November 10, 2009,
D.C. asks from Wheaton, IL on October 22, 2009
Hypothyroid - Taking Meds for 2 Years but STILL Have Bad Symptoms....
I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid 2 years ago after my son was born. I've been taking Synthroid (levothyroxine) now the whole time. Each time I go for a blood test I'm told my levels are normal. I do NOT feel normal. I've gained 30 pounds that I can NOT get off, be it with Weight Watchers or exercise. I am tired all the time, I am moody, my hair is getting thinner and thinner as I lose more of it. I have a hard time spitting out my words...my brain is just a fuzz ball. And on top of it I want to expand our family...but I do not feel right. Should I go to an endocrinologist?? I've only been seeing my gyno and family practioner so far. Would going on a different medicine help? It's like the docs see my levels are "normal," but don't listen to me when I describe my symptoms and they say I'm healthy and I have the go to get pregnant. Has anyone been in this boat?
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So What Happened?™
Thanks Ladies! I went to the endocrinologist and was tested for PCOS amongst other things. While my thyroid levels seem normal too, I was told I have a vitamin D deficiency which could be why I'm feeling so cruddy! I'm also switching my thyroid meds to non-generic because he said that could make a difference. So we shall see! I took your advice and went though, so thanks ladies!
A.R. answers from Chicago on October 22, 2009
I was diagnosed as hypothyroid 5 months after having my son. Within a month, I had gained (UGH) 15 pounds because my thyroid was so underactive. I went on synthroid and still couldn't lose the weight and then my TSH lowered to 1 and my doctor suggested another drug to use in conjunction with the synthroid called cytomel (It is essentially T3. Synthroid is composed of T4 and no T3 and some people have trouble converting the T4 to T3.). This is conjunction with Weight watchers and excercise helped me to lose the weight. On another note, my doctor also said that some people react better to armour thyroid so that is another option you might want to explore.
You have to remember "normal" is a relative term. Normal TSH can range from .4 to 4 but I never felt good until my TSH was under 2 and for me there is even a difference in a TSH 1 and TSH 2. You need to find the right level for you and to do this I highly recommend an endocrinologist. There were symptoms I described to my PCP that made her think that I was crazy (seriously) and then descibed the same symptoms to my endo and he said totally normal for people who are hypothyroid.
Also, just to clarify, if you are taking synthroid and you are hypothyroid you have and UNDERACTIVE thyroid not overactive as written in your post.
I hope this helps.
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T.B. answers from Chicago on October 22, 2009
I am hypothyroid too, for over 2 years now. I was on Synthroid for over a year, and finally asked my doctor if I could try Armour Thyroid. Synthroid only has T4, and Armour Thyroid has T3, T4, T2 and T1 (which doctors don't even talk about). I would suggest getting educated about your options. I found Mary Shomon's books wonderful and full of great insight. Her best is What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism. She talks a lot about natural vs. synthetic medications and how they can make a difference. Definitely check into it. Also, find an endocrinologist who is open to trying Armour Thyroid. I am currently on Armour and Synthroid, but I will warn you that there are some problems with finding Armour right now. There is another product called Nature Thyroid that you can try too. I've heard they will be easier to find again in November.
Good luck to you. I know it's not easy. Know you are not alone, and you deserve to find a solution that works for you and has you feeling better! Don't give up!
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Y. answers from Chicago on October 22, 2009
Hi I am in the same situation...You need find one doctor understand how you feel...read this book is very good and help you understand you thyroid : The Thyroid Solution Dr Ridha Arem...Y. ...Smile forever!
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L.C. answers from Chicago on October 25, 2009
D. - yes, you must find a GOOD endocrinologist. Here's what happened to me. I was trying to get pg and my TSH was supposedly in the "normal range" which was under 5 (this is hugely debated by the endocrinologists associations - there has been a debate that that level for what is considered normal should be under 3). I tried getting pg and miscarried twice. My reproductive endocrinologist (with Fertility Centers of Illinois - who I do NOT recommend) never said a word to me about my TSH level which at the time was on the very high end of normal. I went for my annual physical and my TSH came up at 5.7 - now above normal. My general physician, who BTW, was also trying to get pg with the same doc at FCI, said I absolutely should not try to conceive until my TSH was under 3 and she put me on synthroid.
MY RE at FCI STILL wanted me to proceed with the next cycle, but I said no way and I started to question her about why they didn't say anything to me about my FSH level - and she said, well, it was within the normal range. However, when I pressed her she admitted that the ideal TSH for trying to conceive is under 3. Now I was spending thousands on fertility treatments and she never raised this during my first two attempts - that I was outside the ideal range for ttcing. She also NEVER told me that for many women who have thyroid issues, they also have thyroid antibodies which are connected to higher rates of miscarriage. She actually had the nerve to say to me when I asked her after my second miscarriage if there were any immune issues I should be tested for - that it didn't matter because there were no proven solutions for immune issues. Hello! It mattered to me - that is MY decision to make (whether if I had immune issues if I wanted to try treatments).
Due to insurance issues, I ended up changing fertility clinics anyway - to Dr. Randy Morris in Naperville - who I HIGHLY recommend and he tested me for antithyroid antibodies and sure enough, they were present and very high. There is no "cure" for this although for some women if they're TSH lowers, so do their antibodies. He also put me on Selenium, which has been shown to help for some women. However, even though my TSH was at 2.5, and I was on Selenium, I miscarried again on my next try. Dr. Morris said if I kept trying he thought I might get pg and stay pg, but at 45, using donor eggs is expensive (mine were no good)and I'd been ttcing for 2.5 years, I just decided I was done and have now moved on to adoption.
So, you should a) find a good, proactive endocrinologist and b) you should be tested for antithyroid antibodies and c) not ttc until you get this under control - something is not right/normal. Every woman's "normal" level is different. I feel great at 2.5, although I am still struggling with weight gain. Trust your instinct and find a doctor who wants to help you.
J.S. answers from Chicago on November 10, 2009
Go to the endo. Even if your levels are normal have them run a thyroid antigen test for hoshimoto. Most docs stop running blood tests if the results are "normal". New research suggests those values don't tell the whole story.
Hope this helps.