So, there you are, dragging your patooty and wondering what in the world happened to you.

A friend suggests that you probably have thyroid problems. Another friend jumps in to say, no, you probably have adrenal problems. So you poke around the internet, getting nowhere. When they talk about the adrenal glands, they seem to repeat everything they say about the thyroid. And vice versa.

Truth to tell, the symptoms do overlap, sort of like a plate of spaghetti. They’re all over the place, and it’s hard to tell one from another.

Fatigue squeezes you in a bear hug. Sleep comes fitfully, and morning arrives at an indecent hour, sun or no sun. Your brain plays hide-and-seek, in an old codger, cranky sort of way. Emotions whip you one way, then the other, without much encouragement. In short, life’s a mess.

There are a few clues. If you’re cold all the time, it’s probably thyroid. If your body can’t make up its mind about whether to be hot or cold, it’s probably adrenal. If it varies from day to day, it’s probably both.

If you get dizzy when you stand up, or your hair changes color, or you crave salt, it’s probably adrenal.

Untreated thyroid problems cause adrenal problems, so guessing you have both wouldn’t be unreasonable. But you really need to know the deal to chase down a cure.

Doctors might give you a thyroid test, unreliable in any case. They probably won’t order an adrenal test unless you ask–and then they’ll order a blood test, signifying nothing.

The first thing you want to do is get a saliva adrenal test. Treating your thyroid when you don’t know what’s up with your adrenals is asking for trouble.

The saliva adrenal test is a take-home test, ordered by your doctor, in which you put a small, hard roll of cotton under your tongue at four specified times throughout the day and evening. Then you ship everything off in the prepaid envelope and wait for results.

Insurance covers the test, but doctors don’t like it–for reasons they don’t explain. Endocrinologists are trying to get it outlawed, even though it’s the only accurate test available. You might need to practice your assertiveness skills–which will absolutely thrill the average doctor. Change doctors if you have to, but get the saliva test.

Meanwhile, be testing your thyroid yourself the old-fashioned way. Get a mercury thermometer and shake it down each night in preparation for the morn. Then, first thing in the morning, before stirring, certainly before getting out of bed, put it under your armpit next to your skin and hold it there until, say, the snooze alarm goes off. Write down what it says. Do this for a week, then take an average of your morning temperatures. (Menstruating women should start on the second day of their period.)

Normal underarm termperatures range from 97.8 to 98.2 degrees. If you consistently run low, go to the doctor, outline your symptoms as concisely as possible, and present your temperatures. And ask for a natural, dessicated thyroid medicine, not the standard Synthroid or thyroxin.

Like the saliva test, natural thyroid is what works, but not what doctors like.

So, whether it’s thyroid or adrenal, you have to test both. That probably won’t happen unless you request it. Make that strongly request it. Maybe even change doctors. Do whatever it takes.

If you go down the path of least resistance by giving up just because a doctor–or anybody else–says no. you’re toast. Not insisting on the help you need and deserve because you want somebody to like you won’t make you healthy. You deserve healthy.

Author's Bio: 

Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She's a patient who's spent the past 30+ years studying, with great success, how to handle thyroid, adrenal and other endocrine problems. Her best credential is that doctors take one look at her energy and enthusiasm and tell her she’s doing ‘too well’ for somebody with pituitary problems. Subscribe to her free e-zine and get plugged in to her information at If you’re dragging your patooty, and the doctor says you’re just fine, this is the place to get answers.