Neanderpam Neanderpam is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic now
Stats: 277/121/125 Female 61 inches
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Well, birth control pills don't HAVE 'estradiol' in them (that's what your body has), and they have a test tube made synthetic hormone called 'progeSTINS' in them. And synthetically made hormones...can really hit the adrenals HARD.

This is why, in menopause, OR...even post, you need the same hormones that are in your body. They are calle bio identical hormones. (you probably know this).

So, oral progesterone is called 'prometrium' and 'estrogen' is estradiol as the main estrogen (and lots of docs will try and put estriol with it, as 'bi-est' but not necessary).

AND most of us use trandermal bio identical hormones...rubbed on the skin, or used vaginally..or ANY OTHER WAY but oral...and birth control pills ..um..are oral..meaning they are going EVERYWHERE and 'upsetting' things like adrenals, and other endocrine activity.

You are NOT asking questions that haven't been asked ... you're just asking them of physicians who love synthetics cuz they have a patent..and the bio identicals..well, they are made out of plants...and do not have a patent. Like thyroid (lots of doctors will call any test anywhere in the range 'just fine and dandy!!' and if you have numbers and labs WereBear, I'd be happy to see them via PM...those would be the Free T4 and Free T3 and Reverse T3 labs, not a TSH...cuz that's not really useful).

Also..do you have your chart from your 4x in one day salivary test? For cortisol/adrenals? (I didn't catch your post till now...I've been busy with a book edit)

YES, any incoming hormone (especially a synthetic faker) 'binds' the thyroid hormones (that's why you have Free T's done for thyroid hormone tests, NOT Total T's...Free's show what's 'usable and unbound' while a T4/T3 doesn't show it, shows what's running around...but not usable, so T's on their own can 'look ok' but when you do 'free T's' you'll see the difference).

It's also why you do a 4x in one day cortisol test (after being off the synthetic birth control, btw,and no coffee, no stress that day...or as little as possible) to show adrenals fatigue. As a thyroid patient advocate I saw women put on birth control pills to keep them on a 'patented' Rx. instead of doc sending them to a bio identical HRT doc...and I've seen many get OFF the synthetic and onto the bioidentical and their adrenals evened out.

Last edited by Neanderpam : Mon, Apr-07-14 at 05:31.
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  #5   ^
Old Mon, Apr-07-14, 07:18
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/161/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 84%
Location: USA
Default

Thanks, Neanderpam! Is that your book you are editing?

In the intervening time from my original inquiry, I did more research, and while I still apparently never got the right question to ask a search engine, I did glean enough info to conclude some of the things you outline in your reply.

This was very helpful. Makes me feel vindicated with my decision to drop the HRT and supplement with pregnenolone, a precursor hormone-building-block. Then it is my own body making the hormones.

I looked into bio-identicals, but the only local doctor who even offers them is disparaging about it, and I fired his uncooperative behind over a year ago. I can go over three hours in any direction for more choice, but they are all practitioners who are not covered by my insurance. Dr. PITA can refer me to the compounding lab, but I still can't afford them as my insurance does not cover such.

I did get some mail-order creams in a desperate attempt when I had to cut back on my dosage of Premarin (the time between firing Dr One and actually seeing Dr Two got stretched out) but they did not help very much. This simply might be that they were the wrong kinds; the experience did not encourage me, but I was unknowingly dealing with Adrenal Fatigue at that point, too.

So, I'm now a month into swapping pregnenolone for the HRT. Improvements across the board. On the menopause front, that awful feeling that drove me to the creams, the sense that I would gladly rip my own brain from my cranium to stop the cellular-screaming-feeling... that has not returned. My sleep is at its best in years. My stress handling is back to normal. I was doing pretty good until a highly stressful week arrived, involving a health crisis with a beloved cat and extra work from my day job, but my husband was able to help out which is a welcome sign his health issues are getting better, too.

I will get a copy of my saliva cortisol, but I hadn't been off my adrenal herbs for the required two weeks (ignorance on the part of me, the lab, and my doctor) so I don't know how useful they might be to anyone. I love my doctor, but neither of us knew more than what the lab said on the printout at the time.

Now, I've used the stopthethyroidmadness.com site to know that my cortisol results aren't in the normal range at all. I remember my 8 AM one is in the bottom fourth, when it should be top of the range. So I'm going to go back for a checkup and further pursuit of the thyroid tests (at least my GP smiles and does what I ask) at my next appointment.

Since my body is responding to my efforts, a diagnosis is not so critical to me. It's not like Adrenal Fatigue is recognized by the medical profession; I'm sure there's no magic insurance number for it. But I can direct treatment, at a price I can handle, on my own.

I do recognize there might be more wrong, which is how I'm still pursuing it through channels that are covered.

As I'm sure you know, being completely exhausted and trying to keep my day job means all other quests get spaced out as I can handle them. Which is why driving six hours in a day, in my present condition, is simply out of the question. I could get a friend to help if I could nail down a compelling reason, and a suitable practitioner, and the financial wherewithal to give it a try.

I haven't reached that point.

Last edited by WereBear : Mon, Apr-07-14 at 07:36.
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  #6   ^
Old Mon, Apr-07-14, 15:15
Neanderpam's Avatar
Neanderpam Neanderpam is offline
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Posts: 1,388
 
Plan: Ketogenic now
Stats: 277/121/125 Female 61 inches
BF:
Progress: 103%
Location: NE Indiana
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Oh, well, you DID make some darn good progress!! Yeeha. I still do want to see your FT's (and like this: FT4: 2.24 (range: 2.20-3.45) cuz every range is different at each lab most the time.

Your thyroid can be CAUSING a lot of this adrenal sludge too...if you'd want to pm me your whereabouts and how far you could 'drive one way' I'd sure be willing to get out my big book of 'Where the best thyroid/adrenal practitioners are' for you...you never know.

I JUST got a letter from a foreign country (omy...me and Santa..just said my 'moniker' when I was on boards and doing advocation, and my city and state, haha...still got here!!) and as soon as I saw her whereabouts, I was able to get her to a DO (just a regular osteopathic doctor, and wonder of wonders..he was FOUR BLOCKS from her, lol).

Miracles DO happen...and many of us who had adrenal fatigue (yep,the kind that regular endo's docs don't know jack about)..just like myself..turned it around because it was resulting from poor thyroid hormone output.

I got the 'TSH TSH TSH' over and over again, until finally...I found a doctor who was GREAT at thyroid (he IS an endo...where most are diabetes doctors at best, this one endo does ONLY THYROID and BHRT...what a find!).

Over the course of a few MONTHS after searching for YEARS...I finally had a doc who did the Free T's and really was proactive for the patient. He's not the only one!

Pregnenalone did NOTHING for me...except bloat me up like the Blueberry Girl in Willy Wonka...oh my! But I might have been too 'far gone' for it..I've not EVER seen it 'make hormones' ..for anyone who was post meno...I've seen it raise adrenal function though as a supporting cast member.

Many are doing pelletized hormones now, and there are a huge number of doctor and clinics doing that...so if I can help, please feel free to PM me and tell me where you 'are' and would help if you put several towns, cities..big and small, around you...as I've not been 'everywhere' um, yet.

Yes, my book...I'm in the final lap now...and I know people will be disappointed that it's NOT about thyroid..but so MUCH good info at STTM...why rehash it and take away from their competency?! It IS about my life...and about autoimmune conditions, and of course, thyroid and how that affects generations of people in familial settings who have those things. (hmm..that's clear as mud, isn't it...it's not a pretty story and I don't want to 'tip anyone in it' off to the coming out of the book.)
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  #7   ^
Old Mon, Apr-07-14, 15:17
Neanderpam's Avatar
Neanderpam Neanderpam is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic now
Stats: 277/121/125 Female 61 inches
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Progress: 103%
Location: NE Indiana
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This site and it's 'charts' helped me sort out which symptom might be thyroid and which adrenal:

http://www.drrind.com/therapies/metabolic-scorecard
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  #8   ^
Old Mon, Apr-07-14, 19:33
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/161/150 Female 67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neanderpam
This site and it's 'charts' helped me sort out which symptom might be thyroid and which adrenal:

http://www.drrind.com/therapies/metabolic-scorecard


That was fascinating and shows I should have spent more time exploring Dr. Rind's site! I have far more adrenal symptoms than thyroid, for instance, this is ME:

Quote:
Intuition is an interesting quality of early life adrenal fatigue. The later in life the development of adrenal fatigue, the less likely one is to spontaneously develop intuitive ability. People that develop adrenal fatigue early in life are often described as empaths and will tell their friends (but not their doctor) about their ability to pick up feelings. They often suffer because of their high sensitivity and are always looking for new ways to ‘ground’ themselves. This problem often clears by simply supporting the adrenals and getting them to function well again. Poor adrenal function is not essential for intuitive development. Strengthening the adrenals does not weaken the intuition once it is there. Individuals that develop adrenal fatigue later in life (because of high stress, virus etc.) tend not to claim this intuitive ability. Spiritual orientation is more common in those with early adrenal fatigue. It is less common in those with later onset of adrenal fatigue and those with strong, healthy adrenals. There seems to be a personality difference (archetype) between those with strong adrenals and those with weak adrenals.


Of course, the wrinkled fingertips since my teens, the over-reactiveness... I ask my husband to turn down the television and he can barely hear it... it's very valuable to see things laid out in this way. Thanks!
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  #9   ^
Old Mon, Apr-07-14, 19:45
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
Posts: 10,519
 
Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/161/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 84%
Location: USA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neanderpam
Pregnenalone did NOTHING for me...except bloat me up like the Blueberry Girl in Willy Wonka...oh my! But I might have been too 'far gone' for it..I've not EVER seen it 'make hormones' ..for anyone who was post meno...I've seen it raise adrenal function though as a supporting cast member.


Guess I'm glad I didn't know that going in Because I immediately felt better when I took it. I was nervous because I'd tried to wean off the HRT with terrible consequences, and I'm a month in and have not seen it yet. But I felt that since the only side effects I'd run into was "too much hormone" and it seemed to be people who'd gone hog wild with the DHEA, or were already on HRT, that I had to drop all other hormone sources.

I've also responded well to licorice, which seems to be THE adrenal support hormone from what I've read.
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  #10   ^
Old Mon, Apr-07-14, 20:16
FREE2BEME FREE2BEME is online now
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Plan: Atkins & IF
Stats: 258/213.4/150 Female 65 inches
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Wow! Really relate to the intuition info you posted, WereBear! Thanks for posting! Lots of ongoing childhood trauma probably wrecked my adrenals. In college, we had to take several personality evaluations for our application to be admitted into the teaching program. The dean of Ed. had a meeting with me, during which she told me that I scored a 10 out of 10 on the empathy scale....and scored 2 out of 10 for my ability to hide it!! Lol. She told me "those kids will eat you alive". Changed my major soon thereafter. 😉

Anyway, I'm on a pretty high dose of Armour Thyroid, but still have lingering symptoms and wonder if I need to explore the AF aspect.
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  #11   ^
Old Tue, Apr-08-14, 03:54
Neanderpam's Avatar
Neanderpam Neanderpam is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic now
Stats: 277/121/125 Female 61 inches
BF:
Progress: 103%
Location: NE Indiana
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Most people with AF can't 'tolerate' much of a dose of Armour (or any other dessicated thyroid). Have you all also checked your ferritin labs? Low ferritin (storage iron, and can be low when hemoglobin is high) will also cause the same affect as AF.
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  #12   ^
Old Tue, Apr-08-14, 06:23
FREE2BEME FREE2BEME is online now
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Plan: Atkins & IF
Stats: 258/213.4/150 Female 65 inches
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Progress: 41%
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Thanks, Pam. It was super low in a crazy, weird way during the last trimester of each pregnancy. It went undetected in America, but I had my third (last?) child in Japan,where they love tests. But my results a month after delivery were really high. Wonder if it fluctuates? I'm still nursing 2xs a day, maybe it's just girl hormones causing symptoms...or lack of sleep. I'll be thinking on it. Thank you!
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  #13   ^
Old Tue, Apr-08-14, 08:38
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LorelaiS LorelaiS is offline
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Plan: Atkins
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Don't thyroid conditions cause the adrenals to malfunction? I know that you need to have them at a certain working order for Armour or other NDT to not cause problems but also, can't having thyroid issues cause you to also have symptoms of AF that may resolve some with proper treatment?

I'm still learning all this thyroid and adrenal stuff. I have exactly half the symptoms of AF and half of the thyroid ones on that scorecard. Normal labs of course.
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  #14   ^
Old Tue, Apr-08-14, 08:56
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/161/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 84%
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LorelaiS
Don't thyroid conditions cause the adrenals to malfunction?


You are right. I had no idea how inter-connected everything was until I started researching; like how menopause can create adrenal stress. Might be connected with how women have more thyroid issues... or at least, they seem to.

Because men in our culture have this "duct tape the limb back on, I don't have time for this!" attitude.
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  #15   ^
Old Tue, Apr-08-14, 09:07
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LorelaiS LorelaiS is offline
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Plan: Atkins
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I have this theory that there is something missing from our modern behavior that prevents us from getting proper completion of adrenal outputs. High levels of stress now a days making us feel like we are being stalked by the lion but not being able to run away or hide and feel safe keep our adrenals from completing the transaction so we never get to finish.

This keeps our adrenals feeling like we are always in fight or flight and never safe and leads to the fatigue.

Does this make any sense? My brain fog prevents me from being able to articulate my thoughts as well as I'd like.
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