Thyroid Disorders Community
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222011 tn?1265475648

Chronic Heartburn

I'm 56 years old and underwent operation in March for removal of benign nodule on my thyroid.
My thyroid then became underactive and I was prescribed 100mcg of Thyroxine daily. I am suffering with chronic heartburn plus a very tight feeling around my neck. I also take medication for high blood pressure. My GP has done various blood tests all of which were fine. I'm due back at my GP next week. Medicine prescribed to reduce excess acid has not helped. Cound the Thyroxine be the cause of these digestive problems? Thanks for any advice you can give.
29 Responses
Avatar universal
For what it's worth, shortly before I was dx w/ hashi hypo, I began to have terrible heartburn. It would even wake me up at night. I don't know if there is a connection, but I sort of think the hypo aggravated whatever might have been going on w/ my digestion. Shortly after the heartbutn was treated I began to have lots of hypo symptoms.  You probably should be examined by Gastro Md to see what excatly is going on. An endoscopic exam (which is very easy, no big deal. I had one) can tell a lot. I found the best treatment for my heartburn and the (minor) damage it had done to my esaphagus was prescription proton pump inhbitor. I had to try a few before I found one that gave me 24 hr releif (prevacid). Also, when I started thyroid med, I was first on the generic (levothyroxine) and it gave me lots of side effects including bringing back the reflux and heartburn!!!! (also caused burning flush skin, headache, diarrhea, mild nausea. MD thought it was the fillers in the generic). I did much better on synthroid the brand, but everyone is different, so it's sort of trial and error.
200220 tn?1361955154
How do you know it was the levothyroxine if you are still getting the heartburn.  I am on 37.5 mg. of levothyroxine and not too long after I take it I getting a terriffic burning in my esophogus and then it stops.  I also get the same burning after eating or during my eating. I took protonix for a while and it does the job.  I don't get it at all.  I stopped taking it and have it back.  I didn't think you could take it for more than 6 weeks.  I really haven't tried to do anything about this much because I was fighting the anxiety and brain fog.  I am feeling better and addressing the more minor symptoms.  I haven't had an endoscopy as I watched one being performed and they sprayed your throat before putting you to sleep.  I was afraid of feeling the numb throat before I went to sleep.  Did you have any numbness that you remember before you went to sleep.   I also have been diagnosed with lots of food allergies, wheat, oat, rice, eggs, dairy  on and on .  I haven't done anything about this yet either.  The doctor said the thyroid could be causing some of this.  Also my cholesterol has gone sky high  - over 300.  I am getting ready to start working on some of these soon.  lol   linda
Avatar universal
I get a lot of digestive problems due to the thyroid.
Heartburn I get a lot....its horrible...I find though when I open my bowels it eases away for a couple of days...then builds up to real bad till I again empty my bowels. I get blocked up which I think makes it worse...its as if I keep procucing more acid to help my digestive system move along...(just my theory)

I was given Lansoprazole by my GP...they didnt help...but they did make my thyroid problem a lot worse, the doc (thyroid doc) said they are not good for the thyorid.

I find taking Syrup of Figs helps but I need to rememebr to take regular. As it keeps the digestive system moving along it stops the blocked feeling & the build up of acid/heartburn.

Make sure you check you aare able to take antacids with your thyroid meds as some can stop absorbance. Als o make sure you are not taking anything for the heartburn that can change how your thyroid works.

200220 tn?1361955154
The endo told me to take the antiacids at least 6 hours after my thyroid meds.  I was taking them 1 hour after and as many as I wanted.  I don't do that anymore and I am feeling better.  I don't know if that did it or what.   Do you have any trouble with coughing?   I get a tickle down where the nodules are and I cough and cough.  Sometimes I cough and it doesn't seem to reach the spot where it is tickling and it makes me cough more.  I cough every day and night.  It could be something else but I don't know.  lol Linda
Avatar universal
I always a bit of a mild heartburn problem, but shortly before my hashi hypo dx (and the onset of my hypo symptoms), I developed raging heartburn, all the time, bad enough to wake me up every night. I was sent to gastro MD and diagnosed w/ reflux. The endoscopy is nothing to fear, in fact I slept through the entire procedure and I don't remember ANY of it!!! They gave me an IV w/ some sort of drug/anesthesia that completely put me under!!! My friend had exact same experience. If they did numbed my throat or sprayed it, I slept through that!!!  As soon as I started prevacid (prescription proton pump inhibitor) my heartburn completely stopped - until I started taking levothyroxine (the generic), I would get heartburn about 30 minute after taking it. I also had a lot of side effects on levothyroxine (generic) like burning, flushing skin, headache, nausea, diarrhea. Endo MD thought I was having a recation to a fillers in the generic. As soon as I switched to synthroid (the brand), no more heartburn after taking med. FYI it is possible to be on a proton pump inhibitor for life, if you have chronic reflux you might talk to MD about it. -To cooment on what other poster said, I've never heard of prevacid or any other ppi damaging thyroid. I even ask my endo about it and he said it was ok to take ppi, just not at same time as synthroid.
222011 tn?1265475648
Thank you all for your comments and have found them all really interesting and helpful. Really starting to despair this burning and pain will never disappear. I'm starting to think people think I'm a drama queen because I look fit & well but they don't know how awful the pain is. It's certainly got worse since I started Thyroxine. It did disappear for a couple of weeks and I thought I'd solved the problem by taking the tablet with a large glass of water but it came back after a couple of weeks and now it's even worse.I've been prescribed Lansoprazole(gastro-resistant)capsule but they do absolutely nothing. I'm also taking Valsartan (Diovan), Atenol,Cyclopenthiazie for my high blood pressure and do wonder if this combination is the cause of the heartburn. I've had ECG's plus ultrasound to rule out anurisym and they were both fine. I know I'm a very anxious person and anxiety makes everything worse but when something goes on for ages you can't help getting worried. It's certainly a vivcious circle. I'm trying to lose weight but due to the thyroid situation it's a long slow battle. Don't eat fatty foods,don't smoke, don't drink and still falling apart. Wish you all well and thanks again for responding.
Avatar universal
I suggest you see a gastroenterologist! I also found eating many small meals plus many very small servings of rice pudding and/or ice cream throughout the day helped me. An empty stomach seemed to make heartburn worse for me, so does asprin, advil, motrin, or any nonsteroid anti inflammatory, so try to avoid them as well as fatty foods. You may need to switch the type of ppi you're taking I took protonix and nexium and neither gave me complete relief. I was taking 30 mg of prevacid TWICE a day at first and for a long, long time! Don't be nervous about seeing gastro MD! It's simple and can help you. You might also try switching to a different brand of thyroid med. As I said the levothyroxine (geneic) DEFINITELY induced heartburn in me!!!  Best wishes!
200220 tn?1361955154
Thanks Newbee2000 for the encouragement.  After watching the endoscopy I didn't want to have it, only because of the numbing of the throat.  If you don't remember that, maybe they don't do it anymore.  I do get severe pain after taking the levothyroxine but that is the only symptom.  I have asked my doctor about taking synthroid (I took it years ago and had no side effect).  His answer to me was his wife takes it and its ok.  I will address the pain with him but I sure don't want to go through any more changes with taking a different medicine.  I feel overwhelmed at the different things that still have to be addressed.  Do any of you ever feel that way.  The worse is over but there are still lots of things to address.  Thanks for your help.  Linda
Avatar universal
OH MY GOSH! I am so glad I came to this site.  I have been getting heartburn like CRAZY lately.  Like, it gets so bad that I feel like my throat is going to close up and then I start to cough.  I am taking levothyroxine (112 mcg) daily and sometimes my heartburn gets so bad that I can hardly swallow without wanting to cry, b/c it feels like someone is putting my esophogus and chest on fire (hence.....burn, I guess) but its really irritating, and Im only 21 so I shouldnt even be feeling like **** anyhow.  When I burp, its worse, and nothing seems to cure the pain. ANy suggestions besides going to the doctor (which I think I will make an appt)

Avatar universal
Its the thyroid causing Heartburn...it seems to be one of the common symptoms.
Thyroid disease causes digestive problems.

Be careful what you take, some antacid meds can make thyroid disease worse.
Once your thyroid levels are correct the symptoms should ease off.

Found this on another post & copied & pasted for everyone to see.
Its a petitionthat may get us all better treatment - which I want

Original poster must take credit for below
Reading this forum & going by my own treatment in the UK, is seems most of us have a problem with out treatment of our various forms of Thyroid Disease/problems

I found this Petition that may help us

If we all sign the  petition it could make a difference to our treament in the future.

It is for people all around the world.

There is also the same petition on another page for Doctors/Physicians


Avatar universal
Right before I was diagnosed with hashimoto's thyroiditis I started getting bad stomach problems as well as heartburn, it has been over a year now and I still am having problems. It's a hard thing to fix. I'm not sure if the two are related, but it sure sounds like it after reading all of these posts.

Avatar universal
Does hypothyroidism every go away? Im so sick of taking levothyroxine. Im sure everyone here is, but I was just wonering if it ever goes away?
222011 tn?1265475648
Don't believe so. Think we're on it for life. I've only been taking it for just over 6 months and wish I could stop taking it and all my other medication but probably would die so no option but to carry on.
Think we're all in the same boat more or less.
Avatar universal
I had thyroid surgery June 5, 2008.  I am 46 and I rarely have had trouble with heartburn.  Maybe once or twice in my life.  After having most of my thyroid removed, and taking levothyroxine for about 5 weeks, I have had indigestion/heartburn problems, as well as swallowing issues.  When I swallow, it feels like I can feel the food inching down all the way to my stomach, and it's a bit painful.  I did have this problem periodically before the surgery, but it seems to have gotten worse since the surgery.  I am going back to my doctor on Thursday of this week, but he is away and I will have to see the PA.  I am glad that I found this site and to know that it's not all just in my head.  I have been under a lot of stress in the last 3 or 4 years, and I still am, and my mother tells me that it's probably stress related, but I'm beginning to think it's more than that.  I will ask him about switching to synthroid, as many of you have said that this is more tolerable that levo.  Has anyone here had the feeling of food hurting and inching slowly down???  I have been very concerned.
561964 tn?1283802216
I'm glad I went back in dates to find this post. I had left thyroid removed and am now suffering from acid reflux/heartburn every single day. Going on 3 months with this. I take synthroid in the morning and Tagamet in the afternoon or at night, depending on how bad it gets. I also still have a feeling in my throat as if something is stuck in there. I also feel, after I eat, that some of the food is still lingering in my throat. Has something happened to those muscles?   Sick of all of it. Only reason I had the surgery was a nodule was found incidentally by ultrasound. Stupid thing wasn't even cancerous. I never felt anything (lump, bump, swelling) in my throat and felt 100% better then than I do now.  
458072 tn?1291418786
I have just changed over to synthroid from armour and have had heartburn ever since. The armour caused its problems and now synthroid is causing its symptoms.

why can't we just be normal again?????
Avatar universal
I wish I had not had the surgery either.  I was in the same situation as Linda.  I had a goiter, but no other symptoms.  My thyroid levels were normal, I had no pain, nothing.  Now, I feel the same way as you guys.  I get the feeling of something in my throat all the time too.  It has gotten worse instead of better.  My doctor told me when I had the surgery that I could try it without the levo if I wanted to, but I told him I would take it just to be safe.  Well, after having all the symptoms, I decided in mid July, that if he said I could try it without, then I thought I would give it a try.  I stopped the meds in mid July, but just went back for my 3 month checkup and my levels were around 16, and he told me there was no way I was going to make it without the meds.  I wish I could go back and keep my thyroid.  Even though it was enlarged, it still functioned, and I too, felt 100% better before the surgery.  and, btw, I am now taking synthroid instead of levo.  I hope I do better with it.  This has not been fun at all.  I was also surprised at how not taking the meds caused me different symptoms as well.  I experienced and still do, because I just started taking the meds again, a lot of joint pain and stiffness.  I made a mistake in having this surgery.  I would not suggest it to anyone unless it was absolutely necessary.  

Good luck to all of you.  I hope things improve for all of us.
Avatar universal
For what it's worth...I've noticed when my parathyroid hormone level is on the rise (or maybe when it's increase causes calcium to be released into my blood) I get BAD heartburn every time...I believe it has something more to do with the rising calcium...An elevating calcium level will cause the cardiac sphincter (muscle ring that closes the bottom your esophagus where it hooks to your stomach) to relax and to let acid splash upwards...Thus causing the burn and irritation (reflux causes coughs!) we feel...In some cases, the acid production in your stomach is too LOW to trigger the sphincter reflex, and it stays open...(a simple test of a tablespoon of vinegar in a 1/2 cup of water swallowed will show if low acid is the problem...If the heartburn disappears within minutes, problem proven...) Also adding digestive enzyme supplements (even chewable papain tablets) works well to break down the acid and undigested food...                                                            ~MM
Avatar universal
I also was recently diagnosed with Hashimotos. I ad a UTI infection a few weeks ago, and I swear th infection is still there. Ever since I have had Chronic indigestion, and can't breath ( not sure if its from the Thyroid, or from all the gas in my body sufficating me ).Either way sounds like we are all experiencing these crazy symptoms, hopefully its from the Thyroid, and not something else we can't control.Not taking any Thyroid meds but something has to give.
536100 tn?1288199434
I used to have heartburn every night. What I did to get rid of it was I started taking digestive enzymes and every night with dinner I take 3 teaspoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar in ice tea or juice.  Try the apple cider vinegar first. If you still have a problem think about adding digestive enzymes as well.  I buy the ACV in the organic section of my local grocery stores.  I buy Braggs.
Avatar universal
i also had most of my thyroid taken out last Jan, i haven't been put on medication yet, i have hashimotos.  My TSH is 1.72 and i haven't had my T4 or T3 done yet, but hope to soon.  I have this feeling i have something stuck in my throat and sometimes it makes me gag.  I really don't have too much heartburn maybe once or twice a week.  The doctor put me on Nexium for three months but that didn't help at all.  My heartburn when it comes is not that bad i don't even have to take a tums.  The part that bothers me is the swallowing.  I am seeing a gastro doctor Jan 12 so i hope she can help.  I am 45 and my family doctor tells me its my age, i have lots of symptoms of being hypo.
Avatar universal
I just started prevacid with a new doctor.  I experienced heart palpatations.... missed heart beats... waking up every 2 hrs....having diahrea... and a headache on the left side of my head.... naucious... and my BP has been elevated for the past few weeks.  This heartburn thing is something new.  I have lost 10 lbs in two weeks because of this condition... not being able to eat or drink without feeling sick.  The dr says that it's possibly an ulcer forming.  But, after reading all of this stuff from you guys... I think that it's thyroid related.  I have been on the brand name LEVOXYL, not generis... 75 mcg.  This higher dose was within this last year.  I;ve never had such heartburn and gastric problems before.  When I woke up this morning from just one prevacid 30mg ... 24 hr pill.... my heart was racing... muscle contraction.. and again the heart effects....     throid interaction with this prevacid.... I don't know...
have you found anything to help with the heartburn?
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 12 years old.  I was on Synthroid for a long time, then switched to levothyroxine in my 20's.  When I was 32, a physician switched me to Armour thyroid.  In September of 2009, I was switched to 25 mcg of synthetic T3 daily.  Since that switch, I seemed to be sick quite often.  Last month, I noticed my hair was falling out and I was extremely cold.  I was also developing terrible, chronic heartburn.  My physician added 50 mcg of levothyroxine to the 25 mcg of synthetic T3 I was already taking.  I have lost 8 pounds, but I still feel cold often, and the chronic heartburn is still present.  Sometimes, my heart will race and I will feel hot.  

Because the heartburn is incapacitating (it really makes it hard to breath and the pain is clenching my neck and chest), I have scheduled another appointment with my physician.

I can't tell if the stnthetic T3 or T4 is causing my problems.  I will ask my Dr. about switching back to synthroid.  I will also try the apple cider vinegar.  I really do NOT want to take a proton pump inhibitor.  

have you found anything to help with the heartburn?
Dany, you keep looking for answers to your heartburn issue by posting on these old threads which have been inactive for a long time.    If you want to get rid of your heartburn, you need to increase your thyroid med dosage and get your Free T4 and Free T3 high enough to relieve hypo symptoms.   From a very long list of symptoms that have been reported as related to hypothyroidism, note the following ones that are just related to digestion.  

    Hard stools
    Loss of appetite
    Food allergy
    Food sensitivity
    Alcohol intolerance
    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    Lactose intolerance
    Celiac Disease
    Gluten sensitivity/intolerance
    Abdominal distention
    Weight gain in abdominal area
    Protruding abdomen in children
    Excess gas
    Acid reflux
    Excessive belching
    GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

I have had very bad acid reflux when I was hypothyroid.  After increasing my desiccated thyroid med, in 2 days it disappeared.  
I'll ask my doctor to try desiccated thyroid med, every time I try to increase my synthroid from 75 to 88, I'm dying with heartburn :(
Your 75 mcg of T4 med is equivalent to almost 1 1/4 grains of desiccated thyroid med.   The conversion tables show 100 mcg being equal to one grain of desiccated, but that is wrong.  One grain (60 mg) is only equal to about 66 mcg of T4.    So you could ask to go up to 1 1/2 grains (90 mg) of desiccated, which is equivalent to almost 100 mcg of T4.  If you do that, I would make the switch in two steps because the T4 in your body dissipates more slowly than the T3 in desiccated med builds up.  
For short term relief, another thing I just remembered  for heartburn is pickle juice.   If you search for that on this forum you will find a number of members who have had success with it.
798555 tn?1292791151
Finding the cause of reflux is the difficult part. For many people it is a hypo symptom accompanied by other hypo symptoms. In that case you need to find the right thyroid med that works for you and improve your diet. When you've had chronic reflux for a while, it can take time for it to go away. Proton Pump inhibitors, regardless of the people that think that stuff is gold, is NOT good for the body, its very hard on the pan crease. You have a major digestive imbalance that needs correcting - been there.

How was the reflux on Armour a feaw years ago before the reformulaton? Are you familiar with Nature - Throid? Pharmas that dont stock it can order it for you- its like the old Armour.

Start paying attention to what food makes it worse and temporarily eliminate that food. Pasta, bread - gluten, fatty meats, excess sugar all contribute to reflux. Not enough acid from being hypo is a major factor sometimes - yes, it can be the opposite of what you would think.

I would also suggest goggling the 'spit in the glass of water test', follow the directions to see if you have digestive bacterial overgrowth, many people have this and it is a big contributor to reflux.

Have you blocked up the head board end of your bed 6 -8 in to stop heartburn at night?

There is a natural product that works better than PPI's. Its still a band aid for the real problem but safer that a PPI. Jarrow is the brand, D-Limonene is the product, its orange peel extract - but not the kind in the seasoning section. Available online and in some healthfood stores.

Once it gets better you can add back some foods, but you might as well keep eating healthier if you are not right now. Reflux can get nasty, you can turn it around.
Avatar universal
I am having problems as well with horrible heartburn & indigestion.  I take synthroid 112 mcgs every morning & around 5:00 pm I have just started taking Prilosec.  It has taken away the heartburn, but sometimes I still get that indigestion feeling.  My husband suggested the prilosec because he started it after an ER visit & being diagnosed with hiatal (not sure of spelling) hernia & heartburn/indigestion.  I also take singulair because I have constant sinus problems & everytime I get a cold I end up with a sinus infection.  I read somewhere that the heartburn can flow up while you are sleeping & aggravate sinuses & asthma ( which I also have, lucky me!)

I had my thyroid removed 6 yrs ago with 2 surgeries 2 years apart.  I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on the right & non cancerous tumors on the left.  The 2nd surgery was an emergency as the tumors grew rapidly leaving me unable to swallow solid food for about 2 weeks (great diet plan).  I ended up losing 15 pounds, but after that I gained it all back & then some.  It is really hard to lose weight when you don't have your own thyroid.  Other people just don't understand.

I too constantly suffer from feeling like there is something stuck in my throat.  I have terrible anxiety about it all the time.  Sometimes it makes it hard to get thru the day.  It is nice to know that there are other people out there that understand & are going thru similar issues.
2041607 tn?1329925731
Dear Hynes,

I have had the same reaction. I was on a low dose of Armour and having horrific heartburn: stomach pain, pressure in throat + neck, gagging feeling under chin, burning esophagus, chest, throat, even tongue at times.
I stopped taking the Armour and will try Nature-throid. I am thin, excercise, and healthy, so it is beyond odd to get these awful symptoms. I have been off of the Armour for 2 days and feeling some relief of these symptoms. I have had some relief from following a alkaline diet. Also avoiding acidic foods I.e - coffee - chocolate - milk products -
My advice is try to follow an alkaline diet (use google) for a chart. This will somewhat help. Buy baking soda drink 1/2 tsp with 4oz glass of water (1 hour) before meals. I feel your pain & many of the ladies comments as this is hard to battle. Blessing to everyone and pray for good health.
Avatar universal
Lot's of people, my wife included seem to have acid reflux etc. But when she is on close to proper thyroid dosage, those symptoms are dramatically relieved.

Similarly, her need for asthma (advair) medicine also was able to be cut in half when Thyroid dosage was increased.

So I think it would make sense to get your Free T4 and Free T3's tested. Please report the results and the reference ranges.  It MAY be that you need to increase your thyroid medication and that could offer some relief.
798555 tn?1292791151
Digestive enzymes are better than baking soda. Baking soda absorbs any other meds and vitamins in your stomach.

T3 in the upper third of the range helps with reflux.

A product called d-Limonene (food grade orange peel extract) is sold under several names for gerd in gel-caps. It coats the top of the acid natually. It works, but you burp orange at first.
Avatar universal
Are you still reading these?  I just had surgery.  Yours sounds like a similar situation to mine.
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