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Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sagging skin. High cortisol level. Tested negative for tumor. Suggest ways to reduce cortisol

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Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 1484 Questions

I was wondering if there are ways to 'burn' off cortisol, or to make it less damaging to me. It has been high since September (accompanied by a total loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, feeling of being tired and wired, depression for the first time in my life, major rage issues, a 13 lb weight gain (104-117), in spite of barely being able to eat, major water retention, muscle loss, skin sagging and stretch marks. I look like I've aged 10 years in 6 months, and feel like I've aged even more!

A dexamethasone supression test dropped my cortisol down, so the endocrinologist I was seeing said it's not a not his area.

I am trying to find somebody else here to test, but am barely functional at the moment.

I would really appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you may have on how to lower my cortisol (or anything I could request my GP to test for that could be causing the issue).

I meditate daily, don't drink or consume caffeine, eat high protein, mostly vegetarian and organic (and never any hormones in the whey, egg or fish I do consume).

My cortisol was on the low end of normal in August (and it was suggested that I may be taxing my adrenals too much). It was suggested to me to stop taking my Dexedrine (for adult ADHD, and to stop working out so hard - I used to train for 2 hours a day at a near anaerobic level).

I stopped taking my Dexedrine, and reduced my physical activity to daily walks or hikes of about 10 kilometers, yoga, and just 20 minutes of weights 3x a week).

By October, my cortisol levels had doubled (and were outside of the normal range). Testing in February and March showed them to be about double the high end.

I started taking the dexedrine again last week, as I think it calms my mind, and will see if has any affect.

Is it possible that dexedrine and/or extreme working out could actually reduce cortisol for me?

Any thoughts you have on how I can reduce it, what could be causing it (or tests I should request), or how I can mitigate the negative affects of it while I am waiting would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much for your time!

May your spirit be filled with peace, your heart with love,and your body with health!

Posted Fri, 3 May 2013 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Topiwala 13 hours later
To check for excessive cortisol production by the body in an autonomous tumor-like fashion, the dexamethasone suppression test is one acceptable test. The others are a) a midnight salivary cortisol (done using a swab wetted with your saliva, as close to midnight as possible , in a person with regular sleeping patterns as opposed to night shift workers) and b) a 24 hour urinary free cortisol collection. From what you are describing, it appears that the endocrinologist performed a 1 mg overnight dexamethasone suppression test and you passed. If you still suspect you have cortisol excess that is pathological, you can request your doctor to order one or both of the above 2 tests. However, please note that depression and obesity can cause false positive reactions to these tests. It is important that your thyroid function is tested and normal, generally speaking as it is not worth pursuing other problems if the thyroid is off
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sagging skin. High cortisol level. Tested negative for tumor. Suggest ways to reduce cortisol 5 hours later
Thank you,

Are you saying that it is still possible to have a cortisol producing tumor, even if the 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test dropped my cortisol?

Is there anything I can do (other than what I am already doing) to reduce cortisol? I know working out at high intensity causes more stress on the body, and normally increases cortisol release. However, I always have too much cortisol in my system, so could intense working out (anaerobic) help to burn that off - or would it still create a stress response and more cortisol?

I'm still very lean, even with the cortisol weightgain. Thyroid has tested normal, and any depression I have is a result of my frustrations with my newly foggy mind, reduced concentration, exhaustion etc, so I think that is more effect than cause.

Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Topiwala 3 hours later
A normal response to stress is elevation of cortisol. To my knowledge there is no evidence to suggest this needs to be treated by any means other than alleviating the stress for obvious relaxing the mind and body and for overall mental and physical well being. But there is no recommended medication to reduce the cortisol levels that are high owing to stress
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sagging skin. High cortisol level. Tested negative for tumor. Suggest ways to reduce cortisol 1 hour later
Thank you.

My cortisol was still more than double what it should be during a 2 week meditation and yoga retreat. I meditate and do yoga daily, eat 95% organic, no hormones or processed food, no caffeine, no alcohol. I'm not sure what else I can do to reduce stress, as there is no reason for me to be stressed.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I was really hoping for a tumor, because the elevated cortisol is really affecting my entire life (inability to think clearly, moodiness, rage outbursts for no reason, constant nausea, no appetite, rapid external aging, water retention, skin so think it bleeds when I scratch etc.)

If you think of anything else that could help me reduce it (or anything else which may be causing it), please let me know.

If not, no worries. I realize this may not be an online question ;-)

Thank you for your time, and I will close the file tomorrow for you, either way.

I really appreciate your answers thus far.

With light, love, happiness and gratitude,

Answered by Dr. Shehzad Topiwala 3 days later

I do not think there is anything more valuable information that I can add to my answer. You may want to repeat the Dexamethasone suppression test again in three months time. You are what you think. Think you are healthy, stress-free and happy, and you will be likewise. My wishes to you as well.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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