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Has your doctor checked your thyroid?

GET YOUR THYROID CHECKED! I am appalled by number of people on this website complaining about bloating of the stomach, nausea and vomiting, body aches, chest pains, diarrhea, repeated endoscopies, etc. I, too, suffered like this from the age of seven until the age of thirty. I suffered from repeated bouts of vomiting (lasting up to seven weeks, in one case.)I went through three endoscopies (no results). I was  diagnosed with acid reflux (and treated with carafate, which is bad for people with thyroid problems). My parents wasted a small fortune on doctors. My whole body ached, including my chest. Doctors told my parents it was growing pains. Finally, at the age of thirty, I developed such severe abdominal pains that I was unable to eat, sleep, read or sit. It never let up. Sound familiar? I dropped my do-nothing doctor who had determined it was a gastic problem ( I knew better, after a cat-scan and a GI series), and went to a younger, more alert doctor.Initially. she thought I had endometriosis, but she had the guts to keep looking and said almost immediately "I think I`m going to check your thyroid." The next day she called me when the bloodwork came back, and said that it was definitely an underactive thyroid. I was on naproxen at the time, and it wasn`t helping at all. I told her so, and she said " I don`t think you`re going to need it." I was placed on Synthroid that day.Since then, my symptoms have all but disappeared. I still have a bloated stomach, because my problem went on for too long, but I can live with that. There were many symptoms my doctor ignored prior to this.Low body temperature, family history of diabetes, prematurely gray hair, goiter, etc. I had a TSH test that determined my problem. If your current doctor won`t test you for this, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR! There is no reason for you to suffer!
19 Responses
233190 tn?1278553401
Thanks for your comments.  Certainly thyroid disease can masquerade as many disease and can cause a lot of GI symptoms.  If many of the initial GI tests come back negative, a thyroid screen should be considered for a more complete evaluation.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Avatar universal
Although your symptoms were severe for hypothyroid-induced GI problems, your warning is a good one for anyone with unexplained digestive problems.  I was dx'd with IBS and had high cholesterol which probably caused a gallbladder packed with stones.  After that surgery, symptoms continued and I finally developed a goiter which alerted the need for thyroid testing.  Since hypothyroidism can cause high cholesterol -- it is likely I would still have that gallbladder if my hypothyroidism was caught earlier.  

Thanks for spreading the word -- CHECK the TSH, T4, and T3 (TSH alone may not catch some cases of hypothyroidism).
Avatar universal
Since Jan 05, when I had surgery, I have suffered from a sensation of something stuck in my throat.  My Dr. had put me throug so many tests it is unreal. All of my test, all of which pertain to  my digestive system, came back normal.  I am taking Nexium every day and have been for 8 months with no relief.  I still feel like I have something in my throat and I cannot swallow it.  It is absolutely driving me insane.  Sometimes it hurts too and feels like the sensation goes up to the roof of mouth.  Please someone help me. Could it be my thyroid.  The Dr. says that my test area normal but something is wrong with me and I am at the end of my rope.  Help!!
Avatar universal
Yes, it certainly can.I developed a choking sensation when I was nineteen years old. I felt like something was stuck in my throat.The doctor never checked my thyroid. Instead, he ordered another colonoscopy, and put me on carafate, which only aggravated things further.It almost feels like you`ve spit something up, and it got stuck. You are aware of it all the time, but especially when you lay down at night.I also started throwing up all kinds of green bile (another sign my stomach wasn`t digesting properly.)If you have had a cold or an infection recently, you may have developed something called subacute viral thyroiditis. This is a temporary condition, and can cause your heart to race. I encourage you to demand a thyroid test from your doctor. Even if that isn`t it, you will know what it isn`t.(Sorry I didn`t reply sooner, but I recently moved.)
Avatar universal
my mother had thyroid problems and had her thyroid removed , Then in may of 2005 she was in the hospital in which she thought it was the flu, Throwing up and fever just sick and X-rays were done and blood taken, she thought because she could not swallow good that her hitial hernia was acting up, when she came out of the hospital she started loosing weight and she weighed a good 230 pounds and always complained of her throat a knot in it and hard to swallow for 4 months, she said the food would come up from her throat and so she thought that was what was causing her to loose a lot of weight because she thought it was her hitial hernia acting up and so did her doctor. She said it felt like something clogged in her throat, She was on medication for it,  she thought it was from the flu she had in may, well this sept she got where she could not swallow with out coughing up flame and the weight loss became to much in a week and a month and it still bothered her so she went to the emergency room at another hospital, They did a cat scan and it was lung cancer in both lungs stage 4 , small cell and in the throat it was closeting up , no radiation just chemo but the survival is hopeless , they said they can open the throat some and that's it , 4 cancer doctors said if only they would have did a cat scan and pt scan and more bloodwork at her doctors office and in the hospital, maybe they could of found it faster.. So I would tell everyone if you think you have a hitial   hernia and problems swallowing   do not waite around for she was also on thyroid meds and protonix  for the stomach and throat.. and all this time wasted was lung cancer in both lungs and we thought she was on a diet and the hitial hernia was acting up to why it bothered her to swallow..   you seek further help and do not rely on some doctors or hospitals like she did ..you can be fooled like she was..and the x-ray of the chest did not show it!! and the tube down the throat. she also thought that is what caused her throat to hurt when she had that done in may.. also .. no sines of blood either just problems swollowing and weight loss..
Avatar universal
You know, it is amazing that a thyroid test is not a mandatory part of the routine blood work done at yearly exams.  My whole family had undiagnosed thyroid problems and diagnosed ones i found out about later when I was dianosed, that I had never heard of.  All 4 of my great aunts had goiters. My granddad took synroid most of his life.  My aunt did until last month at the age of 73 she now has Grave's disease. My cousin has taken synthroid for most of her adult life for hypothyrodism.  Didnt know any of these people took synthroid until at the age of 31 I had a rapid heartbeat and palpiations, and was diagnosed with graves. When I told everyone is when i found out about the others. I had to ASK my doctor to check my thyroid, as he thought it was just stress.  The only reason I asked is because I had just read a magazine article about how prevelant undiagnosed thyroid disease was in this country.  My brother has been depressed most of his adult life, I bet he has hypothyroidism but when they checked his TSH it was normal.  Unfortunately, TSH doesnt always show the problems.
Avatar universal
Breeze111  i am SO sorry about your family.  God bless.
Avatar universal




Avatar universal
32 is really hypothyroid!  They need to start you on a dose, and test 3 months later.  Make sure they test more than just TSH, test Free T4 and t3.  God bless. BTW, Dont know why you have the bloating, but I had that too... at my last anniversary trip, I look seriously 4 months pregnant in the pictures.  I dropped 13 pounds and they problem went away, though my abdomen is still the largest part of my body.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem. One doctor I went to told me it is caused by something caused mucopolysaccharides,a gelatin -like substance that is produced by hypothyroid myxedema, diabetes and other illnesses.Exercise makes it worse,also.If your hypothyroidism is treated early, in the early stages, it will go away by itself. However, mine has never disappeared.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem as you.  I have acid reflux and I think that is what is causing the feeling of a lump in my throat plus I cough all the time and have reflux come up.  I am seeing a Dr. tomorrow to see what he thinks.  Do you have problems with Acid Reflux?
Avatar universal
let me warn you all if your problem is not a simple obvious one ,becareful doctors are crazy they will kill you before they can cure you.and i doubt very seriously if they can cure you,they just guess they dont realy know whats wrong so they tell you lies after lies betting on the fact that if they give you everything known to the medical field sooner or later something will work,and in the mean time they make more money on your suffering i think doctors are over rated butchers!
Avatar universal
This is REALLY long but well worth your time to read and think about, and a reason to learn about hypOthyroidism. Since this thread is about checking for thyroid disease, this is about my health problems caused by low thyroid, what I've learned, and how I've fully recovered from all the illnesses that have plagued me for 30 years. I want to share my experience in hopes it will help just one person who reads this who has low thyroid to get proper treatment -  and to enlighten just one doctor about proper testing and natural thyroid hormone treatment.

Underactive thyroid causes more health problems than any of you can imagine, unless you've had it, like me. When I finally got diagnosed, and started taking the right thyroid medicine (natural Armour Thyroid - T4 & T3), all my symptoms - IBS including lactose intolerance, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, deep depression, obesity, migraines, sinusitis, hair loss, arthritis (joint pain, carpal tunnel), brain fog - lack of motivation, feeling cold, high cholesterol, nervousness/anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, skin diseases, acne, roseaca, brittle nails, uterine fibroids, blurry vision, etc. ALL went away.  YES, you read that right. I DON'T HAVE ANY OF THESE ILLNESSES OR SYMPTOMS NOW.

YES, I'm more than irate about doctors' incompetence and lack of proper endocrine-thyroid disease education, and the erroneous TSH blood test that has been so highly regarded as diagnostic since 1973 because I was kept so sick for 30 years of my life because of their ignorance and the worthless TSH test. That's why I'm writing this - to let you know that before the TSH test was invented, doctors diagnosed underactive thyroid disease by SYMPTOMS, not by a test result number on a piece of paper. Then thyroid tests - Total T4, Total T3 and T3-Uptake were done and a formula was used to determine Free T4 and Free T3. Those tests were rarely done after the TSH test was invented. They are obsolete now since new and highly accurate blood tests for Free T3 and Free T4 were invented several years ago. It's amazing that most doctors don't know about the Free T3 test when Free T3 is the most biologically active thyroid hormone, isn't it?

HypOthyroidism (low thyroid) is NOT a one-dose-of-thyroid-hormone-fits-all disease, and cannot be accurately diagnosed by the faulty TSH test and it's little-known up-to-date lab ranges.
One person may need 360mgs Armour before their symptoms subside, another person may need only 180 mgs. Any unwarranted weight gain, depression, fatigue, and IBS are definite symptoms of hypOthyroidism. Low body temp - under 98 - has been one of the main indicators of low thyroid for 150 years. Doctors ignore those symptoms now because they've been told the TSH test is the only diagnostic test for thyroid disease. The TSH test should be recalled like all the dangerous medicines have been.

The TSH test is a crime that's been inflicted on millions of people since 1973, keeping them sick while doctors give them really dangerous drugs for the many symptoms of hypO - like a bandaid on a broken leg. The TSH test is what has caused new diseases with names like "chronic fatigue" and "fibroyalgia" to be invented.  Not to mention that weight gain/obesity is a symptom of low thyroid and is a major health problem that debilitates the body even more, possibly causing high blood pressure, etc.

I'm living proof of what I'm writing here. For 30 years doctors have been giving me nerve pills, anti-depressants, arthritis meds, muscle relaxers, IBS meds, cholesterol lowering drugs, and many many other medicines for SYMPTOMS of hypOthyroidism. Every time I complained about the lump in my throat and difficulty swallowing, weight gain, low body temp-feeling cold all the time, IBS, etc. etc., they just dismissed all those symptoms because my "TSH" test was "normal". That ridiculous TSH test's lab range has shrunk from .5-10.0 (in 1973) to .3-3.3 (in 2003) or .3-2.5 soon as was also reported in 2003 by the AACE. But MOST labs and doctors haven't even heard of the new lab ranges for TSH yet. The AACE also said in 2003 that "most people with normally functioning thyroid glands (not taking thyroid hormone) have a TSH of 1.0."  So what does all that really mean?  I'll tell you exactly what it means: The TSH test is worthless, and there's a major communication gap between the AACE and physicians and laboratories. It's almost 2006, babies are being formed in test tubes, but thyroid disease is still being ignored, millions of people are undiagnosed and being plied with dangerous drugs they don't need for all their symptoms because of a TSH test - a test that should NEVER have been invented.  TSH is NOT a thyroid hormone - it has NOTHING to do with your metabolism OR how you feel. Many other hormones in the body affect TSH results. The TSH test has been faulty since its inception. All of us hypOs should sue the scientists/doctors who invented the TSH test because it has kept us sick and untreated. I'm seriously considering finding out what it would take to start a class action law suit against them.

Free T3 and Free T4 and anti-body tests are the only diagnostic tests for underactive thyroid. Try to tell most any doctor that. They'll shake their heads and roll their eyes, and tell you not to believe everything you read on the internet! OR, they may tell you that if you're going to tell them how to treat you to find another doctor! IF, by chance, your TSH test result is higher than 5.5, they MAY give you an Rx for Synthroid which is a T4 only synthetic (potent) drug.  But then they MAY say that you're "borderline" hypO and "we'll just keep an eye on it and come back in 6 months", and then they'll refill your Rx for Prozac, Celebrex, Zocor, Zelnorm, etc. But if you're given an Rx for Synthroid - keep in mind that MOST hypOthyroid patients cannot convert T4 to Free T4 and Free T3 - the biologically active hormones that are solely responsible for metabolism - so Synthroid may work for some for a short time, but if you're like me, your symptoms will return after a while with a vengeance because you don't have enough Free T3 and Free T4 hormones. Synthetic T3 (Cytomel) is potent - a very small dose added to my Synthroid dose threw me into thyroid storm - you don't want that to happen to you. Armour and Naturthroid are natural thyroid hormone meds - but doctors say "no one uses those old medicines anymore", "they're dangerous, potent, and not regulated". They've learned these non-truths - out and out lies - from synthetic pharma sales people - the only education about thyroid disease doctors seem to have nowadays is from pharmaceutical sales people since 1973 when the TSH was invented. Doctors have also been told that thyroid hormone is dangerous. Synthetic thyroid hormone IS dangerous if your body doesn't convert T4 into Free T4 and Free T3. I've never had hypER (overactive) symptoms with Armour but I had them everyday while I was taking Synthroid and Cytomel. I just want everyone to know that natural thyroid hormone is available and much better for your health than synthetics as proven by recent clinical trials which, of course, most doctors aren't aware of the results of these trials.

Synthroid was the med that the FDA found to be varying from batch to batch 3 times over the last 10 years - not the natural thryoid meds, which - by the way - ARE regulated and available only by prescription. Before the synthetic thyroid hormones were invented - and pharma companies' salesmen started teaching doctors about thyroid disease and medications - natural Armour thyroid was used exclusively to treat low thyroid. There is no way to explain why thyroid disease goes undetected and untreated in spite of symptoms other than lack of medical education of the endocrine system after the TSH test was invented. Most doctors don't even know the symptoms of thyroid disease unless they're elderly or they have it themselves. What's also disturbing is that most hypO patients may also have adrenal fatigue that most doctors ignore, as well.

I gained 130# over the last 15 years and was told to eat less and exercise more. I could barely get out of bed, shower and get dressed - exercise was out of the question. I was on a 1000 calorie/day diet for years. I just looked at food and gained weight. Since I started taking Armour in late 2003, I've lost 105# and have finally got my life and health back - after 30 years of untreated thyroid disease! I was told that most of my "illnesses" were all "in my head" and to see a psychiatrist numerous times. I was ridiculed by doctors about being grossly overweight. I was told I was a hypochondriac. It's no wonder health care costs are so high considering millions of people are undiagnosed and having all sorts of health problems. Doctors are treating symptoms - NOT the cause. It's shameful that something so simple to treat is being ignored especially with the advancement of medical technology over the last 30 years.

Underactive thyroid causes disease in every part of the body and brain. Free T3 and Free T4 hormones produced by the thyroid gland control metabolism. If you have low Free T3 and Free T4, your metabolism is sluggish - every system of your body has slowed down and will not function properly. You can develop diabetes, heart disease, bowel disease, the list goes on and on.

How did I finally get diagnosed? My thyroid grew so large I couldn't breathe 2 years ago. It was removed 3 days after the ultrasound and fine needle biopsy that showed numerous cold nodules, pre-cancerous. If I had been given Armour 10 years earlier, there's a chance the surgery could have been avoided. If I had been given Armour 30 years ago after the birth of my son when my thryoid started swelling and the fatigue, depression and joint pain started, I could have had another child or two because low thyroid causes infertility. I would have had a healthy life with none of the illnesses I listed above, and I definitely wouldn't have become obese. I don't have any of those illnesses now, my hair is thick again, I have energy, no depression, no lactose intolerance, no IBS, and I feel better now than I can ever remember. I've lost all that weight without exercising - and I eat as much as I want - whenever and whatever I want. Amazing, isn't it? A simple little cheap thyroid hormone pill (Armour) is all I'm taking now and I'm healthy and feel great!  

Insist on blood tests for Free T3 and Free T4 and thyroid anti-body tests and make sure your thyroid isn't underactive and causing your illnesses/symptoms. The "Free" tests are relatively new and most doctors aren't aware that the other "thyroid panel" tests are obsolete. If your Free T3 and Free T4 aren't in the upper 1/3 of the lab range, insist that the doc give you a trial dose of Armour or Naturethroid. Then have your "Frees" tested again in 4 weeks. You'll notice your symptoms slowly going away when you've been taking the right dose for YOU for a few weeks, and by the time your "frees" are in the upper 1/3 of the lab range, you'll be symptom free! It happened for me.

If your doc thinks the TSH test is the golden rule of thyroid disease, you're wasting your time and money. Find a doctor who will listen and who knows something about thyroid disease and CARES about how you FEEL - and does NOT rely on a TSH test result number for a diagnosis OR for adjusting thyroid hormone dosage. If you have a "lump" in your throat, insist that an ultrasound be done immediately. Thyroid hormone at the appropriate dosage for you can help your enlarged thyroid gland shrink back down to its normal size.

You must take charge of your health, and you must know about thyroid disease (hypOthyroidism), since there's a chance you may have it if you have bowel (IBS) problems, and then get the proper tests and treatment.

Feel free to copy this and take it to your doctor. You'll need something to back up your "wild ideas" about why you think low thyroid could be what's causing your symptoms and illnesses.  I hope this helps someone get diagnosed and treated - properly.

Avatar universal
I see my PCP tomorrow.  He fired my endocrinologist almost a year ago due to various reasons.  He is now managing my dosage of Synthroid which was originally prescribed by specialist.
I am a 53 y/o/f, with a hx of Graves Disease, hosimotoes thyroiditis, thyroidtoxicosis, about 2000.  Late 2000 I had
RI 131 after no response to various other oral medications to calm down a very hyperthyroid.  I was very ill.  I regret having the radioactive iodine, but, hind site is always better than foresite....now, six years later, I still bounce from hyper to hypo, am not on a maintainence dose, I went from a very energenic, active, petite, looked young for my age, to now looking older for my age,have gained over 35lbs on my small frame, I have RLS, osteoarthritis, misxed connective tissue dissorder, chronic pain syndrome, action tremor, dx w/ fibromyalgia, venous insufficiency, chronic fatigue, my thyroid dx. is hypothyroidism, extensive endometriosis(dx thru laporoscopy) fibroids in my uterus, ovarian cysts, degenerative arthritis in my C spine and L spine, my abdomen is distended and I have been rescheduled twice for a total hysterectomy but due to elevated liver enzymes, and the referral to a gastr/hepatology consult being rescheduled, the GYN won't operate.  I see this specialis this next week.  Knowone will tell me why I have to see this man, and when I called his office I was told "just for consult to talk about my options".  Any idea what options?  My alkaline phosphate is at 54, I do not drink, never have, I'm really puzzled.  I'm probubly over thinking this, but my GYN has been very aggressive, and I have have US of pelvis, liver, pancrease, gallbladder, CT of the abdomen, D&C, Laporoscopy, 2 paps, 4 endometrial biopsy's, straight cath for urinalysis, numerous blood draws including CA125. When he does the BETA it'll come back I'm in menapause, the next month, it'll show I'm not, then I am, then I'm not, you get the picture. I may be over thinking this, but I wonder what he's looking for as all these tests except the endometreosis and the elevated liver enzymes have come back wnl.
So maybe a germ cell tumor?  Do you have an opinion on that?
I know what my thyroid has done to my health, as prior to 2000, I was health, and took nothing, except toradol for migraine HA's.  I still have the migraine, only more frequently.
I am on an emmense amount of medications, I have to use a walker in the AM, and if I leave the house, or a quad cane, due to unsteady gait, I had a PT evaluation for a electric scooter which showed right sided foot lag, low endurance, among the subjective symptoms I have, LBP, BL leg and thigh pain, BL foot and ankle pain, metatarsel deformity, as well as pain,pain and more pain.  I see a neurologist, gynocologist, general practictioner, and now a gastro/hepatologist.  My rheumatologist was fired a year ago as he said he did not know how to treat me, but he sure knew how to bill me.
Any input would be appreciated.
10947 tn?1281407852
Avatar universal
DooDee, I'm so sorry to hear of your problems. I hope you asked for a script for Armour or Naturethroid at your appointment as suggested in the previous post? I had a thyroidectomy because of suspicious nodules that turned out benign. The doctors kept me on Synthroid forever. When I heard about Armour, I nearly had to twist a doctor's arm to get him to prescribe it for me. I started feeling so much better while taking Armour. Then I got so angry that I had been given those synthetics, no choice, no other options for all that time! I have a power chair and at least 3 canes I don't have to use anymore because the arthritis, RLS, and swelling stopped. I had many of the symptoms you're having that are gone now. But I'm still angry that my loved ones, friends, and people like you are being treated with T4 only, when all of you could have numerous health problems subside if you were taking enough natural thyroid hormone.    

After RAI, your thyroid doesn't function anymore. It's the same as if it had been surgically removed. If you don't take a full replacement dose, that could be why you're having a lot of health problems. Your body needs all the hormones a normal thyroid would produce, otherwise it's severely deprived. Have you had your adrenal function tested? Low cortisol prevents thyroid hormone from being getting into the cells, so your metabolism stays sluggish and disease can set in. When your thyroid doesn't function, your hyper symptoms are caused by too much thyroid med or because you have untreated adrenal fatigue.

Please look at the web page below. It lists a lot of symptoms/diseases (including thyroid disease) that benefit from natural cortisol (Cortef-cortisone-hydrocortisone) treatment:


It looks like this thread will soon be archived, so please go to the thyroid section here and ask questions. Just know you're not alone and there is help. Wishing you good health!
Avatar universal
I'm having problems with my Dr. He thinks the only test is the TSH. When I had ti ask for a thyroid panel once, all he did TSH, PROGESTERONE LEVELS, ESTROGEN LEVELS, and a couple of things i didn't even ask for. I'm havign I.B.S. symptoms and he says it sound like that is what it might be and left it at that. Bloating, constipation, abdominal pain like cramps.I called his office to tell his receptionist(wife) not very cooperative to ask her for a requisition for soem tests to see if it could be I.B.S. She says its not a cut and dry situation and I'd have to see what I eat that would set it off. If I had any idea it was I.B.S., I could watch my diet and hopefully keep the spells at bay. She says to me that you just had some blood work done awhile ago and I told her that was for my thyroid and not even the tests that should be done for a proper thyroid panel.I have an apoinment with him tomorrow and I'm really going to tell him how i feel. If my other hormones levels are to high or to low that could have brought on the supposedly I.B.S. and could bring on more symptoms and thigns. I'm not on any thyroid meds. because he says my TSH level is within normal range and my temp. is staying above normal. Meanwhile I could be developing all kins of things thanks to him. I'd changed doctors, but I don"t know who else I could trust. That is why I am depressed. What to do. I found your article very helpful and interesting.
Avatar universal
You need to get the exact numbers from your TSH test. Just because they are within "normal limits" doesn`t mean you don`t have a problem! Once, when I was ill, my thyroid reading dropped from 3 to .44, and the doctor said it was normal! I had a heart that was racing 120 beats a minute, and because it was within the lab`s limits, it was "normal.' You need to be seeing an endocrinologist.Find out your results, and check them against what they should be by going to one of many hypothyroidism web sites, it will help you to be better informed. Good luck!
Avatar universal

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