Facebook Pixel
EmpowHER Guest

hi i was told i have low cortisol levels. Dr. gave me hydrocortisone to try to correct it. is this condition dagerous?

By Anonymous November 9, 2009 - 3:03am
Rate This

he also said its not addisons or cushings disease. lost weight and muscle. trying to find the answer to this for over a year. thank you very much

Add a Comment5 Comments


Yes, Cortisol can have a direct effect on our weight. If we have constant levels of too much cortisol in our systems, we gain weight. Conversely, it would seem that if we don't have enough cortisol, we can lose weight. (In fact, manufacturers of diet products try to wrongly cash in on this fact by selling so-called "cortisol-suppressing" weight-loss supplements.)

Please know that we at EmpowHer are not doctors! We are researchers and writers who try to find our readers the best information we can. It sounds like your endocrinologist is looking at the long-term effects of slowly stabilizing your cortisol, by telling you that weight loss will be slow and over time.

In addition to exploring the possible benefits of bio-identical hormones, you might be interested in finding and working with a naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic doctors treat the whole body as a system that works together. They focus on natural and holistic treatments and supplements meant to bring that system into balance. In some ways, it feels like this is what you are yearning for.

If you are interested in learning more about naturopathic doctors, here is their association website. It also has a box where you can search for those in your area:


Can I ask what you are doing now to try to build up your weight? Are you eating more calories, lean protein and monounsaturated fats?

November 18, 2009 - 9:52am

Thanks for the fast reply!!!
I have taking the hydrocortisone for 3 months now and Dr. said i need to take it for life. Just said adrenal insuffiency...did not say primary or secondary or Addisons. I assume its Addisons to have to stay on steroids for life. He also mention a auto-immune disorder causing the low cortisol.!!

The pills give me a little energy and appetite. Eat and dont gain nothing. It seems it just to maintain and not cure.

Found two places in this area for bio drs. I hope and pray this is the answer.

My question i was trying to find out from these drs. is... If the cortisol is low and there is insuffiency then does that cause weight loss and wasting. My endo says yes but need another opinion. He says i will gain a pound here and there and it will take a long time.

Thank you, I appreciate the time you took to answer.


November 17, 2009 - 10:19pm


Thank you so much for your update!!!

It has been about a week now since you have been taking the hydrocortisone; have you noticed anything different?

I think that it is smart of you to realize that all the hormones work together in our bodies. Feeling that you are "wasting away" is horrible! Where do you live, Leiana? Perhaps we can help you find a listing of doctors in your area who are experts in menopause and bioidentical hormones.

November 17, 2009 - 9:48am

Hi Diane

Thank you for the reply. I had the stimulation test which turned out fine except the dr. said i had low cortisol, practically non-existent! He put me on hydrocortisone 30 mg a day and he said i have to take this for life!!!! Also had thyroid checked which was normal. blood pressure is low. all tests have been normal except cortisol. hoping the steroids will put on some weight. but upper torso and arms are all bones.....Dr. said this is from the adrenal insuffiency.

I am 58 years old and been post meno for 5 years. Currently looking for a bio dr for hormones. I feel if the estrogen and progesterone are balanced the cortisol will rise. need answers fast for i feel like i am wasting away and cant get any dr. to listen.
Thank you, From Leiana

November 17, 2009 - 2:41am

Hi, Anon,

Welcome to EmpowHer! And thank you so much for your question.

For you and for those others reading this, here's an explanation of cortisol from our EmpowHer encyclopedia:

"Cortisol is manufactured from cholesterol by the adrenal glands. Its secretion is controlled by hormones released from the pituitary gland and hypothalamus . Cortisol levels vary according to a daily (circadian) rhythm , but peak at times of stress. It stimulates the central nervous system , increases water retention and blood sugar levels (available energy), stimulates the metabolism of proteins (to repair injuries), and regulates blood pressure. Cortisol is also an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic agent, and reduces the actions of the immune system . Molecules from the same family, such as cortisone, are used as medications to control inflammation, allergy (asthma), and graft rejection."

Can you tell us what tests you have had done?

Did your doctor test your thyroid levels? How about your adrenal levels?

Did he mention possible adrenal exhaustion?

Is your blood pressure normal?

May I ask how old you are, and whether you are in perimenopause or menopause?

Please let us know some more information so we can research this for you, and perhaps ask a doctor on our board of medical experts. In the meantime, here's an article with links you might be interested in:


November 9, 2009 - 10:26am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.