or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › adrenal fatigue - low blood pressure - what to do??
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

adrenal fatigue - low blood pressure - what to do??

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have just found out that I have low blood pressure due to adrenal fatigue. Now that I know what it is I am noticing it all the time - lightheadedness all the time. :
I have been doing some research and not finding much helpfull info. They say avoid caffeine as it depletes the adrenals. But I use the coffee to make the LBP headache go away.

So. I'm looking for 2 things:
1. How to fix the long-term problem of adrenal fatigue. I have a great naturopath to help with this one, actually, so am not too worried, except that it's probably going to take more changes than I am willing to do - ie. reduce stress.
2. How to fix the immediate problem of low blood pressure without drinking coffee or eating chocolate (as was my mom's perscription )

I don't even know simple things like hat kind of exercise is best (I'm assuming that exercise is a good idea).

thanks for any help you have.

post #2 of 24
My dh had a dx of adrenal "something" this past fall. I'm guessing it was fatigue? He'd gone to 2 drs who told him it was his imagination before he went to our ND. Yes, it took awhile but he followed orders and is back to his normal peppy self. He didn't have the low blood pressure issues, though. I would just call your ND and ask him about that, too. He'd prob. be a great resource.

How about drinking mate? Would that be a good compromise?

Good luck--Iknow how hard it was for dh.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Happy. It was my ND who made the diagnosis. I am confident that she will be helpfull, I'm hust trying to get my head around what is going on. It's a wake-up call of sorts. Like a favourite saying says:
At first God tickles us with a feather to get our attention, if that doesn't work he starts throwing bricks. (OK, I paraphrase badly, sorry)

And at least now I know why I seem to be overwhelmed all the time. (trying to be optimistic )

Was there anything that your DH did that made an especially big difference?

post #4 of 24
When I had adrenal fatigue, I stopped drinking coffee and the naturopath suggested I eat licorice for the low blood pressure (real licorice, like the kind Panda makes). I also drank licorice tea. Within 6 mths I felt much better, and had more consistent energy throughout the day.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
BellinghamCrunchie - Really, is that all it took?? Sounds so simple. (as I sip on my mocha) :
It's good to hear that people make it through.

Anyone know about the effects of licorice?? We are TTC and I am nursing my toddler and I wouldn't want to jepordize that.

post #6 of 24
That's all it took for me. But my naturopath said the adrenal fatigue was caused by coffee drinking. That might not be how it is in your case.

I don't know about the effects of licorice on conception or gestation. I do know it raises blood pressure, something you probably wouldn't want to do during the second and third trimesters.
post #7 of 24
I've been battling adrenal fatigue for 9 yrs now. Mine was fairly severe and it's been on ongoing battle. I've tried countless natural methods to support my adrenals and spent more than $20K out of pocket. I've read everything I can get my hands on about the adrenals. I don't say this to be discouraging but to let you know my personal experience with it.

My #1 piece of advice is to research, research, research! With an disorder that is so little recognized, you must know more than anyone treating you and advocate for yourself. I'd be happy to give you some links where you can get more info. Just send me an email (I don't check this board regularly).

As the previous poster stated, licorice root will improve blood pressure. Make sure your source doesn't say it has been de-glycyrrhizined since glycyrrhizin is the chemical that increases blood pressure. As your adrenals function better, your blood pressure will improve also. Licorice is not recommended during preg, but I believe that is because it can dramatically increase blood pressure. You will probably want to research this further to make sure it's safe for you while ttc.

What helped me more than anything else (and I tried everything I heard might possiblity make a difference as my condition was extremely debilitating) was traditional acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Within a few months, my periods went from 7 months apart to 6 wks, my extreme bruising stopped, and my energy increased. It didn't completely resolve the matter for me, however.

If you haven't already, I would recommend getting your thyroid checked since thyroid and adrenal problems often go hand-in-hand. (I am now hypothyroid after yrs of my thyroid trying to compensate for poor adrenal function.) This is especially important if you are ttc since hypothyroidism can affect fertility and fetal development.

If nothing else works, you can always obtain some bio-identical adrenal hormones from a compounding pharmacy to bring your hormone levels up to normal. If I had it to do over, I would take this option first and save myself the expense and disappointment of so many ineffective treatments. The downside is that it sometimes makes adrenal fatigue chronic because your body may depend on the hormone supplement instead of making the hormone itself. This is something you definitely want to research before doing since it can have lifelong implications.
post #8 of 24
First of all, i want to point out that everyone is different. what works for some may not work for others.

I've had similar problems, twice I've been really sick. The same pattern both times: extreme stress, no time to eat, eating mostly simple carbs, lots of sugar, not enough sleep.

Out of all these i would say that SLEEP is the greatest remedy of all. Without enough of it, you can't expect your adrenals to recover. I would also research the sorts of foods that strengthen the adrenals, and what weakens them. Coffee for sure. It'll whip your adrenals so hard they don't know how to function on their own. Eventually they collapse. Sugar too.
Adrenals are made up of lots of vitamin C (it's the best source of vitamin C for people in arctic regions), so they thrive on natural sources of it--don't get synthetic or so-called "food-based" vit C--it's strong medicine and your body won't know how to use it properly. I use amla-C from Pure Planet, just powdered dried amla berries with spirulina. Unpasteurized sauerkraut is another great source of natural C.

For me the answer was a diet that stressed a higher level of animal proteins (specifically the higher purine ones like read meat), and less carbs. It worked for me because of my body's specific metabolism (protein type). It works for many others too, probably because we're all caucasian descendent of people who traditionally subsisted on a high-protein/fat diet. But someone with a carbo type metabolism would need a high carb-low fat diet to function optimally, so if they suffered from weak adrenals, they would not heal on a diet like mine. But what's common for all types with sugar-imbalances is to always eat before getting hungry--this may mean every two hours until you reach some semblance of normalcy.
Check out the book "The metabolic typing diet" by Wolcott. The premise is that once your body is getting the appropriate nutrients (right proportion of macro- and micronutrients) for your specific body type, your body will heal on its own. So it matters little what symptoms you're having in determining the right diet for you. However, symptoms is a way for your body to communicate with you, so that you may focus your attention on what needs your loving care at the moment.

On a more spiritual/emotional note, each organ/gland represents a certain emotion. Weakened adrenals may indicate that you easily feel discouraged. I know this was very, very true for me, and changing my outlook on life was a tremendous boost to my physical well-being. My entire life has been filled with intense feelings of discouragement, and my adrenals have been pretty weak from birth. If you look at dis-ease as being a powerful catalyst for deep change in your life, then the road to health may seem less freightening and daunting (at least for me it stopped me from thinking "how can I beat this thing"--it wasn't about curing per se, but about letting my body guide me and generate much needed change in my life--I'm still on that road)

There's also a great book called "Adrenal Fatigue". I forget the author, but if you do a search on amazon you should find the right book if it has a subtitle containing the phrase "21st century". It's tremendously helpful.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the stories, ladies. It's good to hear that other people are having the same struggles. Particularly, someone said it was debilitating - that made me feel much less of a wimp!! All the stuff I read on the internet says that low blood pressure really isn't as bad as high, as if we should be thankfull.

It's pretty clear to me that this was caused by stress (or maybe how I react to stress) as well as lack of sleep. Coffee is a secondary thing that probably makes it worse in hindsight. DD is a pretty bad sleeper - fights going to bed and then gets up at night sometimes. I work outside the home so we get up pretty early during the week, run ourselves down and then recover on the weekends. If it wasn't for dh's job changing I would likely see if I could work 4 days a week - take off wednesdays. I think that would help.

My ND checked my thyroid and it's ok. She would recommend adrenal supplements but not while nursing, and certainly not while pg. I'll have to ask about licorice. I am thinking about getting a BP monitor so I can see really how bad this is. It would be nice to know objectively.

Someone said they had websites?? Please post if you can!!

thanks again.
post #10 of 24
Here's a few links to get you started:


I think James Wilson's book on Adrenal Fatigue (mentioned by pp) is pretty good though I'm a little uncertain how effective many of the treatments are if you have a more severe case. You'll find a lot of info about adrenals if you read about chronic fatigue syndrome too. And I'm also a fan of some of the older reading on adrenal fatigue such as William McJefferies or John Tintera. I'm surprised that your dr doesn't want to treat you while nursing/preg since treatment would restore your body to a natural healthy balance, but I suppose it does depend on the kind of treatment too. If your cortisol levels are below normal, that can increase preg risks so it might be worthwhile to find out what the actual #s are if you are concerned.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Oh, I didn't mean to say she didn't want to treat it, just not with the supplements she usually uses - I think they are hormonal - or animal extracts or something.
I've added b5 so far, and she recommended I max out my benefits on stress-reducing things like massage and accupuncture, etc.. More to come depending on how it goes. She didn't seem to think it was too severe.

thank you so muck for the websites - I've got weeks of reading ahead of me - too bad I will soon be on vacation where there's no internet! Maybe that's a good thing, though!

post #12 of 24
Thanks for the great info and stories! I've finally found a doctor who knew how to test for the right things, and found out I'm hypothyroid, estrogen dominant and have erratic adrenal function. He did a blood test for thyroid...and I think a BIG part of knowing if it's ok or not is knowing the right tests....most will only do...I think it's STSH. He did that, as well as free T4, free T3 and antibodies. From what I understand the STSH often won't show much of a problem till your thyroid has nearly given up. If you test the other stuff you can catch it earlier and treat so it doesn't have a chance to get *so* bad and can be more easily managed and corrected.

For the hormone and adrenal tests he had me do saliva testing. You can check it out more if you want at www.salivatest.com. He said that method has been around a long time and is the most accurate. Unfortunatly though most insurance companies don't want to pay for it. But for me, it was worth the money to finally find an answer for my excrutiating cramps and other symptoms. I was SOOOO thrilled to find out how far off all my levels are...that means there's finally less mystery and some idea where to start to treat and fix things!

My adrenal function is just erratic...too high in the mornings tapering to too low at night. He doesn't want to use any sort of meds or supplements especially since I'm ttc, but he gave me a few handouts on life changes to make. Basically to summerise: eat tons more salt (assuming your blood pressure is low to normal) drink tons of water (1 oz. per 2 pounds body weight) eat every two hours you're awake, sleep a lot, dont' eat 2 hours before bedtime, and reduce your stress levels.

When I have time I can type out both the handouts he gave me, if anyone wants me to. They also have a lot of helpful suggestions on how to follow those changes, and on what specific foods to snack on. You can also add 1/8th teaspoon or so of salt to your water...I just do one or two glasses a day that way. It's kinda weird at first but you get used to it.

I'm making a lot of changes all at once and it's early on so I don't know exactly what to expect. I started thyroid medicine (levoxyl) and progesterone cream at the same time so it's hard to know what changes to attribute to which. But since Monday...I noticed that I've been ravenously hungry! But that's tapering down thank goodness hehe. I had that happen once before when I went on Atkins...first few days I just couldn't get enough food, maybe while my system was adjusting? Also the extra salt especially in the water had made it a LOT easier for me to drink more water! And the biggest and most exciting change.....I'm not craving sweets at ALL! I NEVER thought that could happen for me! I used to crave them so badly..that's all I wanted to eat and I'd have stomach aches until I got some sugar. It's weird cause I never wanted much salt...but since I'm getting it...yeah I still *like* sweets some, but I don't really want them that much! Now what I like best is the natural sugars in fruits...like nectarines, plums and honeydew melon. I actually served myself a bowl of icecream...took a couple bites and put it back! My husband is totally shocked and so am I hehe. But I guess it's a lot healthier so I'm sure not complaining!
post #13 of 24
Airmide, how did you find your dr? Do you mind sharing what general part of the country you are in? It seems like folks out west are having a much easier time finding practioners. I'm in OH and live in a community very entrenched in allopathic med. I would LOVE to find a dr who knows something--anything about the adrenals!
post #14 of 24
I've only seen my doctor a couple times so I'm not positive how much I love him across the board, but he's been very helpful and knowledgable about this issue so I'm very thankful for that!

I actually found him in a sort of roundabout way. I'd pretty much self-diagnosed with low progesterone and hormonal imbalances and suspected I had a thyroid problem as well. But I kept getting the runaround from a lot of other doctors, including a laproscopic surgery I didn't need! I didn't know where to start with finding a doctor and didn't like what I was hearing whenever I tried someone new. So I decided to call a local birthing center that's gotten rave reviews here, and see if by any chance their midwives had any recomendations of fertility doctors or obgyn's.

I spoke with one of the midwives and she agreed with me about my self-diagnoisis. She didn't know any doctors to refer me to, but suggested that I look into buying over the counter progesterone cream at one of the local whole foods markets. I LOVE the pharmacists at our local supermarket where I usually get my prescriptions filled...so I decided to call there first and see if they had any knowledge about what the best brand might be or anything like that. She said she didn't really know, but gave me the number to the local compounding pharmacy (which one of my best friends had already recomended I try....I should just learn she's always right, and save myself time! hehe...thanks again DLsGroovyMom!!)

I spoke directly to the pharmacist there and asked him what the best brand of over the counter cream was, and he said "I can tell you some about it but I do NOT recomend over the counter, because it's not really FDA regulated so you really dont' ever know what you're getting or not getting!" That seemed like a darned good reason to me, and I really wanted to know for sure what was wrong and have a doctor test me anyway....so he offered to give me the names of some local doctors! I called a couple, and went with the first guy he gave me. He's a GP, and been in hormone replacement therapy for years and years, though he's a few tests away from officially having his specialty. He listened to my symptoms, took one look at my chart and agreed with me that I needed to be tested. And now I finally have some answers and hope of improvements!!

So yeah, I'd agree that it's probably a lot easier to find "crunchy" doctors on the west coast! But I guess it can still be hard no matter where you are.

I'd suggest you take the advice I should have taken from my friend earlier hehe. She gave me a link to find compounding pharmacies in my area. http://www.iacprx.org/site/PageServe...=lookup_survey ....let me know if that link doesn't work, or just go back to www.iacprx.org and see if you can find the link from there. I think you have to register with an email address and then you can look stuff up.

Then call whoever is nearest you and speak directly to the head pharamcist, and see if they have any suggestions of doctors in your area. Of course for adrenal issues it's not exactly the same, but I'd guess HRT specialists might also have more info on adrenal issues than your average doctor. So ask the pharmacist for recomendations of doctors who are experienced in adrenal issues OR HRT.

You can also check out www.salivatest.com . That's the lab I got my tests done through. And sometimes depending the state you're in, I think you can ever request the test kit through them and get the tests done without a prescription, though I'll say it's INCREDIBLY helpful to have a good doctor to help you interpret the results, and write you prescriptions for anything else you might need. The saliva test was for cortisol levels and hormone levels...then my doctor also did the blood test for thyroid and some other stuff.

I'll see if I can find the handouts he gave me and find out how long it takes me to type them up hehe.
post #15 of 24
Ok please forgive typos, this is a lot to type and I may not correct everything, hopefully you can figure out whatever I meant to say hehe.

Starts with a little piece of paper with 5 suggestions:


1. If you are on medication for, or have high blood pressure - be careful with salt. Otherwise you can have lots of salt/salty foods.

2. You need 8 hours of restful sleep - every night.

3. You need 1 oz of water for every two pounds of body weight. More if you do perspiration generating activities

4. You need to be decaffeinated - caffeine is very damaging to the adrenals. It is acceptable to have decaf beverages and 1 oz of dark chocolate daily.

5. Meals or snacks every two hours are needed to stablize blood sugar and energy levels.


-Be in bed before 10:00 PM
-Sleep in until 9:00 AM whenever possible
-Lok for things that make you laugh.
-Eliminate the energy robbesr (things in your life that drain yoru energy).
-Make your lifestyle a healing one
-Do something pleasurable every day
-Whenever you are not enjoying your life, think of three thngs you can do to take action.
-Notice at least one small everyday thing that you are grateful for each day.
-Take your dietary supplements regulary
-Move your body and breate deeply
-Believe in your ability to recover
-Use you rmind as a powerful tool
-Keep a journal - jot down your experiences each day
-Eat the foods your body needs
-Learn which foods make you feel bad (keep a list of them)
-Try having a glass of water int he morning containing 1/8-1/2 teaspon of salt stirred in until dissolved (only if blood pressure is normal to low and no fluid retention problems)
-Salt yoru food; salt your water
-If you eat fruit, have somethign salty with it before and after the fruit and chew well
-Combine non-starchy carbohydrates, protien and fats at every meal.
-Eat an abundance of food the way nature grows them.
-Eat lots of colored vegeatbles
-Chew your food well
-Take the power and responsiblity of your health itno your own hands.
-Make whatever lifestyle changes you need to make to regain your health
-Laugh several times a day
-Enjoy your recovery
-Take Usana essentials - mega anti oxidant and chelated minerals at 2:00 pm with a snack to avoid a 3:00-4:00 PM low.

there's a little note at the bottom saying "By Dr. James L. Wilson N.D., D.C. Ph.D. Adrenal Fatigue, The 21st Century Stress Syndrome"

and then....lets hope my hands dont' fall off at the wrists lol.....


1. Unless you have underlying/preexisting high blood pressure, low blood pressure is common. If you do not have high blood pressure, you well ineed salt/salty foods.

2. If nausea/uneasy stomach prevents you from eating for sevearl hours after waking, sip a glass of water with a small amount of added salt.

3. Low blood sugar/hypoblycemia is common. You must have somethng to eat (small snack at least) every 2-2 1/2 hours while awake. High glycemic/rapidly metabolized food will aggraveate low blood sugra. Avoid them as well as caffeine and decongestants. For a detailed list of glcymic index/load of of many foods see New Glucose Revolution.

4. If you are allergic/sensitive to any of the following recommendations then do not incorperate into your diet.

5. Protein must be consumed at each meal or snack. For each snack select one item from column A and one item from column B

Edamame (5-6 pods)
Jerky (3-4 medium pieces)
Laughing Cow Lyte Cheese (1 wedge)
(regular cheese 1/2-1 oz. may be substituted if your cholesterol is very good)
Nuts - Hazelnuts (8-10)
Walnuts (5-6) (but I read they may interfere with some thyroid meds)
Pecans (5-6)
Raw Almonds (5-6)
Brazil nuts (5-6)
Peanuts (8-10)
Soy nuts (two level teaspoons)

Broccoli - 1/8 c.
Cauliflower - 1/8 c.
Celery sticks (2 medium)
Carrots (2 medium)
Snow Peas (4 pods)
Sweet Peppers
Prickly pear cactus fruit
Apple - 1/2
Pear 1/2
Peach 1/2
Nectarine 1/2
Mandarin Orange 1/2
Grapefruit 1/2
Star Fruit 1
Plumb 1
Grapes (8-10)
Berries 1/4 c.

This should not increase your total 24 hour calorie intake.

edited to hopefully fix the columns!
post #16 of 24
I love this book. It helped me a lot. Especially about resting whenever feeling the need to. I used to resist it, thinking I shouldn't be tired.
post #17 of 24
Thank you for taking the time to write all that! Your poor hands!

I really appreciate your suggestions. It sounds like I've about exhausted my options for drs here. There are 3 compounding pharmacists in my city, and I've spoken at length with all of them. There are 2 ob-gyns in town who help with progesterone and other female hormone imbalances using natural compounded formulas, but no one to help with adrenal problems. I guess I would have to look at a long distance dr-patient relationship to find that here. I paid out of pocket for my circadian saliva testing a few yrs ago which was very revealing (much like yours--cortisol levels were higher in the morning and dropping below normal the rest of the time). I am feeling like I might need to test my levels again.
post #18 of 24
Hi mama's, I'm not an expert on adrenal fatigue, but I have looked into it & I think I *might* have a hormonal imbalance (low progesterone would be my guess.)

My third Dc was born in March & I have been having an all around hard time. My joints ache & I have a whole list of whacky symptoms, oddly enough, the only two places I've found my symptoms are on the Lyme disease symptom list & the menopause list - LOL. I searched endlessly online for postpartum joint pain, etc & found ONE source of comfort - 20 pages on a message board (BabyCenter) of postpartum mom's with severe joint pain. I said that my hunch was that it was hormonal, probably really low progesterone & one mama recently had her hormone levels tested, her progesterone was <.02, that's LESS than a post-menopausal woman's should be!

Anyhow, back on track...I found a couple of resources during my searching & like the PP said, the compounding pharmacists seem to be the most knowledgeable about this stuff. I spoke to one local to me, but I also found two online sources, I'll post the info:

Pete Heuseman, super nice compounding pharmacist who *should* be a doctor! 1-800-728-0288, he will need to talk to your Ob/Gyn or possibly GP to prescribe bio-identical hormones if you both want to take that route. Their website is www.BPharmacySolutions.com & you can email him at info@bpharmacysolutions.com He can send you the saliva test & is so nice, he'll talk to your doctor about everything & will explain everything, the rest of the staff is really knowledgeable as well.

This other site by Dr. Roby of the Roby Institute www.onlineallergycenter.com
talks about a "hormone allergy" as he calls it. He also talks a lot about adrenal fatigue.

I would just read what it says on the Roby Institute's site & then call Pete Heuseman, try to ask specifically for him, but his coworkers have been helpful too. I just think he has a lot of experience. He is the resident pharmacist on the menopause site where I found all of my symptoms, the women adore him there!

HTH some.
post #19 of 24
When this happened to me I took an herbal algae complex along with catnip. It helped strengthen my system and regulate the adrenals like it needed to be. Also make sure you take a mineral supplement.
post #20 of 24
Try sea salt in water - use a real sea salt, like Celtic sea salt or Redmond Real Salt, that has not been kiln dried or bleached or anything. Add a little lemon juice.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Women's Health
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › adrenal fatigue - low blood pressure - what to do??