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EndocrineWeb Community Advice

Is this chronic fatigue or something else?

From: siddle18 - 4 years 48 weeks ago

So guys, I'm at a loose end and could do with some advice on a long-standing condition I just can't get to the bottom of.

In 2008, after a night out, I woke up with what I thought was an almighty hangover. It wasn't. But whatever it was laid me low for a couple of weeks, with abdominal pain, joint pain, headaches etc.

Blood tests were all fine.

It dissipated to a point where it was just an inconvenience - I essentially thought I was fine again.

But around a year later, I suddenly found myself getting tired. Not complete exhaustion, but that I was able to pretty much what I want to do, but knowing my limits.

Until last year, with the exception of two weeks in six years in which I was off because I was burnt-out, that meant I was able to continue working as a journalist in a very busy, stressful newsroom, doing a job I love.

In August, however, I felt more exhausted. I developed some kind of IBS, and went back to my doctors. A new raft of blood tests were ordered, which revealed nothing - except off the scale cortisol levels.

I carried on working and last month, an endocrinologist ruled out Cushings Syndrome and discharged me, and said my cortisol had come down into very top end of the acceptable range.

This week, I signed myself off work for the week - I'm just so tired. Now I'm on a mission to work out what's wrong with me and fix it!

So, at the moment, my main symptoms are this:
High cortisol
Exhaustion - doesn't matter how much sleep I get
(New) Joint cracking - my body is popping like a box of rice crispies, especially grinding in my neck and popping in my shoulders
(New) Slight muscle aches - in my legs.
Blepheritis around my eyes, and dark circles
Lots of floaters in my eyes

I guess the questions I'm trying to have answered are these:

Could it be this? If I really did have CFS would I have been able to work for eight years as a journalist/news editor in an insanely stressful office, with just a couple of weeks off here and there when I 'burn out'? Surely post-exertional malaise wouldn't allow it?

I've been on holidays and travelled with work and been pretty much fine.

If it was CFS would my cortisol levels be so high?

Have I caused these symptoms myself by constantly worrying about them, and stewing over everything and analysing every little thing that feels wrong?

I'm sick of being sick - but like I say, I have a job I like and an amazing partner.

I'd love to know your thoughts.

I'm going back to my GP next week, I'd love to know what blood tests I should demand.

I'm tempted to go on pills for anxiety/depression to see. Which ones would be best?


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1 Response

Is this good advice?

Hello, I am responding to those who have exhaustion, yet have basically normal lab results and who have seen multiple doctors who, though considerate, leave you feeling like you are a hypochondriac. Many years ago, I found myself in a similar situation ---very discouraged, yet knowing I was not preoccupied with having to have physical health problems and that something WAS wrong. As it turned out, I did have hypothyroidism, lacked vitamin B's and needed more protein in my diet, but my biggest problem was polycystic ovaries, which not only caused exhaustion, but extreme mood swings due to a hormone imbalance. The surgeon informed me that my ovaries were producing minimal estrogen. He removed my diseased ovaries. I was given an injection of estrogen in surgery and I came out feeling like a million dollars! The injection gradually wore off over the next few days, however, and the exhaustion returned. :( After taking various types of oral estrogens with poor results, I was ultimately prescribed a small estrogen patch called Vivelle, which is Estradiol, that I change twice a week. It has been a Godsend for me! No more extreme exhaustion, mood swings or depression, as long as I remember to change it as prescribed.
That was 20+ years ago! According to my mammograms, I have no indication of breast or any type of cancer! I pray that if this is the case with any of you women, that you will request that your Doctor test your estrogen level. I have since read that over 600 parts of our bodies are affected by estrogen, so many symptoms may result from it's deficiency. My personal opinion re: estrogen and cancer is that it is the horse mare urine type of estrogen that may be the cause. For me, it caused extreme breast tenderness and little relief. My Dr. then prescribed the patch & I have been very happy since. My prayer for all of you experiencing puzzling symptoms, is that you will find relief soon and not give up until you do! God bless you!