I've done several blood tests and saliva tests for cortisol and DHEA,s. All come back normal these days, but they used to be way out of range. My most recent T (serum) is 430. When I was on TRT, I could certainly tell it was doing something to my adrenals.
Also I used to have hypothyroidism but that is treated with synthroid. The endo found out that I had low T after she diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. She prescribed 100mg t injections every other week at first.
A nurse injected me each week (I'm a girlyman when it comes to needles). They cut it down to 50mg then the mayo clinic cut me off, after some (adrenal?) problems devleoped.
Before getting cut off I had a problem with estradiol being way too high. So I asked the endo to give me an aromatase inhibitor but she refused. So I went to another doc, he prescribed arimidex. I had a reaction to that. Later went to the mayo and they cut me off everything. The panic attacks, high blood pressure, muscle loss and everything else that ensued.. terrible!!!
One curious thing is that about 2 months after this I went back to the original endo and begged her to give me an injection of T. She had the nurse give me 50mg of T enanthate, and WITHIN JUST 15 MINUTES, I was nearly UNCONCIOUS! I got sooooo dizzy and light headed that I had to pull over (was driving). Then the blood vessels in my neck enlarged, my eyes felt like they were coming out, like somebody was choking me around the neck. My heart was POUNDING... wife drove me to the ER, they hooked me up and did an x-ray. Said I just had GAS. WTF? I GUESS that nurse injected into a blood vein??? Does that sound familiar?
Anyway, I went back to the mayo and they did every type of blood test possible (related to adrenals, thyroid, hormones, etc.), not to mention MRIs, CT scans (of my brain, abdomen, etc.) even had blood flow tests of my nuts and so forth. Everything came back "just fine", except that my DHEA was a little high.
Shortly after this I met a quack doctor who tried me on Armour and Cortison tablets. I'm not sure, but I THINK this is when I became VERY sick. My blood pressure around 2 months after this treatment plan started shooting up from 90/60mmHg to 200/105, almost daily. I kept going to the ER.. cardiologist finally put me on all kinds of cardiac pulls. Finally cutting me down to just an extended release of metoprolol (still on today). Not sure if THAT helped my blood pressure or the fact that I fired the quack and resumed my regular synthroid. But those blood pressure flucations don't happen anymore, thank God.
A few months later I hired Dr. Crisler from MI to consult with one of my doctors in a teleconference. He ordered urine tests which also showed my DHEA to be too high. My ACTH was high, but cortisol was normal. Some things sort of suggested that my adrenals were burned out, however my cortisol was normal! So, they just shrugged it off (recent blood tests of ACTH show that itÃ???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s in normal range anyway). Some strange things, but nothing concrete.
Original blood tests before TRT showed my serum T at 190 (below low range) and Free T around 7 or 8 (also flagged low). I was not taking any supplements. I got to wondering if my body had ALWAYS been low in T. My brother has always been 2 times larger than me. I was never very big to begin with, so maybe that kid that who kicked me in the nuts in gradeschool did something. However, my blood flow tests showed nothing abnormal. I digress. Yet, I always have a strange pain in the left testicle. I digress again.
Fast forward 2 or 3 years after stopping HRT:
These days I take 2000mg Vitamin C, 100mcg selenium, 30mg zinc, 2mg copper (both zinc and copper are in normal range on lab results), 350mg magnesium, 1000IU D3, B vitamin complex, also taking Udo's oil for Omega 3 and Udo's probiotics. I also spend about 30 minutes in the sun without my shirt on (very important for T production). WITHOUT this regimen my testosterone would be flagged LOW on the blood tests (200ngml), but WITH this stuff, my T goes to 450ngml. That's significant! So if nothing else maybe this post will help somebody else.
While my T is now in normal range it's still too low for my liking. But I'm doing some exercises (takes me 2 days to recover), eating good (green tea, eggs, oatmeal, veggies, lean meat).
This might be a clue: my arms, face and chest are VERY cut, looking like 1% fat. But my belly is maybe 20% fat. This seems to be an indication that my cortisol or estrogen is high or T is low. But none of those are true (according to blood tests). I haven't checked SHBG or anything else lately, but I suspect everything is normal.
I know that T tells the body where to store fat. So maybe when I had elevated T levels, that might have permanently changed something as far as fat distribution so that now the high T levels are taken away, all that fat migrated downwards, more so than before the TRT. Possible?
Ok maybe I'm just fooling myself and I need more T. But that's a scary thought (given above circumstances).
The bottom line is I look and feel like crap, yet I don't want to go through all those medical issues again. If I can "explain away" why I look emaciated, I guess I could carry on with diet and exercise. At the same time I'm just a little concerned that something is terribly wrong.
Being in this position it is quite scary.. just doing "nothing" isn't right, and going to more "men's hormone" doctors also isn't right. There are doctors who will listen to these complaints and tell you "sure, you just need to take some cortisol, some progesterone, T shots - you will be fine". Scary thought.
A few interesting things I found online:
Testosterone (or one of its metabolites) can decrease the sensitivity of the adrenal glands, meaning that for a given amount of ACTH (a hormone excreted by the pituitary gland in the brain) less adrenal hormones are produced, including cortisol.
Testosterone replacement can blunt the cortisol response to ACTH. Without sufficient cortisol the ability of serotonin to inhibit glutamatergic activity in the lateral amygdala is greatly reduced. The amygdale is an area of the brain that is implicated in "flight or fight" stress response, in other words anxiety and panic attacks.
One of the metabolites of testosterone (namely estradiol via aromatisation of testosterone) can increase glutamatergic activity in the brain. Too much activity and we perceive that as stress, anxiety and panic.