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Adrenal Fatigue - Real or Quackery?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Rex, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    I've complained here before about my low energy, weight gain and problems sleeping, and my frustration with the doctors who said that there was nothing wrong with me after checking my testosterone and thyroid and other tests. Recently I came across the term "adrenal fatigue" and have been reading up on it. But it's not a "recognized" condition, at least not by conventional medicine. I don't feel like going back to the doctor so he can tell me the same thing - that nothing is wrong with me. Is adrenal fatigue real, or just an excuse to extract money from people's pockets in the form of books and expensive supplements? Discuss.
    beepbeep and (deleted member) like this.
  2. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    Apparently, not.

    Your symptoms are almost exactly what I had and a doctor I visited some years ago "diagnosed" with me Wilson's Syndrom, which is something like subclinical hypothiroidism. I was experiencing a lot of tiredness and the doctor ordered me a bloodwork with about 1000 items on it.

    The collection of symptoms I had (and that you have too) could be a lot of things, and doctor went for that. Guess if I ever returned :rolleyes:

    I had been feeling like that for a while and my regular doctor made a lot of exams, they all came back painfully normal, except for iron and B12, which I took and helped me with nothing.
    It was really frustrating to feel like that, like something was not right, and to be said I was normal. My doctor eventually put me on paroxetin, to treat a depression (which I had) and it helped me a little.

    The turnaround happened when I visted a neurologist.
    Ended up that the problem with me being so tired was a combination of hypothiroidism (my TSH are normal, but a collection of the other symptoms made my doctor prescribe me levotyroxin) and a sleeping habit that I aquired when my mom had her surgery and woke me up abou 5 times a night to assist her. 3 years after her surgery, I was still waking up 5 times a night, which caused havoc on my life. I was forgetful, couldn't concentrate and was constanly really tired (and didn't manage to fall asleep to make matters worse).

    In the end, it took me 3 years to get properly diagnosed and have it taken care of.
    My sleeping problem was solved with B12 and iron (apparently, key components for sleeping) injections and prescribed medication to make me fall asleep (Stilnox) for about a month.
    It did wonders for me.

    I'd recomend you see other specialists (neurologist, endocrinogist) if you can.
    There are many things that can make one feel like that, and it takes time to pinpoint the cause.

    Good luck :)
    Rex and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    Thanks beepbeep, for this info. My sleep patterns are so crazy - I was diagnosed with sleep apnea earlier this year and the CPAP machine helps, but I STILL wake up at the same time every morning - 4am. The only difference now is that I can go right back to sleep and am not as tired during the day. I tend to crash around 8-9 at night - I fall right asleep while watching TV.
  4. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    How long have you been using the CPAP?
    My mom uses it too, and it took about a month to get used to having air being blown through her nose :), and she says it massively improved her sleeping.
  5. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    I've been using it since April.
  6. Lizziebeth

    Lizziebeth the real Lizziebeth

    I usually get enough sleep, but it is a strange schedule. I am cursed with being a morning person. Full of energy early in the day, not so much in the evening. If I wake up during the night, it is hard to get back to sleep.

    I don't have sleep apnea, but wake up early too and usually can't get back to sleep. Of course I fall asleep when watching TV in the evening. Then I wake up and am up for a while before going back to sleep.

    beepbeep are you more of a morning person? Waking up during the night will really mess up your sleep because you will have had enough sleep that you can't go back to sleep.
  7. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    I'm definetively not a morning person. :)
    My sleep has been perfect now. And I'm no longer under any kind of medication for it (except Levotyroxin). I do wake up once or twice during the night to go to the bathroom, but I fall right back into sleep, and have no problem getting up in the morning now. I still hate it, but I'm by far way less useless in the morning than I used to be.
  8. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    I cannot stay up the way I used to when I was younger, that is for sure. Going to bed at 2-3 in the morning was no biggie. Now, at 47, I am lucky if I can stay up to watch Letterman :lol:.

    I did tell my doctor that I sleep with my TV on; I live in a studio apartment and the TV is next to my bed. He thinks I should cut it off, and at the very least, play the radio, preferably a soft music station. He says the light from the TV fcuks with my sleep patterns. But I know so many people who do it with no problem.
  9. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    I did forget to mention that, to restore my sleep, I had to change some habits to go with the medication. Make the room dark and silent, sleep on the same time, not eating havy foods before going to bed.
    By the time I cut off the medication, I kept the habits, and my body uderstood it was time to sleep.
    And I accmplished that while on a 2 liter a day diet coke addiction :slinkaway

    A little over a month ago I cut it off.
    I had 4 days of full on abstinence syndrom, but it eventually went away.
    I barely stand the taste of it now.

    It was my main source of caffeine and, since cutting it, I'm sleeping even better. I'm not saying I don't drink it anymore, but it's a lot less (maybe a glass a day) and I don't drink it late in the afternoon or at night, because it's sure cause troubles when I sleep.

    beepbeep, your sleeping specialist :p
  10. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    I think it's basically quackery. I had an acupuncturist diagnose me with this supposed condition because he took my blood pressure when I was laying down and then again when I sat up and it went down. He said that was a sign. Except your blood pressure is SUPPOSED TO do that. You aren't supposed to take it lying down as you don't get the best reading. You are supposed to take it sitting up with your feet on the floor. (And mine were dangling off the table I was sitting on so that reading wasn't accurate either.)

    Moron. (The acupuncturist that is.)

    At the time I was in the best shape of my life, not having any symptoms of anything, just rehabbing an injury.
  11. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    If that were true, I'd be fecked. :lol: My blood pressure is pretty poor. But aside from being a late night person, my sleeping has been quite normal. I'm not any overachiever, but I think I'm more lazy than fatigued....:p

    Good luck with the health stuff, peeps!
  12. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    I have a friend with this and has been helped by supplements, which, yes, are $$$$$$. I think that there's just a lot we don't know about all the hormones in our body from all the different glands.

    Also: Did your dr check JUST TSH, or did he/she also check T3 and T4? I had hypothyroid for a good while, because my TSH readings were within normal, but then a doctor thought to check my T4--it was off.

    Sleep problems SUCK. They can really negatively affect your life! I hope you can find some solutions, Rex.
  13. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    Thanks LilJen.
    Do those T3 and T4 numbers refer to thyroid or testosterone? Both tests were pretty extensive. He did say that diminishing testosterone is a fact of getting older, but that my thyroid was normal. Still made me get that ultrasound though, which was more :bribe: from my insurance, even after he said nothing was wrong with it.
  14. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Your acupuncturist does sound like a moron. Whatever he was blabbing about is not even part of Chinese medicine. A bad apple. I know some good ones in the Bay Area, let me know if you want a referral.
    Looks like he was trying to see if you were orthostatic with the laying down, sitting up measurements. Has nothing to do with his job. :rolleyes:
  15. znachki

    znachki Active Member

    I don't think it's quackery. Many years ago, I went through a whole TMJ thing. So much of what folks have posted above dovetails into that. The caffiene, the sleep problems and sluggishness and whatnot. After fixing my displaced disc, my TMJ guy basically did/said the following:

    1) Sleep apnea can be exacerbated by a shortened airway caused by removal of teeth when you have braces.

    2) Whenever you can't breathe, one of the things your body does is produce adrenaline to wake you up. So, not only don't you get a good night's sleep, you kind of get addicted to the extra adrenaline, or perhaps immune (if you will). Makes you need more just for normal functioning.

    So, you don't get any good sleep, have a hard time waking up, and you're tired a lot

    He fitted me with a nightguard that pulls my jaw forward slightly, and opens the airway.

    Now, when he was telling me all of this I was like - yeah, yeah, whatever. But. One night with that new nightguard was like a complete change in my whole world. I wouldn't have believed it until it happened to me.
  16. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    T3 and T4 are different thyroid hormones.
  17. TalentedButHumble

    TalentedButHumble Well-Known Member

    Wow, so weird to see this thread. In the past, over many years, I'd had episodes of fatigue etc., which often came on after a particularly stressful time. I had considered it might be related to adrenal problems, as well as other things like chronic fatigue. Or various conditions mentioned here. I also dont sleep well, but had been living in a noisy area many years.

    I moved a month ago, hoping the new place would be more relaxing (its on a lake!) But the past couple weeks I feel like the stress of moving, plus not enough "down/ R&R time" has wiped me out. That old feeling of extreme exhaustion, even kind of lightheaded/dizzy/spacy. (And despite the fact the new area isn't as noisy, my sleep patterns are awful. I think I wake after every 90 min./ two hr. cycle. Lets put it this way, at least I'd never sleep thru a fire alarm :p)

    Anyone else feel it's directly related to the level of stress you've been through?
  18. cholla

    cholla Fearless musher

    Aren't most of T3s (3 iodine atoms) the result of the conversion of T4s (4 iodine atoms) by the liver (and other organs "on request") ?

    Rex, maybe you should see an endocrinologist. Even when the blood count of T3 is normal, T3s can be low in some of the organs, causing fatigue and other symptoms. When I was diagnosed with "iatrogenous hypothyroïdy" (caused by meds), I was sent to one for detailed thyroid exams and he helped me a lot, first understanding what was going wrong and why and second in dealing with it. A lot of generalist physicians don't investigate enough when it comes to thyro troubles, mainly because of the costs I guess and/or because it's associated with fake and non-existant illnesses in hypocondriacs.
  19. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

    I believe it is a real issue and am glad I have a doctor who thinks it is too. While my T3 and T4 levels were and are completely normal, my cortisol levels have been out of wack. Some doctors will do a blood cortisol test, but the most accurate is a 24-hour urine test.
  20. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    I had high cortisol too (did the 8/16h cortisol blood test), and the doctor pinpointed me to the Wilson Syndrom anyway.

    A lot of these so called diseases have the very same symptoms, which can mean anything.

    High cortisol means you're constantly on alert mode, ready to run to save your life. Stress and lack of sleep are two of the things that can cause it.
  21. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

    I had high cortisol levels due to a condition called Cushing's Syndrome. My pituitary gland had a smallish tumor that caused my adrenal glands to produce too much. Symptoms included fatigue, rapid weight gain in certain areas, high blood pressure, etc. I had surgery to remove the tumor.

    However, at this point my cortisol levels are too low, reflecting adrenal exhaustion because of years of over production.

    The reason I mentioned the 24-hour urine test is that your cortisol levels typically change throughout the day.