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Should I stop taking BCP if I have high cortisol levels?
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Should I stop taking BCP if I have high cortisol levels?

I have stage 3 endometriosis, and need to take continuous birth control to prevent mentration, which is painful, heavy, and worsens the condition. I had surgery July 2012 to have an ovarian cyst (endometrioma) and adhesions removed that were caused by the endo. However just before the surgery I started getting very fatigued all the time. I could barely make it through the work day and would go to bed as soon as I got home. I thought it was just stress from my upcoming surgey. But after the surgery it only get much, much worse. I was treated for low iron and ferretin levels, but nothing changed. If I do anything physical - walk the dogs, go grocery shopping, etc - I get exhausted and need to take a nap to recover. Yet, the only test that was significant was my cortisol levels. Both tests showed my coritsol levels were too high.

Since I don't have any other symptoms of Cushing's disease, nor am I an alcoholic or diabetic, it would seem to me the most likely culprit of my high cortisol levels is estrogen. But I NEED to keep taking the birth control pills to reduce my endometriosis! Is it safe to keep taking BCP if it is rising my cortisol levels?
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Avatar dr f tn
Hello and hope you are good.
Cortisol hormone is first released during stress and levels of these hormones rise because of excess production. Estrogen-containing drugs, few birth-control pills, can elevate cortisol levels. Have a balanced diet which contains sufficient levels of magnesium, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids and indulge in brisk walk daily for 20-30 minutes. Consult your doctor if there is an alternative to cortisol-affecting pills. Do keep me posted on how you are doing.
Best luck and regards!
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136956 tn?1425609872
Good question I am in the same boat as you and I was told to have my AM cortisol tested, free T3 and free T4. I have had this for 23yrs and I really feel that is what it is and I can't come off the pill either for the same reasons as you.
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