Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hydrocotisone for my Adrenals

I went to the doctor on Thursday, and since I was not feeling much better, he prescribed hydrocortisone (from now on I will refer to this as "HC"). I am so excited it isn't even funny. Most doctors are afraid to prescribe it, because at high doses, it can be dangerous. At this low level though, it is really just replacing the cortisol that my adrenals are/should be making.
Taking HC is supposed to take over for the adrenals for a while, and give them a break, allowing them to heal. I don't fully understand it. If a person takes too much thyroid replacement, the thyroid will work less, and may even shrink, but replacing the cortisol, allows your adrenals to heal. It is important not to take too much though, and not to take it for too long, or your adrenals may shut down..... I think..

Anyway, I am just ready to feel good again.

He prescribed 10mg, taking 5 mg in the morning and 2.5 at noon and in the afternoon. I have been working my way up though, just in case of a thyroid dump. (If your body can't utilize the thyroid hormones in your system, the cortisol can jump start it, and you might end up with too much thyroid hormones working at once.) I am up to 7.5mg right now, and will probably end up around 20mg. Most people at seem to have the best luck around 20mg.
I will just do what my body tells me. (Letting my doctor know what I am doing.) He did say it might need to get raised, but I am not going to wait 6 weeks for that to happen. I have done enough waiting. (Sorry doc. ;) )

Since starting the HC on Saturday, I have been mostly tired, but I do feel just a tad bit more aware than I did. I think the HC is making me tired, but once I get an optimum dose, that should fix itself.

I am keeping track of my temp too. I am trying to follow this...

If my temps get stable from day to day, then it means that my cortisol/adrenals are optimized, and getting my temps higher means my thyroid is optimized. So the goal is higher more stable temps. Well, actually the goal is to feel better. :P

Saturday, January 13, 2007


At my last appointment with the doctor, he prescribed some T3 to go along with my Armour. When I went to fill it, my insurance wasn't going to cover it, and I didn't want to pay $53 a month when I could just raise my Armour dose. Armour is about 20% T3, 80% T4, and since my T4 was so low, that could only get better. He did say if my I started feeling hypo to call him.

I was doing ok, but after about a week, my heart was pounding a lot at night, and my insomnia was getting worse. I pretty much expected it, because from everything I have read, my body just can't handle that much energy while my adrenals are like they are. They just can't handle normal amounts of energy. So I lowered my dose back down, and I am sleeping better again.
I didn't call my doctor though. I will just tell him about it at the appointment.

I don't really feel any different after starting the supplements.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


My major symptoms: (They are worse some times then other times, but always present.)

Fatigue - This is my worst and most prominent symptom. I rarely feel totally awake, and never wake up refreshed. I don't remember what it was like to wake up feeling refreshed.

Mild Depression - I am not sad, but I have low ambition, and often feel "blah".

Low Libido

Hard to lose weight

Brain Fog - I rarely, if ever, feel clear minded.

Hard to concentrate

Poor memory

Hard to wake up - I have a very hard time waking up in the mornings.... even if I have gotten 8-9 hours sleep.

Insomnia - I also often have a hard time getting to sleep at night. I feel sleepy around 8-9pm, and if I don't go to bed then, sometimes I don't get to sleep until 1-2am.

Cold - I usually feel cold when others are warm. I do also get hot sometimes when I shouldn't.

Low body temp - I am usually around 97*F

Menstrual cycles are "off" - I recently went 4 months between cycles.

I have other symptoms too...

Here is a small list of hypothyroid symptoms found here (there are more, this is just a basic list.)

I will put a * by the ones I have

*feeling run down and sluggish
*difficulty concentrating
*brain fog
*unexplained or excessive weight gain (more of a problem losing... and will gain easily if I am not very careful)
*dry, coarse and/or itchy skin
*dry, coarse and/or thinning hair
*feeling cold, especially in the extremities
muscle cramps
*increased menstrual flow
more frequent periods

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue: found here

I will put a * by the ones I have.

*Morning fatigue -- You don't really seem to "wake up" until 10 a.m., even if you've been awake since 7 a.m.
*Afternoon "low" (feelings of sleepiness or clouded thinking) from 2 to 4 p.m.
*Burst of energy at 6 p.m. -- You finally feel better from your afternoon lull. (sometimes)
*Sleepiness at 9 to 10 p.m. -- However, you resist going to sleep.
*"Second wind" at 11 p.m. that lasts until about 1 a.m., when you finally go to sleep.
*Cravings for foods high in salt and fat
Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
*Mild depression
*Lack of energy
*Decreased ability to handle stress (physical stress for me)
Muscular weakness
*Increased allergies (I think)
Lightheadedness when getting up from a sitting or laying down position
*Decreased sex drive
*Frequent sighing
Inability to handle foods high in potassium or carbohydrates unless they're combined with fats and protein

Monday, January 1, 2007

I think I finally found a good doctor!

I found him at

He is a holistic M.D. He doesn't do thing exactly the way that I would. Mostly just does things at a slower pace, but it is all headed in the right direction, and I have a lot of HOPE!!!

I saw him for the first time two months ago. I told him about my past experience, and told him that I had raised my Armour dose on my own. He said that was probably the right thing to do, and raised it even more. Most doctors would probably have lowered my dose.
Anyway, I went home with two home tests (stool and saliva). The stool was to check my system for any possible viruses, and just a general check. The saliva test was to check out my Adrenals. (Again, most doctors would not have even acknowledged that there could be a problem. Most of them thing adrenals either work, or they don't. They don't realized the might be working, just not very well. Just like the thyroid.)
Anyway, then I went back in 6 weeks for my blood tests, and then finally saw him again a few days ago.

Here were my test results.
My TSH is so low, other doctors would be scrambling to decrease my thyroid dose, but my free T4 is on the lower end of normal, and T3 is in the middle. That just doesn't make sense. According to my TSH, those should be above normal.
TSH= <.03 reference (.47-5) Actually, new research shows that the range should be .3-3 many labs just haven't changed yet.
Free T3= 2.5 (1.7-3.8)
Free T4= .9 (0.7-2.0)
reverse T3 is .25 (.18-.51)

The saliva tests are what really showed what is keeping me down. Keep in mind that cortisol should be high in the morning, and lower at night.
7:30am - .12 (.27-2.06... 1.5-2 would be ideal)
1:05pm - .16 (.03-.77)
5:30pm - .04 (.03-.56)
11PM - <0.03 (.03-.5)

So instead of being high in the morning, and going down during the day, I am almost flatlined, either under or at the bottom of the "normal" level. It pretty much means that my Adrenals can't keep up, and are working so hard just to keep me going, that I can't handle much stress. (It is also the reason why it is SO hard for me to wake up in the morning.)
Now, I don't find myself flying off the handle or anything, but I physical stress is hard for me to handle, and I feel overwhelmed very easily. DHEA is high 318 (14-277) DHEA/Cortisol Ratiox 10,000 is 2,650 (35-435) I am not quite sure what that means yet, but it is obviously not where it is supposed to be.

Here is a graph showing where "normal" is (green) and where I am (black line with circles.) You can see where the doctor drew a line about where I should be. (Sorry it is not more clear, our scanner is not hooked up, so I had to take a picture of it.)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

When he started explaining what that meant (which I pretty much knew from all the reading I have been doing, and from forums.) I started crying! It was happy tears! LOL I was so happy to finally have something to point at! T
he plan is to take some Adrenal supplements and see if that helps. If it doesn't, then he will put me on Hydrocortisone. I want to feel good now, but at the same time, I am more than willing to try it a more natural way first. That is my inclination anyway. I am pretty sure that the Hydrocortisone will be needed though, from what I have been reading.

My GI stool tests showed that I have too much bad bacteria, and not enough good bacteria in my gut, so that can work against my immune system, and is probably connected. Not sure exactly how that works, but it explains a lot of things... (like me being so hungry sometimes, and digestion problems.) The supplements he has me on for Adrenal support are Metagenics Adrenogen
and Metagenics Adreset

For the gut bacteria problem he has me on
Metagenics Ultra Flora Plus DF
Xymogens IgG 2000 DF

(Also on my own I have been taking selenium for my thyroid (supposed to help in converting T4 to T3) and 3000MG of vitamin C for my adrenals... along with a multivitamin, super B complex and A and E. There are others I want to take too, but haven't yet. I do think that when I started taking the C and selenium, I started to feel a bit better.)

I go back in a month for a follow up. :)