Three Reasons Why Your Thyroid Medication Isn’t Working

medication

This article is part of a special report on Thyroid Disorders. To see the other articles in this series, click here.

In the last post I explained that, for the vast majority of patients, hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease. This isn’t just an academic distinction. It’s the reason both conventional and alternative treatments are so often ineffective.

In this post I’m going to show you why taking replacement thyroid hormones without addressing the underlying immune imbalance is doomed to fail.

The ultimate effect of hypothyroidism, whether it’s caused by iodine deficiency or autoimmunity, is to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone available to the body. The conventional approach is to simply replace these hormones with either synthetic or bio-identical forms.

On the surface it seems like a reasonable approach. Patient doesn’t have enough hormones? Give more hormones. Simple, right?

Not so much.

Once again the conventional approach falls short because it ignores the underlying cause of the problem. It’s like taking Advil when you’ve got a pebble stuck in your shoe. It might work for a little while, and might even be necessary to dull the pain. But you’d be a lot better off if you took the pebble out of your shoe. Right?

Let’s take a closer look at why thyroid hormones often don’t work, or stop working over time. The following diagram illustrates how autoimmunity affects thyroid metabolism:

hashimotos

Immune dysregulation is another term for autoimmune disease. We still don’t know exactly what causes it, but most researchers agree it’s a mixture of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors such as iodine (excess), infection, pregnancy, diet and intestinal permeability.

In autoimmune disease the body attacks itself. It does this the same way it attacks foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses: with T-cells, B-cells, natural killer cells, and cytotoxic T cells. The immune response also involves proteins called cytokines, chemical messengers that pass messages between cells.

This self-attack by the immune system increases inflammation. And inflammation has a profound effect on all aspects of thyroid metabolism and physiology.

First, inflammation suppresses the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. One study showed a single injection of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha reduced blood levels of TSH, T3, free T4, free T3 and TRH for 5 days. This shows inflammation disrupts the production and regulatory mechanisms of thyroid hormones. Thyroid medication will increase the levels of T4 (and possibly T3), but it doesn’t address the other effects of HPT axis suppression.

Second, inflammation decreases both the number and sensitivity of thyroid hormone receptors. If there aren’t enough receptors, or they aren’t sensitive enough, it doesn’t matter how much thyroid medication we take. The cells won’t be able to use it. It’s like when my grandpa used to turn down his hearing aids while he was watching the football game. It didn’t matter how much my grandma yelled at him – he couldn’t hear a word she said.

Third, inflammation decreases the conversion of T4 to T3. T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. The body has to convert it to the active T3 form before it can be used. Most synthetic hormone medications on the market are T4. If you give a T4 medication (like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, etc.) to someone with inflammation, it’s not going to work because they can’t convert the T4 to T3.

Patients who don’t convert T4 to T3 well do better on bio-identical hormones like Armour, because it contains both T4 and T3 (in a 4.22:1 ratio).

Inflammation disrupts thyroid metabolism in several other ways, but I think these three examples make the point.

Now let’s review.

Inflammation causes HPT axis disruption, decreased receptor function, and decreased conversion of T4 to T3. Thyroid medication only increases the levels of thyroid hormone (usually T4) in the blood. No matter how much we take, it’s not going to restore HPT axis coordination, improve receptor function, or increase conversion of T4 to T3.

The only way to do that is to address the problem at its root by regulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation. Unfortunately, this is rarely done in either conventional or alternative treatment of thyroid disorders.

Before I sign off, I just want to make one thing clear. I’m not saying thyroid medication isn’t necessary or useful. In fact, I think it’s an important part of treating Hashimoto’s – especially when TSH is consistently elevated and T4 and T3 are consistently low. My point is thyroid medication is only one piece of the puzzle, and it won’t be effective on its own unless the autoimmunity and inflammation are addressed.

If thyroid medication is the fantasy magic bullet of conventional medicine, iodine is the equivalent in alternative medicine. In the next post I’m going to explain why supplemental iodine may cause more harm than good in Hashimoto’s patients.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. says

    Great series Chris.  Just a quick question regarding iodine (and I appreciate you are busy atm so no hurry).  While I can appreciate that simply throwing large doses of iodine at the thyroid problem may be an issue (people need to realise that often having too much of something can cause exactly the same sorts of issues as not having enough – iron is the classical example), what are your throughts for those who live in known iodine-deficient areas.  I am based in New Zealand and most of our soils are very low in iodine and iodine supplementation has recently been strongly recommended for all women planning a pregnancy in New Zealand and along the eastern seaboard of Australia for this very reason.  Thanks of ryour preciosu time in advance.

    • Glenys Bungard says

      Jamie,have you sorted your thyriod problem,and would you recommend going off thyriod medication and trying thyriod support

  2. Jesse says

    I’m confused. In the last post you said that depressing the immune system was worse than the disease it would be treating:
     
    “But in the case of Hashimoto’s, the consequences – i.e. side effects and complications – of using immunosuppressive drugs are believed to outweigh the potential benefits. (Thanks to conventional medicine for a relative moment of sanity here.)”
     
    But in this article, you say it is unfortunate that this treatment is rarely done.
     
    Which is it? Am I misunderstanding something?

  3. Chris Kresser says

    Jesse,

    There’s a difference between suppressing the immune system across the board with steroids and dampening the parts of it that need dampening.  And there are many ways to reduce inflammation that don’t involve immunosuppressive drugs.

    • Susan D says

      So, if I my conversion rate is over 200% (I have hashimoto’s) and I’ve been taking Levoxyl for 4.5 months. I cut out gluten and sugar….they why are my T4 #’s taking forever to come up? Started at .8, just now got to 1.0. I am feeling a little better, but not losing any weight and I am meticulous about eating.

    • Sandy says

      When I was 17 I was diagnosed with the Graves Disease and treated with radioactive iodine. I am now 33 and been taking synthroid and levothyraxine for over 20 years my weight is almost impossible to lose and suffer with irregular periods what do you suggest I do? Thanks

      • Shel says

        I have been on Synthroid since ’99. I felt like a zombie. I finally found a doctor that would prescribe me naturethroid which is generic for Armour. My numbers after three adjustments are perfect and I finally feel normal again. Naturethroid has T3 also and seems to be just what I needed. I would suggest anyone on Synthroid to try the natural replacement.

        • Marian says

          Hi Shel,

          My GP suggested that I see the specialist. He won’t prescribe me any more medication until I see the specialist. Says my numbers are up and down. I’ve been on Thyroid meds for about 18 yrs and this is the first time that I’ve been told my numbers are out of whack.

          I’m about to get an appt. with the Thyroid specialist. I haven’t been on any medication for about 5 weeks now. Is Naturethroid over the counter or a prescription drug?

          For 18 yrs, I’ve been tired – that has never changed. Hate it. Can’t even keep my eyes open on a Saturday night to watch a late movie. :)

          • Pamela says

            Hi Shel, Naturethroid is a prescription medication. It is not compounded but you can get it with a prescription.

      • Amy says

        I have hypothyroidism. I had to have half my thyroid removed due to a nodule. Typically a fine needle biospy would have detected cancer, but in my case, rare cells were found and I had to have surgery. After surgery and taking levothyroxine, I went on a low carb diet. Cutting out all starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, corn, and breads, along with ni sweets of any kind was hard to do, but pure self-discipline got me through it. It was the only diet that worked for me. I lost 60 lbs in just under a year. However, I know that all people won’t have the same results as I did, and all people can’t just do a low carb diet, as some other possible conditions along with a thyroid disorder might prevent that particular diet from working. Always consult with your physician before starting a new diet to be sure the diet is safe for you. Good luck with your weight loss.

    • nabur says

      What are those ways that I can fight inflammation, Chris; I really need to know. I am SO sick. I’ve been battling hypothyroidism for over ten years, and each year I’ve gone further downhill. Today I’m to the point where I can barely function. My legs and arms are so painful, weak and shaky, they are almost useless; consequently, all I am able to do is sit here on this wing chair watching TV, nodding off every hour or so, and periodically shuffling to the kitchen for food. This is not living and i don’t want to do it anymore. (My Blood tests over this ten-year period have consistently shown extremely high c-reactive protein, and no doctor has been able to tell me why.)

      • Sue says

        so sorry you are not feeling well and I understand. Do you have a good integrative dr in your area to go to because they can help you with your c-reative protein being high. Do you have a heart dr as well he/she may be able to help you but for me, it is finding a good integrative dr in your area who can run other tests to see what is going on and help you more than the standard western medicine dr. Good luck and hope you feel better soon.

  4. claire says

    I’ve been reading your blog with interest, being uninsured and only able to access my naturopath when I can pay out of pocket. What you report makes me think I’m generally on the right path towards keeping healthy and healing myself as I get older. Here’s my question.
    Will you be talking about the tests to determine the need for iodine? My naturopath suggested I take one and I was put on iodine after that.
    I wonder about all the immune system problems I’ve developed as I’ve moved through my 40′s: Allergies, mild asthma, tinea versicolor, mild eczema, thyroid problems, the list keeps growing.
    I still feel energetic and mostly fine but I can’t help but get stressed out trying to figure out how to keep healthy. What should one do if it seems that their immune system is out of balance? Thyroid is just part of it. A very important part according to this article. Thanks

    • Chris Kresser says

      Claire,

      I wish there was an easy answer to your question. Unfortunately, autoimmune disease is complex and each case must be considered individually. That said, I’ll be providing some general steps to regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation that are applicable to everyone. Stay tuned.

      • Mary B. Montoya says

        Hello ,
        I have hashimoto’s. I used to take T3-T4 for my thyroid and while on it, I felt terrible. I felt I have anxiety and insomnia, irritability and depression. so I went to a nutritionist which helped me to get rid or candida, and told me to stop all medications and vitamins. so , I stopped everything, then after 2 months, I started to feel terrible. my anxiety, irritability and insomnia came back. I did some thyroid tests and and TSH is 218.00, T4free is 0.37, T3 total is 53, total T4 is 2.4. so as you see all my tests are not so good. So I went back to my regular doctor and I told him to give me armour thyroid. So he did, but now I can’t even tolerate 1/4 of the armour pill. I started having shaking, nauseous, panic, irritable feeling. My adrenals are a little elevated, I thought it would be my adrenals, but now reading your blog, it makes me think that maybe I’m feeling these reactions because I might have to much inflammation. do you think if I lower my inflammation, I can start to tolerate the thyroid medication? It would be great if you could help me, I am desperate and don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t tolerate thyroid medication, but I feel irritable without it too. so any advice would really help me. thanks

        • Rex Allis says

          My concern is that we all call it inflammation, when Lyme disease is attacking so many. You all need to be put on antibiotics, but, the insurance companies are trying to cover all of this up. Inflammation needs to be detected to see what bacteria is causing this. Especially people that have been sick for a while.

        • says

          I too have been diagnosed with hashimoto thyroiditis and my tsh is 12. My t3 and t4 are within range. In spite of having plenty of energy the Dr. tried me on levothyroxine at the very lowest dose. For three wks I thought my racing mind was going to explode and I did not make the correlation that it was the med. After one wk. off the levothyroxine I felt myself. I have nodules on both side of my thyroid under one centimeter. They say I have thyroiditis but I feel fine. I don’t understand?

  5. Sarah says

    This series is amazing thank you!!!  I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a year ago from an antibody blood test even though my TSH was normal I was put on Synthroid.  I also suffer from Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria and take Reactine daily to control the hives.
    I am very curious about your next segment as I would love some tips on addessing the autoimmune part of this as I clearly am suffering from two autoimmune diseases, all which came on after the birth of my second daughter.
    I would love to know what you think about high cortisol levels and its effect on thyroid hormones, more specifically the conversion of T4 to T3 and/or antibodies that could be faciliated by high cortisol?  I can remember being 18 years old and put on the birth control pill and having all the symptoms of hypothyroidism after about a year on the pill, but all my labs came back normal (aka my TSH was normal) except my cortisol was very very high.  Dr said this was normal on the birth control pill.  About 6 months after that at a clinic a different dr said my thyroid felt firm and to get it checked out.  I was 19 and stupid and did not.  Since then I have steadily had increasing problems with weight gain, acne, fatigue, allergies, and now hashimoto’s and hives.  Seems connected in my mind but I would love your thoughts…when you have time of course :-)

    • Chris Kresser says

      Sarah,

      Birth control pills increase thyroid binding proteins, which in turn decreases the levels of free thyroid hormone (the active forms) available to the body. This won’t turn up on a test unless free hormones are measured, which they rarely are. That explains why you had hypothyroid symptoms on the pill, but had normal test results. Cortisol is a hormone that is elevated during an active stress response. Stress is inflammatory. Inflammation reduces T4 to T3 conversion, dysregulates the HPT axis, and decreases receptor function.

      So yeah, it’s all related.

      In a later post I’ll be talking more explicitly about problems that cause hypothyroid symptoms that won’t show up on normal lab tests. I’ve just mentioned one (increase in thyroid binding proteins), but I’ll go into more detail on that and talk about a few more.

      • Robyn Lynn says

        Hey everyone I absolutely love love this site I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 3 months ago and put on levatroxinen for it and found out I have a autoimmune deisese but my body’s not agreeing with the med I don’t feel any different at all I’m 34 and feel like the walking dead but to get to the ? Has anyone else ever had any issues with the med affecting your heart?My heart rate goes from 79-80 to 110 just out of the blue and also I
        Feel like my hearts just stopping and I catch myself waking up in a gasp for air or I can be sitting around and do the same and I know it’s the thyroid med because I quit taking it over a week Ago and I am not having any of the heart related issues.Still tired and can’t rest hurt all over and my hairs falling out not counting the weight gain and I told my doctor and she did my labs and I’m still waiting in test.anyone else had or having those problems?
        Thanks .

          • bradterrie says

            Khoa Sunshine, can you please elaborate on your comment? I have Hashi’s SERIOUS inflammation and my doctor keeps lowing my Armour because my heart rate is 110 (has been since I was put on Thyroid meds) but now I can’t even leave my house, anxiety, fatigue, feel like my body was hit by a truck..everyday….Can you please direct me to information on t3 only? I am very interested since I have ZERO quality of life. Thank you so much for your time.

            • khoa sunshine says

              Most of my knowledge did come from Chris Kresser .I didn’t even know I was sick until I gave up smoking and put on 5kilo in 5 weeks ,a bit quick I thought.Went for blood test . Antibodies over 1000 tsh,t3,t4 all off the ricter. In other words .Patholgy couldn’t read them. Doctor rang personally and said come in now. He gave me a script for t4 and said have a blood test in a month. Well I wasn’t sick but in 2 weeks I was like a cripple and the pain so severe I couldn’t sleep and I was so depressed with panic attacks . never new what they were either. Had to get some,one to drive me to Dr.He was in shock I was not the same thin bright bubbley person he met. I talked about a thing called RT3 he new nothing of it, so I gave him a copy of Chrisses RT3 site. .I went off the T4 for 8 days and he tested me for arthritis and lymes desease. I went back 8 days later running jumping and laughing. And his results were negative. So he said I could try T3 but I had to get a medi bracelet as I don’t have a thyroid any more hashimotos killed it. I was then stabilized on T3 in less than a month as it is instant in the body but must be taken every 8 hrs or when u feel ur heart flutter. My tsh is 0 my T4 is 0 and my T3 is just above the high range which is 6.2 the perfect T3 reading. Ps I did attempt Thyroid extract as well but this cause an immune attack on my body because the desease thought that the bio,identical was a fresh new thyroid. . This was almost as bad as RT3. I love my life on T3. Thank you for ur knowledge Chris.

              • nabur says

                To koa sunshine:

                I’m happy that T3 is working out for you – some of our doctors won’t prescribe it for us. (I assume you’re talking about Cytomel, and not the timed release T3?)

                — Generic Cytomel, under the name “Cynomel” can, however, be purchased online without a prescription. unfortunately, the smallest cynomel tablet is 25 mcg, which makes it a tad more difficult to cut into smaller doses – “Cytomel” starts at a 5 mcg tablet—

                Question:
                How can we judge what amount of T3 we should be taking, i.e., should we be checking blood pressures, temps, pulses, symptoms, or all of the above in order to take the amount that might work for us.

                Also, would you mind letting us know how many microgramsyou are taking every 8 hours, how long you’ve been taking it, and what your starting dosage was?

                Sorry for all the questions, but I’m convinced that questions like this, regarding dosages, are the missing link when sufferers are trying to find answers that our doctors simply cannot give us.

                We may all be different (as I’m constantly reminded), but we do have two very important things in common – we are all human beings, and we are all suffering.

          • Delia says

            I have a underactive thyroid as well. Been on levothyroxinefor over a year now.staryed with 25mg.now 50mg. And then 75mg. But im still tired . I feel like ive been run over by a truck everyday allday. I just want my life back. Im so tired of being tired. My doctor just increase the amount, but it doesnt change things. Im so sick ofbeing tired until imerisable. Please help me…anyone I stay in bed allday stuggle to just cook, never finish cleanign up nothing. Im 57yrs old

          • Delia says

            I have a underactive thyroid as well. Been on levothyroxinefor over a year now.staryed with 25mg.now 50mg. And then 75mg. But im still tired . I feel like ive been run over by a truck everyday allday. I just want my life back. Im so tired of being tired. My doctor just increase the amount, but it doesnt change things. Im so sick ofbeing tired until imerisable. Please help me…anyone I stay in bed allday stuggle to just cook, never finish cleanign up nothing. Im 57yrs old.

        • Nili says

          Yes i had that med=levatroxinen and had thesame problems with hart rate + panick attcks that lasted for 8 hours cus’ of this Med now i take Sintro’ i am still Not as good as i used to be But i have taken my helth into my hands leaving the doctors ONLY to writ up prescripshens and for blood tests
          I have/ had Graves , had to have radioactive iodine to remove thyroid , wish some one will talke about ppl , like me , who do Not have a thyroid any more ( hint hint )

          • khoa sunshine says

            Read my post I have found everything I need just by going to Chris Kressers site . Listen to ur body and find it on this site . My life is great now and it was a nightmare. . Don’t give up . Get out of ur own head and see the light its there .Good luck .

          • says

            I also have suffered from Graves’ disease and had radioactive iodine treatment 15 years ago. Recently had a baby n my thyroid levels changed drastically throughout the pregnancy. For me I have to just accept that I cannot do what I “should” be doing. I have to trust that God has a plan for me. I have to be merciful to myself and not beat myself up for being lazy. The guilt of having days where I have to force myself to get out of bed where I actually have to wonder if I can handle my daughter alone. It’s the guilt trip I give myself that wounds me the most. Bad week here sorry :) but I’m on levothyroxine 112mcg cytomel 5 mcg celexa 40 mcg because the depression finally got to me when I noticed it affected my daughter and not just my husband and I. I’m also taking 37.5 mcg of phentermine to lose the baby weight. On the phentermine I was able to lose 20 lbs in 6 months. But people with a thyroid would lose twice that amount. The only drawback is that when I stop taking it I gain the weight back very quickly. I will say that Prozac made me gain weight, celexa makes me severely hypo very quickly, I’m able to lose 3-5 lbs a month eating oatmeal, slim fast, lean cuisines n saltines n chicken noodle soup. I hate for people to see me when I’m hypo, so I hibernate, lay in bed, cry a lot, only want to eat peanut mnms n gummy worms. I get full of paranoia, hate and rage when I’m hyper also severe diarrhea, my hair falls out and I fear the graves will come back and I will have big eyes again. So now I’m 33 and I have an awesome daughter and husband who love me and I don’t know who I am. Am I just an angry/grumpy person? Was I ever sweet or kind? Or am I a sad victim? Was I ever happy? Did my horrible personality make me Ill? Or did my illness give me this horrible personality? I’m hypo currently and on day 3 of med increase n still worn out after a 10 hour shift of work putting on my happy face n now can’t even play with my daughter. She must think I hate her. Anyway, thanks for letting me vent and maybe this info will help someone.

  6. Sarah says

    Thanks!  I look forward to your next post :-)
    In reading some more on cortisol and the birth control pill, it seems common place that cortisol is high on oral contraceptives.  Even my lab requisition says it will only test cortisol if patient is confirmed to not be on oral contraceptives.  Could this be a partial link to why so many women suffer from hashi’s?
    Also, to whomever was saying iodine is not an issue…I work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist and we test the thyroid gland function by giving the patient a very very small dose of radioactive iodine.  We can then measure, with a radiation detector, how much is in the patient’s thyroid and how much is still circulating in their body.  If the patient consumes even seafood (which relatively speaking is low in iodine content) in the 3 weeks prior to their test, it skews the results a lot!  They actually look like their thyroid is hypofunctioning because their thyroid is so full of iodine (for lack of a more medical description) that it won’t take up the radioactive iodine we give them.  So essentially by having them on a no iodine diet 3 weeks prior to the test we can then get a snapshot in time of their thyroid function.
    Just FYI

  7. says

    Hi Chris-
    My husband had hyperthyroidism, which has treated by irradiation. Now he has hypothyroidism and takes Synthroid. Since he thyroid was deliberately damaged, and it isn’t an autoimmune problem, is synthroid his only choice?
    Thanks-

    • Chris Kresser says

      Since your husband can’t produce thyroid hormone on his own, replacement is his only choice. That said, are you certain he didn’t have Graves’ disease? Graves’ is the autoimmune form of hyperthyroidism. If he had that before, he likely still has it now and it would be important for him to address the autoimmunity.

      • Alexandra says

        Hello,

        I have been on medication since 2007 for Graves’s disease and I don’t want to go under surgery nor to take radioactive iodine. I know that it’s an autoimune disease and probably will never recover but I did twice and keep falling back in the sickness. You are speaking of adressing the autoimunity and inflamation, and I woud like to know what you would advice for Graves’ case in particular? I have seen various doctors and none helped with the sideeffects, they are only willing to regulate the hormone levels…
        Thank you so much in advance for your help.

  8. says

    Thanks, Chris.  Not sure or not if he had Graves disease. Would the doctor have tested and mentioned that? Is there anyway to test that now?
     

  9. Chris Kresser says

    It’s entirely possible the doctor didn’t tell you, because it wouldn’t have altered the course of treatment.

    Your husband can have his TSH receptor antibodies tested.  This is sometimes called a TSI test, or a TRAb test.  If these antibodies are elevated, it’s likely he has Graves’.  TPO & TG antibodies are also often elevated, as they are in Hashimoto’s.

  10. says

    I’m personally interested in this series, and hope that you will also be addressing your take on how to ” dampen the immune system and decrease inflammation.”

  11. Kathy says

    What do you think of treatment with Cytomel? It’s T3 only. My concern is that I might need some other thyroid fractions (T4, perhaps T2/T1) as might be found in Armour. Thoughts? 

    • Chris Kresser says

      Kathy,

      I’m sorry, there’s really no way I can answer that question without doing a full exam and lab work.

      • milli says

        am also suffering thats kind of broblem .iahv thyoride glan my gland become expand day by day and looking very bad but in my test my tsh t1 t2 t3 all the test are normal no deficiency of iodine plz tell me wt i do can i became healthy again iam very dissapoint from life due to this disese operation is not the solotion of this problem plz tell me the way or any good doctor or any website through this my problm solved plz help me and guide me regards milli

  12. says

    Eric, I did not study this subject, but my first reacting would be that “dampening” (reducing) the immune system is not a good idea. How would you like to do this and what would be the other effects of this. I would suggest that people try to find and avoid the things that are causing the auto-immune reactions. Illiminating foods like grains (http://bit.ly/ckgK4E), soy (http://bit.ly/ablHkW), dairy and (perhaps) eggs would be a good start. Are you going to continue on this subject?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Hans,

      Removing potential immune triggers is important. I will discuss this further. But often that’s not enough. Most autoimmune patients have a Th1/Th2 imbalance that must be addressed. This is what I mean by dampening the immune system. “selectively dampening” or “regulating” would have been more accurate terms.

      • Anon says

        Hello, I’m wondering if you can help me. I have been feeling very sick for quite some time. My thyroid levels were 9.5 TSH I believe they said at one point it was 14. When I first became ill I lost about 60 pounds and was very underweight. Now I have gained 115 lbs in a short time. I have tried Levo, Synthroid, and Armour, and I believe something else. Right now I am on Armour. But when I dyed my hair I had a severe allergic reaction which caused me to see urgent care. The doctor prescribed Prednisone and after a day or so I was feeling healthy like I did years ago before I became ill. However, 2 days after the course of pills, I began to become ill again. Now the doctor has prescribed two courses of Methylprednisolone but in the instructions it states that prolonged use of this drug is not recommended. When the Prednisone ended I began to have severe dizziness but not like vertigo, more like I was drunk. Last night I missed the last pill and this morning had the drunk feeling again until about an hour after taking the Methylprednisolone.

        What I’m saying I guess is that the inflammation on my face does seem to coincide with my overall health. It is very severe when I feel the worse, and almost gone completely when I am on the Prednisone and feeling better.

        However, now it seems like my body is getting used to the Prednisone or the Methylpredisolone is not as strong, because I am beginning to return to feeling as I did before I ever began taking it.

        The doctor said that I do not have an autoimmune disorder and that the dizziness they believe is caused by soft tissue on a CT Scan which they believe is a cholosteatoma. I am seeing the ENT doctor in a few days but I’m just curious, what are some options if when the Methylprednisolone prescription ends in a week? Or should that treat this inflammation completely? Along with the inflammation I get this flushing feeling like I’m getting a fever but it never goes above 100.4. It’s usually about 99.4

        Also, last week, after the Prednisone ended I threw up for about four hours, every 20 minutes or so.

        I am on Meclizine 12.5 mg at bedtime only, Armour thyroid, 30MG in the morning, and 15 mg at bedtime, AMOX-CLAV 875 MG as before I threw up the doctor thought I had an ear infection that was causing the dizziness.and Methylprednisolone 4 MGdospak 21′s, which I am to refill on Thursday if I’m not feeling better.

        • Anon says

          Sorry I just realized that I didn’t clearly ask a question…..my question is what direction of care should I seek if the ENT doctor says it’s nothing and I still feel sick after finishing the Methylprednisolone?

          Should I see an endocrinologist or should I just see my regular internal medicine doctor and try to adjust my thyroid medicine?

          Or, is there another type of doctor who could address this inflammation on my face?

          I should mention that I have had a lot of other health issues over the last few years. I had a non-cancerous growth in my mouth that covered two teeth. I also had severe leg cramping and parasthesias (sp) I was diagnosed with anemia, and scurvy (?) I also had a tooth break off randomly while chewing gum half of it just fell out, and have before this never had mouth issues even with cavities in general. I did also test positive for MCV antibodies but they never said anything about it because the test for an active infection was negative.

          Also I have the feeling of a lump in the right side of my throat near my neck bone. It comes and goes and sometimes feels like pins and needles. Is this just my thyroid? They also removed four other small cysts from my throat and uvula. They thought I had an STD but it came back negative for an STD or cancer. They said, it’s not anything.

          I have a lot of lumps on my neck, lymph nodes swollen I think.

          I also fractured my spine and had some issues with walking about 6 months after that but they seem to have resolved. However, I hit my head at the same time but never mentioned it to the doctor as it didn’t hurt. These dizzy spells or drunk feelings did begin before I dyed my hair so I’m wondering what is the most likely cause of these? The ear build up? The hitting it on a metal car rim then the pavement? The thyroid?

          My question is what can I do after I finish the Methylprednisone? What type of doctor would be good for me to see? I have just been avoiding the doctors for a very long time because I got so tired of it. The thyroid medicine made me feel worse but these episodes are very strange. I don’t drink more than once or twice a year or so but it’s been feeling like I had four drinks or so……and like I said, that started before I was on any medication at all.

          But when I had such a bad allergic reaction to the hair dye and told the doctor about the drunk feeling they put my on the Prednisone and that really seemed to help all my other symptoms too. I’m assuming the Methylprednisone is similar but what can I do when it ends next week? I can barely do anything when I feel that drunk feeling I get without it.

  13. says

    Btw, sorry for calling you Eric. Don’t know where that came from. A mental derangement perhaps :-). OK, I’m curious about what you are going to say about the triggers. VBR

  14. Mario says

    First, I know no better medicine to regulate Th1/Th2 imbalance than LDN (low dose naltrexone).
     
    http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/_conf2006/J_McCandless2.pdf

    Second, I think that avoiding some of the immune triggers/endocrine disruptors is almost impossible in our modern society. How one can avoid bromine, bisphenol and other hazardous compounds present in dust, devices, cloths, foams, carpet, furniture, cars, etc, etc, of almost any ambient of any city around the world?
     

    • Sarah says

      Dear Sir

      Thank you so very much for reminding us of the link between Low-Dose Naltrexone and autoimmune disease. I have studies this drug extensively for my fathers’ condition. Now I would like to know of any case studies of people who have successfully been helped with LDN for their Hashimoto. Would you know of any?

      Thank you so very much in advance for your reply.

  15. Lethal Lee says

    “Patients who don’t convert T4 to T3 well do better on bio-identical hormones like Armour, because it contains both T4 and T3 (in a 4.22:1 ratio).”
    Correction Armour is NOT bio-identical. It is natural, that is, it contains Thyroid Hormones (all of them), made naturally by the pig’s thyroid.
    The synthetics ARE bio-identical but are not natural.
    Note I am NOT saying synthetics are better certainly T4 alone is good for no-one IMHO. I tried NTH unfortunately my conversion is lousy. I do very well now on T3 only.
    Note Armour since reformulation doesn’t appear to be effective for many folks anymore.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Lethal,

      Regarding Armour’s reformulation, one reason some patients do worse on it now (and others do better) is that they changed the fillers. It now has calcium stearate, dextrose, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, and opadry white as inactive ingredients. Many patients with Hashimoto’s have polyendocrine autoimmune disorders and react differently to the fillers in different hormone products.

  16. Lethal Lee says

    Hi Chris,
    Actually all of the ingredients you listed were already in Armour, to be precise they were since the FIRST REFORMULATION in 1996.
    However in 2008/9 they again reformulated by greatly REDUCING the dextrose & greatly INCREASING the methylcellulose.
    I wrote about it here http://forums.realthyroidhelp.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=14846&p
    So I’m acutely aware that for MANY it is not as effective anymore. Interestingly back in 1996 there was a similar reaction to the FIRST reformulation.
    I’m in Australia & the only Dessicated Thyroid available here is Compounded using PCCA Thyroid Extract USP. Unfortunately the Compounders ALL use methylcellulose or worse Hydromellose as fillers. I’ve had to resort to T3 only because of that & now doing very well.
     

    • Leslie Dibble says

      I am just starting to research the HPT axis. Myself and my extended family have a LOT of inflammation, joint, back and hip pain. I had already cut out the gluten and refined sugar and am taking Dr. Royal Lee organic whole food supplements administered by a progressive wellness chiropractic doctor. My local wellness and organic food store advised enzymes and cherry juice extract for inflammation. I take Wobenzym N enzymes, Carlson D3 and OmegaXL and use a Homedics percussion heat massager. All of the above things have had a very significant effect on my joint pain, bloating, weight loss and sense of well being. The enzymes are special kicker. I also pray to Jesus for answers. God bless you all.

    • says

      Was diagnosed with graves disease 7 yrs ago. The specialist first treated my problem with iodine. First do u think that was a gd idea before evaluating my condition any further. I was treated by him for about 4 &half yrs and he would never talk to me directly only to his interns knowing i was scared and confused. I weighed a bout 113 pds during my first visits and he had me on 125mg for a yr an i rapidly gained weight then he kept me on 100 mg for about 3&half yrs my health was only gettin worst so i found another speciialist. From forst visit he made me feel better by explaining my health n better detail, then he weighed me and sd i was takin way to much levothyroxin and reduced me to 88 mg. Thats been bout 2 yrs ago now . Ive lost my job no insuraance and have been out of meds for 2 wks and i know how imp it is to have them now i feel 1000xs worse then i ever have!!!! Ne advice or explanations or concerns i need to know

  17. pat & jim says

    what are the specialist called that can help my husband
    he gets headaches with most thyroid meds and is now taking shots.

  18. says

    This article gives me the most plausible explanation to what is going on with me at 14 I was sent to Georgetown university with a goiter I am now 46 and over the last 6 years have gone from .75mcg of synthroid to 4 grains of armour thyroid with no increase in thyroid levels all my muscles ache it’s like a charlie horse in my entire body as well as severe hair loss dry scaly skin abnormal weight gain joint pain and I have trouble maintaining my body temp. it’s like chills but when I take my temp. it’s like 94-90 and I will fall asleep weather I want to or not like hypothermia I was also diagnosed at 25 with reiters syndrom so the autoimmunity issue is also present should I continue letting my family doctor try to level out my thyroid with medication increases and discuss this article with him or am I to a point where I should be seeing an endocrinologist Thank-you for this post it has been most insightful

    • susan says

      Dear Tracy, (How) did you ever resolve the issue when increasing thyroid hormone your muscle ache. (My muscles in addiditon get stiff /weak) I am on 2.75 grains of armour thyroid (and have tried nature thyroid also) . My doc has also tried me on a little bit of Cortif for adrenal fatigue with no results. Susan

  19. Chris Kresser says

    Hi Tracy,

    Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to get the support you need from a PCP or an endocrinologist, unless they are unusually progressive and open-minded. The standard of care for thyroid disorders – whether autoimmune, as most are, or otherwise – is replacement hormone. It’s rare for conventional practitioners to go beyond that and address the underlying mechanisms involved.

    I do work with patients in-person in the Bay Area and by telephone around the world. If you’re interested in that, please check out my professional site.

  20. lin says

    Each day I take 125mg of thyroxine, 6xmg Norethisterone,
    4-6xtransexamic acid as needed, 250mg Adizem,30mg Lansoprazole. 40mg simvastatin, 6x adcal-d3, 6x 8/500 co codimol, 75mg asprin, 2.5 ramipril, and a weekly 30mg butrans patch for pain. I am exhausted all the time. What can I do instead

  21. Chris Kresser says

    Lin,

    I’m sorry, I can’t possibly advise without knowing more about your situation. Thyroid physiology is incredibly complex.

    I do work with patients in-person in the Bay Area and by telephone/Skype around the world. If you’re interested in that, please check out my professional site.

  22. lynne says

    Hello Chris,
    Thank you for your interesting information about Hashimoto’s. I have recently been diagnosed with this and was shocked owing to the generally healthy life and diet i had mainly followed. However, about 3 months prior to the first major symptom showing up I had an agonising root canal procedure which lasted over a month with many visits to the dentist owing to massive infection that had to be treated with heavy antibiotics and the difficulty the dentist had in securely locating all the ‘canals’. Could this be the cause and if so would you recommend removing this? Is there some way of diagnosing this as the cause. I am becoming increasingly tempted just to remove it IN CASE it was the cause, and so there may be some chance to recover from the extremely debilitating symptoms I am suffering.

  23. Chris Kresser says

    Lynne: autoimmune conditions rarely have a single, isolated cause, and once antibody production begins, it does not stop. That’s the nature of how the immune system works. I don’t think removing the root canal is likely to reverse your Hashimoto’s, unfortunately.

    • Anon says

      PS I apologize to leave three comments but I also forgot to mention that a few years ago, when I first became extremely sick, the city broke a sewer line and my basement apartment was flooded with about 2 ft of raw sewage. The home was built in 1900. They did replace the carpeting but not the wood paneling or the laminate. I cannot move. I have no way to get a new apartment. My landlords are being very generous because I’ve lived here for 8 years now. But I don’t know what to do. I truly believe the sick feeling I’ve been having is from this sewage spill since the main symptoms I have began shortly after that. But the doctor said it’s nothing but thyroid. I even had one doctor tell me I must have been evil in a past life, (not joking) and another who laughed at my red face and said I’m sorry..it’s just…….your acne….it’s so bad. I am at a total loss. Please if you have any way of sifting through my comments *I left three, sorry) and all I’m looking for really………is what direction can I take to at least feel better? Who can help me? What should I do to make this easier to relay all of this information without overwhelming them and coming across as a hypochondriac? What is the most beneficial way for me to communicate all of my symptoms and issues in an efficient manner that will allow them to look at all possible causes? I have been tested for Lyme disease and autoimmune disease and they have ruled out MS and diabetes, as well as Chrons and Lupus

    • Anon says

      Also if I have the antibody to MCV is that a possible reason for the inflammation on my face as well as my overall ill feeling? Low grade fever, feeling just very ill. It seems to generally coincide with the inflammation on my face. So is this likely a thyroid problem or a viral?

    • Anon says

      Also if I have the antibody to MCV is that a possible reason for the inflammation on my face as well as my overall ill feeling? Low grade fever, feeling just very ill. It seems to generally coincide with the inflammation on my face. So is this likely a thyroid problem or a viral?

  24. Scott Kleist says

    Chris, My wife is right in the middle of finding the right doseage of Armour Thyroid with our Dr. How can we determine if her “Thyroid” issues are really being brought on by Immune Dysregulation – is there a test? Like a white blood cell count or something?

  25. Chris Kresser says

    Yes. Thyroid antibodies (TPO & thyroglobulin). If her doc won’t order, you can get them at directlabs.com.

  26. Select says

    To Lynne:
    I think the heavy antibiotics are much more likely what caused the problem to emerge. I am also very healthy and never had any thyroid symptoms until after I took some strong antibiotics. The ~3 mnths before major ongoing symptoms sounds accurate in my case too.

  27. lynne says

    Select, yes I have also come to the conclusion that it is the antibiotics that may have tipped me over into Hashimoto’s. I also got tested for mercury toxicity and my levels are in the low end of the acceptable range, so mercury is not the problem. Following advice on one of Chris’ pages I have read Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and she points to damage done to the gut by overload of antibiotics amongst other things, which can trigger auto-immune problems. She has created a diet that seeks to remedy this. You might find that worth looking into.

  28. Kay says

    Hi, Chris.
    Interesting read. You give the impression (how it reads to me) that taking thyroid “medication” won’t work for most people suffering from hypothyroidism, but how does that explain the fact that most do feel better, improve on it?

    I agree that hypothyroidism is often an effect of another, underlying illness, but you didn’t mention any of them specifically like Adrenal Fatigue, which I think is critical for those who still need a more full, proper diagnosis beyond the low thyroid symptoms (also for keyword searches).

    Nature-Throid by RLC Labs is a natural T3, T4 combination BTW.

  29. Summer says

    Could Lupron injections I received to treat endometriosis have caused or be correlated to my hypothyroidism? After my Lupron tx was finished I went into my OB because I was feeling miserable…lab work later revealed TSH of 72 and T4 of 0.4. I think I passed off a lot of my symptoms to the Lupron. My PCP put me on Synthroid and two weeks later I still feel lousy! I would think at this point after two weeks of Synthroid I would be feeling better. I also need to start taking birth control to keep my endometriosis from returning, but am worried about further complicating my already messed up hormones! Any information would be very appreciated.

  30. Sarah says

    Summer…it can take a long time for the Synthroid to start working. Like say upwards of 3 months. We do tests for thryoid at my job and our patients have to be off their Synthroid for a minimum of 3 weeks before the test can be done. It takes a long time to get in and out of your system. I’m not sure about the birth control pill…..my endo thinks that may have been a trigger for me to have Hashimoto’s. I am sure Chris can explain it better but something happens to your thyroid while on the pill…it depresses it or something…

  31. Sarah says

    oh! and make sure you are taking your synthroid properly!! Take first thing in the morning, on a completely EMPTY stomach with a FULL 8 oz glass of water. Then wait 1 hour before eating or drinking anything else. Don’t eat walnuts, stomach meds or tums or calcium supplements within 4 hours of taking it.

  32. says

    Hi,

    I just found out that I have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. I am 34 and not overweight, and have an excellent healthy, organic diet. I think your information is totally awesome and useful, but what is one supposed to do other than take the synthetic thyroid in this case.

    I’ve researched and found that mine could be due to mercury poisoning, so my first step in healing naturally is to get the mercury amalgam fillings out of my teeth and do a mercury and heavy metal cleanse – as soon as I can get the money to do it. I also do not eat carbohydrates, not even whole grains or legumes, and I even don’t do well with caroots, because when I do, I feel awful ALL THE TIME with headache and nausea, even while taking synthetic thyroid medication. I can actually have days where I have tons of energy eating in this way.

    Thanks so much for any info.
    Katherine

  33. Kathy says

    Katherine — I am a Hashimoto’s patient who has had her mercury fillings removed — and my dentist did not know the proper way to do it! In particular, what he used to replace my fillings was a material I was highly reactive to (not biocompatible with). So I would advise you please, please, please find someone who does the Huggins Protocol — and the best way to be sure you have the right person is to speak to someone on staff at drhuggins.com)– I say that not because I’m a commercial, but because that is how I got all the materials out of my mouth that were making me sick (more than just Hashimoto’s). I’m confident I’m “on the road” to wellness because getting the noncompatibile materials out is an immense strengthener to the immune systerm. I wish you the very best — Kathy

    • Anonymous says

      I have been on thyroid medicine for about 7 months. It took a few months for me to start feeling better but now im starting to feel bad again. My feet get swollen if i set to long and start to fall asleep. I feel like ive been hit by a bus but didnt do anything the whole day. I started my period and it quit in 3 days. So i thought it was done then all of sudden 4 days later i was bleeding so bad i couldnt get off the toilet. I dont have any idea what is going on with me . I thought the medicine was to make me feel better. Please if you have any info. let me know. Also im so tired when i go to bed but i toss and turn all night with usually 4 hrs. of sleep.

  34. Tuesday says

    Hi Chris,

    I can’t find anything to read about why I am on synthroid, taking it properly and nearly every TSH check I am way hypo such as once 40, then they raised synthroid and soon normal labs again and this August 8.8 and raised to 175mcg and today I am 0.8 but was sent for a second ultrasound the first one was called for in the middle of my exam which was very hard to get through. I can’t even wear a necklace and basically since being diagnosed at about 25 with TSH 10 as hypothyroid after the onset of spine and bone pain that is now severe fibro and a multitude of other problems after growing up so healthy I am so nervous someone is missing something critical but I have fought to look and grown tired and fought again back and forth. Since 2009 the thoracic pain became acute and severe and chrnoic and it never hurt in that area before and hasnt stopped since I even raced for a breast reduction it was so bad. That didn’t take away the pain. On accident they found some “borderline to lymphadenopathy”nodes in my axilla and mediastinum and two shapes in my right lobe of my right lung. I have just moved to San Antonio and my new PCP who sent me for thyroid US will get the results comparing to the one I had in 2008 I dont remember much but there were nodules and a goiter and the middle was thick, im following up on so many things I dont remember what they said except keep taking your synthroid whih I do exactly in the am no food or other meds until 30 minutes at least yet it keeps crashing with no other changes- having the US tech stop in the middle of my test today to call the doctors office in Tyler to obtain the former radiology report scared me- im not an idiot I was just without insurance for a long time when I got sick. My father has non hodgkin lymphoma mantle cell right now, his mom died of leukemia and had five other cancers, An oncologist followed me with repeat CTS which I am past due on another look was supposed to check 2 years ago for any changes and a recent breast mam us and mri detected two lymph to watch as well……. meanwhile my youth is slipping away and i have tried to stay so upbeat. I live in severe pain that went from managable fibro to severe in 2009 and hasnt stopped or responded to anything i have tried it all- I am on 12 drugs none of which have changed during t his last thyroid crash. i run fevers with flares of pain- I flush I feel hot and I run about 101.2 and can tell to go check for fever based on the pressure I feel I have descibed my pain as pressure for so long- my husband keeps telling me one day someone will figure it all out- but I dont know who HOUSE was a tv show……..excuse the typos normally i would correct but im tired and just had my throat smashed in a US and have no idea what I will find out next or do next…… My mother has Graves and had her thyroid Killed with Iodine- her mother had a cyst removed and was military and doesnt remember much about it but my mother does not have the pain and the other things I am going through- my husband was dressing me when I was first diagnosed and once when my TSH was checked while Iwas so sick my white blood cells were at 16 not too high but the TSH was 40…… very hypo I am one tough cookie but tired of thinking and i guess if all along its been cancer, then its too late, isnt it?………..My recent WBC count was only 12 at the time of TSH 8.8……..my hypo is -NOS anyway I liked reading your article but still dont understand whats going on and or why these highly educated specialists havent made me well or at least improved me… I have only declined this last year and my child is 6- i only keep fighting for her and I can feel my thyroid choking me but also feel the difference of recent labs TSH 0.8 from Augusts 8.8- at least im not crying everyday and now I can move. Sincerely, Tuesday- PS I have no idea what to expect from todays US I guess we will find out

    • Tara says

      Hi Tuesday
      A few things to google
      Reverse T3, hashimotos, STTM, adrenal fatigue, iron defiencies and thyroid/cortisol, vit d and thyroid/cortisol, natural dessicated thyroid (NDT), cymotel, the gluten connection. The best medicine is to learn yourself what is going on and how it works. We heal ourselves with the assistance of doctors.,

  35. megan says

    What about someone who had to have their thryroid removed due to cancer and has no choice but to take medication. What are your suggestions for maintaining optimal health in this scenario? Thanks!

  36. Lisa says

    I want to hear about your thoughts on iodine – I am on Nature Thyroid and feel MUCH better, but for the belching and gas side affects. Iodine has been recommended. How can I be notified of your post(s)?

  37. Amy says

    Hi,
    I have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism this past August 2012. My tsh level was 5.3 and my doctor put me on 25 mcg of Synthroid and told me to take that for three months and then come back to recheck my tsh level. Well, during the three month period I went from feeling much more energetic and back to my “normal” self to feeling very lethargic and irritable. So, at my recheck visit my tsh level jumped to 14. So, my doctor told me to take 75 mcg of Synthroid and to recheck in 6 weeks. Also, at that visit she plans to check other thyroid hormone levels. I started taking my new dose and The first two days on the higher dose I felt great and then the days following I feel like i went back to feeling lethargic and irritable. I am not wanting to wait the full six weeks before I see my doctor. I want to be referred to an endocrinologist because I can just tell this medicine isn’t working properly. I need help. I can just tell I have not been myself.

    • nuttmegs17 says

      Hey – Amy, I have been going through something similiar? Did you ever level out? I seem to get better initially on a dose increase, then feel as fatigued as ever but havent come across many others in the same boat. Would love to hear about your experience. Thanks!

      • Amy says

        Hey. Yes I did level out finally. I feel a lot mods like myself nowadays. My dose has been raised once in the past three months. And at first I felt lethargic then by the six week lab I felt energetic and more like myself. My tsh level has been at 2.4. And my free t3 and t4 have been within normal limits. I started seeing an endocrinologist too which I felt helped. It’s given me more peace of mind too talking to a specialist.

      • Christine says

        Nuttmegs17, I have been having similar issues with starting something (Synthroid, supplements, Naturethroid, higher dose NT) and feeling great for a couple of days or a week at the most and then feeling like crap again! I have also been trying to figure out why I can’t find anyone else with this issue. Some information I have found points to my sleep apnea, low adrenal function or low iron.

  38. Keri Mederich says

    Dr. Kresser,

    I have been experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism for the past 2 years now. My doctor has said my levels were on the lower end, but then started treating my adrenals as well. I have been taking “Nature-Throid 1.5g” for almost a year now and I feel absolutely no different I even bumped it to taking 2 pills in the am, but hasn’t made a difference. I still cannot lose my fat even though I work out everyday and eat healthy. I am always tired, can’t sleep, have headaches, severe chronic constipation, and always bloated and swollen face and eyes (especially in the am). My doctor said he ruled out Hasimoto’s or celiac disease. I can’t find an answer and I am miserable. It’s taking over my life and ruining my spirit. Do you have any input or idea? I have been taking Oxy Elite Pro (fat thermogenic) because that makes me feel great! It burns my fat and boosts my metabolism, gives me energy. The only problem is I can’t sleep on that either.

    Thank you so much! I hope you are able to reply, I know how extremely busy you must be.

  39. candace says

    Hello!
    One question – can hypothyroidism be accompanied by tinnitus? (ringing in the ears) Labwork consistently indicates thyroid levels on the rise and doctor says take more thyroid medication to bring it down. Levothyroxine increase in 2/2012 with tinnitus onset. Any connection?

    Thank you for any information you might provide.

    • Tara says

      Hi Candace

      I am apart of a large online thyroid support group. There are many people who talk about ranging in the ears on the forum. . People have switched meds, lowered and raised levels, I even know a guy who had his thyroid removed to stop the ringing but they all still have the ringing.

      • Shauna says

        What is the support group that you belong to? I have been looking for a good one. I was hyper and did the Radio active iodine 8 years ago and still have trouble with my levels going up and down. They did a ultrasound to see if it grew back and they found that I don’t have any left. Had my Pituitary checked and it was fine. Please Help.

  40. H&B says

    Hi Chris,

    I have a question. I stopped breastfeed my baby when he was 13months old and on the next week i got some problem with my thyroid. The doctor couldn’t recognize it, but i was complaining at my throat but no other symptoms (i kept my weight since the delivery, no hair loss, no depression, etc.). I asked him and he make a scan and the blood test. I was right, the TSH was 12,8 but T3 and T4 were normal. The interesting thing that i went to this clinic 2 and 2,5 years ago with the same problem and the doctors said something was just in my mind when i told them I felt something strange in my throat and it wasnt a cold. 2 years ago I got pregnant and my little one (thanks God) is very healthy and i had a very very easy pregnancy with sport activities until the last week.
    I took 25mg/day on the first week, and from the second week i m taking 50mg Euthyroy/day. It s time to go back to the clinic to have a blood test after 6 weeks of this pills. To be honest, I feel better but i dont feel that recovery what i expected. The doctor didnt give me any advices, only this pill. How can i figure out if i should have avoid certain food. I drink coconut milk instead of milk, i make low carb diet, i try to eat meat and fishes, fruits like green apple, no gluten.
    Could you give some advices,please? I would love to get back to normal:-)

  41. Candace says

    Wondering about Hypothyroid cause by removal of 3/4 of thyroid. (tumor, 10+ years ago). What needs to be considered if the cause is not iodine, adrenal, etc…
    My sister has hypothyroid (iodine def) and now takes Armour (her quality of life has increased tremendously). My new client wants me to cook meals for her and I want to lead her in the right direction nutritionally, and to mention your articles, and my sisters relief from synthroid, and other plant based hormone replacements that people say work… like therapeutic grade essential oils, so she can determine if synthetic is the way to go for her. She deals with weight gain and lack of energy. Thoughts?

  42. Jane says

    I appreciate all your information,have hashimotos and many other problems, went to a naturlist
    and was put on Black Walnut for parasite,now I find it is very high in iodine which you say is very bad for hashimoto,should I discontinue the use. Have also been taking LDN ,so many problems treat one and it make another area worse. Thanks for your help.

  43. linda says

    I have hypothyroid and feel terrible.. I have no energy and I have slot of problems constantly with my eyes. I am on medication and just went to have a recheckt7. Why the eyes?

  44. Brent says

    Chris I have hashimotos for about 8 years my only symptom I have ever had has been A cloudy or foggy head every single day nothing I do seems to help it any ideas

  45. debbie hewitt says

    really enjoyed your site, I had hyperthroid for 28 years, no real problem, slept well no tremors, good bowels, i was tested for graves which was neg. about a year ago I went into a thyroid storm, prier to it I had eaten alot of seaweed wraps, didn’t think about the iodine in them, could this have pushed me over the hill? well that was scary, I drank alot of carrot juice during that time, and it calmed the effects. well long story short, i went thru the rai, doc gave me enough to destroy my thyroid, but it didn’t, she said its still functioning, but I’m on 50mcg of levoxyl I was just wondering is there a way to get my thryroid back to working healthy again, if so how, and by taking the levoxyl is this keeping my thyroid from thriving, thanks for your time, debbie

  46. Nili says

    Hello
    I had Graves then my thyroid was destroyed , i am taking now Synthroid , now that was some years ago about 3 months ago on my regular blood test , i was feeling good , it showed that i had both hyper and hypo at the same time ?!? ( they double checked it and came out the same ) is that at all possible ?

  47. Danny says

    Hello Chris,
    My name is Danny, i am fixing to join the marines. I have a thyroid problem, and it is a over active thyroid. i would have to stop taking my meds, and it would have to be for six months. I was concerned bout if it would cause heart problems. thank you for

  48. Miki Huber says

    Can you give us an idea of what you mean by “regulating the immune system and decrease inflammation”? I have tried every kind of natural healing and I am finally getting good results with taking dessicated thyroid (Thyroid-S). Thanks.

  49. Jule says

    Hi Chris,

    I am curious about what you think regarding people who no longer have a thyroid. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease when I was fourteen, and by the time I was nineteen, I had metathesized thyroid cancer. Doctors removed my thyroid, two parathyroid glands and a few dozen lymph nodes. I’m 28 now – a yoga teacher, and vegan and gluten-free. (The health change came as a result of the cancer; previous to this I was an unhealthy Midwesterner.) I do find that whenever I eat gluten (if I slip when out to eat with friends or what not), I will come down with a cold within a week. Anyway, I can never get a straight answer from doctors about what the Hashimoto’s diagnosis means without a thyroid.

    Also, I have taken nascent iodine in the past, but I then read that after having had the cancer and thyroidectomy, this was a mistake. Thoughts on this?

    I would LOVE if you could write an article for people without thyroids. The Western medical approach does not seem enough for me personally.

    And on a note of interest: surgeons removed 2/4 parathyroid glands, though I was told that one was possibly damaged in the surgery (again, this is when I was nineteen). At twenty-five, a few years after a move to the United Kingdom, I started to experience memory loss, peripheral vision loss and hand tremors. For months before these symptoms started, I kept going to the GP saying I felt shockingly lethargic and weak. My GP kept saying it was because I was a vegan. I was adamant that it wasn’t, but he kept recommending dietary changes that completely misaligned with my world views.

    Anyway, come the serious symptoms, I went back to the GP and the one I saw was brand new–on her GP rotation–so she actually seemed to take me seriously. I saw her on a Wednesday and she ran a battery of blood tests. Come Friday night at 10pm, I got an emergency phone call asking me to come to A&E (ER) right away. Apparently my blood calcium had dropped so low that they thought I would seize at any moment (and didn’t know how I was alive and functioning).

    The doctor in A&E prescribed me Rx calcium tabs and also blamed my vegan diet. (WTF, right?) They told me to come back on Monday, at which point my calcium dropped even lower. At this point, they realized the remaining parathyroid function had likely gradually stopped over the years–accustoming my body to lower and lower levels of calcium. The body is amazing!

    I ran into that GP in a non-medical setting about six months later and I couldn’t place her at first and I asked her how I knew her. She said, “Well, your calcium-girl to me,” and she told me it was one of those cases she would never forget in her career. I’m sure I’m in a medical journal somewhere. Ha! So now I’m on calcitriol as well, to manage my ability to uptake calcium. *sigh*

    Anyway – thanks for reading, Chris! I’m sure many out there would love your views on health for the thyroid-less as well!

    Blessings,
    Julie

    • Terry says

      Hi Julie,
      Oh my goodness, I am in the same boat as you are in. My thyroid was removed 4 years ago 80%. My surgeon tried to save my parathyroids, but they did not survive. I would greatly appreciate information on the best meds and supplements to take. I was put on T4 only, which I do not understand. I still cannot believe my old endocrinologist thought that is all I needed!. For Heaven sake I do not have any thyroid or Para’s at all. I have changed doctors and will ask for a change in medication to Natural Desiccated Thyroid meds. I am a calcium crasher too, having spend a few times in the ER on a calcium drip…Naughty me. So, in closing I would love to see more information for us “no-thyroid” patients. Good Luck Julie!

  50. Nili says

    Hello
    I have , yet another question , as i dive into more info regarding Graves which i was diagnosed with about 6-7 years ago , and reading what you writ i understand that the autoimmune diseases /condition of Graves doesn’t go away , in fact it can attack , now , since my thyroid was destroyed , other organs ? my question is do all autoimmune diseases are like that , from what i know not all …
    if my thyroid was still alive would that have change anything for the better , like centering the Graves on it ?
    last question if the ” Graves ” starts again can the body recall it’s symptoms from the thyroid ( higher hart bit , loss of appetite , anxiety etc. ) and actually make thaws symptoms again even thow the thyroid is no more ? or are thaws symptoms part of Graves no mater what ?

    Thank you for reading
    regards
    Nili

  51. Emily says

    Hi Kris,
    My name is Emily and at 16 i was treated with synthroid after having a high tsh. After having a high TSH my doctor gave me synthroid, however, i felt no better on it. She did not give me any other tests , only free t4 , that is it.. Should she have tested my free t3 , or thyroid antibodies? I am very under educated with the thyroid but all i know is synthroid gave me anxiety and did not make me feel any better… What should I do, and what tests should I ask my doctor for. Could my thyroid condition be due to adrenal fatigue and therefore, I should not be on thyroid medication?
    I appriciate your feedback,
    Emily

  52. neeters says

    I agree with you chris that the underlying medical issues must be discovered and then addressed. However, for some of us, especially women after Menopause, and in my case specifically, we tried everything, for two agonizing years. tests were normal. GP wouldn’t treat, or even test further than TSH. meanwhile, TSH kept climbing, every 6 months, by at least 1 point. I removed Gluten and grains. increased iron stores and vit. D3, stopped exercising due to exhaustion.. took BHRT (Progesterone, Bi est and Testosterone.) taking all appropriate supplements to help t4/t3 conversion.
    Was treated for Adrenal dysfunction (I believe caused by untreated hypothyroidism). Became so sick and tired and cold, gained 40 lbs in 5 months, had to leave work, accepted for total disability at age 52.
    In the end, the doctor agreed to finally let me try a trial of Natural Dessicated Thyroid. BINGO.
    back to normal in a few weeks. going back to work and enjoying life again.
    Lesson learned? sometimes, thyroid output , whether considered normal by conventional medicine, is not enough for quality of life. Hormone supplementation Is Sometimes Required.
    In my case, I suspected thyroid all along and nobody would listen.

  53. Kay says

    Neeters – I’m a 45 yr old woman who has SERIOUS fatigue (nearly bedridden at its worst) et al issues for 4 years. All the Western med tests were “normal.” What brought me back first was progesterone and Ashwaghanda herb (for adrenal). Then, a Naturopath put me on herbs to balance out my hormones/endoc system and it started working in 3 days. More energy, sleeping without insomnia for first time in those years. Especially since you are in menopause years, I highly recommend looking into herbs. They SAVED my life and are EXTREMELY effective. Western med hasn’t a clue – or pharma comp’s just want it this way. Good luck!

  54. Chrysta says

    I was wondering what the percentage is of people with Hashimoto’s needing to have their thyroid removed?

    After years and years of the antibodies produced attacking the thyroid, even with treatment, wouldn’t the thyroid gland be killed off? Also, if having Hashimoto’s means you have to be on hormone replacement for the rest of your life anyway, wouldn’t it just be easier to remove the thyroid and be on the hormone replacement so your body doesn’t produce those antibodies? I don’t assume having those antibodies being produced in your body is very good for the rest of your organs?

    And one more question. I have severe night sweats and my doctors can’t tell me why. I really have no idea if it could be my thyroid causing them. I know that Hashi symptoms can continue even while being treated, but I don’ t know if any of the symptoms I have are caused by my thyroid or some other unknown problem. I don’t think that my results have ever shown that I go hyper as well as hypo, I don’t know if that happens to me or not (before taking Levo or during). As far as I’ve read, night sweats are a symptom of hyper and not hypo. But, could my thyroid being causing night sweats even if I am just hypo and being treated with Levo?

  55. Renee says

    Hi there.. About 24 years ago I came down with Hyperthyroidism,/Graves Disease both sides of my thyroid gland had pretty much grown up both sides of my neck. I was treated with radioactive Iodine, and was put on a perpetual Synthroid mix. Now Is leaky gut syndrome also the cause of my original Hyperthyriodism? What can you reccomend for me as a Hyper—> Hypo patient?

    Thank you Renee

  56. Sian says

    Hi. I am worried as I have been taking thyroid for 3 and a half years and my medication handle gone from 50mg to 200mg but my tyrosine is getting worse. The medication is making me get headaches and my levels went from 8 to 32 and is now 49 even with regular medication and upgraded medication. Someone told me that they had a tumor on their pituatry gland and it caused the same thing. Doctors and specialists are baffled and at only 17 years old and gaining weight rapidly which is affecting my life (even eating nothing but fruit makes me gain weight). Absolutely terrified now as no one knows and this woman told me about her tumor and not sure what’s going on….

  57. Cathy says

    I have been taking thyroid meds for abt 11 yrs now. I was diagnosed with hypothyroid after the birth of my 2nd son. At 1st they seemed to work, but the effects quickly wore off. My dr recently decreased my levothyroxine and added liothyronine sod. I felt even more fatigued than before so I stopped taking the new drug. I know I should consult my dr, but I am tired of going round and round with no real results. Your thoughts?? Also, I was recently diagnosed with an immobile esophagus. I’m not sure what, if anything, that adds to the equation. Any input would be appreciated. I am way too young to feel this tired all of the time. It is very frustrating, and effecting my daily life.

  58. Vicky says

    Hi Chris! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 5 years ago. I immediately went on synthetic compounded t3/t4 and it worked! At one point I went to a clinic to treat some underlying gut issues and food allergies etc and this alternative doctor was convinced that I did not need my medication. I went off it for a month and immediately gained weight! I went back on and it took about 2-3 months to lose my weight again.

    Fast forward to another recent situation where a new doctor had the same theory, that my body did not need thyroid medication because my TSH was SO low even though my t3/t4 was normal. I went off it for a month and again gained 10/11 pounds in 4 weeks. I am back on a new thyroid (taking armour now) and its been about 6 weeks. I have not lost my weight yet, but my t4/t3 are normal/high normal.

    My question is does it take a longer time to really kick into the body? Or could it be that I am not on the right medication since I was on synthetic compounded before vs. my new dose of armour. Thank you!

  59. pATRICIA rAGAN says

    i TAKE Synthroid and have nodule on thyroid. 137 not enough and causes blood pressure to go up and 150 too much, causes stomach to swell and very uncomfortable. I do not know what to do. My doctor does not know what to do., Should I have biopsy done on nodule to see if cancerous? Please help

  60. Carol says

    Hi, My TSH level is .0001 and my T4 is normal. My doctor won’t test T3, until affordable care act takes effect this is all I can do. I have Hashimoto’s disease and have half of my thyroid removed. My doctor has lowered my levithroid from .125 to .100. I know this is a bad idea, but I don’t know why or what’s going on.She won’t give me Armour or T3. My gut feeling is I’m not converting to T3 and my TSH is trying harder, which probably just shows what I don’t understand. But I have had this for 10 years that I know of, I don’t think I’m suddenly have a more productive thyroid. Help!

  61. Diana says

    Dear Chris,

    I live in Canada and around 3 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (an endocrinologist prescribed Synthroid). I have an adenoma in my pituitary gland. I have been taking 0.05mg of synthroid since the diagnosis. From the past 5 months I have been experiencing lots of symptoms, I feel like a dead woman walking (I am 39 years old).
    I also started reading the book “Stop that Thyroid Madness” (Do you know it?, if yes, can you briefly comment on it?). Through this book I have learned a lot about my condition and Drs/the system’s mentality. I am scared but hopeful that I will have in the near future a better treatment and life. I am considering Armour.
    My endocrinologist found (last time I had an appointment 2 months ago) that my THS levels were high so he increased the synthroid from 0.05mg to 0.1 mg. And is not helping, I am not close to doing well.
    My last lab test (yesterday) showed that my levels (with the increased dosage) are at 1.1 mU/L in a 0.27-4.2 range
    I am going to take a saliva test to check my adrenals for adrenal fatigue.
    I know that I have very low ferritin (I requested the test to my GP).
    So, even though I still have to learn a lot about all this I think I am walking down the right path. What do you think?. Please, comment, it is very difficult to trust the system and the Canadian one is very conservative plus there is no Private system.

    All the best for you!

    Cheers!

    Diana

  62. Emilie says

    Greetings Chris!
    I have had hypothyroidism for a few years and been taking a low dose of synthroid. When I got pregnant this year they kept increasing my dosage (I also got diagnosed with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia). I gained a whopping 100 pounds in a matter of seven months. Once I had the baby they said that my levels changed and they kept lowering my dose. All of a sudden they said my levels were too high bordering hyperthyroidism and recommended that I completely get off my medicine. They tested my levels again and all of a sudden my panel says I am normal. I am losing my hair in clumps, gained 15 pounds in two weeks, have dry skin, etc.. It’s been four months since I had my son and I haven’t a clue what’s causing all this. How can I suddenly be normal when frankly, I feel crazy. I can get more specific data, but until then I just appreciate the fact that you respond to comments and want to thank you for your time!

  63. Tina says

    “The only way to do that is to address the problem at its root by regulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation. Unfortunately, this is rarely done in either conventional or alternative treatment of thyroid disorders.”

    How do you do this ? I could totally see this being my issue.

  64. Dianne says

    I have Hashimoto’s and became toxic on levothyroxine, suffering horrible internal shakes and tremors which in turn, caused horrible weakness. I stopped taking the levo, got better after 8 days. Stayed off for 5 weeks, but my TSH went to 138. I had to try Armour. Been on 15 -45 g of Armour now for 3 months. My TSH is down to 8. But the tremors are back. Just like when I was on levothyroxine with a 0.5 level. The tremors are horrible. Feels like a tousand bees buzzing around inside of my body. The vibrations (tremors) have a megahurtz. They can be constant or come in constant waves. They are terrifying and impossible to live with. So I find myself quitting the Hormone replacements, which I should not do, but I can’t take the tremors, nor can I take a high TSH level and all the syymptoms associated with that. What can I do when I need the medication for Hashimoto’s but cannot tolerate any of it? Please help.
    Dianne

  65. Betty says

    What are the effects on your body/health of Hashimoto’s after TT (due to cancer)? Are there still antibodies? Do they effect other parts of the body or do they still cause hypo symptoms?

  66. chrissy says

    I am on armour thyroid. I started out with 60 mg and increased to 120 mg through my natural doctor. I am having horrible insomnia, cold, constipation, tired, temps are 97.0 and heart rate is 68. It seems like this armour is not working or raising my t3′s and t4′s. My t3 has stayed the same. Any tips?

  67. Brenda says

    I have been hypothyroid since my last child was born in 1987. I was on Levoxyl for years at 137 mcg. About 3 years ago I started to feel like my thyroid was not functioning properly. Thyroid panel depicted all was fine. I asked why do I not feel fine? Within 3 days of doctor increasing thyroid meds to 150 mcg in March of 2012 I developed vitiligo on my hands and feet, which now has spread to my legs and face. I have gained almost 40 pounds and have lost about half of my hair. In April of 2012 doctor reduced thyroid meds back to 137 mcg. I have been going to another doctor, who is a endo, and he has done several test and tells me he thinks I have poly glandular along with hashimoto. He determined this from a ultrasound done on my thyroid that is half their size. He put me on 112 mcg of synthroid and 3 tabs of cytomel at .5mcg. I started feeling like I was on a merry go round. Feeling dizzy and light headed. Realized it was the cytomel. Since I stopped the cytomel dizziness had subsided. And now I am back on the synthroid of 137 mcg. My question is, why am I still suffering from thyroid symptoms and they are telling me my numbers are fine?

  68. Brett says

    I have had hypothyroidism for at least 7 or 8 years, and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 5 years ago. Although I have been taking levoxythyroine from my doctor, I recently looked at a list of hypothyroidism symptoms – fatigue, joint aches, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, sexual problems, hearing difficulties, hoarseness, memory and concentration problems, intolerance to cold, and slow body movements….I have them all! So my question is, it is known that fibromyalgia causes inflammation. It is possible all these years my thyroid medication has not been working, despite that my doctor looking at medical tests thinks it was working? Also, what suggestions would you have or articles could you point me to? Thank you.

  69. susan v. says

    loved the article. my rheumatologist says i have sjogrens disease and my neuro eye doctor says i have thyroid disease. I have so many symptoms of underactive thyroid, but my blood test are in the “normal range”. No doctor will even test me on a low dose thyroid medication. My question is can my thyroid be producing hormones that don’t work in my body and if thats the case how do i treat it? I take Plaquenil and feel very slightly better, and my dr was surprised. I really think there is an underlying 2nd auto immune disease that is being missed. i think it is in fact my thyroid. I would love to here your thoughts. Thank you!

  70. susan says

    I thought this article was highly informative! I was recently diagnosed with sjogrens disease and placed on plaquenil. I feel slightly better. My neuro opthomologist told me i have thyroid disease, but my thyroid tests are never abnormal. i have almost all the symptoms of hypothyroidism and do not feel very good. my question after reading your article is could my t4 be bad and not doing what its supposed to be doing to get t3 to work? My hypothyroid symptoms have been with me since my late 20′s, and my regular doctor always thought i had it to. I would love to hear your feedback and any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks very much, Susan

  71. Giselle says

    I am tryng to get help and more information as my doctor has not been very helpful.
    I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and for a week and 3 days ive been taking Levothyroxin 25mcg
    Before i got diagnosed i had all he symptoms. The one symptom that concerns me the most is the weight gain.
    Mydoctor said that aslong as i eat right when the medication starts working it will start helping with stablelizing my weight. How true is that? Is it also tru that Hypothyroidism also can cause your hair to fall out, Skin to be dry and flaky and to retain water?
    If i can get some information it will help me a great deal. Thank you all!!

  72. Lori says

    Hi Chris! Love your articles and find them very educating. I was concerned when I read about birth control pills and Hashimoto’s. Both of my daughters are on the pill for very heavy/prolonged periods. I was put on it at age 20 for same reason. I have Hashimoto’s and my oldest daughter is showing signs of hypothyroidism. When tested her TSH was 2.8, but I think I want them to test her for antibodies. If there is any additional information you have regarding birth control pills and thyroid disease, I would love the hear it.

  73. Marie Aubertin says

    Read all the info on this post- have thyroid problems, after radiation in neck area for breast cancer.\Been on thyroid since radiation(1992) At 72 have weight problems, it is nearly impossible to loose weight.

  74. saif says

    Dear sir, i am 37 yr male weight 104 kg was diagonised with subacute thyroiditis in august 2013 my t4 was slightly elevated and tsh was low. My esr was high and i had pain in the neck area, later after 6 weeks i started feeling better then after a few days started feeling symptoms of hypo my first hypo testcame tsh 30 and low t4. I was given 100 mg levothyroxine immediately but i was unable to tolerate it and within a week i had all sort of hyper symptoms, later my cardio checked my cholestrol and found it was very high and put me on 40 mg lipitor and asked me to continue 100 mg levo however i statred developing myalgias and could not tolerate the pain my cpk came up high as well. I met an endo who t3sted the tsh and t3 t4 again and said that my thyroid was not functioning and my tsh was > 100 and t4 t3 was low too he then reduced my levo dose to 25 mg and gradually asked me to increase tp 75 for 6 weeks with ezithrol 10 mg with lipitor 10 mg i started feeling better last tests came as tsh 70 and t4 was 14 he has now increased the dosage to 125 mg since 3 weeks now and i can see most of the symptoms have improved since then i will be doing the tests again in march end. I used to take approvel 150 mg and novarsac 5 mg to reduce my bp but now i have limited it since most of the tine my bp is normal and sometimes low like 100/70. I am experiencing myalgias and pains from time to time. Is there any hope of my thyroid getting normal i have done the tests for antibodies and it came back negative. Whats ur advice for me on this doctor.

  75. Cindy says

    I had my thyroid removed at age 36 due to micro carcinoma. After two pregnancies and now age 43 my doctors are at a loss. General practitioner can do no more than check T3 levels and Endochronologist thinks I should be on depression meds.

    Frustration is stetting in! I tried going carb-free, then gluten free. I tried to take 4000mg vitamin D supplements (as per OBgyn), iodine, kelp, etc.

    I am bloated, tired, irritable, spacey. I have insomnia, constipation and waves of depression from these things.

    I switched from CVS prescriptions to a local compound pharmacist. From Levothyroxine to Synthroid.

    I could go on. I’ve done a lot of research, talked to a lot of people. What to I do now?

  76. Kelly L says

    Hope someone will read this and help:
    What kinds of inflammation cause this and How does one determine the cause of inflammation?

    I’ve been going through this for a while and can’t figure out where the inflammation is coming from. I’m not looking for medical advice about my condition but rather some ideas to research with my doctor.

  77. Anonymous says

    I found this interesting and notice that it is quite like what I have went through. I suffer from Chronic Urticaria and Angioedema so it explains why it was so increasingly worse when I was on Synthroid. My inflammation started after I suffered a traumatic injury from a MVA. I was given about 8 different new medications that had obviously interfered with my Synthroid, my Dr just kept increasing the dose and I just kept getting worse to the point I was continuously swelling and felt like ending my life due to the severity of pain from swelling, heart attack type of symptoms also. Then I started to develop a new Liver condition, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.. I decided to quit all the medications at once since they were not working in any way, only making me worse. I had to seek out an alternative Dr. to prescribe me Natural Desiccated Thyroid because no Dr would Prescribe it for me. I then saw my Liver clear up completely and slowly my Thyroid got back to normal but still swayed back and forth to Hypo and Hyper, I also still had Thyroid Anti bodies but they were more than half what they were prior to the Natural Thyroid. I now have been given HIGH doses of PABA to decrease my Thyroid Anti-Bodies and I went through a Chelation iv and urine test to find out my Metals were way out. Lead, Mercury and Cesium and a few others were very very high, lead and Mercury were the highest, Lead was right off the chart. I am now at this point and in need for Metals detoxing. I am currently taking Natural Thyroid extract, PABA, selenium, ThyroSense and I can already feel the difference, I am glad I learned about the Metals and also about the Paba.. I will post more when I find out what I improve from

  78. VLC says

    In my early 30′s I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease and took radioactive iodine twice. I’ve also tried every thyroid rx known to man since then.
    In 2007 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after feeling a lump in my neck and having very swollen lymph nodes in my collar bone. It was papillary carcinoma. My thyroid was removed at that time and I’m cancer free. I’m now 54 and have osteo arthritis, joint inflammation, insomnia, complex migraines, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. I take t3 and t4. I started 100 mcg of tirosint about 8 months ago and also take generec cytomel .5 mcg twice a day. My anxiety and depression have never been worse. I started bioidentical hormone therapy and 5 mg dhea a few months ago and thought I was better for a month or so. Now I feel worse than ever.
    I have regular blood work done and my levels started fluctuating. I’m thinking I’m getting too much of something. I don’t feel like eating and have lost about 15 lbs. I’ve been crying for 2 days. What do you know about hormone replacement therapy with thyroid medicine combined? I’m tired of feeling this way.
    Thank you

  79. Patricia says

    Hello! Nice article. I have Graves Disease , and a radiated thyroid. The doctor that (finally) diagnosed me many years ago, commented that my hyperthyroid was probably brought on by family history of auto-immune illness, and by a doctor who was giving me massive doses of iodine in many multiple supplements in an attempt to relieve extreme fatigue.
    Now that I am “treated”, am I still considered to have auto-immune issues? They now call me hypo thyroid. Surprise. I would conclude that just because my thyroid is now low without medication, that the auto immune thing is ongoing. Am I correct?
    Would love a comment.
    Thanks, Patricia

  80. says

    Since both thyroid and parathyroid disease co-exists in many patients, and in light of mention of multiple endocrine glands (i.e. pituitary, adrenals, etc.) which can be simultaneously affected, hopefully each will also keep PHPT (Primary Hyperparathyroidism) in mind. It is very often misdiagnosed as “Fibromyalgia” / “CFS”.

    Thoughts, Dr. Chris?

  81. Jane Mow says

    I would like to know what do I have to do to obtain Chris,s answers to all the great questions, I have went on all the links shown but still can not find the right place. Thanks Jane

  82. matt says

    hey chris i have hypothyroid and been taking synthroid and then later levothyroxine but have been dealing with under eye bags and dark circles for about a year since ive been on medication and tsh is in normal range

  83. Noelle says

    How do you address the inflammation? I agree with your assessment but I find it extremely difficult to reduce inflammation. Thanks.

  84. Anne says

    My husband was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 4 months ago he is on levothyroxin but it is ruining our lives. Before he was diagnosed he was just a little more tired than usual, now that he has been diagnosed and on meds he is constipated, more tired, depressed, no sex drive, anxious at times needs to move around, I don’t see him smile or laugh, we were always a couple that was close held hands, emotional he has just lost all of that. We have an appt now with an endocrinologist and I just found your blog and just feel I need help. I want my husband back I almost want to tell him to stop taking the medicine but I know thats not the thing to do. What questions should I ask the doc when we go if you can help at all. Thank You.

    • mohamed saif says

      Hi, i can understand the situation you and your husband are going through sounds very similar to my condition. Me and my wife have been going through this from 6 months and all the problem started since i started 100 mg levothyroxine, i remember those days like a very bad dream. then i finally decided to change my doctor someone who would listen to me and consider my feelings rather than dumping me with medicines. My endo took me off the meds and started with 25mg levo for 2 weeks then increased 12.5 mg every week slowly reaching to a target range of 125 mg. I lost the excess weight that i gained, started feeling better, came out of depression, started spending time with my lovely wife and kids. Though i am not 100% and i even dont expect that i will be since meds cannot replace something which God has designed as he is the best of all desingers and free of errors.

      I suggest you review your husbands condition with another doctor anr also watch out for his cholestrol levels as they may get elevated due to hypothyroid, take the meds on empty stomach first thing in the morning do not eat/drink anything until 30-45 mins to allow absorbtion avoid coffee and caffeine products. Slowly get him to excercise for atleast 30 mins. Again he may feel hyper at times due to high levels of t4 but should stabalised gradually insha allah (god willing).

      All the above is based on my personal experience and knowledge gained through reading. I pray that Allah provides your husband and family with good health and well being insha allah. Apart from the above changes i used to take 3 glasses of fresh orange juice daily, 1 teaspoon honey and half teaspoon black seed oil in 1 cup warm water this really helped me. Black seed has a lot of health benefits you can google it. I hope i have tried to be of help to you and your husband, i feel that its my duty to share my experience and help people benefit from it i just request you to remember me in your prayers.

  85. Darlene says

    I had my thyroid removed in 2009 . Up until then I have felt fine. This past yr I started gaining weight20 lbs and was having severe pain in left arm have lost a lot of range of motion. In Jan 2014 I woke up one morning extremely dizzy and threw up. I went to hospital and was diagnosed with vertigo. That same day I went to my DR and had blood work done. The next day she called and said my thyroid levels were off ( to high)and moved me from 100 to 125. Now roughly 6 weeks later more blood work and my levels are low,moving me to 112.5 I have felt slightly dizzy every day for the past 6 weeks. What caused my levels to change in the first place

  86. Debra says

    I have had problems with my thyroid for over 30 yrs, last year I started loosing weight for the first time and I wasn’t hungry all the time either. I ended up loosing 40lbs in about 3 months and then I had a doctor’s appointment and she checked my TSH level and changed my thyroid med, and the weight just started piling on.
    I went to my doctor today after I have been fighting with myself and taking the synthyoid medicine all these years and ask my doctor if there was another way to trip my thyroid so I could loose the weight, She is a family doctor and not a specialist on this matter but I hope with the above info I can get a little more in-depth help for my thyroid. I have been to a specialist and he gave me the same medicine but he use to do biopics of my thyroid every 3 mths but I never lost the weight like I did last yr.
    I wish there was a way to find out what triggered it? One small little part of the body by your throat that does so much harm.

    Debra

    • Debra says

      I forgot to mention that I have Lymphedema also and when I had lost the 40lbs last year my Lymphedema had also gotten better. The swelling in my legs and arms went down and I hadn’t felt better in years.
      So for some reason I believe the Thyroid and the Lymphedema have something in common. If anyone has any information on this please let me know.

      Thanks Debra

  87. KELLY L says

    Hope my comment will help some of you. I had posted a while back asking how we determine where the inflammation is coming from – I knew I was inflamed due to feeling inflamed and having ferritin that was above the range and increasing (and no genetics for hemochromatosis). After a lot of searching and testing, we think we have found my source of inflammation: LYME. I now know a lot of Lyme patients who also have thyroid problems and have been down the same path as me (told they have Hashis without testing positive for it, told they have AID without testing positive, told they have fibromyalgia, and so on and so on and so on). I kept pushing doctors because we weren’t finding answers and I felt as if my body was invaded by some kind of bacteria or parasite. If you have a thyroid problem and you can’t identify the source, it’s worth looking into Lyme as a cause.

  88. Susie says

    Hi Chris..Great Article!
    I have been on levothyroxine for hypothyroidism for about 7 years..However, whenever I drink warm liquids, eat cooked warm foods, etc, My body gets really really hot..My husband says my thyroid is out of whack..Anyways, yesterday I checked my oxygen because I also have COPD and my pulse was only 47.
    I am somewhat active 54 year old but am by no means athletic..this came as a shock to me as my pulse is usually between 90 and 120 all the time..
    So I was able to get right in to see the doctor and combined with the dizziness, weakness, low heart beat he says “acute onset symptomatic brady cardia”
    Of course, since Ive never had heart problems I raced home (well not really) but see through researching it that hypothyroidism can cause this to happen.
    Im hoping thats what it is. You talk about inflammation? should I be taking the ibuprofen regularly?
    Also, I think it strange that I am also diabetic but have never been overweight, in fact weigh only 130 pounds and am 5’10.
    Doesnt hypothyroidism and diabetes affect mostly persons who are overweight? better yet, don’t both of these cause weight gain?
    I know you are probably thinking “Lady, save it for the doctor” but I do appreciate your taking the time to read my inquisitive post..

  89. sydney says

    Thanks for the great article Chris! Any tips on the kind of tests we should do to diagnose maybe alternative causes of Hyopthyroidism.. My naturopath put me on naturthroid and now im on levothyroxine , about ten years ago…..would love to know if taking iodine or anything else would be of benefit or if you recommend naturthroid over levothyroixine..?
    Thank you!!

  90. Lucy says

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for the great information. I had a total thyroidectomy two years ago (diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but once it was removed the labs came back clear). And as usual I was placed on levothyroxine. After about 6 months, I was still very hypothyroid, even though my TSH was finally back in the normal range. After a lot of research, I changed to liothyronine sodium (T3 only) meds. I improved a lot, and I am now able to work full time again, but I still have many hypothyroid symptoms. I am taking a lot of supplements to support my adrenals, but I still think there’s another underlying issue. Do you have any suggestions? And just to add, where I am living atm, there are no facilities for fancy tests like RT3, or adrenal saliva tests. Many thanks.

  91. aurora rodriguez says

    hi my name is aurora an I had my hole thyroid remove and ben taking levothyroxine for 2 years and I don’t know what is wrong with me becase I take a 200 ml and I feel very sick no energy and allways cold and I have gain about 80 pounds mostly on my lower belly and down to my legs very ugly and I don’t understand why because I go 2 the gym every day 2 hours and eat very healthy food I don’t even eat meat or breads r pastas and they test me every 6 months and it doent change im always so sleepy an very tayer

  92. Valerie Buck says

    I have hypothyroid and am taking bio identical hormones and am not seeing any results. I would love to try seeing if any inflammation is the problem however when I look anything up it’s either to eat an anti inflammatory diet or the natural way by taking tummeric. How would you recommend combating inflammation?

  93. Victoria says

    cal-ldy1@hotmail.com-I lost most of my thyroid back in 1983 due to surgery. I’ve been taking Synthroid ever since, now its 2014, I moved up to a higher dose of 175 as of May 20th, it is now June 16th and it doesn’t seem to be working. How can I tell if my thyroid has stopped working? Tests done on 4/14/14
    TSH-0.03
    4T- 1.20
    Cholesterol-172
    HDL-63
    LDL-92.0
    TRIG-85

  94. alice says

    Hello. While searching for answers about my Thyroid issue/was removed by radiation
    , I came across this site. Have truly been more educated and share everyone’s concern. Currently I take a Synthroid and had blood work by an Endocrinologist.
    Triglycer…130mg/DL
    TSH. 0.109 uIU
    thyroxine T4. 9.4ug/DL
    T3. Uptake. 28%
    Free Thyroidine index. 2.6
    TPO. >6 IU/ml
    Hemoglobin. 12.4g/DL
    Hematocrit. 38.1%
    I am trying to understand everything
    Doctors havent (well) anyway. Could med be increased. etc. Thanks

  95. James says

    I was recently diagnosed (3 months ago) with Hashimotos. My question is has anyone experienced the medicine working and then all the sudden stopping, I started out on the 50 microgram dose and now am on 75 microgram dose. It seemed to work great within the first week and continued until it was time for a refill then it seemed to slow down and the symptoms returned, then the next round of labs and they up’ed the dose to 75 micrograms. Now it’s time for another round of labs and I feel that the symptoms returned.

  96. joann says

    I have tried 3 hypothyroid meds. Synthroid never worked and I actually gained weight. I used Armour for about 2-3 years and it became ineffective and now after 8 monhts of Naturethroid it is becoming less effective.

    Why would this happen? What else can I do? I feel bad.

  97. Den says

    I was found to have HashiMoto’s a year and a half ago after my thyroid was damaged during spinal surgery. I started at 88 mg, then 100. In February (this year and a year later), I felt like I looked dead, felt dead; my wife took my body temperature and it was 95.2. I was having the most massive headaches you could imagine and felt lifeless. My voice was as if my vocal cords had been damaged, it was very scratchy. She read articles and it suggested I needed to take more thyroid medication. So I doubled it from the 100 to the 200 and my body temperature came up to 98. I felt like a flower that hadn’t been watered for a week and looked dead, and then sprung back to life with water again. Lab work supported that I was on the right track, and my endocrinologist was in shock that I could need that much so quickly but put me at 175.

    A month ago I started to feel the same, took my body temperature and it had slipped to 96.9. So I split one in half and am now taking basically 260. It brought up my body temperature to 97.6. I still have massive headaches that come and go all the time, lack energy, am fatigued, the list goes on. I am very hesitant to take more, and after reading your article think my issue is T4 to T3 conversion isn’t taking place, so no matter how much Levothyroxin I take, the T4 isn’t being converted to T3, so my body temperature isn’t going up proportionally.

    My question is: I assume that the T3 working correctly is what corrects the body temperature, that T4 has no impact on it until it is converted to T3. Is that correct?

    Thanks!

  98. joe says

    I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism when I was 12 yrs old now I took the radio active iodine!have been on levothroxin ever since! I am now 45 years of age and is no longer working body is slowly shutting down! doctor wants me to try synthroid! will that actually make a difference?

  99. Mechelle says

    I was diagnosed with a overactive thyroid when I was 21, I have had the surgery and radio iodine treatment and became underactive. I had no problem for 10+ years on 200 mcg of levo but last august became overmedicated and was cut down to 175mcg, I was still ill and in April this year was told I was still overmedicated and was cut down to 150mcg, my blood test results came back last week as normal but yesterday I started feeling unwell again, could I be undermedicated this time and why at 45 years old is it all of a sudden playing up?

  100. mel says

    I am currently taking .5 synthroid (for 5 years or so) and iron supplements. My ferritin was 9 a month ago before the iron. I am still so tired all the time. Doc wants me to go back on BC pills. I have ringing in my ears, frequent candida /sore tongue, hair loss Lately my stomach has felt very bloated and full. I am not over weight. I live a very stressful life. Any ideas suggestions

  101. Karine says

    I have made blood analysis. TSH was 3,9 mlU/ml (referance range 0,5-4,1) and TG-ab 296,8 (referance range small 100AU/ml) and the doctor recommended to drink L-Thyroxin 50. After two monthes the blood anaysis show the following results: TSH is 1,32mlU/ml; TG-ab now is 471,8. Two days ago (29.07.14) the doctor recommended to continue drink L-Thyroxin 50 each day and Metypred one drug each 2 days. Today (31.07.14) I am feeling some lump in my throat. I am not sure is it nervious one or something going wrong. She suggeted to make blood analysis after a month and make thyroid ultrasound. I am afraid if I am in right way. What will be your suggetion. I dont want to miss the time. I am 42 years old. Never have serious problems before and my relatives never have such diagnose.

  102. Josh Stoppelwerth says

    Hello Dr. Kresser,

    This is a very informative website on a much misunderstood subject. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 08 and have been on a small dosage of Synthroid/levothyroxine ever since. It helped with the breathing trouble at night, blood pressure swings and numerous other problems but I still struggle with hives when getting hot mainly but also getting cold (large temperature swings). Every doctor I’ve been to just wants me to throw large amounts of allergy meds at it. I take Zyrtec daily and that helps lessen the severity but not by much. Benadryl works some to alleviate the horrible welts all over I get from just going to the gym. Any suggestions?

  103. libby says

    hello…
    14 years ago i was diagnosed with Hashimoto with thyroid antibodies 500 and still suffering with horrific symptoms.
    I was denied any meds untill this year. This year antibody were lowered to 200 and I got syndroid which adjusted my appetite and stopped cravings. But my face started looking horrible. hanging eyelids, extremely dry, peeling red skin with severe acne, still no energy, overweight, and severe bloating indigestion and constipation. Than I was given T3 and i could not take it as my joints and body pain increased to the point I could not walk. So I switched to dessicated thyroid, which was gentle but with no any good effect.
    So i stopped it all.
    I started eat a lot of veggies for breakfast with some protein and one raw onion daily. For few days I felt as my immune system switched off and I felt no pain, a lots of energy, perfect digestion and I felt great like never before.
    After a week I am still with this way of eating but my symptoms and pain of joints and ancylosis spons.is back.
    It seams to mi that anything that supports thyroid function and good health including diet is overpowered by immune system after few days and I am back to my sickness and big body pain. Is this the end for me ? I know if my Immune System would be switched off my body function would be restored. But how I can achieve this ? any insight Chris ?
    Thank you in advance

  104. Carole says

    I suffer with hyperthyroidism, I was taking 100mcg. Started feeling very strange, anxious, stressed, tired etc. Dr. then lowered it to 75 mcg. Still feeling the same, does this need to be lowered again and how long do I wait before another blood test.

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