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Thyroid Disorders Community
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497047 tn?1210002233

Lithium and Thyroid

I took Lithium from about 2000 to 2004 and then again briefly in 2006.  Also worth noting that my Grandmother always had hypothyroid.  I am 37 years old and have had a hysterectomy.  My cholesterol has been high since 2001.  I have just recently started cholesterol meds.  My new family doctor just ran a TSH test and it has gone from 3.2 to 3.52 in a couple of months and since I am having symptoms...fatigue, slight weight gain, loss of appetite, dry skin and hair, pins and needles in hands and feet, hoarse voice, mild depression...he just started me on synthroid.  Then I read that Lithium can affect your thyroid.  I dug around and found a bunch of old labs from those years that I saw the psychiatrist (I no longer do).  I wanted to post some of these test results and see if anyone had any feedback.  I will put the normal ranges in parenthesis.

2/7/01  
T3 Uptake  30.8  (20.0 - 38.5)  
Free T4      0.93  (0.73 - 1.95)
TSH           4.7    (0.3 - 5.1)

10/15/01
T3 Uptake  31.9  (20.0 - 38.5)
T4 (Thyroxine) 7.0 (4.4 - 12.5)
Calculated T7  2.23 (1.05 - 3.85)
T3 Total  126 (90 - 200)
TSH  4.0 (0.3 - 5.1)

12/26/02 (Here the numbers went down - although cholesterol was still high)
T4 9.2 (4.4 - 12.5)
Calculated T7 2.92 (1.05 - 3.85)
T3 Total 160 (90 - 200)
TSH 0.9 (0.3 - 5.1)

3/23/04
Lithium Level 1.17 (0.60 - 1.20) (During this time, Lithium was making me very sick, and liver function was off on lab)
T3 Uptake 30.9 (20.0 - 38.5)
T4 Thyroxine 6.8 (4.4 - 12.5)
Calculated T7 2.10 (1.05 - 3.85)
TSH  7.5 (0.3 - 5.1)

6/2/05
T3 32.9 (20.0 - 38.5)
T4 4.9 (4.4 - 12.5)
Calculated T7 1.61 (1.05 - 3.85)
T3 Total 111 (90 - 200)
TSH 3.2 (0.3 - 5.1)

I have felt run down for years, and was being treated for mood disorders, although I always had serious doubts about all of that.  At about 2002, my already bad PMS turned most definitely into something much worse.  My hormones were badly out of line - I don't know about on tests...but it was obvious.  Horrible symptoms - my energy level would fall way below functioning, lots of tears and anguish and then I would feel better again after starting...just to have it all happen again next month.  The psychiatrist kept dumping more meds on me.  I kept saying IT'S MY HORMONES!  Finally, I saw an ob/gyn who tried Depo Provera shot.  Three months of hell.  Saw another ob/gyn who did a hysterectomy (total) in the fall of 2005.  I was able to get off all psychiatric meds and live mood free, things are so much better than before.  I'm just still so tired and run down - and if I get depressed, it's because I'm so tired, not a mental issue.  I would really love some advice.  How much of this could have been thyroid / hormone interaction?  What role does Lithium really play in it all?
Thank you..
Rendy
12 Responses
213044 tn?1236531060
DLA may come along later and explain interaction in detail for you.

All I know is Lithium can damage your thyroid.
When was the last time you had bloodwork run on your thyroid?
212753 tn?1275076711
Yeah lithium is awful for the damge it does to your body. I am pretty sure it was instremental in ruining my thyroid. I am bi polar and lithium was one of the first things they put me on.
As soon as I found out how evil it is ,I got off it asap/ there are so many other better bi polar meds than that stuff.
Keep getting your blood work done and post the most recent numbers. If you have any more questions I will try to help all I can.
Love Venora
497047 tn?1210002233
My recent TSH (last week) was 3.52 and he did start me on Synthroid, 25mg.  I called back and asked the doctor to go ahead and run the full thyroid and those results will be in Monday.  That was before I realized that I had all those old lab reports.  I don't understand all the other numbers though...the T3, T4 and all that.  

I'm sure the lithium had an affect on the thyroid, just by looking at these old labs.  

What effect...if your thyroid is messed up...does it all play on your hormones?  
And if anyone can tell me what all those other numbers mean, I would be very greatful.
Thank you!!
You all have a good weekend!
Rendy
Avatar universal
I AM 41 YRS. OLD.I TOOK LITHIUM FOR 20 YRS. FOR BI-POLAR. DR. NEVER PRESCRIBED ANYTHING ELSE. MADE IT SEEM AS THOUGH THEY'RE WEREN'T ALOT OF OTHER OPTIONS. YEARS AGO. MY PRIMARY DR. JUST LOOKED AT MY NECK AND SAID I HAD A GOITER. I WAS ASSURED FOR YEARS THAT IT WAS FINE, NOT TO WORRY. EVERY SO OFTEN I WOULD QUESTION MY DR. ABOUT IT. FINALLY IN 11/06, HE SENT ME FOR A NECK CT. THIS LED TO A MULTI-NODULAR GOITER DIAGNOSIS (1 BIG ONE SOLID ONE AND SEVERAL SMALLER CYSTIC ONES). I WAS ALWAYS ASSURED THAT MY THYROID LEVELS WERE NORMAL. ON JUNE 10, 2008 I WENT IN FOR A ROUTINE PARTIAL THYROIDECTOMY W/ THE POSSIBILITY OF A FULL THYROIDECTOMY. I THOUGHT OK, NO BIG DEAL, JUST WANTED TO GET IT OVER WITH. I AWOKE FROM ANESTHESIA TO LEARN THAT I HAD THYROID CANCER. WORKS CANNOT DESCRIBE THE SHOCK, FEAR AND OVERWHELMING ANXIETY THAT I FELT AND I AM STILL TRYING TO COPE/ABSORB ALL OF THIS!!!  THE ONLY GOOD THING IS THAT I DID GET A VERY GOOD FINAL PATHOLOGY REPORT, BUT I STILL NEED TO A VERY STRICT DIET FOR 2 WEEKS THEN TAKE A RADIOACTIVE IODINE PILL AND SCAN. THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE ALL OF YOU IS GET OFF IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
393685 tn?1425816122
Amen Cindy - I can't agree with you more.

and I am a strong believe that any brain altering medication and birth control pill usage alters our hormones.

There is alot of proof and statics - but ALOT of controversy.

Avatar universal
Thank you Stella. I'm just sorry I trusted my Dr.s and it took 20 yrs. and thyroid cancer to find all this out. What's your story???
213044 tn?1236531060
I am sorry for your experience, Cindy. I hope the RAI goes well and you transition to the right dose of meds soon.

Avatar universal
Hi Cindy
I hope you get well very soon...there is nothing worse than not being prepared for anything and also being sick with the thyroid.
Take Care :)
Avatar universal
Thank you for your support. That was a nice surprise.Thank God, I found a top notch surgeon and a wonderful endocrinologist! I was told I need to stay on the Lithium for now because that will actually help with the cancer treatment. That is very tough for me to do right now when I know now that this is what caused all of this.
I was 21 yrs. old with a newborn baby girl when I got on it. I suffered a bad post-partum then a few months later, a manic episode. Now my fear is what other long term effects of Lithium am I going to experience and what to I do when this treatment is all done and I'm weined off of it to keep my bi-polar under control???
For 20 yrs., I have managed my bi-polar very well! I've only been hospitalized once upon diagnosis. This has rattled my cage to no end! I am filled with anger and frustration. This has been going on for 2 mos. My family and I are going through hell. I should've NEVER had to explain this to my 17yr. son and calm his fears about it spreading.That absolutely broke my heart! This should've never happened! I was always very responsible in keeping everything in sinc with my Drs.
I have absolutely lost all faith and trust in the medical profession!!! I was assured for years by my PCP that this was fine, no big deal. Then I went to see the 1st endocrinoligist, she had the old "watch and wait" attitude, but my gut was telling me otherwise. She made me feel like a paranoid idiot every time I questioned her about it.
The last thing she said to me was "well we could do a needle biopsy, but I don't even know if I could get enough tissue." I never wanted the biopsy because I knew they can be inclusive.I just wanted it out.The other thing I learned is that doing a neddle biopsy can actually make it spread.All of my Drs. told me my thyroid levels were normal, not to worry. What a crock!
I am trying to remember the good things right now-I had papillary(mildest form), didn't do biopsy, had it ALL out at once, 1 site only, 5 mm, margins(meaning the borders) are clear, and they got it all. Today I am going to see my surgeon to check healing of incision to have my stiches removed so I don't look like Frankenstein anymore. haha
I will do whatever I need to do to get through the physical aspects of this in the next 6 weeks. However, I have learned very quickly that the mental and emotional scars of this are far worse! I have lost all self-confidence, self esteem, and I have cried every day for the last 2 mos. At this point, I just want my life back and to be happy again! Does anyone have any advice as far as bi-polar treatment when this is all done???
Avatar universal
I was just taken off lithium after being on it for 5 weeks because my free T-4 had dropped from 63% of the normal range to 28% of the normal range in 5 weeks.   I knew that lithium could mess with the thyroid but thought that more medication could counteract it-my mistake.  My research tells me lithium probably triggers the autoimmune process, in my case Hashimoto's,  I too have a multinodular goiter (largest 2.2 cm) with hurthle cells  of the hashimoto's type and calcification which are both worrisome, and no endo at the moment.  It also caused much burning pain in my neck.  Cindy, you hang in there.  Your hormones are totally whacked out and you do not have your usual coping tools, but trust that you WILL get your life back.    Researchers are finding a link between bipolar disorder and thyroid disfunction, especially Hashimoto's Disease.   I have had two GYN surgeries and one sinus surgery in the past 1 1/2 years - it's all tied up together in the hypothalmic-pituitary-thyroid-axis.    Very complicated and many pcp as well as endo's go by labs only, not by how patients, the majority women, feel.    It's epidemic and I can't help but feel if it were a mans disease and more endo's themselves suffered like we do,  we might have more definitive answers.   Prayers for your peace of mind and healing.
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the support. DO NOT go by your TSH levels. Mine were normal the whole time. My advice to you is to find a GOOD endocrinologist and insist they take the whole thing out, not a partial cause then the misery will continue and DO NOT do a needle biopsy. Tell them you're tired of dealing with this. You hang in there too and we will both have peace of mind again! Trust me, I am so angry and determined about this. I will do what needs to be done to learn, understand, resolve and get my life back. I totally came across this website last night by accident and I'm so thankful I did!!! It's sooo nice to finally talk to someone that understands my hell. haha. You're in my prayers as well.

Avatar universal
Hi there. Can you please give me some advice on how your treating your bi-polar??? Is there anything out there with very little side effects? I've also heard of homeopathic methods as well. Any ideas?
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