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Thyroid PSA

Discussion in 'Family, Home & Health' started by Circe, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. Circe
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    by Circe » Jul 1, 2014
    I don't know how many of you may have issues around your thyroids, but on the off-chance that there are any, I figured I'd post my experience to encourage people to seek, and keep seeking treatment.

    I had a very late-stage miscarriage almost 5 years ago. While they were still trying to figure out what had caused it, I got sent to an endocrinologist just in case: he tested me, said I was on "the low side of normal," and put me on a low dose of Synthroid, just in case. I got pregnant (as it turned out, the thyroid issues weren't the cause of the fertility issues), had my kiddo, breast-fed for a year and change, and then when I stopped ... I felt awful. I'd been feeling listless since that autumn, but I chalked that up to just, you know, having a kid, but once I stopped BF'ing, I felt listless, started gaining weight out of nowhere, started breaking out on my chest & back (sorry for the TMI! but I figure there's no point being bashful on the off-chance somebody out there might read the description and think "heeeeeeey, that sounds familiar ...."), and, my personal favorite, sprang a hair or three on my chinny-chin-chin. Given that some of my female relatives sport fetching little lady-goatees and that this is not a look I seek to emulate ... I went back to the doctor. He'd upped my Synthroid already, but then he put me on Cytomel also. It stopped the breakouts and arrested the freaky mutant hairs, but it also seems to have given me near-daily migraines ... and did nothing about the weight gain or the incredible moodiness.

    Somewhere between then and now, I also developed an ovarian cyst which caused pain and concern until I had it diagnosed: ovarian cysts are a sign of hypothyroidism (did anybody, endocrinologist or reproductive specialist, mention this to me? they did not), and could well have been the more direct cause of the moodiness & weight gain, since ovarian cysts will frequently cause women to overproduce progesterone ... which can make it hard to conceive, on top of causing all of the other symptoms. Good times!

    BUT. Happily, FINALLY, my reproductive specialist caught the cyst & made it go away, and then I went back to the endocrinologist to tell him that though some of the stuff he'd been trying to help me work through had gone away with its departure ... but the migraines were still killing me, and could we pleasepleaseplease figure out something else?

    And that's when he told me about Armour thyroid, or dessicated thyroid gland. Synthroid & Cytomel are synthetic hormones, and a lot of doctors prefer them for their predictability. However, for a given percentage of the population, they just don't work as well as the older, natural variety. Apparently, that number is small enough that it hadn't crossed his mind in the three years I've been seeing him, and, apparently, I'm in that number. I went on it 6 weeks ago. I've lost between 5 and 10 lbs without changing my diet or exercising more, my skin is perfect, no more inappropriate follicles, and, best of all, no migraines, I have my energy back, and my default mood went from negative to positive. It has made SUCH a huge difference.

    Looking back on things my mother has said to me, I am willing to bet large sums of money that this is hereditary, and hers was never treated: from the perpetual struggle with her weight after my birth, regardless of diet or exercise, to some of her issues with depression & anger management, to her early menopause ... on and on and on. But she has some issues with the medical community and refuses to seek treatment. It makes me very sad. In hopes that this might avert similar results for some of y'all ... please, please, please, if any of this sounds familiar or if you independently believe you might have thyroid issues, go to a good endocrinologist. And if the first one sucks, keep going until you find a good endocrinologist. And when you do, keep nudging her or him until they fix your issues to your satisfaction. Honestly, if you'd asked me two months ago, I would have said, eh, I'd like X, Y, and Z to be fixed, but I'm okay overall. Now? No comparison. I actually feel like I did 6 and 7 and 15 years ago, when I appreciated my good, strong, young, healthy body. Gods willing, now I'll be able to feel that way for a long & indefinite future. Hope you can, too, should it apply.

    Sorry for going on and on ... sometimes a gal's just got to proselytize. :wacko:
     
    


    


  2. jazzoboe
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    by jazzoboe » Jul 1, 2014
    Yes. Yes to everything. So awesome that you've had great results so quickly on Armour. I'm currently on synthroid and cytomel and while my free T3 and T4 have been looking good, I still have symptoms. I'll have new labs in about a month and depending on how my numbers look, possibly be switching to NatureThroid (same as Armour) at that point. Thankfully I have found an awesome doctor who never writes me off and will look at every variable to help me get feeling better.
     
  3. royalstarrynight
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    by royalstarrynight » Jul 4, 2014
    Thanks for posting this! It's so easy to wave this all away as "part of life" but a TSH out of wack can really change your life and too many people don't look into it.
     
  4. missy
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    by missy » Jul 4, 2014
    I am glad you and your doctor figured it out Circe and that you are feeling so much better! It's amazing how if one doesn't fall within the so called box (majority of the bell curve) it might never be figured out. Glad your doctor was finally able to think outside that box (with your gentle encouragement) to finally be able to really help you! :appl:
     
    


    


  5. ponder
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    by ponder » Jul 26, 2014
    Thank you so much for starting this thread Circe. I've been thinking about starting something similar but just haven't had the time.

    I began having thyroid problems after the birth of DD#1. My reproductive endocrinologist found it very quickly as she always does a battery of tests before I try and get pregnant. Started me on synthroid and I happily worked my way through 2 more pregnancies. Following my third and last pregnancy I experienced a very mild post partum depression, not really depression, but more of an anxiety. I was worry about stupid stuff all the time, like am i going to be a good mom to this baby and what kind of man is he going to be when he grows up. I felt wound tight like I was physically going to snap like a rubber band. Feeling like this was extremely foreign to me. I am usually a very even tempered, easy going, glass is half full kinda person. I went to see my obgyn, but my labs were in normal range and he offered me an antidepressant which I declined. By 6 months post partum those feelings had passed. (I specifically mentioned this part about depression/anxiety because my SIL had a late term miscarriage too and suffered from some pretty severe depression after even though she rationally thought she should not feel this way. Her thyroid had tanked and as soon as she started meds she said it was like a light switch had been flipped. She was still sad about the loss of her son, but the depression was gone within days.)

    I proceeded to muddle through another year of being a mother of 3 babies less than 3 years apart in age. In retrospect, I ignored alot of tell tale hypothyroid symptoms in that time. It all came to a head finally when I began to lose my head, or a least my hair that is. Handfuls in the shower everyday, I was also shedding skin at an alarming rate from the top of my head, my face, legs, and feet. I had itchy rashes on my forearms, shins, scalp, and in-between my fingers. I called my obgyn and checked my labs again, I was still in normal range. He check for other things and concluded that it must be the thyroid. We doubled my synthroid and within a week my hair stopped falling out. Two weeks later I woke up one morning and my mind was so clear that for a moment I literally thought my vision had changed. I had been walking around in a brain fog for almost two years and it had finally lifted. I could concentrate, organize, and actually remember things. I had so much energy I felt I could cure world hunger and find a solution for world peace all by Thursday. My libido picked up and I wasn't waking up tired.
    3 months later I was still itchy and flaky so we upped it some more, a little too much this time. Heart palpitations and raving bitchiness and the hair falling out again, so we went down a little. I'm coming up on a year of playing with the synthroid dosage. Dandruff and acne have been a constant, energy is waning, and my hair was started falling out again, but not by the handfuls. I have been wanting to talk to my obgyn about Armour, but was a little nervous because some MD stick it in the category of homeopathics, witch craft, or voodoo. Luckily I ran into an acquaintance and some how we started talking about thyroid stuff, she said she was on Armour. I asked her who her MD was and hot damn! We see the same doctor! I have an appt in early August to talk to him about Armour. I'm cautiously hopeful that it will work better for me
     
  6. tuckie
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    by tuckie » Sep 1, 2014
    Another happy Armour Thyroid person here!
    I had unexplained weight gain issues in my late teens and early twenties, coupled with terrible migraines and was ALWAYS freezing cold. I had my thyroid levels checked several times but since they were "in the normal range" (although only by a hair) it was always dismissed. They thought perhaps I had PCOS but those tests were negative too. FINALLY I started seeing a natural health doctor who put me on Armour and it was like night and day. The headaches and cold stopped immediately, and now when I put on a few pounds I can clearly link it to less-than-healthy diet and exercise habits rather than my hormones just going nuts. I've been on Armour for 9 years now and it really is a life-changer.
     
  7. jazzoboe
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    by jazzoboe » Sep 1, 2014
    Since this thread popped up again I thought I would just check in quickly to say that I made the switch to Armour just over a week ago. My levels had fallen pretty badly since my previous labs and my doc was not happy with how my symptoms keep coming back even when my levels look good on synthetic t4 + t3 and how much I have still been struggling with my weight, so she said let's make the change and see if it helps. I'd love to say I'm feeling better already, but unfortunately I have had a nasty head cold since day 5 on Armour, so I can't tell because I still feel pretty icky from that. But I'm hopeful!
     
  8. Narwhal
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    by Narwhal » Nov 29, 2014
    I have been having a lot of symptoms of this lately. I have an appt with my reg OB soon with hopes for blood work and pointing me towards a good endocrine doc. Lots of your description matches- tons of weight gain, crazy acne, chin hairs etc. I really think this could be an issue. I've had super heavy menstrual cycles, the biggest weight gain of my life (even though I had a medical issue that kept me in bed 2 years ago and now I am up and moving more than then), just super tired, temp regulation issues. I took a thyroid online test and scored 67%-suggesting I investigate with a doc soon.

    I have been checked before because I have had weight issues and anxiety which could be attributed to thyroid, but always tested in normal levels they say. But now more and more people mention that "normal levels" might not be enough. And I think they did a t4 and t3. I have worked with x-rays and had a few radiation procedures in the last few years due to medical issues. I am half hoping the levels will show an issue this time. It would be miracle if i could solve so many little issues with one answer.

    Is there any other tests anyone suggests I ask for when I visit the doctor?
     
  9. packrat
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    by packrat » Dec 18, 2014
    I had blood drawn for my thyroid yesterday, but won't know anything until tomorrow. I don't know if that's the problem or not, but I have had a lot of weight gain since I had Trapper, and I've got an insane amount of hair on my face..I feel like a yeti. I almost kind of hope there *is* a problem, so it can be taken care of. B/c otherwise I just don't know what is wrong w/me.
     
  10. Narwhal
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    by Narwhal » Dec 19, 2014
    Exactly how I feel Packrat. I saw my results online. Still waiting on one, so no call from the doc yet, But they are all with in the range. But TSH is lower end. Might just go to an endocrine dr to be sure. Something is off. I really hope it is something we can fix.
     
    


    


  11. jazzoboe
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    by jazzoboe » Dec 19, 2014
    Just wanted to pop in quickly to say that "in range" is not always good enough. Everyone is different so your own normal, or what your levels need to be to feel good, doesn't always match the range you are given, so which is really just a range of the average levels of people with healthy thyroids.
    Did your doctor test free t3 and t4, or total? They should be testing frees, which tell you how much thyroid hormone is actually available for your body to use, and generally you want your levels to be toward the upper end of the reference range. Personally, if my levels dip into the lower half of the range, I feel like garbage. TSH is a poor indicator. I'm grateful mine was way high the first time a doctor decided to run a test so I got that diagnosis, but since I've been on thyroid meds it tends to be under 0.1 when my levels are good and I do not have hyper symptoms. If your doctor wants to rely on TSH, run away.
     
  12. Narwhal
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    by Narwhal » Feb 1, 2015
    The reg doc did more than normal thyroid panel. But I just got in to see the Endocrine dr finally on Friday. She doesn't think it is thyroid, which was disappointing. Doing cortisol tests to see if it is cushings. But she seemed doubtful. Last step if these tests don't show anything, will be switching BCP. Hoping maybe this particular generic is not the right one for me. Otherwise the endocrine dr mentioned weight loss drugs. Which doesn't sound that awesome to me.
    FTI-10 ug/dL (Normal)

    T Uptake-32.7 % (Normal)

    T4, Total-9.4 ug/dL (Normal)

    TSH-1.58 uIU/mL (Normal) (this is the one I was hoping would be low enough for something...)
     
  13. jazzoboe
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    by jazzoboe » Feb 2, 2015
    I'm glad they're running more than just TSH, but I still don't think those are the tests you really need. I personally wouldn't be satisfied without seeing Free T3 ad Free T4 numbers. Total T4 doesn't tell you anything about what your body actually has to work with. From spending a couple of years on a few different thyroid health forums, I have heard many, many people say that endocrinologists are just not great at thyroid issues, generally. Most of them specialize in diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, but don't have a great grasp on thyroid. The fact that you doc mentioned weight loss drugs concerns me. As far as I am aware, most weight loss drugs are nothing more than appetite suppressants. I don't know your situation, of course, but for me that would be awful, because in spite of the fact that I gained about 50 pounds, I have still never been a big eater. If you feel awesome except for the extra weight that might be one thing, but if you really feel that something else is off, I would be very hesitant to go that route at least until you can find a doctor that will explore a lot of other possibilities first.

    It is a good thing they are going to check your cortisol though. Are you doing a 24 saliva collection test, or just a blood test? The 24 test is supposed to be the best because it shows your cortisol levels at different times of the day which gives a much clearer picture or what your adrenals are actually doing. If you manage to get the rest of your thyroid levels and they really do look fine, other things I could check for would be vitamin deficiencies, especially D and B12, as well as iron deficiency (my D and iron were both very low), hormone levels, and gut health, which might include doing food allergy testing. The blood test isn't considered super accurate, but if it shows a lot of sensitivities, it's a good indicator that your gut needs some attention, which probably means cutting out some of the offending foods temporarily and taking some good probiotics and a couple other supplements to help it heal. I'm almost 3 months into that process right now, and even though it really sucks sometimes, my thyroid levels are finally staying stable on the same dose of Armour, I've lost about 18 pounds, and I feel better than I have in a long time.

    I also just want to throw out there that sleep quality is very important. Several weeks ago I thought my thyroid levels had dropped again because I was feeling tired and foggy, but I had them tested and they were still good. Talked to my doctor and she made me realize I hadn't been sleeping very well. So she gave me orders to work on getting a good night's sleep and see if it helped (if not, the next move might have been testing for other autoimmune disorders, since having one puts you at a much higher risk for others. I already have Hashimoto's for sure, and Celiac almost for sure... blood tests say yes, but they're not accurate enough for 100% diagnosis and I haven't done a GI endoscopy yet.) I'm taking a couple different supplements to help with sleep and have been sleeping much better--and feeling much better again! So, just something else to keep in mind.

    Sorry for writing another novel, but since this has been something affecting my life so much I feel very strongly about it and want everyone to have as much knowledge as possible so they don't have to suffer any longer than necessary!

    Good luck!
     

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