Just Diagnosed with a Low Thyroid, HELP!

Updated on January 26, 2009
D.K. asks from Sarasota, FL
28 answers

Hi all, I have been having lots of muscle and joint aches and pains on and off for the past year. In and out of different doctors, not one could tell me what was wrong, except that my SED rate was high. Finally I sent myself to an endocronologist who told me I have a low thyroid. All he did was call me in Armor thyroid. No information was given to me on anything. Will I need to take this for the rest of my life? I don't want to take a pill for the rest of my life. Is there anyway I can heal my thyroid on my own? Also, I've been hearing about there being a difference between autoimmune hypothyroid and just plain hypothyroid. I just need some advice.

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K.A.

answers from Saginaw on

I didn`t want to have to take a pill either BUT--if you are feeling miserable now-it`ll only get worse! I am extremely hyper and I felt terrible for a while-I was tested by my family dr. and I was on the high end of low-so he put me on Synthroid. I am back to my hyper self and never want to feel miserable like I was! There may be other options out there? I did hear of something a while back but can`t remember? I will try and find it and let you know.

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L.H.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,
I'm not sure if you want to take anything synthetic - I think the best anyone should be on is something as close to what our body can work with... you can call Dr. Joel Wallach on his radio show, 3 pm eastern weekdays and be ready to have a pen and paper ready so you can write down what he recommends. The number is 888-379-2552... You can ask him any of your questions...

All the best,
L.

1 mom found this helpful

J.A.

answers from Grand Rapids on

D., I also have a low thyroid, and hypothyroidism. Yes, pretty much once you have this, you need to be medicated the rest of your life. It is critical, so that your metabolism is working properly. If you ever want to get pregnant again, it's CRITICAL to have this under control. If not, it can even keep you from conceiving, or one pregnant, if out of wack, it can cause miscarriage. I remember being very frustrated and sad about that in the beginning. Now, it's a habit, and I realize that it's not much different than those who have to take heart medicine, etc. And I also tell myself, that this is not due to old age or anything like that. Sometimes, it can come on after a pregnancy, and they don't really see it, because it can mimic post-partum depression, and tiredness, etc. This is what happened to me. One thing that really helped me was reading Mary J. Shomon's book, called "Living Well with Hypothyroidism." She is a leading expert on this subject, having the condition herself. She also has several other related books, like "The Thyroid Diet," which deals with managing your metabolism for lasting weight loss, ect. She is excellent at helping you to understand what is really happening to your body, and your options at helping it. I think you are lucky to have a doctor prescribe Armor thyroid. I'm just on the generic, Levothyroxine. There are some foods that work against the absorption of the meds, like Walnuts. High fiber foods also interfere, so they say not to eat them until you've given yourself an hour. I take my meds early in the morning, then eat an hour later. Also, take your vitamins at least 4 hours separated from your meds. I actually take mine at night before bedtime.
You need to have your blood levels tested every 6 months or so AFTER you know your thyroid is stable. For now, it might take up to a month or 6 weeks to do that...or more, depending on your own body, and how much work it has to do to reach your "norm." To be proactive, I ask for copies of all my bloodwork, so that I will KNOW what the levels are, and how they fluctuate. Some doctors will say it's normal for a level up to 5, but for trying to conceive, you need it under a 3. Mary Shomon is great for explaining all these things. I highly recommend buying her books. Here is her website, that should help also: http://thyroid.about.com/
Hope this helps.

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L.W.

answers from Detroit on

I agree with Kristy B - if you have questions about your thyroid, you should call and ask your doctor. A true thyroid condition cannot be changed with supplements, diet, lowering stress, exercise, etc. If your doctor does not give you the answers you need or you do not feel comfortable asking him/her the questions, you should really think about getting a different doctor. I switched endocrinologists after my first one repeatedly refused to listen to my concerns and wanted to force a particular permanent course of treatment on me (I have Graves Disease - overactive thyroid)which would require lifetime meds when there were other options available. Dr. Sander Paul is excellent and listens to his patients. He was recommended to me by other doctors who would send their own family members there (and I would too). He is located in Berkley on 12 Mile Road.

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S.B.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.:
I, too, am hypothyroid. I think I was diagnosed when in my twenties. Hypothyroidism tends to run in my family. Symptoms include (in addition to decreased energy) feeling cold all the time (when everyone else in the room is comfortable), more than usual hair loss, puffiness under the eyes, and low metabolism (which makes it harder to lose weight, or maintain a proper weight).
I take levothyroxin, which is a synthetic hormone, and yes, you will have to take it for the rest of your life. I tried Armor thyroid once, at someone's recommendation. It is a natural thyroid hormone derived, I think, from horses. However, it is harder to obtain, as not all pharmacies carry it, and after trying it for several months I really couldn't detect any difference from the levothyroxin (also called synthroid, which may be just another manufacturer's name for the same thing)so I went back to the levothyroxin.
Sorry, I don't know anything about the difference between autoimmune hypothyroid and just plain hypothyroid.
Hope this helps.

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C.M.

answers from Detroit on

Yes you will have to take it the rest of your life! I also have hypothroidism. I have not heard of any way to heal it. You will also have to have it checked about every 6 months to make sure you are on the correct dose and you needs for it have not changed. When you first start the medication you will probably be getting it checked every 4-6 weeks to see if they need to adjust youe dose. It is important to take the meds every day, it can effect you heart, kidneys, liver and all your major organs. PM me if you need some support.

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H.B.

answers from Detroit on

You should be going back for more blood tests after several weeks of being on your thyroid med, to see where your levels are at. Make a list of your questions, and then you can get more specific info to your case. Request that you get a copy of your tests, and do some research. I was diagnosed hypothyroid at 18 years old. I am now 30, and just recently found out that I my blood test show that I have very high antibodies, but only one (there are two types of thyroid antibodies) and since my actual T4 levels, and my TSH are in normal range, it is considered controled with medication. Over the years my dose keeps rising.
You will almost certainly take med. for the rest of your life, to replace what your body is lacking.
I agree you need more info.

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S.S.

answers from Detroit on

If you need thyroid support, once you take the pills, you shouldn't stop. If you are borderline, and want to try a natural solution, I can send you information ~ just send me your e-mail address.

Sorry, but sometimes our bodies need support.

S.
[email protected]____.com

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A.H.

answers from Detroit on

HI D.
I'm not a doctor, but I know one I trust. Carol Hardy PHD naturopathic ###-###-####. She's helped my mom with her low low thyroid. She also gives discounts on the supplements she stocks (Standard process labs is a well known and trusted brand).
My Mom told me low iodine can cause low thyroid, and Standard process has an iodine sup thats good. (Were not affiliated w/ Standard process btw.)
Thyrosine is a thyroid hormone that could help. I guess my point is there are other options than Armor thyroid if thats what you want. I'd suggest reading something by Gary Null
http://www.garynull.com/GNnewsitem.php?x=0812168
http://www.garynull.com/Documents/AreYouTiredLowThyroidPt...
Best of luck to you! A. H

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S.F.

answers from Benton Harbor on

I had marginally low thyroid, that I was checking with temperatures, etc. I am convinced that it was the reason for our early infertility.
I started taking PLUS a Mannatech product for endocrine support, and saw immediate results. They are a food supplement to replace essential sugars, and are not FDA approved as a drug. They make no claims for healing, but if you check out their website, the stories are powerful.
If you are hesitant about taking drugs forever, it may be worth checking this out first.
Now I am the happy mommy of three beautiful kids and actually have the energy to almost keep up with them. Feel free to email if you have more questions.

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L.P.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,

Yes, you will need to take this pill daily for the rest of your life, along with annual or semi-annual blood testing to check your TSH levels. Belive me, there are things MUCH WORSE than taking one little pill every day!!
Be grateful it was diagnosed quickly and easily!!

It sounds like you might want to find another Endo who you can work with better. This is very important and you need a doc you have a good repoire with. I can recommend Dr. Craig Jaffe at U of M. He has been my endo since we moved to Michigan 3 years ago. He is great, so easy to talk to, and his office is very responsive to your needs. For instance I dropped one of my meds on the tile floor, of course it was the one in a glass vial, and smashed to bits, his nurse had a refill waiting at the pharmacy for me by the end of the day!

Take your meds, enjoy your children and be happy and healthy!!

All my best,
L.

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K.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi. I got a bloodclot in 1993 and for some reason that caused me to have a low thyroid as well. I have been taking Levoxyl since then and don't notice anything except at first I lost some weight (which I did not complain about). From what I understand it just replaces something your body no longer produces. I am pretty sure you cannot cure it yourself, but that would be great if we could. You could always get a second opinion. Oh yeah you should also have more energy after taking it for a little while. Good luck.

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G.V.

answers from Detroit on

I'm not an expert on this issue, but I've been researching lately due to my own low thyroid symptoms and I came across this website: wilsonstemperaturesyndrome.com. Not sure if it will help you or not, just passing along some info. Good luck to you.

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D.H.

answers from Detroit on

D. ~
First of all, we live in the "thyroid belt." There's this whole area of the country where iodine is lacking in our diet...so then you end up having hypothyroidism. Ask around...you probably know alot of people with thyroid problems, you just didn't realize it. I don't know that there is any way to "fix" your thyroid. Taking one pill for your life is not a big deal. However, Armor Thyroid is a natural product, if that helps you any. But at the same time, the actual dosage is much more difficult to regulate. I had thyroid cancer when I was 24, so I have no thyroid at all. I have been taking synthroid (a generic) since 1989. The dosage is a weekly dose, not daily...and it's a more steady dose than Armor is (one pill may vary from another with how much thyroid medicine is in them). You can look around online and find out more about hypothyroidism. Your endocrinologist probably checked other labs to figure out if it's just hypothyroidism or an autoimmune thyroiditis type of thing. You can ask your doctor what labs he drew...get a copy of them..keep track of how your levels are. They will probably test you in about 6 weeks to see where your levels are.

D.

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L.B.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,

Check out The Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield. They specialize in Thyroid disorders. My husband is seeing Dr. Ng.
http://www.centerforholisticmedicine.com/home

best wishes,
L.

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L.W.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.

I also hate to take any medication/prescription/over-the counter, and for the most part I don't take anything...except Synthroid for my underactive thyroid. I was diagnosed 9 years ago after my son was born. It was diagnosed as Hashimoto's Thyroid (underactive) because the antibody level indicated my immune system had attacked it---hence an 'autoimmune' thyroid problem (if it had been overactive with the antibodies present, it would be Graves Disease). Not all thryoid problems are autoimmune.
As far as healing it on your own...you can try to see some holistic doctors (I see Dr. Nusbaum @ Center For Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield), but most conventional doctors won't talk to you about 'healing' it. your doctor recommending Armour, however, is quite holistic-minded since it is not the synthetic standard (Synthroid). As an FYI...Synthroid is synthetic T4 (the thyroid level that is typically underactive with hypothroidism) and no T3 (not as common to have that as undractive). Armour Thyroid is not synthetic (it comes from pig thyroid) and does have T3 in it. If your doctor put you on it, he must have seen your T3 levels were high (which technically means underactive---confusing, I know). I started on high levels of Synthroid 9 years ago, tried Armour Thyroid when I started seeing Dr. Nusbaum about 4 years ago, but after working with a holistic chiropractor/taking some supplements for my pituitary gland, found that the Armour Tyhroid was too much. I went back onto Synthroid but surprisingly on a lower level (don't know if the pituitary supplements worked or what?), and slowly lowered my dose myself while going in and testing my levels frequently. I then got pregnant (stopped the pit. supplements 3-4 months prior) and am now at a ridiculously low level of Synthroid. Pregnancy can sometimes be one of the few things to alter thyroid levels.
Sorry to go into so much detail, but I was trying to illustrate that while most people usually have to be on thryoid meds the rest of their life, there are some rare instances where that changes. I am still not certain what changed with me, but I do think my chiropractor's supplements played a big part in reducing my body's dependency...and then the pregnancy hormones may have played a big part too?
I was prepared to take Synthroid for the rest of my life, and I was actually ok with it because it is a pretty harmless medication that you really do need to take to feel ok/function. If you find that you end up taking it the rest of your life...just be glad you have a health issue that can actually be well taken care of with such a benign medication. I always considered myself lucky to only have a thyroid problem. Also, be sure to try to take care of yourself since you have a touchy immune system. Feel free to email me if you want any names/numbers of my endocrinologist or chiropractor.

K.B.

answers from Grand Rapids on

11 years ago I felt the same way you do - I didn't want to take a pill every day for the rest of my life. My condition was/is Graves Disease, which is an overactive thyroid. After receiving radiation treatments, my thyroid no longer works so I take a supplement everyday. Actually it's not bad and became routine after a while (it's a really small pill). I also get my levels checked yearly with a simple blood test. I feel SO much better now that it's under control.

If you aren't happy with your Endo, can't get the information you need, etc. SWITCH! Find someone new that will answer your questions, give you the facts, support and guideance you need. I had to, and it was a good move. My health improved so much after I found the right doctor and started receiving proper treatment.

I don't know if this will "fix" on it's own for you. I tried modifying my diet and increasing my activity levels hoping to raise my thyroid levels without meds. It didn't work for me but that doesn't mean it won't for you. Either way, don't let a change in your routine stop you from receiving medication your body obviously needs.

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R.G.

answers from Detroit on

My mother has the same thing and will be on medication for the rest of her life.

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L.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Yes, you probably will need to take the thyroid med for the rest of your life, but your fatigue and muscle aches should go away once your dosage is adjusted. Armour Thyroid is supposed to be the best med with the fewest side effects -- I just switched to it from levothyroxine.

The thyroid cannot be "healed." You may want to research what herbs help support thyroid health so it does not get worse; I think kelp is one. Also, pne doctor told me there is a link between gluten intolerance and thyroid problems. It just so happens I am also gluten intolerant. That may be an avenue you wish to investigate, too.

Good luck with your journey!

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D.S.

answers from Detroit on

Unfortunately there is nothing you can do that I know of, I'm also Hypothyroid and have been for a few years now. My symptons were similar but I couldn't seem to lose any weight no matter what I tried. I was put on Synthroid 50mg but it doesn't seem to be helping me, still have the weight problem and fatigue. I know eventually your thyroid will require surgery if medication no longer helps and it can sometimes turn into thyroid cancer, these are some things you should know about and check into. If I find anything new I will let you know if you'd like to keep in touch...hope this helps and I don't mean to scare you, I'm quite sure there are some alternative medicines you can use maybe check WebMD.com and put you keyword as alternative medicine but always ask your doctor first before switching.

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M.M.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I know that this is all confusing, but really all there is to do is take your meds everyday...fo the rest of your life. Like the rest of our body once the thyroid starts going... it just keeps on going...

You need to eat very healthy and may need more sleep than you want to give..but it is worth it...
Keep track of your levels which the endocrinologist can give you as well as family doctors. The usual test will tell you how your thyroid has worked for the last month.. But I find that the T3 And T4 levels show a better understanding.

Thyroid meds are safe unless you take the whole bottle at one time, and they have no side effects. Consider it like eating a yogurt everyday or an apple... just happens to come in the pill form in the ose that is right for your body.

Good Luck
M.

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A.S.

answers from Detroit on

Hi D.,
I am going to add another "Thyroid ism", my daughter was born with and ectopic thyroid, which is it did not descend all the way down her throat. It stopped at the neck.Her's is partially working. She will have to take this for the rest of her life. She takes "Synthroid". It is small and tastless. She only has to go at this time, for follow ups once every 6mths. She is & years old now. Her Dr is ,

Dr. Peter Geritts, he is located at Royal Oak Beaumont. He is a specialist in this field. He also does not do any unnecessary procedures.So your not paying for the extras other people seem to tag on. He also explaines every question you have and does not rush out of the room when he his done. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.
Good Luck,
A.

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M.R.

answers from Detroit on

If you have low thyroid ,Yes you will be on one pill a day for the rest of your life. It is worth taking the pill, otherwise you can lose your hair, suffer with aching muscles .and have dry skin. I have been on thyroid for most of my life and it is worth taking a little pill. You will feel much better and live a more productive life. Good luck

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T.O.

answers from Detroit on

I have a friend with low thyroid and he does have to take a pill everyday. He's more energetic than any man half his age. Don't worry about taking a pill every day - be glad it's a condition that a pill will fix. AND call your endocrinologist and ask all the questions you need answered - the nurses can probably help you with most everything. My 4 children were 2 years apart - try to enjoy where you are in life - you'll miss them when your house is all quiet and you're alone - well, eventually! :)

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D.L.

answers from Benton Harbor on

D.,

I have struggled with hypothyroid since my early twenties and now in my thirties. I was misdiagnosed for 6 years until a doctor finally caught it.I have since been on synthroid or levothyroxine (generic of synthroid). My symptoms,were weight gain no matter what I did to try and lose it, very dry skin, hair falling out, extreme tiredness, blah moods,brain fog, tingling in hands and feet,insomnia just to name a few. After I started taking the medicine it took about three months for me to notice a difference in my energy level. My doctor explained to me that it takes time for the medication to help and I found that to be true. I do feel better than I did, however I still have some symptoms. Mostly due to the fact that when a doctor looks at the results of your thyroid test there is a normal range, well some people are still lacking somewhat even in that range. You are lucky though to be on Armour since it is natural coming from animal based hormones. It has both t3 and t4 hormones. Whereas the synthetic medication only has t3. I am hoping to get my doctor to change me to this soon. Also, the I have read tons of information on the internet and I suggest it may be helpful to you. You are not alone and I know how frustrating it can be to feel this way. It does get better. If you have any other questions,please feel free to contact me!

DeeL.

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A.R.

answers from Boise on

There is no "cure" for an underactive thyroid, and you will need to take that medication for the rest of your life. Unlike most medications, however, this simply replaces something that your body should be making on its own and does not. Its not like adding something to your natural chemistry. Without the medication you can have some pretty serious issues, including damage to most major organs. There is a difference, however, in the medications you can take.

Armor is a hormone made from pig thyroids - and many report that it feels more similar to how you should feel if your own thyroid still worked. There are also a host of synthetic hormones that work pretty well if you feel Armor is not for you.

Feel free to send me a private message, I have had a low thyroid since is was about 20.

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S.G.

answers from Saginaw on

I have high thyroid problems and most of the rest of the women in my family have low thyroid. Mine will regulate it self sometimes for several years than for awhile its high again so I just take a yearly blood test. My grandmother and aunt take blood tests more often and adjust their meds accordinly. If I were you I would call your family dr and ask them. They should have received a copy of your test results and if they didnt get them a copy and ask them your queastions. Good luck!

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