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CAN SYNTHROID CAUSE CONSTIPATION AS A SIDE EFFECT ???
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CAN SYNTHROID CAUSE CONSTIPATION AS A SIDE EFFECT ???

Have been taking SYNTHROID 50 micrograms for 3 weeks . Mostly the experience has been positive EXCEPT the severe constipation
My endocrinologist said this is not the side effect of SYNTHROID .
Is there a better alternative ?
29 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
Constipation is more likely a symptoms of still being hypo.  Do you have other symptoms of being hypo, like the 26 typical symptoms shown in this link?

http://endocrine-system.emedtv.com/hypothyroidism/hypothyroidism-symptoms-and-signs.html

Also, please post your thyroid related test results and their reference ranges shown on the lab report so that members can better assess your testing and treatment.
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Avatar_n_tn
That severe constipation scares me so I stopped the Synthroid . I took Metamucil everyday trying to take care of this with no avail.

here is my level before treatment  1 year ago :

TSH  7.0  ( normal from 0,.4 -  4.5 )
FT4  1   ( Normal fr 0.8 - 1.8 )

and the same results also were obtained recently prior to treatment.

Yes, I do have the symptoms . Weight gain,  high chlesterol ( 235 , usually between 185 - 200 ) , and high blood pressure that is difficult to control with medication , less energy and slower memory.  

My PCP not sure if I have subclinical hypo which should be treated so I was refered to an endocrinologist . The endo believes I have hypo so started me with 50 micrograms of Synthroid .  After 2 weeks, severe constipation began.
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Avatar_n_tn
also ,  T3 uptake  35  ( range from 22 - 35 % )
Thyroid Peroxidase AB normal    26  (  normal < 35 )

Thyroglobulin AB  (< 20  ( normal < 20 )
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Avatar_m_tn
You said the the same results were obtained recently prior to treatment.   Do you mean that the TSH and FT4 test results were exactly the same as before?

You are missing the most important thyroid test, which is for Free T3.  FT3 largely regulates metabolism and many other body functions.  Scientific studies have shown that it correlated best with hypo symptoms, while Ft4 and TSH did not correlate.  In the future, you should always make sure to be tested for Free T3, along with Free T4 and TSH.  You probably should go ahead and get those tests done now to better understand your  current status.  

Many patients  find that when they start the meds, the TSH will go down and the thyroid gland will produce less natural thyroid hormone; therefore, there will be very little or no effect on test results and symptoms until the dosage is increased enough to raise the levels of FT3 and FT4.  Many patients, myself included, report that symptom relief for them required Free T3 to be adjusted into the upper third of its range and Free T4 adjusted to around the middle of the range.

A good thyroid doctor will treat a hypo patient clinically by testing and adjusting Free T3 and Free T4 as necessary to relieve symptoms.  symptom relief should be all important, not just test results.  You can get some good insight into clinical treatment from this letter written by a good thyroid doctor for patients that he sometimes consults with from a distance.  The letter is then sent to the PCP  of the patient to help guide treatment.

http://hormonerestoration.com/files/ThyroidPMD.pdf

In the letter take note of the statement. "the ultimate criterion for dose adjustment must always be the clinical response of the patient."
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Avatar_n_tn
Excellent article .  Yes, that first doctor who did the study should have included Free T3 measurement as well .  Ironically, the guy is board certified endo but still could miss on this .

My question again is " can constipation be one of the  side effects of Synthroid " ?

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Avatar_m_tn
Absolutely yes.
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Avatar_n_tn
Then, what is the solution ?  continue taking Synthroid or replace it with something like Armour Thyroid  ( T4 & T 3 ) ?  or add Cytomel in the regimen ?
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Avatar_m_tn
A T4 med like Synthroid or Levothyroxin (levothyroxine) is the usual choice of doctors.  T4 meds are the easiest to administer, since they are slow acting. T4 works well as long as your body adequately converts the T4 to T3.  If not, then a T3 source like Armour, or Nature-Throid is a good substitute.  If the doctor only wants to add T3 to your T4 med, then Cytomel or a generic is the choice.  Whichever meds are used, they must be increased as necessary to raise Free T3 and Free T4 enough to relieve symptoms.
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Avatar_m_tn
In one of my prior posts somehow  I mistakenly agreed that constipation could be one of the side efffects of Synthroid.   That was not the answer I really meant to give you.  I meant to say that constipation is a symptom of hypothyroidism, not a side effect of Synthroid.  Side effects from thyroid meds are typically hyper like symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, and heat intolerance, etc.  
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1671473_tn?1415438832
Im Scared about constipation I don't want to experience again, there's no side effect being constipated synthroid, i thinks that's  one of a symptoms of hypothyroidism.
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Avatar_n_tn
I do see a report on the web showing CONSTIPATION as one of the minor side effects for taking Synthroid.   http://www.ehealthme.com/ds/synthroid/constipation
I don't know how true it is .
However, I do have severe constipation flares up when taking SYNTHROID .


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3095849_tn?1406998506
I have had IBS with constipation for years.  Three months ago, my doctor put me on a generic Sythroid RX for low thryroid and it totally messed up my system.  My gastroenterologist has me on Miralax that really changed my life.  With the thyroid RX, the Miralax stopped working completely, which of course had me on the verge of a really bad situation.  I stopped taking the RX; my doctor suggested I try a half dose.  Didn't work.  I'm no longer taking the RX and see my doctor next week.  I will NOT risk another digestive disaster and hope she can come up with something else.  So, YES....thryroid meds CAN cause constipation.  If anyone thinks otherwise, they haven't been through what some of us have.  
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Avatar_f_tn
It might have been the brand name "Synthroid" that you reacted to.  Different manufacturers use different binders or fillers, so often an atypical reaction to thyroid meds can be countered by changing brands.  The active ingredient in all thyroid meds is the same and identical to the hormones our bodies produce.  Increased thyroid hormone levels increase metabolism and relieve constipation.  If I were you, I'd try a diffent brand of levo (Levoxyl or generic) or try a desiccated product (like Armour, NatureThroid, ERFA, etc.).  Also, Tirosint is a T4-only (like Synthroid, Levoxyl, etc.) med that is a gelcap and contains very little filler and is hypoallergenic.    
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3095849_tn?1406998506
Thanks so much; I'll make note of these suggestions and take them with me for my appointment!
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Avatar_m_tn
I was diagnosed with hypothroid about 6 months ago. I started out with 50mcg of Synthroid for one month and the generic Levothuroxin 50 for two more months with no problem.  I had my blood tested with no change to my TSH so my PCP uped my dose to 75mcg of Synthroid.  Within a week I had mild to severe stomach cramps and severe constipation.  I stopped taking the meds for a week and called my PCP, they reduced me back to 50 Levothyroxin (levothyroxine) and in a few days the severe stomach cramps  and constipation started again.
Then they put me on Armour 15mg with the same side effects starting again. I am afraid of taking any medication for hypo anymore.  Whats a person to do???
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649848_tn?1357751184
It's not unusual when starting/changing a med or dose, for symptoms to get worse for a while, as your body adjusts to the new med/dosage. Sometimes, we have to "ride it out" until our body adjusts to having the hormones.

Is TSH the only test that's being done?  You need to have Free T3 and Free T4 done as well.  Those are the actual thyroid hormones and will give you a much better picture of what's going on.  TSH is a pituitary hormone and can fluctuate greatly, even intraday.  It does not adequately, reflect actual thyroid hormone levels.

Talk to your doctor about getting the FT3 and FT4 tests and if s/he refuses, you might want to start looking for another doctor, as this one will, very likely, keep you ill, and you will be continuously, going up and down on your medications.  It can become quite a roller coaster ride.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on Nature Thyroid for 2 months and all was well with my digestive system.  My doctor found the T3 number to be too high, so she switched me to Synthroid.  I've had MAJOR constipation and digestive problems for the past month since being on the new Synthroid medication.  The symptoms were severe enough to send me to the ER.  Everyone is telling me just to drink more water and eat more fiber, but doing so has not solved the problem.  I'm going to stop taking Synthroid and tell my doctor we need to try something else.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I am beginning to have suspicions if Levo causes bloating/gas/constipation, I had symptoms both hyper/hypo, mainly bloating, and recently discovered my digestive system is severly backed up and moving slow from urgent care.  I made contact with Mylan, whom manufactures Levo, rep contact me back but I wasn't home, should be in contact with them on monday.  

Barb is correct too, noticed each time I had med adjustment is when bloating symptom occurs, usually last for 2 weeks then goes away.  I'm hoping the same this time too.  Lot's of meds can cause symptoms, due to filler ingredients.

Metformin works well for majority of population, but I was one of the unlucky one's, med caused pancreatitis for me last year, which was very uncomfortable, Glipizide has worked a charm :)    
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Avatar_f_tn
Pleasedont stop your medication without talking with your Doctor. It can have serious side effect. Constipation is one of the side affect of your disease.  Talk to your Doctor  .. IF you have facebook   look at THYROID SEXY facebook page she is awesome
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4721809_tn?1358372412
Are you celiac or gluten intolerant?  I had IBS symptoms and digestive problems for many years, left undiagnosed. Then I discovered by an elimination diet that I was gluten intolerant (including corn).  I am celiac. My pharmacist said that celiac, digestive problems and thyroid all go together.  It was kind of a relief to know that.  My GP still denies that there is any tie between them.   My health is so much better now. I'm taking synthroid and am completely gluten free (and cow's milk free too).  :D
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Avatar_n_tn
If constipation is caused by the disease and not Levo (generic synthroid), then why wasn't I constipated prior to taking the Levo?  It's not possible that the disease appeared the same time I was diagnosed?
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Avatar_m_tn
There was a recent recall of Levoxil so they put me on Synthroid. After 3 weeks I got severe constipation. I had recent blood work done and my levels are good. I never had this problem with Levoxil. I really do believe it's Synthroid.
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649848_tn?1357751184
Oscar has not been active on the forum since this thread was begun in 2012, so it's unlikely he will respond.  

Yes, Levoxyl has had a recent recall and I believe most doctors are switching over to Synthroid.  If you're having constipation, either your levels are not right for you (just being in range is not good enough), or you're reacting to the Synthroid.  You might ask your doctor to let you try Tirosint, which, as stated above is a gelcap and because the only ingredients are water, levothyroxine, gelatin and glycerin, there are no fillers.  It's virtually hypoallergenic.  I've been on it since shortly after it was put on the market in 2009 and it's done great for me.

If you have your most recent blood test results, you can post them with reference ranges and members can comment further on your situation.
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Avatar_m_tn
I just want to tell you, it's not so much a symptom of being hypo for  me - when I run out of (natural) medication, I don't have nearly the symptoms I had on synthroid. I won't use that stuff again unless I absolutely have no choice for months!
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Avatar_m_tn
My opinion is, take the Armour thyroid. It has no side effects, as far as I know, unless your dosage is too high, in which case you'd have side effects of hyperthyroidism, and hopefully know to cut your dose - or else your doctor will do this after testing your thyroid levels. If your dosage is too low, of course, you're apt to still have symptoms of hypothyroidism. I've been taking 3/4 of a 90 strength, since my levels were low on a 60 and a little high on a 90!

I've taken Armour thyroid for years with no side effects; when I took Synthroid, the digestive effects were unbearable. So I'd say, definitely go with the Armour thyroid if you have trouble with the other. If you're taking Synthroid or another levothyroxine with no problems, I don't know that there's any reason to switch, and if you're a strict vegetarian (or Jewish or Muslim), I definitely think you'd be better off with the Synthroid/levothyroxine UNLESS you have problems with it. I told my orthodox Jewish doctor my thyroid medicine was un-kosher, and he smiled and said "That's OK."
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3095849_tn?1406998506
Sorry to have been away so long.  I have now been on levothyroxine for two years; tried two others with my doc's approval and all of them made the constipation really bad.  My pharmacist assures me the  levothyroxine I'm on contains no gluten/starches; what else could thyroid meds contain that would cause this problem??  Have tried Linzess and Amitiza; no luck after a couple of weeks.  Zelnorm is no longer available.

I had six-month blood work done yesterday by my regular doc and do not see my endo guy anymore....he is yioung and had no ideas about what's going on with me and thyroid meds...as if it's all news to him.  In the meantime, I had a really bad case of diverticulitis last october;  the only advice I got..."EAT MORE FIBER", from my gasttro doc's partner as he was making rounds.  He has no info on my situation so I let him babble but will not go back to that particular group of docs. I kept a diary of foods and my fiber intake apparently got too high, along with trying a dose of Miralax again... after it had stopped working way earlier in the year.  I'm pretty sure that's why I ended up in the ER and was admitted in October.  Now, I know which foods i can't tolerate; gluten isn't dangerous for me but it is hard to digest in some foods.  No tests for Celiacs in the works. Since Levothyroxine has no gluten...I'm stumped as to why it made things worse for me.

Right now, my situation is  barely manageable.  Every three days....laxitives.  Or...I can stop taking my synthroid.  And my symptoms get worse.   I can find no answers nor is there a professional in the system my health care is under who can think outside the box and fix me.  Which means I'm still researching on my own.  It's REALLY hard to trust physicians.  They don't think you understand your own body; if I hear one more person tell me to eat more fiber....I seriously think I'll have to slap someone.  I'm still drinking my prunce juice twice a day along with lots of water, eating the fibers I can handle and exercising as often as I possibly can.  NO LUCK.  I hope the rest of you are faring better.    
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3095849_tn?1406998506
thanks.... I may have to ask for something else...again.  Tried  NatureThroid and Armour.  Same problem.  I'm wondering about the others mentioned here and may have a good talk with my pharmacist.  NOBODY knows this stuff better than they do!!
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3095849_tn?1406998506
How are  you doing????
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649848_tn?1357751184
You might want to try taking a probiotic, with digestive enzymes.  I've had chronic constipation for a good share of my life (even before becoming hypo, though that made it much worse).  I've tried the extra fiber and if you aren't used to that, you have to be very careful and ease into increasing it slowly because a fast increase can unwanted bloating, as well.  Opt for fresh vegetables as the main source of fiber.  

I, first, started taking digestive enzymes a few years ago, because I do have absorption issues, as well.  They helped, some, with the constipation, but not as much as I'd hoped, so I kept researching until I came across the probiotics.  Too often, I think we're very unkind to the good bacteria in our guts, so digestion ends up suffering.  Eating fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, etc also helps replace good bacteria and helps with digestion, which in turn helps alleviate the constipation.   I also find that taking Betaine HCl, with meals, helps with nutrient (particularly protein) absorption and the constipation issue. These are all things to discuss with your doctor, but they aren't harmful (the Betaine HCl may give you acid reflux if you don't need it, so you'll know not to take it), if you just want to try them.

Of course, nothing is going to help, if your thyroid levels aren't optimal "for you", not just within the reference ranges.  
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