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my doc said i have hypothyroidism

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
and im just confused. my tsh is 14. my t4 is some number...not normal, but i cant rememebr exactly. doctor wants me to start synthroid at a dose of 50 micrograms. she said shell prescribe the pig meds instead if i want them. which is better? there seems to be pros and cons to each. im also vegetarian so im not that into the pig stuff but im willing if its better. so i guess i feel really dis-empowered because i cant find answers to my questions. such as, what happens if i dont medicate? will i progressively get worse? will it go away? is 14 high for tsh or just a tiny bit high? i dont think im even that symptomatic. im tired, my moon blood is crazy unpredictable, i have no sex drive, im gaining weight, im irritable, my memory is shot to hell, but im a mom to an 8 month old and a mouthy 5 year old. those feelings are normal, right? is it possible that ive had it for years and now i think these feelings are normal? as im reading, it seems like this might me connected to having babies. is that right? have i had this for years, or just got it? how do i know? did i understand correctly that i shouldnt eat soy anymore?? do i need to ask for a referral to and endocrinologist or is my pcp enough? i was hoping to find some really clear cut answers online but havent. ive been paging through the thyroid thread and not finding answers there either. thanks for any advice.
post #2 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by koalove View Post
she said shell prescribe the pig meds instead if i want them. which is better?
Can you even get those anymore? My mom has taken Armour thyroid most of her life and can no longer get it.
post #3 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by koalove View Post
and im just confused. my tsh is 14. my t4 is some number...not normal, but i cant rememebr exactly. doctor wants me to start synthroid at a dose of 50 micrograms. she said shell prescribe the pig meds instead if i want them. which is better? there seems to be pros and cons to each. im also vegetarian so im not that into the pig stuff but im willing if its better. so i guess i feel really dis-empowered because i cant find answers to my questions. such as, what happens if i dont medicate? will i progressively get worse? will it go away? is 14 high for tsh or just a tiny bit high? i dont think im even that symptomatic. im tired, my moon blood is crazy unpredictable, i have no sex drive, im gaining weight, im irritable, my memory is shot to hell, but im a mom to an 8 month old and a mouthy 5 year old. those feelings are normal, right? is it possible that ive had it for years and now i think these feelings are normal? as im reading, it seems like this might me connected to having babies. is that right? have i had this for years, or just got it? how do i know? did i understand correctly that i shouldnt eat soy anymore?? do i need to ask for a referral to and endocrinologist or is my pcp enough? i was hoping to find some really clear cut answers online but havent. ive been paging through the thyroid thread and not finding answers there either. thanks for any advice.
"i dont think im even that symptomatic. im tired, my moon blood is crazy unpredictable, i have no sex drive, im gaining weight, im irritable, my memory is shot"

These ARE the symptoms of hypothyroid. I'll bet if you took your basal temperature it would be low. Holy cow, 14 is extremely high. I feel quite bad when my TSH is anywhere higher than 2 !!

Synthroid is a synthetic version of the T4 hormone. (There are other brands - Unithroid, etc. Levothroid is the generic.) Armour is a pig-derived combination of T4 and T3. The body converts the long-term T4 stores into T3 as it needs it. T3 is what the body uses, but it has a very short half-life. Some people do have trouble converting T4 to T3 though. There is a synthetic form of T3 as well. The thing with Armour is that you can't adjust the ratio of T4 to T3, it is what it is. Plus, I'm not wild about it being pig-derived (and I'm not a vegetarian).

FWIW, I'm taking Synthroid, and have been ever since I was 16 years old. I've been on a full replacement dose. It was to keep my thyroid from working because I had a goiter that they didn't want to grow. That worked fine until the goiter started to grow like mad when I was around 35. That's around the same time as I started eating lots of soy. So I ended up having my thyroid out (in case of cancer -- it wasn't). I'm now still taking the Synthroid and also Cytomel. This way I get my T3 as well as T4, even though they are both synthetic.

You say you are a vegetarian....do you eat soy? That is a huge goitrogen (causes goiters) and it was the cause of my goiter suddenly growing out of control. Soy also causes low thyroid levels. If you DO eat soy, then I suggest stopping that and also taking a supplementary source of iodine. I take Dulse, but you can also do Lugol's iodine instead. You could also avoid fluoridated water. You could try all those things first, instead of any thyroid hormones. Give it a few months and see where the thyroid labs are and if you are feeling any different.
post #4 of 31
It's a lot to digest at first - it's normal to feel overwhelmed I think.
You've gotten some good info so far.
Also, there's a huge thyroid thread in these forums. It's worth giving it a quick read through and then post any specific questions you still have.
Do you know if they tested thyroid antibodies? That's how you kno wif your hypo is caused by Hashimoto's - which is an autoimmune condition.
More info here:
https://sites.google.com/site/natura...id/hypothyroid
post #5 of 31
Yeah... I feel like a big of dog doo doo anything above tsh is 2 too...

The upper limit of TSH is 5 but the suggested upper limit is actually is 3. It means your pituatary gland is hitting your thyroid to keep making thyroid hormone cause your body is deprived. Lack of thyroid won't have any immediate impacts but it does contribute to many diseases and overall can lead you to feeling quite moon. After about 5 years of being misdiagnosed, I would safely say I was on the edge of a depression cliff and almost jumped. Time will make it worse.

Lack of thyroid basically affects how your cells take in oxygen. It can make cholesterol /lipid levels uncontrollable, contribute to heart disease, gall bladder disease, and depression. None of this is dramatic .. happens in short term...

There is a current shortage of "natural" aka pig thyroid hormone. Many people actually fight to get on it so I'm sure most people are like who did you see and I want their name!! If you don't feel comfortable, you can always try starting on T4 only and then add T3 as you go up. It will take a while to feel level again but youwill probably be surprised at realizing how "unnormal" you've been feeling. It's absolutely linked to babies!! At least, it tends to pop up post pregnancy due to hormone fluctuations and the fact that a lot of thyroid issues are autoimmune in origin. Post pregnancy you get a big immune boost back which often in autoimmune disease means you're body starts attacking in full force it's victim - in this case you're thyroid.

A GREAT reference is Mary Shomon's website on about.com. She is a thyroid patient advocate. http://thyroid.about.com/
post #6 of 31
14 is VERY high. I feel yucky over 1. (I think the range of normal is 0.3 to 3)

There are books (Mary Shoman), and you will find good info here.

I just started pig thyroid (a generic form of Armour) about a month ago after being on levothyroxine for almost four years. Feel free to pm me in the future to see if I like it better. Right now I am still adjusting my dose, so I am a little whacked out and moody.

You will feel so much better, mama, when you get it under control! It affects everything, I swear!!
post #7 of 31
I'm in the UK, i was dx when DD was 6 months old. I have Hashi's.

I too felt at the time of dx that apart from my loss of milk (which dived to nothing as my TSH rose) i had normal mother-who-is-tired symptoms. I felt literally a MILLION times better on levothyroxine (synthroid in the US i think - in the UK they won't usually prescribe armour because it's harder for them to get an accurate amount of thryoxine into each pill with that than with the lab-made levothyroxine, so it's not hugely respected by endocrinologists here). I began on 25mcgm/day and now, in the 3rd trimester of a pregnancy i'm on 100mcgm/day. I expect this to go up and down once i'm post partum. I am one of those people who has highish TSH no matter what - i was medicated at 75mcgm/day before i fell pregnant and even with my T4 at around 19 (highish end of the normal range) my TSH was still about 3. Just now, with the pregnancy suppressing my immune system, my TSH is 1.5 or so and i feel great My GP tends to medicate according to symptoms first and bloods next - i begin to feel hyperthyroid (sweats, racing heart) with my T4 above 21, even if my TSH is still around 2 - which is ideal for me. Having hashi's during pregnancy has caused me no problems, my GP monitors my TSH and TFT's every 4 weeks and i'm planning an independent-midwife supported homebirth but could have had an NHS homebirth if i'd wanted one. A lot of the fears i had at diagnosis have evaporated or been proven to be unfounded.

I resisted medicating for a few months, because my sister has hashi's and is medicated and i had a strong fear of being medicated for the rest of my life. I don't really recommend it (though i can't stop you if you choose to do it of course!). A lot of my hair fell out, i developed stress fractures in the bones of my feet from continuing my normal exercise routine, my eyebrows fell out, i had terrible digestive problems due to a lack of saliva and slow peristalsis (pain, gassiness, constipation), and my TSH rose from 11 (at diagnosis) to 27. My resting heart rate was 38bpm and my GP was on the verge of calling an ambulance to the surgery to take me in when i finally said i would take the medication. I don't even think about my "reliance" on meds now, and i feel so so much better. I wish i'd sought advice earlier and accepted the meds earlier, as it's likely those two things would have made the difference and i could have continued to BF my daughter. As it was she was entirely formula fed from 7 months.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
wow thanks for the replies. its so hard to think theres actually something wrong with me when i hear everyones symptoms and i do t have them~ weakness, dry sking, cold aversion, slow hb. i have the synthroid here and i keep looking at the bottle and i just cant bring myself to take it.
is hypothyroid linked to low breastmilk production? i have never sucessfully bf my babes and have been told i have igt. so i make very little milk but i make it for a long time....for example, i had breastmilk for 3 years after ds1 was born and i never breastfed him even once. my hormone levels are all normal. one thing i cant find the answer to anywhere is about the tsh number. i hear all of you saying 14 is high, and you feel terrible above 4 or 5, but what is the scale? i know what normal is, but i see people with numbers in the 200-500 range, so 14 doesnt seem that high. is it just a very very mild case? or is 14 a severe case and 200 is off the charts crazy dangerous high? my brain operated well on numbers and charts so i feel like i have to get a point of reference for where i am on the scale. thanks for the support!
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post
Can you even get those anymore? My mom has taken Armour thyroid most of her life and can no longer get it.
Yes, you can. There has been a shortage, but they are working to replenish it. I was on Synthroid, then Synthroid and Cytomel for years before switching to one of the dessicated pig thyroid meds (I take Armour thyroid). I responde

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post
14 is VERY high. I feel yucky over 1. (I think the range of normal is 0.3 to 3)
Same here. I have found a doc willing to help me keep my TSH between 0.5 and 1.5.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by koalove View Post
wow thanks for the replies. its so hard to think theres actually something wrong with me when i hear everyones symptoms and i do t have them~ weakness, dry sking, cold aversion, slow hb. i have the synthroid here and i keep looking at the bottle and i just cant bring myself to take it.
is hypothyroid linked to low breastmilk production? i have never sucessfully bf my babes and have been told i have igt. so i make very little milk but i make it for a long time....for example, i had breastmilk for 3 years after ds1 was born and i never breastfed him even once. my hormone levels are all normal. one thing i cant find the answer to anywhere is about the tsh number. i hear all of you saying 14 is high, and you feel terrible above 4 or 5, but what is the scale? i know what normal is, but i see people with numbers in the 200-500 range, so 14 doesnt seem that high. is it just a very very mild case? or is 14 a severe case and 200 is off the charts crazy dangerous high? my brain operated well on numbers and charts so i feel like i have to get a point of reference for where i am on the scale. thanks for the support!
Yes, low thyroid can cause milk supple issues. In some women it doesn't, but in many it does. I have exactly what you describe, except that post-partum and in natural remission from hashi's (hashimoto's is where the immune system mistakes the thyroid gland as an invader and attacks it, which means it cannot make enough thyroxine, your brain sees there's not enough thyroxine and makes more TSH to tell your thyroid to work harder and your immune system redoubles its attack - the goiter is caused by the thyroid growing in an attempt to have enough good tissue to make the thyroxine the TSH level is demanding - when you're pregnant your immune system is suppressed, which often leads to a lull in thyroid attack and better function, something which ends somewhat soon post partum) i had good milk supply for about 4 months. Then it began to drop as my TSH climbed. By 7months PP i was able to make about 2oz, once a day (at 5am, it was the last feed i dropped for a bottle of formula). I stopped nursing my DD at 7months and i had a few drops of milk whenever i tried hand expression until i was 10weeks pregnant with this babe, over 3 years later. My research seems to suggest that if i can have my bloods monitored and my levels controlled through the return of my normal (i.e. defective) immune response i should be able to BF for the full 24 months i desire this time. I will be building a good stock of EBM to tide us over through any issues and i have a LOT of supportive careproviders in the wings ready to help me.

The impression i get from my doctors is that the TSH level in NUMBERS is not as notable as the symptoms the patient has. Some people are very sick indeed with a TSH of 7, others can exist for decades (albeit usually pretty miserably) with a TSH of >20. It is possible to have a myxedemic crisis and slip into a coma with a normal TSH level, because TSH is made in RESPONSE to a lack of T4 and T3, and it's not an immediate response by any means. It can take as long as a month for a change in thyroxine dose to "show" in the TSH level. For this reason TSH is very useful for diagnosing a hypothyroid state, but not for prescribing the severity of it.

I totally understand your reluctance to take the meds. When i was dx i was literally the ONLY member of my family not on any kind of medication for some thing, and i was incredibly resistant to the idea of joining them. But the difference between how i felt and how i feel now is indescribable. It was like i was wading through glue every day, and then suddenly it was gone and i could move again. Things which had previously felt like monumental challenges were suddenly so simple. The depression caused by dragging myself through everyday tasks lifted and i was able to enjoy my life again.

There is NO EVIDENCE to suggest that once you commence medication your thyroid won't recover if it was going to (it usually doesn't, but taking the medication won't PREVENT it from doing so if it WAS going to). My TSH has progressively dropped through this pregnancy as my natural thyroid function has improved. If you took the meds and later decided you wanted to stop, you COULD try that. Some people do.

I was undiagnosed from my first symptoms at 19 until i was postpartum at 26. During those years i was about 40lbs overweight despite a healthy diet and a lot of exercise (doctors simply didn't believe i ate well and exercised because, afterall, i was fat), my BBT was low enough that my temperatures didn't appear on the charts i bought from the chemist even AFTER ovulation, and i had repeated miscarriages (which may or may not be directly related). The difference now i am medicated is like night and day.
post #11 of 31
There are specific nutrients which are related to hormonal balance. Have you had saliva testing done? There is commonly an association between androgen levels and estrogen levels. Both can be elevated. Read on the iodine thread also about the relation to thyroid receptors being blocked by bromides also. The hormones are all interrelated. My understanding is that all 5 hormones need to be saliva tested: thyroid, progesterone, testosterone, estrogen and cortisol, multiple times during the day.

This is my Cliff's Notes to thyroid stuff: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...&postcount=130

Also, consider PCOS issues and the related hormonal imbalances: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d#post13936257

Adrenal fatigue is also interconnected with stress, cortisol exhaustion, and thyroid levels.

Check out the Thyroid Thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=493320

And the Adrenal Fatigue Thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=685848

The Iodine Thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...=iodine+thread


HTH, Pat
post #12 of 31

Another helpful site

It is so difficult to get this diagnosis at first. It can be such a rollercoaster.
I've found the dessicated hormone (from pigs) to be the most helpful, for sure. I've tried most of the other synthetics and have had my symptoms worsen. This website is helpful: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/

I now take a the dessicated from a compounding pharmacy, since Armour is not being made anymore, as I understand.

Feel free to pm me if you'd like more info.
You can feel so much better!
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koifish View Post

I now take a the dessicated from a compounding pharmacy, since Armour is not being made anymore, as I understand.
This is not true. It is still being made, but there are some problems with supply.

http://www.armourthyroid.com/
post #14 of 31
I am currently getting my natural thyroid from a pharmacy in Carefree, AZ. I have also heard that Bellevue(out of Misssouri or Illinois??) carries it, and both do out of state mailing.

Research, research, resaearch.....

post #15 of 31
GoBecGo, I'm wondering about your T3. It's possible that you have a conversion problem (from T4 to T3) and that's why you can't get your TSH below 3 (except when pregnant). Sometimes selenium will help but adding just a little T3 to your T4 may help. Or so I've heard.

I am personally on dessicated thyroid. I have Hashi's. My TSH was >100 when dx'ed. I presently get my medication from a compounding pharmacy here in Oregon (which also mails out of state) during the "Armour shortage".

OP, the main difference between synthroid and dessicated thyroid (besides the source, which I assume is obvious), is that the dessicated thyroid provides more than just T4. It also provides T3 and a little bit of T2, T1 and calcitonin. If you dig around on Stop The Thyroid Madness site, you'll learn a little more about that. Another site I like is ithyroid.com.
post #16 of 31
JaquelineR how would i know? My T3 is always mid-high end of normal range, like my T4 in my BT's. My TSH is now 0.78, my lowest ever level since beginning testing in 2006! I talked to my sister and her TSH also remains high (about 3) even when her T4 is so high they're reducing her doseage. Maybe it's a weirdness with our family...?
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
JaquelineR how would i know? My T3 is always mid-high end of normal range, like my T4 in my BT's. My TSH is now 0.78, my lowest ever level since beginning testing in 2006! I talked to my sister and her TSH also remains high (about 3) even when her T4 is so high they're reducing her doseage. Maybe it's a weirdness with our family...?
I can't remember where I found it (I'll look for it again) but somewhere online I found a graph for assessing how well your thyroid is being treated. My doctor is just learning to let go of lab testing so I've never had my t4 nor t3 in the range area you're describing. The thought that you still feel symptomatic (even mildly) in that range disturbs me, tbh.
Anyway, I'll look for that graph.

eta: that's what I thought. It's Dr. Rind's graph. Graph and detailed explanation here.
post #18 of 31
I do think the first year or so after being dx i had some adrenal fatigue since i'd been untreated for 7 years and just done a pregnancy and BFing without any medication. I'm interested to see how i go this time PP. I was actually asymptomatic once i was on 75mcgm/day. My first GP was terrible and basically said "your bloods are normal, i'm not increasing your dose" when my TSH was 4.87 and i still didn't grow eyebrows! My new GP is really much more supportive/useful. I'll be interested to see how i compare to the chart you talked about, if you can find it.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I do think the first year or so after being dx i had some adrenal fatigue since i'd been untreated for 7 years and just done a pregnancy and BFing without any medication. I'm interested to see how i go this time PP. I was actually asymptomatic once i was on 75mcgm/day. My first GP was terrible and basically said "your bloods are normal, i'm not increasing your dose" when my TSH was 4.87 and i still didn't grow eyebrows! My new GP is really much more supportive/useful. I'll be interested to see how i compare to the chart you talked about, if you can find it.
A link to the chart is in an ETA in my post before this one. I'd like to know how you're sitting too (because I'm nosy like that. ).
post #20 of 31
Hmm, thanks. Well i downloaded the excel thing and it has my TSH as sitting low (-4) but my T4 and T3 are sitting both in +2, but "optimal" is directly below them. I guess with me being pregnant it's hard to know how i'd be "normally".
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