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Cushing's Syndrome

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    Does anyone have any experience or thoughts on Cushing’s Syndrome?

    This post could probably go in the stress topic, but I’ve been researching constant high levels of cortisol and think it should go here.
    I feel like my entire life has been full of stressful times starting with childhood sexual abuse, to a dysfunctional family life, to running away from home at 17. At 21, I got weight loss surgery, even though I had zero health problems because you know, being fat is the worst thing in the world (been a fattie my whole life). At 22, I was diagnosed with meningoencephalitis. I lost A LOT of weight with a combination of not eating enough and exercising 3 hours a day since that is all I could do in my life due to the pain from the virus. I was finally healed of that a year later, but continued to workout excessively and have restrictive/neurotic eating habits. Keep in mind, that while I did not workout excessively throughout my childhood/youth, I did have disordered eating, probably stemming from the abuse. I’ve also had multiple surgeries up to this point.

    In 2005, I met my husband, moved, got married, then three months into marriage had a traumatic experience with an ectopic pregnancy. Started gaining weight, dealing with depression, and other mental crap, plus not really exercising.

    In 2009, I was exercising more, mainly jogging in the dirt trails and lifting weights, plus trying on new diets, like Atkins and The Clean Eating Diet.

    Finally in 2011, I found 180 Degree Health because I knew that having a waking temperature of 95F was not normal. Did some searching and found Matt’s site. Gained more weight from re-feeding, plus stopped exercising, but mentally felt better and more free. Earlier in 2011, before finding Matt’s stuff, I injured my back lifting weights.

    The pain has gotten worse over the course of 2 years, and debilitating specifically since last August. So, I feel as though I continue to be in a constant state of stress now. This back pain has been awful, along with other crappy problems.

    I re-read this: and keep wondering if I have Cushing’s Syndrome. I have ‘moon face’, plus over the last year, have developed that ‘buffalo hump’. Facial hair growth, fatigue, tender muscles/bones, just to name a few.

    Sorry for the novel. Does anyone have experience with CS?

    Matt Stone

    Cushing’s is induced a lot more often by drugs than by “natural causes.” Most refer to having chronic high cortisol as something like “chronic hypercortisolism.” The Potbelly Syndrome by Russ Farris is a good primer on that. The Cortisol Connection by Shawn Talbott also isn’t bad.

    Exercise is generally thought to lower total cortisol exposure, and many use it for pain relief as well as stress relief. So I wouldn’t necessarily equate exercise with stress. For many, it’s an acute stress that lowers the chronic variety. As long as you don’t injure yourself doing it of course!

    The more exercise I do, the less back pain I have. It’s good to be very active as long as you are well-fueled and well-rested.


    Hey Matt- what sort of drugs tend to induce Cushing’s? Would antidepressants/ psychiatric drugs be a candidate? I know folks who are the walking image of Cushing’s who are on those sorts of meds, and wonder whether long term med use could be at play.


    Thanks for your reply. I’ll look into those books you mentioned. I did read that if you take steroids for a long period of time, it could cause CS. When I was ill the 1st time I was on steroids for months at a time, but that was 10+ years ago. I’ve had times where I’ve gotten corticosteroid shots in various places on on my body, too. With Rob’s questions, I’ve been on and off SSRI’s.

    I guess I’m just trying to figure out my health and when I search chronic cortisol, Cushing’s always comes up!

    I would love to resume exercise, but with this back injury, I can barely stand and/or walk for 5 minutes without needed to collapse from pain. My GP thinks it’s either herniated discs in my lumbar or spondylolisthesis. Getting an MRI has proven near impossible because I’m too effing fat. While the boards will hold my weight, the tube is too narrow. Even their ‘open’ MRI’s are tube-like.

    I’m going to try swimming, but even getting out of the house is painful and mentally exhausting.

    Sorry to vent a little, I’m not doing so well these days :P

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