Adrenal Fatigue Testing

Adrenal Fatigue Testing

Adrenal Fatigue Testing

There are several options for Adrenal Fatigue Testing, including the free at-home Pupil Test, Blood Pressure test; and the 24 Hour Saliva Test. These testing options may give you some information in order to have more insight when you talk with a good doctor.

Symptoms Checklist

If you answered yes to at least half the Adrenal Fatigue symptoms, in particular the symptoms related to low energy and poor sleep that’s a good first indicator of Adrenal Problems.

The Pupil Test

Adapted from Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James L. Wilson, you can do this test at home yourself for free and will give you quick insight about whether there might be an adrenal fatigue. You need a chair, a small flashlight, a mirror, a watch or timer, and a dark room.

  • Darken the room and sit in a chair in front of a mirror
  • Angle a flashlight from the side (not directly into it), and shine the light toward your pupil
  • With the other eye observe, holding for two or three minutes
  • Normally a pupil will stay contracted in the bright light
  • With adrenal fatigue or hypoadrenia, the pupil will not hold its contraction. Within two minutes the pupil will start to dilate and this will last 30-40 seconds before it recovers and contracts again.
  • Make note when the dilation started, how long the dilation lasted, and the date.
  • Let the eye rest
  • Re-take the test monthly
  • If needed, ask a friend to help you with the test

Blood Pressure Test

Also according to Dr. James L. Wilson 1, blood press is an important indicator of adrenal function. Wilson says if your blood pressure drops when you stand up from a lying position this almost always indicates low adrenals. For me personally, when I stood up too fast I would nearly black out!

This test can be done at home. All you need is a blood pressure gauge which does not require a stethoscope. After you know how to use the blood pressure gauge here are the steps:

  • Lie down quietly for 10 minutes
  • Then while laying down take your blood pressure
  • Next stand up and immediately measure your blood pressure
  • Normal blood pressure will rise about 10-20 mmHg
  • If it drops when you stand up this likely means you have some form or hypoadrenia, adrenal fatigue, or you may be dehydrated
  • The more severe the drop the more severe the hypoadrenia
  • Dizziness or light-headedness might accrue when standing, so it is wise to do this test with someone beside you, or next to something you can grab like a chair

For more about the Blood Pressure test see Dr. Wilson’s book., Adrenal Fatigue.

24 Hour Saliva Test

The Saliva Hormone test is the single best lab test available for testing adrenal fatigue 2,. This test is done at home, but  typically it is not covered by insurance. The cost runs about $120-150, but it is more accurate than blood or urine tests which are covered by insurance.   The test measures cortisol levels at four different times of the day to show how your cortisol varies during the day:

  • Between 6-8 AM (within one hour after waking and cortisol is at its highest)
  • Between 11AM-12 PM
  • Between 4-6 PM
  • And between 10PM-midnight

Dr. Wilson also notes that, when doing the saliva test he usually measures DHEA-S (but not necessarily DHEA) because the adrenals are a primary source of DHEA-S.

The 24 hour Saliva test can be ordered by a doctor or by patients directly through these labs:



  1. Adrenal Fatigue, .79
  2. Adrenal Fatigue, Dr. James L. Wilson, p. 83
Miss LizzyAdrenal Fatigue Testing

Fear of Failing My Lab Work

Ever since my first lab work for Hypothyroid testing came back “normal,” I have a terrible fear of failing my labs. I always knew my body wasn’t working right, but year after year the lab work claimed otherwise. Frustrating! And the doctors only believed the numbers, they didn’t believe me. It was a dreadful feeling. In my heart I knew something was wrong.  But somehow I felt like a liar, because see there, the numbers don’t lie so it must be me. But how does one actually fail at lab work?

Its easy to feel judged and criticized if doctors only look at labs. Therein lies the problem.  It wasn’t my lab work that was failing, I hadn’t found the right kind of doctor, someone who looked at the lab work but also listened to how I felt.

When I finally found the doctor who treated me (let’s call him Dr. B) he explained that lab work has ranges of normal, but “normal” is different for everyone. In addition to lab work, he said we needed to look at symptoms, as well as a my “sense of self” (meaning, trust my own instinct about my health). Hallelujah!  This philosophy about medicine was totally different from my past experiences.

Here is a great example of where symptoms and labs didn’t line up, where my lab work failed me.  In my situation, my TSH was low before getting treatment. Currently with treatment my TSH is .01.  By the standards of many doctors and Endocrinologists this TSH level is considered suppressed, which means they would take me off thyroid medicine immediately (horrifying). Yet with suppressed TSH, I feel better now than I ever felt in my life.  My Hypothyroid symptoms are almost all gone. Its confusing when the labs say one thing but your body says something else. Luckily my doctor looks beyond labs.

Still many doctors and Endocrinolgists are using the unreliable TSH test results to diagnose Hypothyroidism. According to my experience and patients on Stop the Thyroid Madness TSH is not a reliable marker for Thyroid function. If treatment is based entirely on the TSH test, how many people out there are “failing at lab work” and not getting treated?

So beware any doctor who makes you feel like a Hypothyroid failure!  It may not be the lab work after all.




Miss LizzyFear of Failing My Lab Work