If i were a guy, the whole day would have gone smoother.
The test recommended by my new Naturopathic doctor required spit, lots of it. Four vile vials, in fact.
i think spitting is gross. But spit i did.
The point of the test was to check hormonal balances, one of which is cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. Cortisol is related to stress, something we all deal with daily. Here's a great article on About.com on the Cortisol-Stress connection that explains what cortisol is responsible for and how stress affects it.
But why saliva? Why spitting instead of the pee-all-day-and-save-it-in-an-embarrassingly-large-jug, like my Kaiser health care had me do? According to Dr. Ballew, my Doctor of Naturopathic Sciences and new friend in healthcare, the urine test only measures the overall cortisol level, when what is needed to see how the adrenals are functioning is to see the various levels throughout the day. Like Dr. Ballew explained to me, and the article also explains, the way the hormone should work is to be highest after you have just slept, since you have (allegedly) just awakened from refreshing, restorative sleep. There is a natural downward curve throughout the day in its production, leading at last to the lowest levels at bedtime, when we need to be relaxed and ready for that (alleged) refreshing sleep.
BUT, what are some of the most common complaints with Fibromyalgia? A lack of restorative, refreshing sleep, waking up tired, and general fatigue. Then there's that chronic pain issue, the generalized aching, burning pain. Studies have shown sleep deprivation can cause--guess what--pain. The brain needs good sleep to repair itself or it becomes impaired.
My cortisol level seems to be on its own special little curve--below normal when i wake, then leveling out about 4 pm. But no dropping slowly till bedtime, just full speed ahead at the 4 pm. level. Could this explain the poor sleep i experience? Maybe the difficulty waking up? (Never having been a morning person you can only imagine how Fibro has taken that to new depths of un-morningness.)
If this ends up having a large impact on my health, but how many other Fibromyalgia sufferers are slogging along with the same problem, but they don't have a lovely Dr. Ballew, Naturopath, on their team? I do wonder. Symptoms are many and varied in FM (Fibromyalgia) with some similarities, but could this be one of the big causes? Stress=stressed adrenals that perform poorly=bad mornings and bad nights. Hmm.
My new supplement is made from pig adrenals. Sounds gross, but if i can get a better night's sleep and have a better morning, i'll pig 'em down.
Skimmer's recap: Turns out that spitting can be our friend, but aren't you glad i didn't put an illustration of it up there at the top of the page?