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Hypo?? Thyroid Tests Come Back Normal!
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Questions in the Thyroid forum are answered by Mark Lupo, MD. Topics covered include Goiter, Graves Disease, Hyperthyroid, Parathyroid/Calcium Problems, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroid Nodules/Cysts, Thyroiditis, Thyroid & Pregnancy, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Thyroid Tests, and Thyroid Surgery.

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Hypo?? Thyroid Tests Come Back Normal!

I am 34, female, and was always thin until about 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with depression and tried 3 kinds of anti-depressants, including anti-anxiety meds.  My doctor didn't even think about testing my thyroid.  Then I started having trouble keeping my weight down, although I exercise regularly. The weight gain continued and I've gone from 148 to 200 lbs.  My doctor didn't even think there was anything wrong with me physically until December of 2007, when I woke up looking like a bloated elephant.  I mean, I was huge!  My hands, face, neck, feet were swollen and I didn't even recognize myself when I looked in the mirror.  I didn't want to leave my house, I was so embarrassed by how I looked.  I'd been tired easily, but now I was sleeping about 10+ hours a night, which didn't seem to be enough. My doctor didn't think I had a thyroid problem, but she still tested my TSH, anyway, and the results came back normal.  I then went to an endo, who couldn't figure out my problem, either.  She wanted me to do a whole bunch of thyroid tests, but without insurance, I've been financially unable to do the tests.   So I've been desperately self-treating myself and taking thyroid supplements for the past 3 months.  My face is less bloated because of the supplements and I have energy for the first time in years.  I only sleep 8-9 hours instead of 15, and I weigh myself daily, but I have not lost a pound.  How long will it take to get back to normal?  I went to an acupuncturist twice, and he could tell I had a major hormonal imbalance going on, and he wanted me to do acupuncture weekly since my problems were so severe, but I can't afford that, either, so I just went twice for treatment and taking the supplements.  I totally blame my doctor for missing the mark on this one, and I just want to get back to normal as soon as possible!          
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97953_tn?1193367871
You need to be monitored if you are using over-the-counter thyroid supplements -- some of these may be helpful, but there is not good research on most and they are not regulated.  If this is a prescription product, you should not take it on your own without supervision of a doctor.

Regarding weight -- in general only 5-10 pounds is attributable to hypothyroidism for truly hypothyroid patients -- if your labs were normal, I would not expect weight loss from normal (ie, not excessive) thyroid replacement.
15 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
My TSH read 3.5 and I was wondering if that was normal?  My doctor won't prescribe  medicine, so I've been thinking about buying drugs from one of those Canadian pharmacies.  I just can't cope with this anymore and willing to do anything to feel better, illegal or not.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Where are your Free T3 and Free T4?  

According to AACE (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists), your TSH is not normal.  New normal bands are (0.3 - 3.0).  Suggest your doc catch up on his reading ... or find a doc who is up-to-date.  It might help to go to a pharmacy and ask which docs are prescribing Armour.  You might have success with one of them.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have not taken the Free T3 and Free T4 tests; I don't have health insurance, so just took the TSH test.  I have seen two primary doctors and an endo, and they all say my TSH is fine and they can't figure out why I look like a beached whale.  They even had me take a gluten allergy test and a diabetes test, which came back normal, too.  At this point, I'm probably the most abnormal "normal" person that I have seen,  You can buy thyroid medicine from some foreign pharmacies-----I've checked it out, trust me, but the dosages are so small, and very expensive.  So I've been taking Christophers Thyroid Formula for over a month now, and have seen my energy increased but that's about it.    
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't have alot to go on, but being depressed and gaining weight are definately hypo symtoms (symptoms).  Many people out source their meds and self treat, because the doc's just are not looking at all the symtoms (symptoms), just the lab work.  Please let me re-direct you to realthyroidhelp.com and ****.com.  Seek some answers there.  The second site has a wealth of informatiion, but is closed for discussions.  The first site is spin off of the second site and has alot of wonderful people there willing to help and understand the pain of getting thru the docs.

graywings
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Avatar_f_tn
Another normal thyroid panel to add to my collection; I just received the results today. At this rate, I will be taking supplements for the rest of my life since I'll never be diagnosed by my primary, who thinks all my problems are mental and I should continue taking Paxil or Prozac forever.  I stopped taking that stuff a long time ago, by the way, and I am not the least bit depressed.  

T4  5.7
T3 Uptake 27
Free Thyroxine Index  1.5
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Avatar_f_tn
You got the wrong tests.  Get FREE T3 and FREE T4
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Avatar_f_tn
Someone online gave me a reliable foreign pharmacy that sells all kinds of medicine without a doctor's prescription, so I plan to buy some Armour from them.  Since I have yet to find a doctor who will help me, this is what I have to do.
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Avatar_f_tn
Look on Yahoo groups for a group called NaturalThyroidHormones.  Someone there will help you.
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Avatar_f_tn
TSH of 3.5 is not high enough to be blamed for weight gain.  66 % of the world's population is overweight and they are not all thyroid.

Armour/Cytomel is not a magic pills that will necessarily make us feel better nor lose weight. Unless there is a t4/t3 conversion problem, which is rare and if it does happen only last about a week, Armour/Cytomel is normally not necessary (and is all in the mind of the beholder).
If you go Armour with out your doctors approval and knoweledge, could back fire on you and if so, you have no one to blame than your self, certainly not the doctor nor the pills nor your thyroid issues. Thyroid medication not used properly can cause, adverse, irreversible, and dangerous consequences, sometimes worse! The only person who can prescribe properly is your doctor!  Not the internet!

There has been a lot of controversy on TSH levels among medicals and thyroid organizations/associations, etc.,  leading to misconception of TSH levels by  thyroid communities. The recommended TSH between 0.5 and 2.5-3.0 mIU/L is a recommended TARGET range for L-T4 replacement dose adjustment for people already diagnosed, not a diagnose level.  Due to this controversy, you probably will not seen any Lab changes in the near future. Trust your doctor! who is the one with all the medical education and knoweledge! not the internet!

GL,
Thyroid patient.
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Avatar_f_tn
Trust my doctor?  Are you kidding?  I might as well be treated by Mickey Mouse.  I have no idea what is wrong with me and neither does my primary doctor, and without health insurance, I'm not going to do a zillion and one medical tests.  All I know is, I used to be naturally thin all my life and now, suddenly, I am not and carrying 45 pounds of water weight.  I've been to three doctors---two primaries, one endo and neither one of them have a clue.  I woke up one fine December day and looked like a bloated fat cow, and sleeping 15 hours a day.  The only person that's provided some answers is the acupuncturist, who said I have a "severe hormonal imbalance."  I've been to three doctors and that's what I know, all I know.  How great is that?  All those quack doctors said my thyroid tests were normal, so you know what?   I am just going to continue self-treating myself, and maybe someday this will become resolved on its own.  
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Avatar_m_tn
"Trust my doctor?"
... I'm with you on this one. It is an unfortunate reality that many doctors seem either too busy to accurately diagnose their patients, or, they have already "diagnosed" you before you even say a word to them. Classic symptoms & usual/unusual test results are SOMETIMES helpful. If YOU know there is something about your health that just feels 'not quite right', it's almost certainly because something is not right! PURSUE IT!

HOWEVER...

"...I have no idea what is wrong with me and neither does my primary doctor..." Ok, so neither one of you knows-this is NOT the time to use 'guess and check' pharmacology! GravesLady makes some very good points above. The endocrine system is so powerful and so sensitive to even slight variations! HIGHLY inadvisable to go tinkering around without a STRONG comprehension of organic chemistry. (Besides, from one uninsured to another-it's EXPENSIVE! I know test after test adds up, but so does trying to find the "right" prescription, rather than an inferior prescription that just provides a little relief.)
So, here're a few suggestions: it seems like your accupuncturist was on the right track. Have you asked what specialist (s)/he would recommend to get to the bottom of your "hormonal imbalance"? Personally, I have been very impressed with chiropractic medicine. Or, if Dr. Mickey Mouse that you've been seeing is an M.D., see a D.O. next time (or vice versa). Maybe a doctor from a "different school of thought" would be able to offer you better results. Or, try to eat organic as much as possible for a month & see if you notice any improvement in your symptoms. Or, consider the possibility that your symptoms may be caused by depression that maybe you aren't ready to deal w/ yet. Or,...

My Very Best Advice---->...Ask your OBGYN! Endocrinologists & some IntMed doc's are supposed to be the true endocrine "experts", but because of the inherent endocrine functionality in reproduction (& also because lots of women are using their OBGYN as their primary care doc), OBGYNs are exposed to TONS of endocrine issues! I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised! Good luck!

(P.S.: When I've been off the charts hyper- or hypo- thyroid for a little while, I've found that a slight correction in thyroid hormone levels didn't have much of an effect on my weight (at least initially). My weight slowly crept back to normal the closer I got to normal hormone levels. My mood & my energy are always the most responsive to even tiny dose corrections. On the other hand, if I've been at about the right dose for a while, and I start to need a dose adjustment, weight gain or loss is one of the very first indicators.
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Avatar_n_tn
I can understand the pain you are going through because it took 11 years for me to get diagnosed and we have always pursued thyroid tests with everything coming back normal despite having almost every symptom!

I know the frustration with doctors and I was so tired of the whole thing.  My body decided to crash this last year and I spent most of it in bed with normal levels for the whole year.  Finally we tested again and my levels were off and then they tested the TPO and found out I had Hashimoto's.

We have a high deductible health insurance plan and it is just my hubby & I, so we have spent a ton of money on labs in the past year (in order to meet our deductible).  I also go to an Naturopathic MD and my insurance doesn't cover.  So it really sucks, but I can tell you some of the things that I have learned.

Some grocery store pharmacies have a schedule when they offer blood test for way cheaper than labs.  We have a Fry's (Kroeger family of grocery stores) and they have a schedule with the prices of all the blood tests they do and we really wish we would have known that!  Also call the different labs before taking blood tests to see what they will charge you.  They charge a lot less when they aren't billing the insurance.

As desperate as you are to fix the problem, it would be devastating to have things get worse because you got a foreign drug...you have no idea if it is what they say it is and what it will do to your body.  A hospital bill is deadly...I was in the ER for 5 hours and we are still getting bills (we are at about 7000 after insurance).

Also look into clinics offered through the state or county.  Granted it is not going to be the top of the line, but it is better than nothing.  I'm a big fan of naturopaths, chiropractors & other forms of alternative medicine.  I feel like they treat you like a person rather than a number.

Good Luck
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks to you and everyone for all their helpful comments.  I just received "NSI Thyroid Complex with L-Tyrosine" yesterday from Vitacost, and I hope it brings my hormone levels to normal, although according to the Mickey Mouse doctor I've been seeing, they weren't abnormal in the first place.  This product received excellent reviews, so if worked for them, hopefully, it will have the same positive experience for me, as well.  I did join that support group, NaturalThyroidHormones, and one person recommended Armour and another person recommended Iodine, whatever that is.  
I'm an extremely bad eater, so maybe my eating habits has been the cause of my symptoms.  I've never had a lot of extra money to spend at the grocery store, so I just buy what's cheap at the grocery store, which means processed foods, and things that I can just throw in the microwave.  It's just me and my dog, and I don't think my dog expects me to cook for her.  I never eat fruits and veggies, rarely eat meat, never eat seafood.  I started out as a vegetarian when I was 14 (on a save-the-animals mission) but that diet became too difficult to maintain properly, so now I just eat whatever I don't have to cook and is cheap and easy.  I think my body's crashed because of it, but I could be wrong.  I mean, what do I know?      
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I just got my 3rd thyroid profile back, and finally, it's abnormal!  My TSH is 8.122 and I have Thyroid Antibodies.  That means I have Hashi's.  Crappity ****, I was hoping for better news, but at least I finally know what's going on with my body and I'm not some mentally ill person.  I imagine my doctor will be calling me on Monday when she sees the  results.    
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