Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Hypothyroid/Metabolism Issues

First time user and I am not sure if I am in the right forum.  For many, many years I have struggled with hypothyroid symptoms (always cold, dry dry skin, lack of energy, poor concentration etc etc.  but by far my biggest concern is weight gain which I am unable to lose no matter how much I exercise or how litle I eat.)  I have given up on the medical professional after hearing that my numbers are normal (they do a TSH and T4 if I am lucky) or I am looking for a "easy fix" or depressed etc.
I know it is dangerous to try "internet solutions", but I am desperate and once again gained 10 lbs in 4 days besides the exhuastion etc.  I have decided to try one more time and saw an alternative/holistic doctor who is also an MD.
NOT a great experience, but I will try a few more visits with the hope off getting help.I tried very hard to get across to her how disciplined I am with regard to  watching eveyr thing I eat and drink and refuse to let myself gain X number of lbs as it is incredibly hard to try and lose it. My clothes don't fit, I am miserable.  There are so many articles out there saying the numbers don't always tell the story and listing other options.  Sorry for running on and on. Does anyone have any suggestions or similar experiences?  I would be so grateful to hear.
If this medical route doesn't work..I am very tempted to  "take things in my own hands" and try other methods.  If I don't have hope...I have nothing...
Thanks all...
Thanks so much.
18 Responses
649848 tn?1534637300
With those symptoms, it certainly sounds like your thyroid levels are off.  Do you have any current labs that you can post for us?  Be sure to include reference ranges, as those vary lab to lab and have to come from your own report.

Along with adjusting thyroid med, you might want to get tested for insulin resistance and/or metabolic syndrome.

Is your holistic doctor willing to test your actual thyroid hormone levels, Free T3 and Free T4?  If so, that will tell you volumes.  Don't wait for  her to suggest it - ask for them, along with TSH and be sure to specify "Free T3 and Free T4", otherwise you get totals, which are considered obsolete and of little value.
Avatar universal
Thank You so much for responding so quickly.  I truly appreciate it.
The latest labs that I was able to beg for are TSH 1.520-- range 0.360-3.74 uIU/mL and T4 9.9--- range 4.8-13.9 UG/DL.  The holistic doctor will do a physical and order extensive labs at my next visit (Aug 20th).  To get started, I am doing the basal temperature listings and for day one I am 96.6.  Also, she did an iodine patch test and that disappeared in 4 hours.
She (the doctor) asked a zillion questions and seemed to believe me, so I am "cautiously hopeful".  Thanks again.
649848 tn?1534637300
Unfortunately, T4 stands for total T4, which is considered obsolete and of little value. You need to get Free T4 and Free T3 tested......

In order for you to get the most of your next appointment, here's "Thyroid 101"

The thyroid makes both T3 and T4 hormones; of the total amount of each, some will bound to protein and will be unusable, therefore, we need to know the amount of each hormone that's "free" (unbound) and is available for use.

Free T4 is a "storage" hormone, in that it can't be used directly, by the cells.  It must be converted to Free T3, which is the hormone utilized by individual cells.

So you need to get tested for Free T3 and Free T4 (be sure to specify "FREE" for each or you will get total).  You also need to get tested for thyroid antibodies, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOab) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAB).  These will rule out/ confirm Hashimoto's, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the developed world.

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease in which the body sees the thyroid as foreign, so produces antibodies to destroy it. With Hashi's, it's not the least bit unusual for symptoms to appear long before standard labs (TSH) will indicate an issue.

You need both of the antibody tests, because some of us have one or the other; some have both.  Without both tests you risk misdiagnosis.

Remain cautiously hopeful, and do plenty of research so you know what tests you want.  It will do you no good at all to have a bunch of obsolete tests done.

Be sure to get tested for Hashimoto's, BEFORE you start an iodine supplement, because iodine is often contra-indicated in those of us with Hashi's.  Once damage has been done to the thyroid, no amount of iodine will make the thyroid produce adequate hormones, again.
Avatar universal
You have been so helpful and so generous with your knowledge.  The main reason I picked this alternative/holistic doctor was her view on hypothyroidism/metabolism etc.  She points out that the tests don't always show a poorly functioning thyroid and there are many tests to do (like you suggested) and also many ways to treat hypothyroidism...Her goal is to help her patients having "optimal functioning thyroids"...sounds like heaven to me.  I will try to remain upbeat.  I am a cheerleader for others and a total pessimist for myself. I must confess that I have taken over the counter thyroid supplements.  Do you have any idea how long these remain in your system, as I will not be having lab work until at least 8/21.
Thanks again,

PS  I am hugely jealous that you live in Florida...my dream state.
Avatar universal
Just a thought for you.  If possible to arrange to go in and have blood drawn for the tests about a week ahead of the appointment, you would have results to talk about face-to-face with the doctor during the appointment.  That sometimes works better than trying to get results and directions from a nurse by phone after the appointment.
649848 tn?1534637300
Considering that OTC thyroid supplements don't really contain any actual thyroid hormone (just ground up bovine thyroid "tissue"), I can't imagine that they would stay in your system for more than a couple days, if that.

I agree that if you can get labs done prior to your appointment, you will be ahead of the game.... just be sure that the labs include FT3, FT4, TSH and the antibodies  I suggested above.

Don't envy me in FL this time of year.... the heat is excruciating so we do everything outside during the cooler (wee)  hours of the morning or the "just before dark" hours of the evening; the rest of the day is spent in the A/C...... Come winter time, you might be able to envy me, when my daily temps are in the 60's/70's and yours are ... "cold"...... lol
Avatar universal
Thank you to you and Barb.  Unfortunately, this doctor has a set protocol..the second visit is a physical and labs are ordered.   The third visit is to discuss your lab results and then set up a plan of action.  I am new to the alternative/holistic world and not sure if this is normal or just this doctors "thing".I am not loaded with patience and waiting is really really hard, but I guess I have no other choice..that is why I took it upon myself to try Iodoral...I did tell the doctor that.
649848 tn?1534637300
You're already using an iodine supplement? As stated above, iodine is often contra-indicated in those with Hashimoto's and if you have a damaged thyroid, no amount of iodine is going to fix it.

Many doctors have their own protocol, some of which are designed to keep you coming back, such as only ordering labs on the second visit and going over them on the third.  Wouldn't it have made more sense to order labs at the first visit, then do the physical, go over the labs and develop your plan of action on the second?  You'd be able to avoid the third, plus you could have started treatment (if there is any), that much sooner.  Most/many holistic doctors are not covered by insurance, nor are they inexpensive, and they do need a steady source of income.
Avatar universal
You have perfectly stated all my fears/questions about alternative doctors.  Unfortunately I had no one to help me with this so I was on my own.  This doctor did clearly state on her website that she has a lengthy 1st visit and asks you to bring lots of already filled out forms (medications, etc. etc.)  She also said she rarely orders labs on the 1st visit as she takes that time asking many many questions etc.  I would have loved to get everything done in one or two visits but this is her protocol.  I am on Medicare so while I still have to pay at each visit, the office will submit their bill to Medicare and of course, you are right, it can be expensive.  At this point, my choices are wait until my 2nd visit with Dr L. or start over.  I am NOT going the traditional MD route ever again and go through that frustration, humiliation etc.  I did want to mention that Dr L is also an MD.
In a desperate move to try and help with my symptoms (particularly the weight gain), I have tried "self medication" including Iodoral.  I feel I must do SOMETHING.  I do not think I have Hashi's, but anything is possible.
You have been so kind and helpful.  I have just reached the end of my rope as things are clearly getting worse..I guess one of my biggest fears is that the lab tests (She says she orders the ones you suggested) will not show anything.  The main reason I chose this doctor is she states that she knows the numbers don't always tell the story etc etc.   Thank You again..you have helped so much.
649848 tn?1534637300
Well, of course, you have to follow the doctor's protocol if you're going to have her for your doctor.  I wish you the best of luck with her.

You're right that labs don't always tell the whole story.  Even if some results are "in range", you can still have symptoms.  That's where too many people run into trouble, because doctors look at the "in range results and declare all well.

Since Hashimoto's is the number 1 cause of hypothyroidism in the developed world, changes that you have it are probably greater than not having it.  That's not all bad either, because if you have it, you can rest assured that your thyroid will eventually burn out and leave no doubt that there's something wrong.

Best wishes and do let us know how it all turns out.

Avatar universal
Again, thank you for all the information and encouragement.  I am anxiously awaiting August 20th for my physical and lab tests request.
I am praying that she holds true to her website info and helps me regardless of the lab results.  I wish you all the best.  You have been so so kind.

649848 tn?1534637300
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