For the past couple of years I have been experiencing a number of symptoms all pointing to hypothyroidism, I started to gain weight uncontrollably and struggled losing it and keeping it off. Earlier this year the symptoms escalated I was rapidly gaining weight, always freezing cold (hardly sweating), losing my hair (about 40% hair loss). I was diagnosed with depression and now take pills for that. Last January I was 2 pounds short of 170lbs (I'm 5'3) I decided to fight against whatever was making me gain so much weight. I devoted my entire time to the gym, working out 5-7 days a week for almost 2 hours a day and managed to painfully lose about 3 pounds a month.... But I kept pushing on. Finally after 10 months of rigorous training I managed to lose a total of 27lbs and I was very happy with that! Soon after my weight loss and new found self-esteem, I started an internship. I am up on my feet walking around from 6:30am till 5:30pm, sometimes till 7:30pm 5 days a week. I now only have time to go to the gym about 2 times per week for an hour to an hour and a half. Within three months I have gained a total of 20 pounds and went up nearly 3 pant sizes. I jumped from a size 8 in January 2013, to a tight size 11, in March. My entire wardrobe does not fit me anymore and I have to spend money every month for new clothes because last months clothes no longer fit me. I took a thyroid test back in September and the results were negative, but I did have a slightly elevated cortisol level, even though I persisted something was VERY wrong I was sent home with antidepressants. I want to make another doctors appointment for a second thyroid test, but my doctors are very unsupportive and by now think I am totally nuts. This time I want to request a printed copy of my results but I fear the doctors will say its negative again, refuse to explain anymore, and just send me back home. I am wondering how do I read the thyroids test? What should I be looking for and what can I do if the thyroid tests come back negative for a second time?
I am 23 years old, never had any problems with my health but I did have my tonsils removed when I was little. I do not drink soda, don't consume alcohol, eat 4-5 meals a day, and stay health conscious. My family are immigrants and never got tested for such things so I don't know if its hereditary, but my grandparents are overweight. This is a struggle for me for the past 4 years or so. Any information and support would be beyond helpful!!
Without any hypothyroid symptoms, over 95% will have a TSH under 2.5mU/L. Note the words - without any symptoms. There are plenty of pitfalls with the TSH test however and why you can suffer symptoms with a normal TSH lab.
Other tests to look include free T4 and free T3 (levels in the mid to upper end of the range is recommended in general) and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) (thyroid antibodies can cause symptoms before showing up in other thyroid labs).
Then there are issues at a cellular level. Dr Cabot's lists this in detail in her book "Your Thyroid Problems Solved"...
"Healthy cell membranes are very important if you want healthy thyroid function. This is because T3 and T4 need to enter cells in order to have their effect. With most hormones in the body, the receptor for the hormones is found on the cell surfaces. However, both T4 and T3 have to enter cells. This means they have to pass through your cell membranes. Once T4 is converted into T3, it interacts with the mitochondria inside cells or with the DNA.
If you have unhealthy cells membranes this is just one more thing that can go wrong with trying to balance your thyroid hormones. You may have normal levels of thyroid hormones but still feel unwell because the hormones cannot fulfil their actions. If the hormones cannot get inside your cells it cannot have its action.
Cell membranes can be disrupted by the following factors:
Consuming trans fatty acids, found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
Consuming oxidased or rancid omega 6 fats, found in foods fried in polyunsaturated vegetable oils
Very low fat diets
Fat soluble toxins such as plastic and PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)
A lack of antioxidants in the diet, enabling free radical damage to the fats in cell membranes
The biggest determinant of the health of your cell membranes is the type of fat you eat each day.
Thyroid resistance is the inability of cells and tissues to respond to thyroid hormone. This can cause the symptoms of hypothyroidism despite normal thyroid hormone blood test results. You can be taking the correct dose of thyroid hormone but your body is not responding to it appropriately. There is no definitive, agreed upon cause of thyroid resistance. It is most likely to be due to a combination of:
Unhealthy cell membranes, consequently T4 and T3 cannot enter your cells properly
Nutritional deficiencies, particularly of the minerals required by the thyroid gland
Heavy metal toxicity
Other toxic chemicals
Poor liver function
High blood levels of rT3 [reverse T3] that are competing with T3 receptors inside your cells"
You can call your doctor's office and ask for a copy of the lab report. If you are in the U.S. your doctor is obligated to provide you with a copy upon request. Once you have labs in hand, post the results and reference ranges, which vary lab to lab and have to come from your own report.
If you are going to get new thyroid tests done, you should ask for TSH, Free T3, Free T4 and antibody tests, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOab) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TGab).
I'd suggest that you might also start looking for a new doctor, as it seems your current one, may be keeping you ill, by not listening well.
Thanks! I have to wait till tomorrow to make appointment. But the results will be up as soon as I get them. Do you happen to know which type of doctor I should be contacting? A family doctor? or a specialist of some type?
Thank you Barb, I will ask them to do all the tests you provided me here, are there any other ones I should consider asking for? I will ask them for a copy of the results and try to find a better doctor.
The ones I mentioned above will do for starters. There may be others later on, such as some important vitamins/minerals, but it might be best to get all the necessary thyroid tests, before bombarding the doctor with other things.
Be aware that many doctors refuse to test FT3 and FT4; if yours refuses either, you should find a different one as soon as possible, because yours will keep you ill.
A primary care doctor or internal medicine doctor can order the tests, if they're willing. Otherwise you can try to get an appointment with an endocrinologist, though it's important to note that some endos specialize in diabetes and are not good thyroid doctors.
For best results, you might try interviewing doctors over the phone, usually via a nurse. You can ask what tests they routinely run (answer should be TSH, FT3, FT4), what medications they are willing to prescribe (should include T4, T3 and desiccated). You should also ask if they treat, based on symptoms, or simply by lab results (answer to that should be symptoms first, labs second)
The clinic I go to is not the best clinic... I'm under my moms health insurance and I don't know how I can change doctors, if I request a referral to a thyroid specialist that accepts same insurance can they refuse to do it? I had bad experiences with many of their doctors simply not taking me seriously and ignoring my symptoms, making me suffer longer. I went to a specialist there for my chronic constipation, (I have BM like once a week) and all the guy told me it was due to my depression and my depression medication and he only suggested to take fiber supplements which just made me bloated, gassy, and cause extreme stomach pain on top of the constipation... Another time I went to my family doctor there and told her I have seen tonsil stones (gross white stuff on tonsils) causing bad breath and discomfort... she told me to simply leave it alone and they will fall out on their own. I told her to send me to someone that can do a better job than that and after some eye rolls on her part she sent me to a doctor elsewhere and that doctor found out I have acid reflex disease which was causing my bad breath and tonsil stones. As soon as I got on medication the stones cleared up right away. I understand finding the right doctor might be more of an issue, but I am unsure of how to go about it. I will request all of those tests be made and won't take a no for an answer, I will post the results here as soon as I can. I'm wondering is FT3 and FT4 the same as T4 and T3 tests?
I wish you the best of luck with a new dr! Even if they make you feel bad, you must continue until you find someone who you feel is listening and has your best interests in mind. I have also seen several, 5 or 6, endo drs, and 3 or 4 regular drs. My symptoms are ongoing, and pretty similar to yours, and I am also still trying to find a dr to work WITH me. I have left many appts to go home and cry, and it is no fun, but then you need to get mad and fight for yourself. You have to be your own advocate. Most drs don't seem to realize they work FOR YOU!! Even if you have insurance, that is paying them a salary and you (or your mother) are paying for that insurance, ultimately you are paying their salary. Stay strong!! And Best of Luck!!
Thank you! I have only been to one doctor about this problem, I can't imagine being turned down and ignored by more than one, one is already unbearable. I broke down and cried IN FRONT OF HIM when he would do nothing about what I am going through except blaming it on depression and depression medication. I stopped taking my medication for a month and the symptoms were still there, regardless if I'm taking anti-depressants or not but they could care less on what I have to say =/. I will try to keep positive and keep seeking the help I need! Thanks for the support :) best of luck to you too
I went to the doctor today and got my blood tested again for hypothyroidism. Should be about two weeks before I get my results. I also requested a copy of my last blood test done in July of 2012 and this is what all the results were:
Cortisol, AM (baseline)= 23.9 (lab range 5.0 to 25.0)
Testosterone, free serum = 0.86 (lab range is 0.06 to 2.57)
Testosterone, serum = 44.5 (lab range is 8.4 to 48.1)
Thyroxine (T4) = 8.5 (lab range is 4.5 to 12.0)
Thyroxine, free (RIA) = 1.22 (lab range is 0.83 to 1.62)
TIBC, Component = 322 (lab range is 228 to 428)
TSH = 3.330 (lab ranges are 0.270 to 4.2)
I noticed that their TSH range levels are not .3 to 3.0 like many suggest... should I look for another doctor?
Also I complained that not enough tests were done before and requested some new ones. These are the ones I got tested for today:
Anti-thyroglobulin Antibody, Serum
Anti-microsomal Ab (THY.PEROX.)
T3, Reverse, Serum or Plasma
T3 Free, Serum
Thyroxine, Free (RIA)
Thyroxine (T4, total)
Should thoes be enough to get more accurate results? I am unsure.
The acid reflux is also a symptom of Hypo. My wife was able to Dramatically cut back or stop taking acid reflux medicine when she started getting thyroid medication. The other symptoms you have including depression is also directly linked to Hypo. Many people are able to cut out completely or reduce the amount of anti-depressent medication once they start to get their thyroid levels balanced. Every one is different.
I too have those tonsil nuggets. What medication are you on that got rid of them?
The most common cause of acid reflux is low stomach acid.
Excerpt from Better Body Solutions - "The Hypothyroid Stomach"
"It's hard enough to have symptoms like fatigue or lack of motivation when
you are suffering from hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's, but it is common
to have stomach problem too. Normally, the stomach pH is very acidic but
hypothyroidism tends to slow metabolism in general which, among other
things, causes the parietal cells in the stomach to produce less stomach
(hydrochloric) acid. Proteins cannot be properly digested in this environment and food putrefies...."
I have the same problems, I feel like I have hypothyroidism but my results are always negative. And it does run in my family my Mother has it and my brother also has an autoimmune deficiency celiac disease. Which is what hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease. A specialist for thyroid problems is an endocrinologist, because the thyroid is in the endocrine system. I suggest seeing someone who deals with these problems on a regular basis. There is also a parathyroid gland located right behind the thyroid which can also cause similar problems, I suggest getting that looked at as well.
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