Hypothyroid vs. Chronic Fatigue - How to tell which it is?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by lindsaych49, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. lindsaych49

    lindsaych49 New Member

    I've been doing a ton of research to find out why I am so bone-numbingly exhausted all the time. I finally went to Dr. Sharp in Ft. Worth, TX to do bloodwork and he determined that I am slightly hypothyroid. Been on Armour Thyroid med for 2 weeks now (plus did the Asyra and LED detox and am on a TON of supplements he gave me....), but still feel the same. I've been fighting this fatigue for a long time, but lately it's become nearly impossible to function. The word "exhaustion" doesn't even cover how I feel. It's like I feel heavy....like there's literally an extra person sitting on my shoulders and carrying them around all the time wears me out physically and emotionally. In the past 2 weeks I've called in to work twice because I was just too tired to get up. I can sleep for 15 hours straight, get up to eat, then go right back to bed and sleep another 15 hours and never wake up feeling anything but tired. I'm 34 and overweight but I try to eat healthy - salads, weight watchers meals, protein vs. empty calories, etc. Would exercise but...too dang tired! I used to run 5k's, I own horses and used to barrel race, now I can't motivate myself to go ride because just going out to feed them twice a day wears me out. I'm so frustrated, feel like an old woman at 34 and all I can do is sit on the couch and watch my life go by. I literally push myself to get up and go to work every day because I have no other choice and have to pay my bills, but when I think about the future it's like looking through fog and I can literally see a breakdown coming if I have to keep pushing much longer. It scares me. My mom attempted suicide because she was too exhausted to go on with life and all she wanted to do was sleep. I don't want that to be me but I can completely understand what brought her to that point.

    So, my question is how do I know if this is a symptom of being hypothyroid and I need my meds adjusted or does this sound more like chronic fatigue?
  2. heapsreal

    heapsreal New Member

    Also adrenal fatigue which is mainly low adrenal hormones, cortisol and dhea are needed to effectively use thyroid hormones properly. DHEA and cortisol should be looked at first because is thyroid is added first it can exacerbate adrenal fatigue and make u feel worse, sometimes correcting adrenal hormone defiencies can correct the underlying metabolism, if this doesnt work then add thyroid. WHat can be tried first is pregnenolone which is an up stream hormone that helps make dhea and cortisol, if this doesnt work then dhea and maybe hydrocortisone is then added. But if your like me and sensitive to these, as i had incresing anxiety and headaches then you may need to look had herbal stuff like siberian ginseng and high dose b5. It not perfect but it does help.
    http://www.drlam.com/conditioncareguide/adrenalhealth.asp?tab=1&condition=adrenalhealth have read of this site a couple of times and see if it helps, also get same base line hormone tests like cortisol, dhea, pregnenolone or progesterone, total and free testosterone, E2, and thyroid, if have the money get a 4 x a day cortisol saliva test done.

    I think there an underlying iimune dysfunction casuing chronic infections and they can take a toll on fatigue the adreanla glands and makin you feel crappy, this is something im going through at the moment, i just wishi could tolerate the hormones has the first few weeks weere magic but u need to try them as they maybe mprove your function greatly, if not search out all the herbal stuff u can.

    We need to learn from each other.
  3. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    heapsreal has given you a lot of good information. I do think it's really important to get your adrenal glands checked out. A good starting point is the Adrenal Stress Index Test - a saliva test - you take 4 saliva samples throughout the day/evening and it will give you a good picture of your cortisol levels, which fluctuate throughout the day and evening. It's not expensive as tests go, around $100. Your doctor has to order it.

    Something that helped me a lot was muscle testing done by a competent chiropractor. He discovered my weak adrenals and gave me an adrenal glandular supplement which helped a lot. I had been weak as a kitten, just no energy. To find a chiropractor who does this testing, you can jsut call and ask, or go to the Standard Process website (they make very good supplements) and their customer service will give you the names of practitioenrs in your area who use their products and generally do muscle testing.

    I also am hypothyroid, have been taking Armour or its equivalent for several years. The Armour did not resolve my adrenal fatigue, which was a separate issue.

    Other things which have helped me at different times with energy are d-ribose, NADH, magnesium and malic acid, vitamin B12.

    Unfortunately it can be difficult to find the source of fatigue. You have to be a detective. If possible, you might want to see a naturopath who will look at your diet and all your supplements etc., although it sounds like kDr. Sharp may be doing this for you? But ask him about your adrenals and the above test.

    Good luck -

  4. lindsaych49

    lindsaych49 New Member

    He ran a ton of tests on me (at least 10 vials of blood were drawn) to help find what's wrong, which is what found the hypothyroid, and two of the tests were for cortisol - one for blood and the other a cortisol saliva test, but the lab I went to didn't have the saliva test kit and told me to call the dr. back and see if they needed to special order the test. When I called the dr to tell him, he said we would wait and see how the cortisol blood results came back and if they were questionable, then we'd get the saliva test. Well, the blood results were normal so we never did the saliva test. I will have to look at my results and see if they tested for DHEA.

    I actually tried the Adrenal Fatigue supplements from Dr. James L. Wilson a while back, and could never tell a difference, though they did tend to give me a headache. After my Asyra test and the LED detox last Friday, Dr. Sharp gave me some Adrenal Support drops made by Nutramedix that I take 3x a day (along with a ton of other supplements but I don't have the list with me at the moment). So far, no real change in energy level.

    I read another thread on this board about taking Iodine supplements that have both Iodine and Iodide so I went ahead and ordered some drops for that today. Figured for $20 it's worth a try. At this point, I'm open to anything. I live in Texarkana, TX which is pretty much the boonies and it's hard to find a good doctor here, which is why I drive to Ft. Worth for the dr. there, but with the price of gas and the exhaustion from driving 4 hours to see him, I'm really starting to look around here and try to find a DO or someone who will work with me without telling me I "just need to exercise more" or I "need to lose weight" or I'm just "depressed". Ugh, being your own doctor is hard but apparently it's something we just have to do when we have symptoms and diseases like this.....[This Message was Edited on 03/22/2011]
  5. lindsaych49

    lindsaych49 New Member

    Ok first of all, your screenname cracks me up because heap is my last name. ;) Anyway, I looked at my blood tests and I was wrong...my cortisol level is low at 9.3 mcg. The dr. said normal levels were between 14-21. It was my DHEA level that was normal. It is 222 mcg and dr. said normal levels are 150-300. Also Pregnenolone is at 71 ng/dL which he says is good.

    Just to post everything I have:
    TSH 1.66 (normal below 2.0 so this is good)
    Free T4 0.9 (normal 1.2-1.9 so this is low)
    Free T3 3.0 (normal 3.6-4.5 so this is low)
    Reverse T3 14 (normal below 14 right on the line)

    So....knowing this......what should my next move be? Thanks for the help!!!!!
    [This Message was Edited on 03/25/2011]
  6. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I would see an Endocrinologist as they have had years of training.

    Please be careful about taking supplemental hormones The hormone system is a delicate balance. They can mess up your system. Dangerously.

    Adrenal fatigue is not a recognized medical condition.

    Why is your doctor giving you armour when your thyroid levels are normaL?

    Taking extra thyroid medication will not help your fatigue if it is caused by CFS/FM. If your cortisol level is low enough it's called Wilson's disease and if not taken care of, you would probably be in the hospital

    I am not a doctor and the above is my opinion from research I have done over the years.

    Take care and good luck. Keep us updated.


    ETA It looks like I mixed up posts and thought you had asked all the above questions when in fact other people asked some of the questions. :>)

    Also I think Wilson's is the only disease that can be diagnosed by the saliva test

    [This Message was Edited on 03/25/2011]
    [This Message was Edited on 03/25/2011]
  7. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, lindsaych49.

    If TSH is normal and free T4 and free T3 are low, that suggests that the problem is in the pituitary or hypothalamus. The TSH, which comes from the pituitary, is supposed to rise until it causes the thyroid gland to put out enough T4. It doesn't appear to be doing that. There is a feedback system that's supposed to make that happen.

    In chronic fatigue syndrome, several of the hypothalamic and pituitary hormone levels are frequently found to be abnormal. I have suggested that this is due to glutathione depletion in the hypothalamus and pituitary. Dr. Kenny de Meirleir believes that dysbiotic bacteria in the gut, which produce hydrogen sulfide and D-lactate, are responsible for the hypothalamic problems in ME/CFS.

    Best regards,

  8. destinygsmom

    destinygsmom New Member

    The question is do you know what CFS really is, read all my posts; I'm new & have been diagnozed with CFS by Dr. Sarah Myhill in England, where it's now estimated that they have approximately 250, 000 people who suffer from the condition in England! There is a treatment that you have to take to make your energy, if you have it; you take it forever, pay for it too! The more energy ATP you need to make or the amount of energy you want to have; the more d-Ribose you have to take combined with your vitamin & mineral supplements prescribed for those with this condition! But as of yet, no one covers the cost; but yourself, or those who care enough to donate to your buy energy fund..

    Read my posts, & post me back once in a while..
  9. heapsreal

    heapsreal New Member

    Even though doc says pregnenolone is normal, sometimes these things are in the low normal and are great levels for an 80 yo. things like pregnenolone and dhea are good to try and get them in the upper 1/3 of normal, thats then a youthful hormone level. I personally would try a low dose pregnenolone cream 15mg dosage and adjust from there. something like this http://www.iherb.com/Life-Flo-Health-Organic-Living-Pregnenolone-2-oz-57-g/15119?at=0
    because your cortisol levels are still low and i think this has an effect on poor thyroid levels. Pregnenolone can help raise these cortisol levels etc. give it 6 weeks and see what it does to all your hormones ie retested.

    Also hormones are just apart of the puzzle of fatigue, has your doc investigated infections further with titre levels etc, the herpes viruses like ebv, cmv, hhv6 can crash your whole system down and indicate a dysfunctional immune system as a healthy immune system keeps these in check. Treating these helps but i think theres an underlying infection like xmrv/mlv causing everything. also get general immune tests like lymphocyte sub sets and if can a natural killer function test, sometimes these can give u a better indication that your body is fighting something.

    All these infections etc can count towards adrenal fatigue which is low cortisol/dhea etc so fixing these can help infections can help reduce adrenal fatigue. Also nutrients like high dose b5 500mg-1000mg can help with adrenal hormones as well as something like siberian ginseng/astragalus/withania.

  10. heapsreal

    heapsreal New Member

    My adrenal hormones were low, dhea was below normal range and morning cortisol was very low normal range and i had that generalised fatigue i think from it. I started using pregnenolone cream 50mg and i felt great, almost normal. after about 5-6 weeks i started getting headaches insomnia, cranky etc. hormone tests showed everything had improved even my testosterone which was abit low but because of symptoms i stopped. before preg my morning body temp was always low like 35c, on preg it was normal like 36.5c.

    Now i stopped the preg and 6 bweeks later got more tests done and everything was still humming along well in my hormone tests. during this period while of preg i started vit b5 and siberian ginseng etc so i dont know if that has helped or pregnenolone just gave my system a running start and fired it up again. my temp is still in the normal range as well. Just to clarify my thyroid hormones always come back good, so i think low body temp was from poor cortisol levels. my total testosterone and free testosterone are the best they have been in years. I havent been feeling that great but i have had to deal with viral reactivations etc Im still treating viral stuff as well and hopefully when on top of it my hormones are still jumping along fine and i start to feel better. preg and dhea dont have negative feedback system ie like other hormones when introduced will stop producing them naturally, so preg and dhea dont effect this. This is why i think they gave my hormonal system a running start.

    [This Message was Edited on 03/30/2011]