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Weight Gain with Synthroid
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Weight Gain with Synthroid

I want to know if Thyromine or any other herbal or natural suppliment can be taken in place of Synthroid. Sind I have been on 75 mgs of Synthroid for the last 2 years I have gained 30 lbs. I am a life long exerciser. I walk 2-3 miles a day, do pilates, and ab work outs and eat a healthy diet low in fats, and avoid processed meats. The weight gain is predominantly in the mid section. I have never had such a spare tire in my life and it began shortly after taking Synthroid. The Doctors say Synthroid does not cause weight gain, but the scale does not lie. The only thing that changed in my life was the Synthroid and then the weight gain began. Why do the Doctors deny Synthroid is causing my weight gain?


This discussion is related to Weight Gain and Big Bloated Stomach on .35 Synthroid.
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65 Comments Post a Comment
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487889_tn?1232890789
I am curious about this answer also.  I've been on synthroid since May and have gained 7 pounds.  This is the only change in my lifestyle to warrant the weight gain.  I had a check-up yesterday and asked this question and was told that synthroid doesn't cause weight gain, infact, given in larger doses can cause you to loose.  However, like you, I have a spare tire around the middle that was not there before and fear it's only going to get bigger.  I just don't know if we can come off the med's or not?  I'm frustrated and would like a clear answer on this too.  Let me know if you figure it out!!

Shelley
ps..I take 0.5 mcg synthroid..
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595417_tn?1222823046
Well I have a theory on this ahhham.....Synthroid only coverts T4 to T3 your body needs T3 and thinks something is wrong so if your not getting T3 the body stores the  fat like a bear in hibernation would. that fat like a bear goes to the tummy! If, you give your body what it needs like when you crave certain foods like salt its because your body needs it.  I believe its a survival mechinism. Just my two-cents.
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Avatar_f_tn
I heard from another poster and she also gained weight on Synthroid, stopped taking it and is trying the natural Thyromine that I mentioned. I am going to stop my Synthroid tomorrow, and I am going to order the Thyromine. If this natural remedy does not work I'll try another natural remedy. I am off the synthetics starting tomorrow. I have been on 75mgs. I have never had such a belly! That's it for me. I'll keep you posted on how the Thyromine works.
Lisa
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622332_tn?1221614023
I haven't replied to a post on here before, so hopefully this lands where it is suppose to.

I have been on Synthroid since 1994 after I had RAI 131 for Graves Disease.  I never gained a pound until about the last 6 months or so...30lbs to be exact.  I am currently on 200mcgs of Synthroid daily, I know its a large dose, however, it has worked for me for years and years.  

The reason they believe I have started to put on weight is due to either a pitutary tumor or myxedema.

I believe that there are tons of reasons why people gain weight, not just meds, but family genetics, age (a big factor) and lifestyle.  Food and exercise help maintain, but it is all inclusive.  

Personally, I would dig a little deeper to find out what may be causing your body to store the extra fat.  I blew my rapid weight gain off for a few months before I finally relented and had the labwork done...thankful to know that it is something that will correct itself with proper and prompt treatment.  

Hope this helps,
Kat
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622332_tn?1221614023
I forgot to say I was 22 when my thyroid went south and I'm now 36 years old.

:)

Kat
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your point of view. I have heard some stories of those who don't gain weight with Synthroid, and some who even lose weight, but from my research there seems to be more of us who have, and we are of all ages and sizes. Many of us have rigid workout routines. All in all I still don't like the idea of a synthetic med in my body. And I think it is worth a try to get it regulated with something natural. Good luck with your treatment.
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622332_tn?1221614023
I can relate to what you are saying and same to you, I hope that you do find something that works for you.  I do know that some people do well on natural and others do well on synthetics...I suppose the best case senario...you find what best fits you!  :)

Autoimmune Thyroid diease runs in my family, both my paternal and maternal grandmothers had Graves Disease and my own mother has Hashimoto's.  Unlike the rest of them I presented at 22, which was half of what their ages were when they presented.  Even with all that history on the disease process within our own family...we still don't know exactly what is going on sometimes...I suppose that is the nature of thryoid disease...I believe it is the great mimic.

Best wishes,
Kat
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487889_tn?1232890789
I agree with everything you all are saying.  I think the weight gain could be from the synthroid, or maybe it is another factor in my life.  I was told not to come off of it abruptly because it could mess up your thyroid levels.  I'm really new to thyroid problems, as I only started because my TSH was slightly elevated, and I was having lots of other issues, and I beleive they started me on Synthroid with hopes it was all my thyroid.  However, that hasn't been the case.  I really can't even tell I take the medicine. But now I'm scared to come off of it because I know that when your levels are really off you will feel really bad.  So, I guess I'm going to research further.  As my doctor explained, I should loose weight on Synthroid, not gain.  So, I have no clue what to believe.  Mine could very well be other hormones out of balance.  Who knows.

Good luck searching for the answers.

Shelley
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393685_tn?1325870933
The weight gain around the middle is most likely a cortisol imbalance. When you are hypo  you are storing cortisol and that is where the weight gain comes in.

I found that after gaining 35 pounds while on Synthroid and not feeling well either - I swtched to a T3/T4 combo med and now that my body is healing to a point where I experience no more symptoms I finally am losing weight.

T3 will boost the metobolism and burn access cortisol and stored body fat.  It will take exercise and diet to also burn the fat.

There is where I lack. I do not exercise much and will be getting into a better routine soon to get the fat finally off my stomach pooch.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am on 75mg. too and the first few weeks I lost weight now that I have been on it for 5 yrs. I look like a buddah with belly fat and keep  gaining weight. The side effects do not mention gaining.
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Avatar_n_tn
What is a T3-T4 combination medicine?
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Avatar_m_tn
Many of the meds prescribed for thyroid problems are T4 only.  A T4/T3 combo med comtains both of these hormones, typically at a ratio of about 4.2 to 1.  

For info, the T4 only type is most often prescribed with the expectation that the patient's body will convert T4 to T3 as required.  This is not always the case and  testing for TSH and T4 only, without T3,  can sometimes be misleading.   The most important test is actually free T3, then free T4 because these are the most active and largely regulate metabolism.  Also, free T3 is four times as potent as free T4.

If a patient is on T4 med, but body is not converting properly then it will show up in the free T3 test.  In this case, and also sometimes when a patient shows signs of not tolerating the synthetic T4 meds, doctors will prescribe  a combo med.,-- either Armour, or one of the Synthetic combo T4/T3 types.  Hope this helps.
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808425_tn?1371095928
Hi. I took levothroid (generic synthroid) for 3 years after total thyroidectomy. I gained over 30 pounds and I am only 5 feet tall! After changing docs, I was prescribed
armour thyroid. I lost 30 pounds in about a month! I still feel like hell, but at least
I am happier trying on clothes. Sounds like we have a common symptom, but so
many endos don't want to admit it. Why is that? I don't get why it's so hard for
these docs to listen!
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291885_tn?1404896807
Synthroid itself may not be causing your weight gain but it could be what you are missing with the synthroid that's causing the weight gain.

Synthroid only contains T4, which is the storage hormone. Your body needs T3 in order to run properly. The body makes both but also uses the T4 to convert over to extra T3 as the body needs it. If however, you aren't converting that T4 over to usable T3 and your not taking any T3 you end up with just storage hormone and nothing that's actually activating your metabolism. The other issue is that T4 also converts to another hormone- Reverse T3. Reserve T3's job is to clear out excess T3 from our system (keeps us from becoming hyperthyroid). Unfortunately sometimes our bodies decide to convert more of that Reverse T3 than necessary so the more T4 we take the less T3 we end up with.

There are two ways to supplement that T3 your body is missing. You can add Cytomel to your current Synthroid (Cytomel is a T3 only drug), you can add Armour or another form of desiccated thyroid or you can switch to Armour or another desiccated thyroid altogether. Which choice you make will depend on how much T3 you need and what form you want it in.

There are some controversies over the use of Armour and desiccated thyroid because they say that the ratio of T3:T4 is higher than what our bodies make. However, for those who are poor converters to T3 we need that extra in order for our bodies to get what it needs. Also, if you add too much T4 to the mix and your body converts too much into Reverse T3 than your system is being cleared of the T3 that it needs.

Everyone is different so what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else. However, there are a lot of studies that show T3 when added to T4 is much better at helping patients relieve symptoms including weight gain.

Chel

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I AGREE WITH SIDNEYTHYROID ABOUT THE T3...THERE IS A T3 MED CALLED CYTOMEL...DEMAND YOU BE PUT ON CYTOMEL, AND THEN DROP THE SYNTHROID COLD TURKEY...I CANNOT TYPE EVERYTHING I WANT TO ON THIS POST..IT IS JUST WAY TOO LONG OF A STORY.  JUST GOOGLE "CYTOMEL" AND YOU WILL SEE WHY YOU NEED IT.  IT IS, LIKE I STATED...A T3 HORMONE REPLACEMENT (SYNTHROID IS THE T4) AND YOUR THYROID IS MADE UP OF BOTH T3 AND T4.  MOST PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO CONVERT T4 INTO T3 THEREFORE MOST DR'S FEEL THAT PRESCRIBING A DRUG LIKE CYTOMEL (T3) IS UNECCESSARY...THEY COULDN'T BE MORE WRONG, AND IT BOTHERS ME TO NO END THAT OUR LIVES ARE TRUSTED WITH THESE DR'S.  THAT WILL NOT TAKE THE TIME TO READ UP ON SUCH IMPORTANT THINGS.  THE T3 HORMONE IN THE THYROID IS ABOUT 4 TIMES MORE POWERFUL THAN THE T4.  I HAVE BEEN ON BOTH CYTOMEL AND SYNTHROID FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS AND MY STORY IS THE SAME AS EVERY SINGLE POSTER ON HERE, WEIGHT IN THE MID-SECTION MAINLY, BUT PUFFY ALL OVER.  BY DOING RECENT RESEARCH I FOUND THAT YOU SHOULDN'T TAKE THE 2 DRUGS TOGETHER BECAUSE THE SYNTHROID COULD ACTUALLY BLOCK THE ABSORPTION OF THE CYTOMEL...SO AS OF FEBRUARY 1, 2009 I QUIT MY SYNTHROID COLD TURKEY (TO DO AN EXPERIMENT) I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE THE CYTOMEL TO TAKE IN ITS PLACE...BELIEVE ME IT IS ALL YOU NEED SINCE, AGAIN, T4 CONVERTS INTO T3 AND T3 IS THE ONE WE NEED MOST...I FEEL FINE WITH THAT ALONE AND I ONLY DID IT BECAUSE I READ THAT ALOT OF HYPO PATIENTS ARE TREATED WITH CYTOMEL EITHER ALONE, OR WITH SYNTHROID...SO I KNEW IT WAS OK TO TAKE IT ALONE.  IF YOU GOOGLE THE DRUG...IT IS USED BY BODY BUILDERS TO VERY QUICKLY ELIMINATE FAT...IT SKYROCKETS YOUR METABOLISM.  OK, NOW TO THE AWESOME PART...I READ THAT IT WILL TAKE ABOUT 6 WEEKS FOR THE SYNTHROID TO LEAVE YOUR BODY, SO I STOPPED TAKING IT ON FEBRUARY 1AND SAW NO RESULTS TIL ABOUT MID MARCH (JUST ABOUT 6 WEEKS) I DO NO EXCERSIZE AT ALL AND EAT THE SAME AS I ALWAYS HAVE (NO JUNK FOOD, JUST LOW FAT OR NO FAT BUT I COULD NEVER LOSE, NOT EVEN 1/2 LB) TO DATE, I LOST 23 LBS...IT IS LITERALLY FALLING OFF!  MY STOMACH IS ALMOST DOWN.  PLEASE DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT SYNTHROID DOES NOT MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT.  I'VE READ IN THE SIDE EFFECTS ON IT THAT IT CAN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN.  I ALSO READ SOMEWHERE THAT IT DOES SOMETHING WITHIN YOUR HORMONES THAT RAISES CORTISOL LEVELS...WHICH IN TURN CAUSES WHAT...STOMACH FAT!!!  PLEASE GET CYTOMEL PRESCRIBED, IF YOU CANNOT...SWITCH DOCTORS TIL ONE PRESCRIBES IT.  MAKE SURE IT IS AN ENDOCRINOLOGIST YOU GO TO FOR YOUR THYROID AND NOT YOUR FAMILY DOC.  ONCE YOU GET THE CYTOMEL STOP THE SYNTHROID....I WILL TAKE NATURAL THYROID PRODUCTS BEFORE I EVER GO TO SYNTHROID AGAIN.  BUT AS OF RIGHT NOW, ALL I AM ON IS THE CYTOMEL AND I FEEL SO CLEAR HEADED  (NO BRAIN FOG) AND I HAVE ENERGY.
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908150_tn?1243186560
I'm happy for your success!
I do have a question though.  I have been on synthroid since 2006, gradually it has been increased so that I'm currently taking 75mcg, my Endo just reviewed my last labs in May and said she could raise it again if my symptoms weren't any better and they are not:(  I chose not to yet as I have found this website and have been researching other avenues,and just getting more info on this problem.  
My question is when we are hypo our TSH is high.  The synthroid helps to bring these numbers down, or I'm assuming it does, but if you take it away and just take T3, how will that keep our levels normal.  As you can tell I'm still trying to get my head around all this..
In Jan this year my TSH was 8.22 - FT3- 2.93 & FT4- 0.85.  My Doc switched me off the generic brand and put me on same doseage but using Synthroid.
In March TSH 3.47 -  FT4 1.09 they didn't do a FT3. I now know I need to make them take it.
My May labs  TSH is 1.78 & FT4 - 1.11 and I still have no improved symptoms and I too have gained close to 15 lbs since my increase of meds to 75mcg of Synthroid?
the Endo Doc bumped it up to 75mcg
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649848_tn?1357751184
Too many doctors determine med dosages based only on TSH - that doesn't work.  They need to take into consideration both free T4 and free T3 as well.  

I started out on Synthroid in Jun'08 and did not see improvement in the way I felt until January '09 when I first saw my endo and he prescribed cytomel WITH my synthroid - actually, I'm on the generic (levothyroxine) now.  

I DID gain about 30 pounds, but I gained it all PRIOR to being dx'd because my body processes, including my metabolism, were slowed way down. I didn't lose any weight on synthroid because my levels never got balance, but at least I was able to stop gaining.  I've been on cytomel now for about 4 months and I have still not lost any weight, but I believe that's because my levels are still not balanced and my metabolism is not what it should be.  

I've read that cytomel is often used by athletes to lose weight, but I also believe it could be very dangerous if you don't really need it for thyroid issues. To my knowledge it has not been approved by FDA for weight loss.  It could cause one to go hypER, increasing heart rate, etc to dangerous levels.  

Just remember - what works for one, may not work for everyone.  For myself, right now, I'd love to be able to get rid of this 30 pounds, but I feel so much better than I did, I'll just be happy with being able to get out of bed in the morning for now.  Right now, I'm concentrating on feeling the same 2 days in a row.  When I feel like my body is healed and I can feel good for more than a day or 2 at a time, I will proceed on to something that might help me lose weight.  

I will be going for new blood work in about 2 weeks and will see will see my endo on June 30 - will be interesting to see what my levels are now.  

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908150_tn?1243186560
I have been trying to find through research what that correlation of FT4 & FT3 should be?  It seems when I look at the optimal ranges both my FT3 & 4 are low.  I will get my labs run again around June 1st and specifically ask for the FT3 & 4 to be run, so that I can get a clearer picture currently after being on 75mcg of synthroid.
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649848_tn?1357751184
I think the FT4 should be around mid range or slightly higher and FT3 should be near the top of the range.  I'm sure there are some others who might be able to answer that question better than I.  Maybe someone will chime in with an answer.  
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972076_tn?1248271432
I'm not sure if this will help but maybe taking the generic form of Synthroid which is Levothyroxine Sodium. I use a search engine tool to find low cost generics at a site called Medtipster.

J
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Avatar_n_tn
The Synthroid (T4) is used to bring our TSH levels down, but as Barb stated above, they shouldn't go by only levels but how the patient actually feels as well.  My endo always says that it is mainly important how I feel while still considering my levels somewhat.  Your T3 and T4 levels are actually more important to go by than your TSH.  There is a site I was just on 2 days ago that stated that the T4 hormone is actually inactive until it is converted to T3...and that T3 is the only one we actually need and use for energy and proper bodily functions.  So those of us that cannot convert T4 to T3 properly, suffer because we aren't getting enough T3.  I posted back in May and had, at that time, lost 23 lbs.  As of today I lost 33 lbs...10 more and still losing.  I was just at my endo appointment 2 days ago and my labs showed a lower T4 (naturally because I haven't been taking it) and a higher T3...which he said is good but my TSH is at 6 and my endo usually keeps it just under 1 so he was a little concerned about that, even though I feel wonderful and explained the whole weight thing to him.  He is shocked that I lost the weight after stopping my Synthroid, and STILL claims that the Synthroid shouldn't have made me gain the way I did.  In fact (and I am quoting him) it should have the opposite effect.  BLAH BLAH BLAH they all say that and I am sick of it!  Well guess what...IT DIDN'T!!!  It is so frustrating, isn't it?  He then tried talking me into taking 75 mcg of Synthroid, instead of the 137mcg I used to take and he bumped my Cytomel (T3) up to 4 times per day instead of 3...thinking that I may need just a tiny dose of the T4 to bring my TSH down.  Well they are sitting here on my counter unopened, I am so afraid to take them again.  Especially since I read these posts every single day and others out there have the same story that I have regarding the Synthroid and weight gain.  Why would I start that again?  Plus, I cannot stress enough how 'symptom free' and good i feel!  All it took was for me to read that Cytomel (T3) can be used by itself to treat Hypothyroidism and also that there are people out there that ARE ONLY on the Cytomel. My endo wants to see me back in 4 months to see if this small dosage of Synthroid helps since he upped my Cytomel...he's going to be not so happy to find out that I didn't take the Synthroid...I don't care, I may need a new endo after that visit ;).  I'll keep posting to let everyone know how this is going and how my levels look next time.
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973392_tn?1250569483
This has been an enlightening discussion!  I started out taking Levoxyl and noticed some initial weight loss, but then it stalled out.  I switched to Synthroid (100 mg), thinking the non-generic might be more effective--and not only has my TSH gone up to 14, but I have gained an additional 15 pounds.  (Since this hypo/Hashi's started I have now gained 30 pounds total.)  I was starting to question whether or not the Synthroid could be making this worse, also.  Like the rest of you, my weight gain is largely around the middle section where I have typically been very small.  I feel like I look like a barrel with no definition anymore--and I am an active person who eats sensibly!  I am interested to learn what happens to anyone else who gets off Synthroid or starts taking it with Cytomel.  I have never tried Cytomel, but I have to admit, I was thinking of getting off Synthroid cold turkey as it obviously isn't working!  By the way, my doctor also claimed the weight gain had nothing to do with the hypo, Hashi's, or meds!
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649848_tn?1357751184
Weight gain is one of the main symptoms of hypo.  

I saw my endo at the end of June and we upped my levothyroxin (levothyroxine) and decreased the cytomel.  The reason we did that is because I was beginning to have high heart rates, palps/flutters, etc.   I go for blood work again on Tues next week and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

For anyone considering the use of cytomel - I can't stress enough that you MUST make sure you need to go that route before taking it.  I would never stop taking T4 without my doctor's okay.  If you don't like what your doctor is telling you or you don't think he's right - find a different doctor.  

The only way you can be sure if you NEED cytomel (or T3 med) is to have your Free T3 tested, along with the TSH and Free T4.  

I can't say I believe the weight problem is from the med because *I* gained all of my weight BEFORE I even got dx'd and started on med.  When I started on synthroid, I was at least able to maintain, rather than continue gaining.  

I feel like my thyroid levels must be close to balancing out, as I have, over the past month, actually been able to lose a couple of pounds........ It takes a lot of hard work and diligence to get it off, but it can be done, once the levels are balanced.  

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1137363_tn?1260718011
Hi all. I'm new to the site. Thanks for all of your thoughts and information. I switched from levothyroxine 100 to Synthroid 112 a month ago. Within a week I was feeling bloated and my waist and hips have expanded. I've only put on a couple of pounds, but the bloating is a bummer. I've had a goiter since about '97. Could not get a doctor to treat it until about 3 years ago because my TSH was in the "normal" range, so surely there was nothing wrong with me! Have now found 2 docs willing to ignore the TSH levels to decrease the goiter and help me feel better, but the thyroid is still enlarged. Before treatment, I put on 30 pounds in 2000-2004, also partially due to menopausal changes.I have asked my doc about free T3 levels, but he also does not think it's necessary to supplement T3, that balance should come out of T4 supplements only. Most recent labs (before increase) were: TSH .43 (and still have the goiter), Free T-4 1.2, Free T-3 2.8. My TSH is low and still clearly have the goiter (ultrasound last month that led to the increase in meds). I'm thinking it might help to have the T3 supplement also. So how do you know if you need T-3 supplements? Any other ideas on how to get my thyroid back to a near normal size?  Thanks again for your input.
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Avatar_f_tn
Your doctor is right.  IF (that great big, fat IF) everything is working correctly, T3 balance "should" come out of T4 supplements only.  However, if there is a problem due to slow conversion of T4 to T3, then T3 supplementation is often necessary to relieve symptoms.

What are the reference ranges for FT3 and FT4 from your lab report?  Ranges are lab specific, so you have to supply the range with the result.  

It is usually recommended to have FT4 at mid-range or slightly above (this does not work for everyone) and FT3 in the upper half to third of the range (again, not for everyone).  If there is a conversion problem (i.e. you need to add some T3 to your meds), FT4 will go up with increases in T4 meds, but FT3 will remain low and you will remain symptomatic.

If you post your ranges, I can comment more appropriately.  It looks to me like you need to increase your FT4 as well as your FT3 (or did before the latest increase to 112).

Do you know the cause of your hypo?  Do you have Hashi's?

Congratulations on finding two very enlightened doctors who are willing to ignore TSH and treat based on FT3 and FT4.  That's very rare.  However, the guy who refuses to use T3 meds...his enlightenment ends there!
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1137363_tn?1260718011
Thanks! Sorry for the delay in responding, but had to look up old tests. I hadn't been tracking the ranges....duh. I don't know specifically if I have Hashimoto's, but that was the speculation years ago by a previous doctor. So, here's the most recent blood work: TSH .43 (.4-5.0), Free T-3 2.8 (2.3-4.2), and Free T-4 1.2 (.7-1.5). If I look back over time, the Free T-3 has been at the mid-point of the range or below, and same for Free T-4. So will check what happens with the increase in Synthroid in early February and will have FT3 and FT4 checked, too. I did run out of Synthroid 112 this past week and have been using the Levothyroxine 100 for about 5 days til getting to the pharmacy. The bloating and constipation have gone away. So I'm doing an experimental design here -- will see if it comes back with the Synthroid again tomorrow. Do you have a reference for the ranges and relationship between FT3 and FT4? My doctor may not feel the need to prescribe FT3, but he will listen to evidence. I really appreciate your help. It's so encouraging to be able to talk with others who have been living with the search for the right balance in thyroid meds. Thanks again!
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Avatar_f_tn
As with everything else with thyroid, the ranges on the relationship between FT3 and FT4 are very individual.  The rule of thumb is that FT4 shoiuld be around midpoint in it's range (yours is good - it's in the upper end of the middle third of the range) and FT3 should be in the upper half to third of the range.  Your FT3 is in the lower third of the range.  Now, this does not work for everyone...I would be hopelessly hyper with those kind of numbers.  But it's something to shoot for as long as you don't develop hyper symptoms.

It looks like a little bit of Cytomel could help improve your numbers and alleviate some more of your symptoms by boosting your FT3 up a bit in the range.  

Until you get your prescription refilled for the 112, you might add in an extra 100 just one day of the week.  That would give you a weekly total of 800 compared to 784 on the 112.  If you don't like the idea of adding 100 all at once, you could also split a 100 and take half one day and half half a week later.  Consistency is important with all this stuff, so do try to get your prescription refilled soon.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I am on 100 mcg Synthroid after having radiation & chemotherapy for Hodgkins Lymphoma 8 years ago.  I started at 25 mcg but they have slowly been increasing me as my numbers were not good.  I am not sure what my T3 and T4 are.  Now that I am on this high a dose, I too am gaining weight around the midsection and am CONSTANTLY hungry - even if I ate an hour ago, my stomach is growling and I have the desire to graze.  HELP!  Would going on Armour help since its supposed to be more natural?  I actually had a contractor at my house installing carpet the other day ask me when I was due.  I am 5'6 and 147 - my idea is closer to 130-135.
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Avatar_f_tn
Please ask your doctor for all your thyroid test results.  It's best to get a printed copy since it eliminates errors in reading numbers over the phone and includes ranges, which are specific to your lab and must come from your own lab report.  It sounds like you are undermedicated, a condition that we, unfortunately, hear of much too often.  Post your results and members will help you interpret them.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, thanks for all this information, everyone.  I've been post-menopausal for 5 years, but my doc put me on levothyroxine (now up to 0.05 mg) about 15 months ago.  Since then, I've had an inexplicable 10 # weight gain around my middle that has made me miserable (foot pain, back pain, etc.)   I've more than doubled my exercising (now doing 2-4 miles of rollerblading a day) with nothing but more weight gain to show for it.  I have not had my T3 tested, so that's on Monday's docket.  I have not felt particularly well on either Synthroid or levothyroxine, but it has brought my cholesterol down about 20-30 points.  That's all fine and well, but the weight gain is causing a whole other set of more immediate problems.  I feel reassured that it's not something I'm doing wrong.  Thanks, everyone!
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Avatar_f_tn
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 1.5 months ago and am currently taking 50 mg of Levothyroxine daily. I feel no different that before I began taking it. Like so many of you, I too have experienced weight gain since I began taking it. I don't own a scale so I can't say how many pounds I have gained, but I will tell you I feel like I am wearing an inner tube around my middle, in addition to wearing a full-body fat-suit! :(  

I am no expert, but I have been learning about thyroid disorders (researching on Internet) since March 2011. Your thyroid requires iodine and iodide to function properly (along with a few other essential "companion nutrients" (selenium, magnesium, vitamins B & C, etc.). I have learned that when your body is low on iodine/iodide, your thyroid gland will swell up - acting as a "net" - in an effort to "catch" more iodine.

Some people who are hypothyroid are actually only iodine or selenium deficient (possibly other deficiencies too). I began taking iodine prior to my hypo diagnosis, due to having severe hypo symptoms despite normal TSH labs. When I began taking the iodine (iThroid) I literally felt like someone turned on the lights! I am still not feeling 100% (or even 60%). I am still learning about all this, trying to find the right balance / dosages of iodine and its companion nutrients.

Learning about iodine is essential for anyone suffering from HYPOthyroidism -or- HYPERthyroidism, as either can result from an iodine deficiency! If you do a Google search you will find tons of information on this subject.

Most of what I learned about iodine I learned from the doctors listed below. I am in no way affiliated with any of them, nor do I receive compensation for referring people to their websites. I am only trying to help others by sharing what I have learned. :)

Dr. David Brownstein
https://www.drbrownstein.com/homePage.php

Dr. Jorge D. Flechas
http://cypress.he.net/~bigmacnc/drflechas/index.htm

Dr. Guy E. Abraham - I don't have his website, sorry.

Breast Cancer Choices - VITAL info for everyone!
http://www.breastcancerchoices.org

Cure Zone - Excellent informational/chat site for natural healing info!
http://www.************

Also, there is strong evidence that iodine/iodide deficiency leads to fibrocystic breast disease, which then leads to breast cancer. Likewise, iodine/iodide deficiency leads to ovarian cysts, which in turn can lead to ovarian cancer. I HAD both fibrocystic breasts as well as ovarian cysts. Since I becan taking the iodine pills, they are both GONE and have been gone since about May 2011! (about 7 months) So many woman have found releif of their FBD and ovarian cysts (including PCOS) with the use of iodine! Prostate cancer is also the result of iodine deficiency.

Sorry this post got to be so long.  I hope this info helps you all! :)


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While iodine is very important for the body to function, the use of iodine is contraindicated for those of us with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  It should never be used without close supervision for a doctor well versed in its use.
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Thank you Barb for adding that very important information! I apologize, I meant to add that information in my post but forgot. I went back to edit my post after realizing I did not mention that people with Hashimoto's should not take iodine, but I could not figure out how to do so. I just joined the group today. Is there a way to edit posts? BTW, there is evidence that the reaction to iodine experienced by Hashimoto's patients is actually due to a Selenium deficiency. A gal I know has Hashis and she is able to paint iodine on her skin (iodine tincture or Lugol's) without any negative side effects. In fact, she said that the morning after she did this, she felt fabulous, said she had not felt that good in years! I am not advocating this, merely sharing info for anyone who might be interested. :)
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Iodine research publications can be found here:
http://optimox.com/pics/Iodine/opt_Research_I.shtml

I believe it was within one of these research findings that I read about the Selenium/Hashimoto's connection.

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HELLO..MY NAME IS NINA.I WORKED FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS AS A MEDICAL ASSISTANT AND MY FIRST PROJECT IN SCHOOL WAS THE THYROID AND ITS FUNCTION. (SINCE I TOO AM HYPOTHYROID) SO....I LEARNED THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY AVAILABLE TO YOU OTC (OVER THE COUNTER) ITS @ YOUR LOCAL VITAMIN SHOPPE OR GNC. ITS CALLED : RAW THYROID AND ALSO WITH IT TAKE KELP. YOUR THYROID IS DEPENDENT ON THE PROPERTIES OF KELP TO STIMULATE AND MAINTAIN PROPER FUNCTION OF ALL YOUR ENDOCRINE GLANDS, HORMONES, WEIGHT, ETC.
I CAN HONESTLY TELL U...FROM EXPERIENCE...I TAKE THESE TWO VITAMINS AND ALL THE TSH /T4/T3 TESTS THAT I HAVE HAD ARE NORMAL FOR THE PAST 15 YRS! NO SALES PITCH..JUST HONEST EXPERIENCE.
YOU SEE...W/ SYNTHROID AND ALL THE OTHER SYNTHETIC RXS...THEY GIVE YOUR BODY THE THYROID HORMONE...INSTEAD OF LETTING AND FEEDING YOUR THYROID SO IT CAN PRODUCE THE HORMONE ITSELF. SO, INEVITABLY, ON THE SYNTHETIC RXS...THEY HAVE TO CONSTANTLY UP YOUR DOSES - THEN SOON YOUR RXS DONT SEEM TO HAVE AN EFFECT ANYMORE OR YOU HAVE BAD SIDE EFFECTS FROM YOUR BODY REJECTING THE SYNTHETIC SUBSTANCE! ( YOUR BODY AINT STUPID).

I TAKE 3 THYROID CAPS IN THE MORNING WITH 3 KELP TOO AND IT KEEPS IT NORMAL. SOMETIMES I HAVE WENT MONTHS WITH OUT IT AFTER TAKING IT FOR A FEW MONTHS AND IT STILL WAS NORMAL......

TRUST ME...IT WORKS. AND IT HAS NO SIDE EFFECTS NOR DOES IT UPSET YOUR STOMACH (AS LONG AS YOUR NOT ALLERGIC TO IODINE).

IF YOU WANT MORE INFO JUST ASK.....:)


NINA
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If the cause of your hypo is Hashi's, kelp or anything else containing iodine can make the condition worse.  You have to be very careful with Hashi's and iodine.

Once again, if you have Hashi's, your thyroid is constantly being destroyed by the antibodies.  You can't let your thyroid produce hormone and feed it if it's dead or too compromised.  

One does not develop a tolerance to levo.  The dose often has to be upped as the thyroid becomes less and less able to produce thyroid hormones due to the antibody action.  Dose increases usually reflect this process.  Once, the thyroid is "dead", increases stop.
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Raw thyroid purchased OTC is not allowed to have any measurable thyroid hormone; it's simply thyroid tissue.  Those of us with Hashimoto's have to have actual replacement hormones.

As goolarra said, iodine is contraindicated for those of us with Hashi's.

BTW - your posts would be much easier to read if you didn't type in all capital letters.
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I've been going through this for years.  Not only have I gain a lot of weight 30lbs. now my hair is falling out.  I am a mess and I hate it.  Doctors have increased my medication from 68 mcg. in the beginning to 112 mcg. at my insistance.  However, now at the higher level my hair is falling out, so I decided on my own to reduce it to 75mcg.  I do feel more bloated and have gained 4 more lbs.  But, I think I'd rather be fat and have some control, if at all, then bald as a women.  Most doctors, endoconoglist, will say that the reason for gaining weight, constipation, depression, high colestreral, hair loss, etc. is not about the thyroid, but menopause or peri menopoause.  You can only except it because you are in the age range, but ask them to prove it.  I just realized that a test can be done to determine if you actually are menapousal or peri menapousal.  So, say to your doc lets me take a test to prove that is the answer for all my problems, and if it's not that lets take an extensive TSH 4 and TSH 3 test to determine the reason.   They probably will tell you no, but push them.  These hormonal changes suck, and because mostly women have the problem, I do not think its taken seriously.  
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You shouldn't have to choose between the lesser of the symptoms.

If you go to the top of the page and hit the "Post a Question" button, you can start your own thread, and we can try to help you find some answers.  

Please post any recent labs you have in the new post, including FT3, FT4 and TSH.  Include reference ranges as they vary lab to lab and have to come from your own lab report.
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Hey..Can you give me advice???
My TSH is 4.89....       .45-4.5 range
free t4 is .68 ..........   .82-1.77 range
free t3 is 2.4................ 2.0-4.4 range

what do i need?
i am a runner and avid exerciser.
don't want to gain weight!
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Avatar_f_tn
Your FT4 is below range, which indicates thyroid meds would be in order.  Though your FT3 is low, the balance of your FT3 to FT4 looks nice, so a conversion issue isn't apparent at this time.  

Do you have hypo symptoms?
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I've been struggling with hashi for 7 years. I have been on and off synthroid and the generic brand and I feel like crap! I am scheduling a appt with the doctor to try to get cymotel. Can I ask you what dosage you started off in cymotel?
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Avatar_m_tn
This is a very old thread, and it is very unlikely that you will get a response from girgletown.  I'll be glad to give you my opinion, but before doing so, would you please post your thyroid test results and reference ranges shown on the lab report.  Also, if you have been tested for Vitamin A, D, B12 and ferritin, please post those and their ranges as well.  What symptoms are you having?
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Girgletown hasn't been on the forum in a long time, so it's unlikely you'll get an answer from her.

It might be best if you go to the top of the page, click the orange "Post a Question" button and start your own, new thread so that we can address your concerns individually.

When you do, please post recent thyroid labs with reference ranges (vary lab to lab and have to come from your own lab report).  Those will give us a better idea of the direction in which to point you.

Please also include a brief meds history and symptoms in detail.
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Hi Ive been on Tirosint 125mcg for Hypo for the last 6 months, do u think I could get off my script & take the supplements fromn GNC that u recommended? Please reply to: ***@**** and I really appreciate your help.
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Avatar_m_tn
That post from NINA776 was the only one she ever posted on this Forum, and appears to be spam, rather than viable info.  I would suggest you read further in the thread the reply from goolarra, and don't even consider switching from your thyroid meds, to an over-the-counter supplement.  

If you are still having some concerns about being hypothyroid, as I suspect you might, if you will please post your thyroid related test results and their reference ranges shown on the lab report, along with symptoms you may be having, members will be glad to assess the adequacy of your testing and treatment.  
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You sound like you are a poor T4(inactive thyroid hormone) converter. T4 converts to the T3 (active thyroid hormone...this is the one that is needed for the metabolism). Because Synthroid does not contain all 3 you are not getting all you need. Poor T4 converters need all 3. I would suggest trying dessicated thyroid...which most doctors dont want to try because they come up with a bunch of excuses, remember they want to push the big pharmaceutical drugs, which Synthroid is one.  Try Westhroid or Nature Thyroid or Armour. Some doctors don't want to try it because it is a compound and they will try to tell you that the dosage is not stable. Here is the thing though Synthroid DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE...we are not one pill fits all, just like we are not one size fits all. At the very least if a patient request that their doctor at least tries them on dessicated thyroid that doctor should listen to his patient. After all it is your body and your health...not his. It is not like you are asking for an illegal substance. Also I would also suggest that you get on Facebook and join the group..Thyroid Sexy it is very informative and has been a great help to me. Here is some info on dessicated thyroid and some other website info.

http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/highlights-from-endo-2013/desiccated-thyroid-extract-a-safe-alternative-to-levothyroxine-in-hypothyroidism  

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-thyroid_desiccated/article_em.htm
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Avatar_m_tn
You sound like you are a poor T4(inactive thyroid hormone) converter. T4 converts to the T3 (active thyroid hormone...this is the one that is needed for the metabolism). Because Synthroid does not contain all 3 you are not getting all you need. Poor T4 converters need all 3. I would suggest trying dessicated thyroid...which most doctors dont want to try because they come up with a bunch of excuses, remember they want to push the big pharmaceutical drugs, which Synthroid is one.  Try Westhroid or Nature Thyroid or Armour. Some doctors don't want to try it because it is a compound and they will try to tell you that the dosage is not stable. Here is the thing though Synthroid DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE...we are not one pill fits all, just like we are not one size fits all. At the very least if a patient request that their doctor at least tries them on dessicated thyroid that doctor should listen to his patient. After all it is your body and your health...not his. It is not like you are asking for an illegal substance. Also I would also suggest that you get on Facebook and join the group..Thyroid Sexy it is very informative and has been a great help to me. Here is some info on dessicated thyroid and some other website info.

http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/highlights-from-endo-2013/desiccated-thyroid-extract-a-safe-alternative-to-levothyroxine-in-hypothyroidism  

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-thyroid_desiccated/article_em.htm .
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RIGHT ON CHEL!!!!
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You've attached your comments to a very old thread and few of the previous participants are even still active on the forum.  

While some people need to have desiccated thyroid hormones, the majority do not.  You're correct that Synthroid does not work for everyone, but it does work for the majority of people.  It should also be kept in mind that Synthroid is not the only T4 med available.   If one is a slow converter, the addition of cytomel may be called for. Many people can not handle the high levels of T3 in desiccated hormones.

All options for thyroid medication should be kept open and none should be "pushed" to the exclusion of all others.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes, your  Doctor is right. Synthroid does not cause weight gain. Most of hypothyroid patients gain weight because of (i) water remained under their skin, (ii) intake calories are large than consumed.

You can tell your Doctor and change another thyroid hormone replacement (maybe Armour) if you feel Synthroid is not good enough. You will feel much better soon!
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To all of you who went on Synthroid or Levrothyroxin:  It definitely makes you gain weight at a rate of about 15% of your normal body weight.  I had always been thin, athletic and an easily controlled diet. I was thin when my doctor put me on the medication for hypothyroidism.  And the weight gain began.  I fought it hard but I couldn't win.  I gained 10 pounds steadily even with diet and exercise twice what I normally would.  I would have gained much more if I continued to eat normally.  I finally told my doctor that I wasn't going to take any more of it, that Armour Thyroid was my only choice at this point.  He was very reluctant but did it.  I lost 7 pounds the first three weeks and 3 more the next month.  I am eating normal now and have not gained a pound back.  If I want to weight less now, I know that cutting back on food and increasing exercise will really work and the pounds will stay off.
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WOw. I thought I was going crazy.  I'm also gaining on Syntheroid. 3 lbs. the first week.  I have mild hypo, and stopped my medication.  Is it bad just to stop like that after one month?  I hated it. Severe insomnia and heart palpitations.
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It's not the synthroid that's making you gain... it's being hypo and having your metabolism slowed down.  I gained weight just prior to dx and as soon as I started on Synthroid, I stopped gaining, even though I couldn't lose.  I've since been diagnosed with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, both of which cause weight gain/inability to lose.

If you were only on synthroid for one month, it didn't even have enough time to take full effect, since it takes 4-6 weeks for it reach full potential, and even longer for it to start alleviating symptoms.
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I want to gain weight.  I hope this doesn't freak everyone out but I would love to gain 20#'s.  Am type 1 diabetic and also have Hashimoto condition.  Muscle mass is in decline.  Will try to increase muscle as I know it will increase my weight and stamina.
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hi there, was just wondering how you're doing with your natural remedy? i'm doing the same and trying bladderwrack. any helpful hint or advice? thanks!
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that is very interesting. what brands do you use.... I ordered one online but I didn't take kelp with it years ago....how high was your tsh when you were diagnosed with hypo hence I am not hasho either
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My TSH has been very low on levothyroxine.. Less than 0.04 My doctor didn't change my dose (100 mcg), so I figured it was ok to be that low. I started gaining, weight, then more weight, I am up over 20 pounds. I starting getting shaky, hand tremors. Then I started retaining fluid, the end of the day my ankles are so swollen I can't wait to get my shoes off. My heart feels like it's pounding outside my chest. I moved and have a new doctor. She changed my dose to 88 mcg. 8 weeks later, TSH is 0.06. I work out, walk 3-4 miles 4-5 times a week. My weight isn't going down. My sleep is disrupted. I didn't think that TSH being too low could cause weight gain, but an internet search led me to believe otherwise. I am waiting for my doctor to call me back about my dose.
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It sounds like you're still overmedicated.

Does your doctor test FREE T3 and FREE T4 as well as TSH?  If so, please post those results with reference ranges.  Ranges vary lab to lab, so thy have to come from your own lab report.

Some people gain weight hypo or hyper, some lose weight either way.  It's one of those symptoms very subject to individual differences.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've heard this said before, but there are quite a few people, myself included, who have ballooned only *after* going on replacement.  A few years back I was stable weight for 4 years on a steady calorie diet (2800/day, worked out regularly, maintained 180 pounds easily --> I'm male so these values are much higher than for women).  I was having bad hypo symptoms, wound up with a TSH ~250.00 when tested (IE really bad).  They put me on full replacement obviously, and with no variance in diet or exercise whatsoever (we're talking actually logging each food/drink consumed) I gained about 30 pounds within 6 months, and a bit more after that before I could stop it.

More recently, I did one of those BMR tests where you breathe into a tube, getting a value of 2256 calories/day.  I once again started a diet, eating between 2300-2400 daily and working out five times a week.  Across a 3 months period, I lost maybe 1-2 pounds, maybe, while still being ~230 pounds.  Obviously, something doesn't add up there, and the assertion that maybe I mistracked calories so badly on a daily basis that I was actually eating 3k or some nonsense gets old, quickly.  I didn't count "workout" calories at all, so I was literally eating just above basal rate while significantly overweight and lost nothing while also working out ~30-40 minutes 5 days a week and not counting that...a problem that straight-up didn't exist (I'd been fat only one other time in my life and lost it easily, on more calories) before going on replacement.

While levothyroxine does not cause weight gain in a majority of people, it can do so, and it's a bit grating to see people saying it can't.  A 30 pound weight gain in 6 months with 0 change to a daily routine that had worked for years is *not* something that is typically ignored in medicine.  Why is it ignored when a subset of hypo patients report it?

I have since had workups on T4, T3, Free/Reverse T3, etc.  None of that was out of lab ranges, and usually a bit on the low end by now.  I've started a new plan where I'm now literally eating below my *measured* BMR, on recommendation from a doctor, and about 200 calories more than a woman who is about 100 pounds lighter.  We'll see how that goes, but considering the only variant factor in weight gain was taking thyroid replacement, there are metabolic consequences that are not understood, even if the hormone itself does not *directly* cause the gain.  I've begun research into absorption efficiency, altered metabolisms, effects of the "other" thyroid hormones (you can read junk like "T2 is inactive", which is flagrantly false if you read the literature on it...some variants of T2 are even TSH suppressive for example).  Weight gain on a subset of hypo patients that go on replacement is very real, and it's also frustrating as our voices get drowned out.  Its impact on metabolism is, frankly, not understood...at least not in any published literature I've come across.  Everyone seems to just assume that taking the replacement hormone necessarily returns you to normal in every case...despite some evidence to the contrary.
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"I have since had workups on T4, T3, Free/Reverse T3, etc.  None of that was out of lab ranges, and usually a bit on the low end by now."

What do you mean by a bit on the "low" end by now?  Please post results and reference ranges from your own lab report.

I think this is the crux of the issue.  It's not thyroid meds, per se, that cause weight gain/inability to lose weight, it's the mismanagement of thyroid meds by doctors that allows weight issues to continue.  Many doctors believe that all of us should be symptom-free as long as we're in range, anywhere in range, which is very far from true.  Many doctors treat by TSH only, a certain recipe for failure.  Many doctors neither test FT3 nor have a clue about how to administer it.  

As a result, many people end up undertreated and/or mistreated.  Ultimately, hypo treatment has to be driven by symptoms.  Weight gain, inability to lose weight are symptoms of hypo.  So, perhaps your labs are not what they should be for YOU, personally.  

You are on full replacement therapy, as you stated, so why are you concerned with T2 suppressing TSH?  Aside from the fact that low TSH can freak your doctor out, a dead thyroid requires no TSH.  Your doctor should be treating based on symptoms, FT3 and FT4, in that order.  TSH is useful only as a screening test in asymptomatic people.

I don't think your voice is getting drowned out.  I think people are trying to get you to explore whether or not your thyroid condition is actually being managed optimally.  You still have at least one hypo symptom.  Do you have others?

" Obviously, something doesn't add up there, and the assertion that maybe I mistracked calories so badly on a daily basis that I was actually eating 3k or some nonsense gets old, quickly."  No, but have you ever considered the possibility that the BMR isn't all it's cracked up to be?  

Yes, in the initial stages of treatment, when meds are being aggressively adjusted, symptoms often get worse before they get better, and people sometimes develop new ones.  Your whole body is rebalancing and healing after (how long?) hypo.  It's a process that just takes some time.
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Bravo!! well said…..very frustrating to see another 20lbs weight gain ….with my increased dose of levothyroid!!!
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R your meds still working for you with weight and all?? I have been on synthyroid/levothyroid for 30 years and about 3 years ago started getting more hypo symptoms. weight gain, feet hurt after short walks, eat less…so new Dr. upped levothyroid to .88mcg with Vit D TX….i thought now i'm going to finally see a difference….instead…i've gained 10 lbs in 2 months and severe GERD……Dr. will only treat my reflux and won't discuss Thyroid med...
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While I agree weight gain can be caused from other factors.  I do believe Synthroid is a culprit in many cases.  

I just turned 39 this past weekend.  From age 12 until I started taking Synthroid at age 36 I weighed 85 pounds (Except while I was pregnant in which I lost 10 pounds first...end pregnancy weight was 125...I left the hospital weighing 100 lbs...and 2 weeks later was back down to 85 pounds).  I eat healthy, I do minimal exercise, and my family we have a mix of tall, short, skinny and fat.  I have spent the better part of my life trying to gain weight and nothing and I mean nothing worked.  

I was put on Synthroid in May 2011 and gained 30 pounds and all in the mid section.  I am now down to 95 lbs as I weaned off of Synthroid and using essential oils and Thyromin.  Lost 20 pounds just changing from Synthroid to essential oils and Thyromin.  I am eating the same and doing the same amount of exercise.  At 4'11 gaining 30 pounds in the mid section made me look obese.  I still have 10 more pounds to go and I need to work on toning my mid section.
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Avatar_m_tn
Do you have thyroid related test results from the period when all was normal, and also from the time when you had gained all the weight.  I am looking especially for test results for Free T3 and Free T4, along with reference ranges.
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