Anyone take thyroid medication?

legomom23February 19, 2014

Several months ago when I went to the doctor, my thyroid numbers all came back borderline. The t3, t4 and TSH were all at the very limit between normal and hypo. I was also deficient in b12.
My doctor recommended I treat the b12 for several months and see if it helped my problems and then if not she would be ok with me trying the lowest dose of thyroid meds.
I'm torn. B12 helped, but didn't solve my issues. I normally don't like to medicate. I'm not taking anything other than vitamins. But then I read some articles and books and I think, what if it would really help me? What if it's the key to feeling great? Shouldn't I try it?
Just wondering if anyone has any BTDT advice to share for me to ponder.


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I was borderline much like you most of my life.. in conjunction with my dr, I chose not to treat it until very recently when my numbers took a nose dive.

A few thoughts..
1. I wouldn't consider thyroid replacement as "medicating".. you are replacing. Much like a diabetic taking insulin or a menopausal woman taking hormone replacement. The difference between this and HRT is that the thryoid hormones affect SO much of what keeps you going and happy.

2. when you start synthroid/thyroid replacement, it's an all in thing.. you keep with it and monitor to make sure your levels are good but you are on them for life.

3. You didnt mention your symptoms, but a lot of the signs of thyroid disease are vague and/or also signs of other issues, medical and otherwise. I had no idea my thyroid had pretty much stopped working because my symptoms were the same as you'd expect from high stress-- which is par for my course. I'd be darn sure there's nothing else going on (esp if your numbers are borderline).

As for me, I haven't seen a big difference as yet-- but it's been a noticeable difference. The single most noticeable change is that I am sleeping soooooo much more normally. I havent lost weight as I was told i might.. darn it! I should note though, my levels aren't adjusted correctly yet. I need to up my dosage and just havent made time for the blood tests.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 4:21PM
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Thyroid regulates weight, reproduction, hair, skin, vitality, intelligence, among others. It's amazing how much of your bodily functions it affects. Yes, you do need to take it every morning on an empty stomach, and you can't eat for at least 1/2 hour after taking the medication, and yes, you do need periodic blood tests to check your thyroid levels. Certain medications will reduce the effectiveness of thyroid medicine, particularly calcium supplements and medicines for osteoporosis or osteopenia. But if you really need it, that is, if you have dry skin, coarse or brittle hair, brittle nails, irregular or painful periods, feel tired all the time, are unusually sensitive to cold, then maybe you need thyroid medicine.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:16PM
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Yes I do. I take two kinds and I feel awful if I'm even near the limit of what the new adjusted values are for normal. Not all doctors have moved there yet. Unfortunately my levels fluctuate so I have to test every quarter just to see where things are at.

I take two different kinds. One for the T4 and one for the T3. I can't remember which one is which, but I've felt so much better since starting to take both vs. taking just for one and try to compensate for the other with the dosage. One is a once a day pill and the other is twice a day. I haven't had this much energy in a long time since I started taking both. We are still adjusting the dosages though, but besides that I feel so much better already.

Since the thyroid affects so much I would rather take the pills and feel good than worry about the medication I'm taking. I do dislike the amount of pills in a day, but because I'm finally feeling better than I have in a long time - as in more than 20 years since I was diagnosed I will not go without the extra pills. I feel like a new person.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:51PM
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Timely thread! I take levothyroxine for the past 4 yrs....started at lowest dose
of 25mcg-gradually increased dosage. I started getting symptoms again
but wasn't connecting the dots ...weight gain while eating the same, always
cold, dry skin ( had a facial an esthetician even remarked about it) mild
hair loss and feeling very emotional like when I was I
had my yearly physical due and sure enough the TSH test showed I needed
An increase in dosage. Feeling much better! This is the only prescription
med I take and I am technically a senior citizen . Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I've had graves disease for over 35 years which means I've had periods of normalcy followed by periods of hyperactivity and hypot depending on dosage. I am now on synthroid as my thyroid has "burned out" and I've been consistently underactive for several years. I've recently had to adjust the synthroid up as I was starting to show signs of underactivity.

Taking synthroid is not taking medication in terms of introducing something that is foreign to the system with potential side effects...rather it is a replace of a naturally occurring hormone of which you just have too little. In addition to the affects of hypot listed above, it also includes low blood pressure, low pulse rate, constipation and high cholesterol and weight gain. So it is definitely worthwhile supplementing to get you running "hot, straight, and normal" as my DH would say.

You can also check how much iodine you are getting in your diet as it will promote thryoid function....sea salt, fish, some raw greens....

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Thanks for all the thoughts.

My symptoms are dry skin, some hair loss, inability to lose weight. Mentally my symptoms are a feeling of blah, apathy, low energy, and a terrible memory. Infertility although I am 43 and not looking to have another baby, and very irregular periods. I also have low pulse even though I am not in great shape. My blood pressure and cholesterol are fine.

I have had these symptoms as long as I can remember, but I just said "Ok" when my doctor said my numbers were ok and it wasn't thyroid. This time I asked for the results and noticed how borderline they all were. I asked her if someone was treated, would they leave them at those levels and she said no. Most people felt better at lower levels than mine. That's when we agreed this could be an option for me.

I'm leaning toward starting. I feel like I owe myself the chance to feel better. It's just scary starting something you'll never be able to stop.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 1:05PM
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There arent alternatives or natural replacements for thyroid meds. If your tsh levels are off, they will continue to worsen without replacement therapy.

Don't expect to suddenly have supple skin and to lose 15lbs once you start, however. Most people will lose a couple pounds, and will see less hair loss, but not a complete turn around.

Ive been on thyroid replacement therapy for over 25 years. I actually have an autoimmune disorder so I take both T3 and T4 daily. If i skip a couple.days I feel like death warmed over! My whole body hurts
even my SKIN hurts. I cant sleep, horrible brain fog, irritability, and depression like symptoms. I need this HRT just to function.

Hyperthyroidism has its own set of health issues, you don't want to ignore that little gland, it.has an.essential job keeping you body functioning at a basic level. The HRT isnt a miracle cure, but it will affect you quality of life.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 1:39PM
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I guess when I look on the internet, I do read some things that indicate it is an autoimmune disorder and might be affected by diet. Perhaps if we all went gluten free! HA!
When I read things like this I think I'm not trying hard enough on my own.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 1:59PM
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No thyroid (hypo) can kill you. I would suggest you take your medication and live. Read the above. This isn't something to mess with. I had a temporary issue when my last child was born. My Thyroid bounced back and it was another 10 years before I began taking my meds. I have taken the same dose for 10 years now. There is no reason not to!!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 5:03PM
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I've been on synthroid over 30 years.

My advise to you: Find a endocrinologist that you trust and don't believe everything you read on the internet.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 6:02PM
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Im gluten free because my body reavts badly to it as a result of.the autoimmune disorder. Gluten free.does not change or affect my thyroid levels. If you have a diagnosis of thyroid disorder (from a qualified physician, not Web MD) you need the hrt. You cant reverse thyroid disorders by diet change.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 6:44PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Diet can affect thyroid function...iodine and other foods called goitrogens which include things like broccoli.

It wasn't that long ago that they readjusted "normal" blood work to pick up on people who were actually suffering symptoms of hypot though their blood work said they were fine.

Getting to normal will make you feel so good that it's certainly worthwhile trying.

If you are interested in learning more about thyroid, look to Mary Shomon's material on line. She's a good resource.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:36PM
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My DD was born without a thyroid and has been taking synthroid since she was 2 weeks old.

Here are some of the things we learned over the last 2 decades.

Soy can bind to the medication and lessen the availability of the meds in your bloodstream. Do avoid ingesting soy near time of the meds.

Synthroid looses its potency rapidly after its expiration date. So it is important to source from a very reputable pharmacy, and make sure to take all of 1 fill of the RX and then start the new bottle. Don't have several bottles with pills in different locations as that can make it harder to make sure they are fresh.

Try to take at the same time of day every day.

Try to have all lab work done at the same lab if you can. Not always possible with insurance plans today. But if you can find a doctor that runs their own lab that can make the results more comparable over time.

The symptoms of a bit too high and a bit too low are quite similar.

One of those MTWTFSS pill boxes makes it easier to keep track if you have taken a dose.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:26PM
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I have been on Synthroid for a number of years and would concur with Maddie: find a good endocrinologist. Many family doctors and Internists don't agree on when treatment is needed. Endo's work with this on a regular basis. Your thyroid isn't something to play with.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:25AM
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I have been on Synthroid for about 5 years. My primary care doc seems to think I am fine and just need to eat lower carb and keep exercising. I have never seen an endo. He seems to think I don't need one. Honestly, I have no clue.

There is huge disagreement about what levels are "correct." Some physicians go by the numbers while others go by symptoms. I totally understand that if your dose is too high, that can mean problems, but too low isn't good either. My current dose is 88 mcg.

I also had low Vitamin D at my last blood draw in the summer, so I am due for a recheck for both thyroid and Vit D.

I have actually made some strides this year with weight--I've lost probably about 5 lbs, but it has been a long haul to do that. I still have about 25 lbs to lose.

I know a few people who once they started the Synthroid, their weight really regulated, but I was not one of them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:46AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you are interested in a more natural approach, there is armour thyroid which includes both T3 and T4. Most doctors think the body will manufacture enough T3 itself out of the T4, but others find they do better with the armour stuff. Medicine is so individual, you really need to find what's best for you.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:25AM
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Thank you all so much for your experiences. I am getting a referral to an endocrinologist. I think many of you are right that the thyroid is not something to mess around with.

I think getting normal and feeling better are worth working towards!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:44PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Make sure you get an endo familiar with thyroid. A lot of them seem to do non-stop diabetes these days....others get really clinical and tend to treat the thyroid not the patient as opposed to treating the patient who has thyroid disease. So try to find one who will listen to you and your symptoms in addition to reading blood work results.

I've been to endos for work ups and FNAs and such, but generally I rely on my GP for treatment and drugs.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:31AM
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Annie - that's a good point. In my area I think the endos are very focused on diabetes. And my GP was the one offering to treat the symptoms even though my numbers were borderline. Maybe I'd be ok sticking with her.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Legomom, I would definitely find an endocrinologist - if for nothing else than a second opinion. A good one should treat both diabetes and thyroid (among other issues). They specialize in these areas and may be more current than your family doctor. My mom saw one for years and I had a work-up years ago (not for thyroid). They did a much more thorough screening/testing, etc.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Hi there...popping in to conversations this evening.

I'm hypo, but my issue is different.

TSH tells your body to make T4
T4 converts to T3 and Reverse T3
T3 is works at the molecular level in your body.
In the US, most doctors will tell you that Reverse T3 has no impact.
Others will tell you that R T3 will impart your body's ability to absorb and use T3.

So back to me....I don't convert T4 to T3 well. When I Finally found someone who would treat me, my RT3 was through the roof and my T3 was really low. My TSH and T4 were borderline. I was exhausted and had gained a lot of weight - including a 20lb weight gain over less than three months. I actually went to an endocrinologist who told me he could see something was wrong, but couldn't treat me because my TSH and T4 were both borderline normal.

It took 10 years to find someone who would look beyond the standard tests and help me. I am on a compounded T3 only. T3 has a short uptake, so many doctors who prescribe it will have you get a compounded sustained release formula. I've tried Armour and supplementing with T4 with no benefits. It is also not uncommon for hypo patients to also be low D and B.

Here are some resources that helped me finally understand the condition.

Mary Shomon is a thyroid advocate and has written many books on the subject. Google her for a link to her website.

Her site lead me to Holtorf Medical Group in Torrance, CA. Their website is This is where I first started getting treated. My only caution is that while they were more aggressive with testing and research, he seems to be pushing for the money and I was less impressed with the other doctors in the practice. That being said, the website has very valuable information.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:55PM
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