I have been on meds for a little over 3 years. I became hyperthyroid after my first pregnancy and tried to control it through meds, diet, supplements, etc. for about 1 year. I was allergic to both anti-thyroid meds, and the beta blockers were causing additional issues. Also, my heart was having atrial fib. runs all day long, so I decided to take the next step and try to get my life back. I didn't want to take radioiodine, so opted for surgery instead and had my thyroid removed. Turns out I had thyroid cancer, so I guess it was a good move. The surgery left me hypothyroid for life, and I have been taking Levothroid ever since.
I am extremely sensitive to even minor variations in my dose, and I need my TSH levels to be even on the surpressed side to feel well. Kind of ironic that I am technically hyperthyroid looking at my labs post-surgery, but I feel so much better now. And most of the time I do feel well! Personally, I feel simply awful if I am anywhere near hypo levels, so I feel for you. I think you will feel better once you find the right dose for you. You may already know that a lack of thyroid hormone affects so many other bodily functions--the adrenals, blood sugar levels, body temp., memory, mood, energy level, weight--just to name a few...Like the previous poster said, there don't seems to be any risks to taking the medication, and it is considered one of the safer medications out there. I think the real risk is in not taking what your body is clearly asking for...more thyroid hormone.
I have heard from people on both sides of the natural vs. synthetic argument for thyroid replacement. I tend to think natural is better, if it can work, for just about anything. With that said, I have heard some doctors say they do not like to prescribe the natural thyroid for those with auto-immune issues, the claim being that they can cause additional allergic reaction/inflammation, and increase a person's antibody levels. For that reason, I have stuck with the synthetics. It did take my body time to adjust. But now I am ok. Hope that helps, and hope you feel better soon!
By the way, you mentioned wanting to get pregnant. It is considered safe to take during pregnancy (Class A, I believe). In fact, it is considered very unsafe to be even borderline hypothyroid when pregnant. Since underactive thyroid is so very common among women, some doctors advocate for testing all newly pregnant women for this, as it is treatable and can have major consequences for the fetus if left untreated. This is one medication you definitely want to take if you need it. On a personal note, I was extremely p$#@%ed off during my second pregnancy, first trimester, when I could feel I was getting hypothyroid on my prepregnancy dose and the doctor refused to increase my thyroid hormone dose (my labs looked ok at that point). Just two weeks later my TSH had climbed to 9.4 (thankfully I had demanded to be tested again).
Good luck, and know that you are not alone--there are many many of us on thyroid hormone supplementation!
Edited by mommytimes2 - 6/20/11 at 5:26pm