138239 tn?1239924924

Low Cortisol Level & DHEA

I posted last year about my low DHEA levels & here I am still searching for answers.  I went in for a routine check up in September 2012.  When I expressed my concerns about my swollen upper abdomen I was told by my doctor "to either hire a Personal Trainer OR get Cosmetic Surgery".  I replied..."why I have lost 6 lbs" since my last visit, but gained 3" in my upper abdomen.  Needless to say she didn't LISTEN.  My daughter had posted pictures on FB of our recent trip & I cried when I saw myself.  I look like I'm 5 months pregnant.  So, that spurred me into action & I called the endocrinologist office that I had seen August 2011 & requested a copy of my blood tests.  When I saw him after he got the results a year & half ago he TOLD ME "blood tests are fine".  Low & behold I get my copies and what do I see?  CORTISOL, A.M. OUT OF RANGE 0.6 L - reference range - 7-9am (my sample was @ 8am) 4.00 - 22.0.  When I just called, Endo doc told me because "I was going through menopause" (I don't think I was, I was my regular moody self)  & thats why my Cortisol is low.  I AM ON A MISSION to get this solved once & for all.  I would GREATLY appreciate any advice.  My sides really hurt.  I have a doctors appointment this coming Monday the 17th.  Perhaps they'll listen???  Oh, my DHEA levels are still low, so when, again at my last visit I asked why they where low & do I need replacement she said she didn't know.  God help me find a good doctor.....
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Avatar universal
Looking *5 months pregnant* is more consistent with high cortisol - not low. A low cortisol test in the morning could be that you have lost your diurnal rhythm. One test is not diagnostic and one test at one time of day is not diagnostic.

DHEA is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone - so you would need testing on those as well as LH and FSH to see what is going on there. Cortisol can effect DHEA (Cushing's syndrome - adrenal source - can raise DHEA - here is a medical abstract: "Serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) were measured in patients with hyperadrenocorticism. When compared to normal subjects of corresponding age, serum DHEA-S levels were normal or elevated in 37 patients with Cushing's disease. In contrast, DHEA-S levels were significantly lower than those of normal subjects in all 28 patients with hyperadrenocorticism due to benign adrenocortical adenoma, suggesting that ACTH is the major determinant of DHEA-S secretion and that determination of serum DHEA-S concentrations is useful in the biochemical differential diagnosis of the etiology of Cushing's syndrome. In six patients with adrenocortical adenoma, the recovery of suppressed DHEA-S secretion after removal of the adrenal gland affected by a tumor was studied. Serum cortisol levels normalized by the end of the second year after unilateral adrenalectomy, while DHEA-S levels remained low for at least 2 succeeding yr. The results suggest that deficient ACTH secretion may result in a greater and longer lasting loss in the ability of the adrenal cortex to secrete androgens than in the ability to secrete cortisol."

You can replace DHEA - it is OTC in the USA - if you take too much you will get acne and greasy skin. So even those with no adrenals like me - who take it under doc orders - only take 25mg. Sometimes that can be too much!
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Avatar universal
I also take DHEA.  I originally took 25 mgs----my testosterone was also low--i had enough things off on my blood work that my endo looked at it and told me she had never seen this before---felt like I was some kind of freak of nature if the specialist was thrown for a loop.    

She put me on DHEA , testosterone, armour thyroid and hydrocortisone--after an ACTH stim test.

I saw a different endo who pulled me off everything and refused to run testing that i wanted---I knew my testosterone was dropping--I recognized the symptoms.

Finally saw a new doc--My DHEA was almost bottomed out--I now take 30 mgs daily---I am back on testosterone and hydrocortisone and a much higher dose of another natural thyrod med called NP Thyroid.  I am also on a number of supplements for vitamins and minerals I was low in---my doc did extensive blood work, and checks it every 3 months.

When I was put back on thyroid--and the dose was raised and I was also put back on DHEA----I would wake up and be able to feel some oil on my face again--but this was good for me because I have really dry skin.  I also noticed that the upper backs of my arms no longer looked like crepe paper----however, I did start breaking out in acne on my shoulders (I've always had a little on my face--never outgrew it)

My thyroid has been lowered a little and my DHEA got raised a little---and the acne on my arms seems to be getting  better.---It seems to be a matter of getting everything balanced, which my doc says can take up to 2 years.
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