Adrenal Insufficiency Community
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Adrenal fatigue suspicion

Hello , i am 20 year old male and my endocrinologist decided to test me for adrenal fatigue, because previously i had my testosterone tested and it turned out very low but my LH and FSH were normal. Thats why the endo said we have to find out the reason why it is like this  and he first decided to test my thyroid glands (because he said they could be related)  and they turned out to be normal , after that he said he will test me for adrenal fatigue as he said it could be a factor for my low testosterone levels.

Also from the research i did , i have all the symptoms of adrenal fatigue which i see are almost the same as the symptoms of low testosterone. The tests that he did for adrenal fatigue were blood tests drawn at 8:30 in the morning.

These are the results:

Cortisol  nmol/l   range: 150-700  result: 560

ACTH   ng/l           range: 0.0-50      result: 32

DHEA SO4   umol/l     range: 2.2-16   result: 8.3

He said that he excludes adrenal fatigue as a reason because the test were normal. However, from what i read i really relate to all the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, its like i have 80-90 percent of all the listed symptoms i have seen in different sites. My question is are these three hormone tests sufficient and reliable and should adrenal fatigue really be excluded ? Thank you.
18 Responses
Avatar universal
Usually an endocrinologist tests for addison's or adrenal insufficiency, not the *fatigue* since the fatigue thing is not accepted by the medical community. So I am surprised by that.

AI/Addison's is a salt wasting disease so you would have a lot more to go on that the other testing - plus other symptoms.

Fatigue is, sadly, a symptom that can be part of so much from vitamins to hormones to auto-immune to... so it is hard to really attribute it. The low T is usually part of elevated cortisol, not low - and as much as the websites like the say that is fatigue - it is Cushing's syndrome. I had it myself.

Your tests came out normal but a stim test is the gold standard. As well, one set is not enough to rule something in our out as there is no *one* test for adrenal disorders.

I am not in the adrenal fatigue school - certainly they are ill - but they are not diagnosed properly as sadly most docs are simply not taking time anymore.
Avatar universal
So what do you think, should i ask for further testing for my adrenals and what tests should i ask for ?
Avatar universal
On second thought if i produce enough cortisol in the morning to be in the mid range doesnt that mean that i am not suffering from adrenal fatigue, since my body can produce adequate amount of cortisol ?
Avatar universal
Hi. Like Rumpled stated above-- adrenal fatigue is not usually recognized in the medical community. One is usually diagnosed with AI/Addisons or they are not.

I would have the doc run some test on vitamins--- specifically D and B12. Vitamin deficiency causes fatigue and muscle weakness as well.
Avatar universal
I have them tested as well , Vitamine D is normal , Vitamine B12 is high (above the range but not much)
Avatar universal
Ask endo to do a STIM test. With this test the doc can see how well your adrenals respond to ACTH. With this test you will have 3 readings-- a baseline cortisol, 1 at 30min after injection, and 1 after 60 min.  In my case, my baseline was not too bad--- low but not bad--- but my adrenals did not adequately respond to the ACTH.  I produce some cortisol-- but not enough.
Avatar universal
Are you taking testosterone injections?  I believe that is your main issue. I think it took about a month before my boyfriend started feeling better.
Avatar universal
No i am not taking any form of testosterone as i want to figure out where the problem comes from before i turn to any sort of medication.
Avatar universal
I think it is better to identify the source of the issue before treatment - but sometimes it is hard to find the source!  Make sure you get copies of your tests and read up - test time and lab handling is critical.
Avatar universal

I have two observations.

1. CORTISOL - You mention your cortisol reading. I assume this was done in the morning.To be meaningful you need two tests in the one day: one say at 0800 and an other say at 1700. It is possible that your morning measure is normal but your PM measure is really low in which case you may need cortisol supplements in addition to your low testosterone deficiency.

2. TESTOSTERONE - do you exhibit any of the following:

• Mood changes (low mood and irritability)
• Poor concentration
• Low energy
• Reduced muscle strength
• Increased body fat
• Longer time to recover from exercise
• Decreased libido (low interest in sex)
• Difficulty getting and keeping erections
• Do you wake up with an erection (when you do not have sex the night before)
• Low semen volume
• Reduced beard or body hair growth
• Breast development (gynaecomastia)
• Hot flushes, sweats
• Osteoporosis (thinning of bones)

Make a note of which of the above symptoms you exhibit.

I suffered 'adrenal fatigue' and many of the above symptoms before I was diagnosed with very low cortisol and when that was addressed I felt far better.

I do not believe in the catch-all 'adrenal fatigue'.

In addition to chasing up an endo for a STIM test, in your place I would see a Men's Sexual Health physician who day in day out treats men with issues like yours. He or she may be able to quickly and accurately identify what it is you have and how to cure or teat it. And send you for the right tests.

I agree with Rumpled: do not take any meds or injections until your condition is first completely diagnosed.
Avatar universal
Yes i exhibit most of the symptoms and thats the main reason i decided to test myself the first time. I am really irritable and my mood changes often, i experience low energy and poor concentration as well as  reduced muscle strength.

My fat is mostly stored around my belly and i have a mild case of gynecomastia from puberty. My libido is really decreased and i have no desire for sex although i can get an erection. For the semen volume i dont know i havent been tested for that.

I have beard but not much since i am 20 year old and its only on small patches.

These are my testosterone results :

Testosteron  nmol/l range: 6.9-28.1 result: 7

SHBG             nmol/l range: 10-70    result:  6.8

Avatar universal
Your symptoms sound like elevated cortisol - read up on Cushing's syndrome. Elevated cortisol often decreases T. It also messes with mood. You may have a pituitary and/or an adrenal issue. Have you seen a decent endocrinologist? Hard to find a decent one - and I see you do get copies! That is great.
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