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anorexia, pituitary, ACTH

Does anyone know of any connection between anorexia, the pituitary gland and levels of ACTH or cortisol?  
34 Responses
393685 tn?1425816122
Here I will give you a bit of the reading I have done on this.

Anorexia Nervosa / Bulimia common findings are bradycardia, low BP, hypothermia the development of lanugo or frank hirsutism and edema. Many endocrine changes have been reported including pre or early pubertal patterns of Luteinizing hormone ( LH) secretion and low levels of thyroxine and triiodothyronine.

Interference of T4 (Thyroxine) and T3 (Triiodothyronine) production can alter the TSH - as for it truly involving the pituitary - I am not really sure.

I would however think that prolonged abuse to the TSH that involves the pituitary could happen.

Any induced abuse to the body will reflect something - somewhere.

As for cortisol levels  I believe that could be a connection  to.

Cortisol is controlled by insulin and if there is an abruption of release or conversion - which could happen in Bulimic patients then the cortisol levels would become unbalanced along with adrenal disorders.
649848 tn?1534637300
I know insulin is controlled by the pancreas; I thought cortisol is controlled by the adrenals, rather than by insulin or have I missed a connection somewhere?  I'm trying to put all these things together, myself, in order to figure out rather I have more problems than just hypothyroidism and pernicious anemia.  I've been trying desperately & without success, to lose weight gained while I was waiting for the dx of hypothyroidism.  I know I'm getting older, post menopause, etc, but I can't believe that just getting older can account for the way I feel and the difficulty in losing weight because that would mean that I would only get fatter and feel worse as time goes on.  

I do agree that induced abuse to the body (anorexia, etc) will eventually cause problems somewhere.  When I was in my teens, twenties and early thirties, I would often go for days at time without eating - not necessarily to stay thin, but because stress wouldn't let me keep much down so it was easier not to eat.  Now maybe I'm paying for it??  
393685 tn?1425816122
Yes your right the insulin is controlled with the pancreas - Cortisol with adrenals.

But I am reading in the merck manual 14th edition today that when insulin resistant and the pancreas stores - then the adrenals will overproduce the cortisol levels and block the process of converting energy from fat.

Sounds like it is a cycle that connects the insulin and cortisol.

393685 tn?1425816122
Here is something I had saved - It is not part of what I was reading from the book this morning but it has some connection to it.

Cortisol is normally produced by the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys. It belongs to a class of hormones called glucocorticoids, which affect almost every organ and tissue in the body. Scientists think that cortisol has possibly hundreds of effects in the body. Cortisol's most important job is to help the body respond to stress. Among its other vital tasks, cortisol

helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function
helps slow the immune system's inflammatory response
helps balance the effects of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy
helps regulate the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
helps maintain proper arousal and sense of well-being
Because cortisol is so vital to health, the amount of cortisol produced by the adrenals is precisely balanced. Like many other hormones, cortisol is regulated by the brain's hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, a bean-sized organ at the base of the brain. First, the hypothalamus sends "releasing hormones" to the pituitary gland. The pituitary responds by secreting hormones that regulate growth and thyroid and adrenal function, and sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. One of the pituitary's main functions is to secrete ACTH (adrenocorticotropin), a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands. When the adrenals receive the pituitary's signal in the form of ACTH, they respond by producing cortisol. Completing the cycle, cortisol then signals the pituitary to lower secretion of ACTH.

649848 tn?1534637300
Ok, that all makes sense.  I've known that being insulin resistant and having excess cortisol can both make losing weight almost impossible and I know that blood sugar issues can cause extreme fatigue, etc (we have a lot of diabetes in my family, so I'm pretty familiar with its symptoms), so I guess in addition to other tests I need to ask my dr for, I should include tests for insulin and cortisol levels.   I bought a glucometer and have been keeping a close watch on blood sugar levels and they bounce all over the scale, with no apparent rhyme or reason (i.e. going from very low to very high without having eaten anything or dropping from very high to very low in a short time, etc).  Sounds like you are either in the medical field or have been into this stuff much longer than I have, so would you agree that I need to ask my dr for these tests?  
393685 tn?1425816122
No I am a school secretary -
Avatar universal
But I am reading in the merck manual 14th edition today that when insulin resistant and the pancreas stores - then the adrenals will overproduce the cortisol levels and block the process of converting energy from fat.

Sounds like it is a cycle that connects the insulin and cortisol.

My Cortisol level was 66 with the reference range being between 10-60.
I know this means that the adrenal glands are working fine but why is the Cortisol going on the range when I was not stressed and felt good?
My blood sugars are all good too but after gaining 16kilogrmas (2.2lbs =1 kg)PRIOR to RAI, why havent I lost the weight with exersising and all natural diet?
It is so frustrating to work out exersising then find I have gained weight!
I am supposed to be 58kgs for my height but am currently 76kgs!

I'm curious on this one.Any ideas would help.
I have had every blood test done known to man ! lol
393685 tn?1425816122
Deb I just had a talk with a women in Minnesota. She is a member on the Menopause side. I just met her recently.

She said there are two different estrogens in our bodies. As we age the bad one Estrodron ( spelling? ) is increased and can store the good one Estrodial (sp)

She says when the good one isn't released and the bad one is bigger then we will gain weight too. Store cortisol - even though our adrenals are good and in check.

She referred me to look into a Dr Vliet's information on it all. Also a Dr Ericka Schwartz reference.

Truly my head is spinning - I have gotten so much information on all this stuff in the last 2 weeks that I need to process this more.

It's been quite a day - and I am just pooped.

We'll piece it all together - We'll find out the ways to unlock why this weight is hanging there.

I am so impatient sometimes that I get too much info in me and then need to break off a bit to put it all together. Especially when I am so frustrated on "wanting" to lose it myself as fast as I feel i put it on.

Check out that info as I do - at least if there are two of us - we can bounce it off each other right?
649848 tn?1534637300
I can see that there must definitely be a connection between all these things - so l'll throw in one more.  I had a hysterectomy when I was 46 - am now 59, so long past menopause (presumably).  Last check on estrogen, testerone, progesterone along with a couple others, levels were all normal.  

I'm with you and Smilerdeb - no matter what I do - eat right , exercise, etc, I just can't budge more than a pound or so and if I do manage to get off a pound, it's only a matter of time before it comes back and brings some "friends".  That's one of the main reasons I'm asking the questions I've been asking, as well as the fact that I just flat out don't feel good.  I'm sure when I go to dr on Wed, they will adjust my synthroid again and I'll probably do fine for a few weeks, but expect that to last very long.  

Appreciate any help anyone can give.  
106886 tn?1281295172
Hi you guys! I hope you don't mind me adding to your thread. I am the Minnesota woman who Stella was talking about... I was going to leave you a note in your profile, and I got to browsing in the posts for the Thyroid issues (I am hypo) so I saw this thread and thought I would copy and paste part of a post I made a bit ago on the Hysterectomy forum. I thought this might clarify a few things. "Stella5349" spoke for some time and I know personally that this stuff can be very overwhelming.

As far as who I am, I typically post only on the Ovarian Cancer forum... but, I visit the Ovarian Cyst forum and the Hysterectomy forum from time to time. I tend not to visit the Menopause forum because I did not go through a typical (I don't think there is any 'typical' Menopause!) Menopause since mine was surgically induced. Also, time constraints as of late have me holding back a bit. I don't mean to assume you all would be 'looking' for me :)  ... but, I did want to mention that since sometimes I cannot get back to posts in a timely fashion (and I have no computer at work).

Anyway, hope you don't mind me dropping by your forum. Keep up the great work you all do for each other!

I mention the two main estrogens below.



You wouldn't believe what I've been through trying to figure all of this out. There is so much misinformation out there. And, there is such controversy. And, half the time many doctors do not realize all that hormones do for us and that in many cases they can be used safely. But, it depends on so many factors... lifestyle, type of hormone, type of hormone delivery, blood work to make sure there is not an excess what-so-ever, etc. I hope someday this whole subject will be cleared up once and for all, but I know that is not going to happen any time soon. In the meantime, keep searching for answers that fit your needs and answers you are comfortable with, too.

There is a huge school of thought on the Progesterone issue. I, too, thought for years that I needed it and at first, it was very helpful for me. But as the estrogen was changed on me... and, the dose of that was lowered and the Progesterone was raised (particularly in the past two years), I felt worse and worse and baffled, too.

I found information that is of a smaller camp of believers that women without ovaries cannot utilize Progesterone. As I have weaned my body off of the progesterone and stayed only with Estradiol (considered the best choice for estrogen so your body does not resort to making Estrone ... a less safe estrogen than Estradiol..... Estrone is the menopausal body's estrogen that is the by-product of fat which the body will make because our bodies crave Estrogen) along with a little testosterone, I have started to feel whole again.

I have also reversed my bone loss and decreased my fatigue. I also have been able to walk again with comfort since my feet were paying a high price for the lack of optimal levels of estradiol in my system and I started to feel almost crippled this summer. Very scary for me. Frankly I am surprised I have had such results. I need to watch the levels of Estradiol and testosterone so that I do not have an excess (something that could get me into trouble) but I am very comfortable with what I do.

I have been following advice by Dr. Vliet, particularly from the book, "Screaming to be Heard." It is a huge book... and older, but it has been updated and is also the same info she gives on her website.

106886 tn?1281295172
OK... sorry... just to clarify once again since I see some of my critical info is a bit buried... For those on Bioidentical Progesterone, I know it can be a marvelous thing. It is just recently that I have researched how the body handles supplemental bioidentical Progesterone if the woman has no ovaries. If I had ovaries, I am sure I would use Progesterone, but I quit using it due to the recent info I recovered from Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet ("Screaming to be Heard").

Hope that helps clear things a bit.

393685 tn?1425816122
Thanks Mary for coming by. I was hoping you could put more on this than I could.

I was beat last night.

Since we know for sure that menopause can be brought on early for most hypos then that explains the estrogen "change over" to the fat storing Estrone.

As many doctors say - Hypothyroid does not make us fat - there may be some truth in that statement now - since HYPO does put our bodies in a different estrogen level.

However we can gain some weight due to the condition - but for the posts like mine and others who have gained over 40 pounds or so - something else has to be going on.

I think I now am understanding more on the insulin and cortisol level connection - and bringing this in the equasion is difficult to understand but clearly needs to be.

Mary - keep stopping by and read the thyroid posts especially on weight. You will see the connection it has to peri - or meno and I think you will be very helpful here too.
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