I don't believe there exists one single cause behind hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysfunction in Lyme but this HPA stuff drives me up a jagged wall. How much better I'd feel if I could only figure out how to make my endocrine system function properly!
Fortunately, I do have a few insights to offer you in the area of HPA dysfunction which have helped me to control my out-of-control endocrine system. Perhaps they will help you, too.
First, endocrine foul-ups can be caused by, among other things: pituitary insufficiency, central inhibition of the hypothalamus, (the former may be caused by the latter) and/or a resultant decreased hormonal output due to Lyme neurotoxins.
Neurotoxins bind to receptor sites on the HPA axis. That means that bug garbage sticks to places on your pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands, and screws up hormone operations there. Agents such as chlorella, apple pectin and mucuna bean powder can help remove these toxins from their receptor sites.
HPA dysfunction may also occur as a result of nutritional deficiencies. Where digestive and other processes are inefficient, the entire endocrine system will be short on resources for building and utilizing hormones. Some Lyme sufferers have problems digesting protein, which is crucial for building biochemicals. And no raw materials means no finished product.
Consider also that the thyroid and adrenals are called upon to work extra hard when faced with illness, and problems may result from too many demands being placed upon these poor little glands. Further, other dysfunctions caused by Lyme can have a domino effect on the body, impacting the endocrine system. Insomnia, for example, can be a cause or result of hypothalamic suppression, which then affects the entire HPA-axis.
Supporting each gland or system with natural hormones or vitamin/mineral supplements can be useful for helping to stabilizing the entire system.
Emotional stress caused by Lyme neurotoxins, as well as current or past trauma, likewise impact the endocrine system, as anger, depression and anxiety induce the adrenal glands to secrete levels of adrenaline and cortisol beyond their level of comfort. When the adrenals burn out and are unable to produce sufficient cortisol for proper functioning, this impacts multiple body systems, including the HPA- axis.
And the list of causes goes on...
So what can you do? Eat right, maintain good sleep hygiene, support the endocrine system by keeping stress to a minimum, care for the other systems in the body, and, as mentioned above, take hormonal or vitamin/herbal supplements if necessary, as well as a high-quality neurotoxin binder.