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Hypothyroid or MS?

For the past few months, my feet, toes, and calves have been partly numb and I've had tingling and buzzing nerve pain there. Over the past few weeks it's gotten much worse. All of my symptoms persisted and my legs got really stiff and twitchy. My balance and muscle control has been affected too. I have a hard time walking. I've tripped and fallen on multiple occasions, and I can't walk up stairs unless I go very, very slow, and use the rail to pull myself up the stairs. I'm constantly stepping all over the place like I can't control my legs and I have to hold onto a wall or desk in order to stand still without swaying or falling over. At the beginning of my symptoms I assumed it was a b12 issue and supplemented for a few months but when that didn't help I began to suspect MS.
Suspecting that I have MS, I went to the doctor and had bloodwork done. She had everything tested, over 20 individual tests. My b12 levels were in the high normal range (900) and everything else was perfect except my thyroid stimulating hormone. It was quite a bit above where it should be(11). I found this strange because other than being tired and cranky lately I don't have any other typical hypothyroid symptoms. My doctor prescribed me some thyroid meds and I have a phone appointment with her tomorrow.
Does my hypothyroidism explain my neurological symptoms, or are they caused by something else? Should I still be concerned about MS?
I'm 23 F, white, Northern California, overweight but not obese, no other medical diagnoses or prescriptions other than hypothyroid.
2 Responses
987762 tn?1331027953
Hi and welcome,

What you've described is highly unlikely to be the first presentation of a thyroid condition imho, i'd recommend you consider seeing an endo to work out if you do actually have hypothyroidism, there's a lot more involved than just a high TSH.....but it's also highly unlikely to be neurological condition like RRMS, which wouldn't typically present bilaterally and continue to get worse and worse over a few months.  

RRMS wouldn't generally present with a similar type of pattern you've described, so i don't personally think you need to be concerned about neurological conditions like MS but i would probably be asking your doctor how a hypothyroid condition could cause you to loose your balance and struggle to control your legs, and see what he/she says. IF you don't get sent for further tests ie never conductor, basic neurological assessment etc i would recommend you consider getting a second opinion!

Hope that helps........JJ

ps why don't you post this question in our thyroid community, they should be more informative about your types of symptoms and if it could be related.
Thanks for responding. I'll definitely ask her what we can do to find out what else is going on, because hypothyroidism doesn't really explain the majority of my symptoms. I've been researching for the last month or so and keep coming back to MS because it's the closest thing to explaining my symptoms that I can find and not completely rule out.  I'll post this in the thyroid community. I just wanted to check with MS to see if my symptoms sounded like MS.
One of the biggest problems with googling symptoms is that MS will generally come up because its a disease of the central nervous system.

The symptoms caused by neurological conditions like RRMS are also associated with many other conditions too.....thyroid conditions can mimic some MS symptoms and even cause temporary to permanent peripheral nerve issues but what you've described sounds more problematic than what's typically, too much for a 23yr olds first presentation of having a thyroid condition.

With the most common type of MS, there is a relapsing remitting pattern (RRMS 80%), and that is the opposite of the continued worsening you've experienced. A first MS presenting attack involving just the lower limbs, would typically be on only one side of the body (unilateral) with MS spinal cord lesions, bilateral can still happen but it's not as common....

basically because of your initial symptom location being bilateral and symmetrical-same locations in your legs, and without a relapsing remitting pattern, neurological conditions like MS wouldn't usually be the likely explanation...

Hope that helps.....JJ

ps PPMS doesn't have the relapsing remitting pattern, but it is a slow progression over years and years, and the average age of dx for PPMS is in your 40's
My symptoms haven't necessarily been getting progressively worse.  I had my initial symptoms that lasted for 4-5 months at the same level and then over the last few weeks I had a worsening of my original symptoms as well as new symptoms like balance problems, swaying back and forth, and stepping around all weird when trying to stand still or walk. So it kind of seems like it was two separate attacks. But yeah since all of my symptoms are bilateral, that would point to it being something other than MS.

My doctor said that hypothyroid can cause neuropathy if its been going on for a long time and has gone untreated. My numbers were above normal but not that high. My symptoms seem way too severe to be explained by my mild hypothyroidism, and some of my symptoms don't have anything to do with hypothyroidism at all.

I have Kaiser and my doctor said that I can't even get a recommend for neuro unless I still have symptoms even when my numbers stabilize.  I think that she is just hoping that my symptoms go away once my thyroid numbers come down. In the mean time I have to wait 8 weeks before I can do another thyroid blood test and just hope that my numbers normalize by then. And if at that point I still have neurological symptoms, then they will finally let me see neuro.

So in the meantime it is likely that I have something more serious than just hypothyroid but I have to sit around for 8 weeks before they'll take my symptoms seriously enough.  
I'm an ozzie, we don't have all the insurance hoops you guys in the states have to put up with, must be very frustrating!

Just a thought with regards to insurance issue, because your doc is thinking this is 'potentially' a thyroid condition, wouldn't your insurance approve you seeing a thyroid specialist....if you can see an endo asap that would possibly get you a faster referral to a neruo if a thyroid condition isn't the right answer...

Hope that helps.....JJ
Avatar universal
We both have some of the similar symptoms. In my case I don't know the answer yet.

I am Hypothyroid patient, plus I too have elevated B12 (1266) plus ACE is 81 and creatine Kinase is 199.

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