Adrenal Insufficiency Community
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Avatar universal

Itchy skin/ Acne


I am 33 years old. I  have been itching all over my body for about 9 months now.  I started itching once every other week, but now the itching occurs every couple of days.  I do not have a rash.  It starts at different times of the day.  I feel like I am being eating alive by ants.  The only thing that seems to stop the itch is Zyrtex, as long as I take it quickly enough. I also have acne on my face and back (like bumps). I have gained 10 lbs during this time as well. I also have skin tags (that just started to appear) and heavy periods. I asked my doctor to check my thyroid, but the numbers are between the range.  I went to gyn, and she did another test during the middle of my cycle.  My cortisol level at 9 am was 6.1.  She said that it was very low and that I needed to be at least 14, so she gave me Adren-all to supplement.  I do not feel any difference.  I have also gone to an Allergist.  They did an allergy test on my back of nuts, grasses, food, eggs, dust mites, etc.  I was not allergic to anything.  I have also had irregular palpitations.  I went to the cardiologist, and he confirmed that I had them but after the echo, ekg, and stress test he did not see anything abnormal.  I would like to know how to proceed.  Prior to this condition, I have not been a person with medical issues at all.  I would only go to the doctor for regular check ups.  I had two children with no complication prior to this issue.  

TSH(3rd generation) -         0.98
T4 Free -                           1.0
T3, Total -                         158
Cortisol -                           6.2
dhea sulfate -                    125
FSH                                 3.1
Lh-                                   2.7
progesterone                    24
prolactin                            5.2
estradiol                           208
Testosterone                     26
free testosterone              1.7

I would appreciate your help :)
9 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi!  Wow...you have so many similar symptoms to me it's crazy, although I've been down a long road with more going on medically.  I am 41 years old with two small children.  Here's my story in a nutshell so maybe we can find some correlation and figure this thing out!
6 1/2 years ago when my daughter was 6 months old I got Mono, but no one diagnosed it.  Caring for a newborn, running a business, and chasing my 2 year old left me with no time to rest.  I ended up getting Epstein Barr 6 months later that went undiagnosed for a year.  It turned into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and slowly my endocrine system started shutting down.
I saw a doctor who told me Epstein Barr was a myth and that my throid was fine....although I knew it wasn't as well as my adrenal glands.  I also knew I was exhausted with brain fog, weight gain, etc.  
I went to a specialized clinic who said I was in adrenal fatigue, and my thyroid although not bad was on the very low end of normal.  They treated me with T3 for my thyroid starting at 60mcg's to give me more energy.  Long story short, over time I was increased to 125mcg's to T3, was short of breath, had heart palp's and could have had a heart attack.  I reconnected with a childhood friend at this time who is a naturapathic doctor now and she was scared for my life so she flew out from Seattle and started running tests and treating me for a far.  Back in May she pulled me off the 125mcg's of T3 and put me at 25mcg's along with a dose of Levo.  What happened then was horrible.  I was exhausted, I started itching all over (like bugs crawling on me), and my weight ballooned up 6-7 pounds in about 2 days.
It has been a long haul, and my weight is a mess.  It is water weight and she believes I my adrenal glands are overproducing aldosterone.  When I've gone on an aldosterone blocker the water weight all goes away.  So, now with a new endo out here who is waiting for my test results for that.  The itching, it's been bad lately but my new endo took me off all thyroid meds to see where my body would balance out.  My friend the doctor says it is a hystamine release from the thyroid because it is trying to function on it's own and properly  This may be what's happening to you?????  The weight gain..is it water weight or fat weight?  Cortisol and aldosterone are both secreted from the adrenal glands.  If your cortisol is low, you may be overproducing aldosterone.  I'm no doctor but it's worth looking in to.  I am also having heart palps but it's from the water weight gain and my BP is up as well.  I have never had high BP..always ran 80/60 and  maybe 90/60.  I work out a lot, run 4 miles a day so low BP was normal for me.  I am now 125/65.  May seem low to some people but high for me.  Sounds like your thyroid and adrenals are both having problems which often happens in sync.
Let me know your thoughts and maybe we can figure this all out!
Take care.
Avatar universal
its called dermographism  i had this a couple years back was put on various antihistamines which didnt help  but often helps for dermographism the test the doctor did was basically scrath my arm which then turned into a red line with white middle (i realised that i was basically able to sign my name on my arm with out applying much pressure) and the only thing that helped was prednisone however a few years later i found out that i had hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency which probably caused it
Avatar universal
dermographism most of the time has an unknown cause however one of the knownand most common  causes is thyroid problems so even though you numbers may fit into the normal range they may still be on the high or low end (your cortisol while not dangerously low is definitely on the low side you may want to see an alternative md with experience in thyoid and adrenal problems there is a simple at home test which at times may indicate thyroid problems not caught by blood tests : the bassal body temperature test pioneered by dr broda barnes where by you take your under arm temperature immediately upon waking(leave thermometer under arm for ten min then take ur temperature for a few days and if ur temp is significantly out of range you may have thyroid problems (range 97.8- 98.2) (you can find aphysician by contacting the broda barnes foundation
Avatar universal

Thank you so much for responding to my post.  I have a few questions.  
You mentioned a test that would show if my thyroid was releasing hystamine.  What is the name of this test, so that i can ask my doctor to give me this test.  How do I know if my adrenal gland is producing aldosterone?  Is there a test for this?  If so, what is the name of the test?  Which doctor (specialist) did these tests for you?  Endo?  GYN?  I am hoping that we can help each other out.

Thank you.  As soon as I get these test, i will let you know what these outcomes are.

I have never had an issue with my weight.  I am 5'10.  I used to be 132 lbs even after having two children.  Now I am 145 and climbing.  I am eating healthier than ever, but i continue to increase weight.

Avatar universal
first off i dont think there is any scientific test that shows that it is coming from your thyroid. however if you do have dermographism and have thyroid probelms than that is very likely the cause but the only way to know for sure is to treat the thyroid condition. now the way any allergist (immunologist) will know if you have dermographism is by simply lighlty stroking or scratching your skin with something slightly sharp and watching your reaction if your skin becomes more red than normal and stays red for a long time( and may slightly protrudes and has a white line in the middle) then you probably have dermographism i dont think there is more sophisticated test for this. you can really perform it yourself but i would definitely see an allergist(immunologist). they are all over the place. i went to several and  they all know about dermographism and they will probably put you on some sort of antihistamine. i was on many of them but they didnt help, so if it doesnt help you and you suspect you may have a thyroid condition you may want to try the thermometer test and then go see an alternative md with thyroid experience.  i went to one in stamford ct i dont know where you are but if you let me know i may be able to help and as for not having weight problems, many people have never had any weight problem but have a thyroid condition there are many symptoms that manifest from overactive or underactive thyroid :such as chronic infections (sinus bronchitis etc) as well as aching joints high or low blood pressure and or pulse insomnia hair loss being tired always and many more. as for the aldosterone test any doctor can test for that it is a standard blood test i dont think it has a special name you may want to go to an endo or if you go to a allergist he probably will test for that if you ask him.  
A word of warning even though your doctor may tell you evrything is normal  it may be in the  normal range for example if the range is 1-149 and you are 148 with symptoms than there is something wrong or sometimes the range on the blood work is out of date or not all agree that is the normal range as is with the tsh test
Avatar universal
i was just looking again at your initial post and i didnt realize you went to an allergist already its pretty weird that they didnt mention dermographism or urticaria and my doctor has me on small dose of cortisol (cortef) and my cortisol was slightly higher than yours you probably need to be on prescription med because supplements can help but they dont usually make such drastic changes
Avatar universal
thank you for the information. I will contact my allergist to see if they can check for dermographism or urticaria.  i tried seeing a endocronologist but since I have not been diagnosed with an endocrine disease, they would not see me. I am itching more and more now.  It is soo frustrating.  I took zytex about an hour ago, and my itching all over my body has not subsided.
Have you tried Benadryl? It might make you sleepy, but it works wonders for hives and itching of almost ANY kind. The great thing is that a pill is usually only 25 mg, but it is safe to take a higher dose (as long as it doesn't mix badly with your other meds). I have actually been giving 100 mg of Benadryl IV(!) to treat a hives reaction to a med. I've never been so knocked out/loopy in my life, but let me tell you--it WORKED. Not a mark on me when I finally woke up, and I don't think I so much as had an itchy nose for a week afterward. Also, there is a prescription med called Atarax that does a pretty good job of treating itchiness for a variety of reasons. My doc suggested Zyrtec, which did absolutely nothing. Switched to Atarax and Benadryl (for times when I could stay home and sleep if needed--no driving on Benadryl). I just can't understand why you weren't given access/advice to these common meds for itching! It's been a LONG time since you posted. If you happen to get a notification of my reply, I'd love to hear the outcome of your story. Did they ever identify the source? Which med ended up helping? OR have you gone absolutely bonkers from the itching? Please let us know!
5618423 tn?1371040117
I had all of these symptoms!  Traditional Chinese Medicine helped me a LOT!!!  Run, don't walk, to a Chinese doc.  The more traditional the better.  If you live in Southern California go to Dr. Anna Lee on 7th St. in Oxnard (that's my doc).  Good luck, i hope you start feeling better soon!  Also, try a gluten/dairy/soy/corn/nut free diet.  Even though you may not test positive for allergies, you could still be sensitive/intolerant.  Try for 30 days and see the you feel.   Godspeed!
Avatar universal
You need to check out these resources. You can find a Great book on Amazon called "Adrenal Fatigue" = a very big help.

also, on Audible, do a search for "Adrenal" and you will find 5 resources for cheap.  they will help you understand what most Doctors do not or will not.  Find a Natural Doctor, hormone doctor(natural).  ask a compounding pharmacy for referrals if needed.

I have Adrenal Fatigue and most Doctors don't understand this or will even recognize it.  Your friends will certainly not understand it, even after you try to explain it.  
go to bed early, moderate exercise, nutritional smoothies...remove as many stresses from your life, financial stress may be the hardest.
I am an independent insurance agent, with out of state contracts.  I tried for at least out of the metro area so I don't have to attend useless meetings.  And I can set my own hours.  I can only handle 2 long days with early mornings the others I start my appointments after Noon, and go as long as I can.  usually with the last appointment at 7 pm if I have the leads.

Good Luck
David Smith
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