Part 2 – Your Thyroid and Medications

Welcome back. I’m glad you are here, because I’m going to give you more information about the thyroid and you. (Again, I am not a medical professional and any suggestions made here are just that – a suggestion. But through a lot of research I have come across very vital information from very reliable sources.)

I know there was a LOT of information in my last post, and this one might be close in relationship to that LOT given before. However, you are getting this information in short bursts, so I hope you’ll be able to absorb it and use it.

I mentioned Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism last time along with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland can no longer produce enough T4 and T3 to keep your body healthy. and is most likely the result of having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (or the removal of the thyroid gland). So, when it is discovered that these hormones are not sufficient and to help relieve any symptoms you are or may be experiencing, your doctor will likely put you on one of the following medications: Synthroid, Levothyroid, Levoxyl, Thyro-tabs, or Unithroid (Synthetic T4 – Levothyroxine); Tirosint (T4); Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, WP Throid, or NP Thyroid (Thyroid USP – desiccated pork thyroid gland which is a combination of T3 and T4); Cytomel (Synthetic T3 – Iiothyronine), or Compounded Thyroid (tailored dosage of of unique ratios of T3 andT4).

It may take some time to get your levels to where they should be, but make sure you watch your symptoms closely so that you are not taking the wrong dosage of medication. You’ll likely have blood tests done every 4-6 weeks whenever a change in medication is required. Note any difference in the way you feel or if you have a reaction to any medication given. Just a tiny bit too much medication will cause you to have Hyperthyroidism, or a tiny bit too little will cause Hypothyroidism. So it’s a fine tuning process to get it just right.

Most doctors will tell you that taking these medications is a lifelong requirement. But, it’s been learned that this may not be the case for everyone. However, you must not stop taking your thyroid medication if you are on it. If you did, you could cause irreparable damage to the thyroid gland. Anytime it is thought you might be able to reduce or eliminate medication, it must be done under the supervision of your doctor/specialist. Those people without a thyroid gland or in seriously advanced Hashimoto’s will likely have to be on medication for life. However, it’s been found that you CAN put thyroid disease in remission. You may not be able to completely reverse your symptoms, but it’s sure worth a try. We’ll discuss this in more depth in another post later. But just briefly I’ll mention that lifestyle changes would be a recommendation to go this route, if you are willing. If it was up to me, I would make the changes a) for piece of mind, b) to get my body back in a normal rhythm, and c) to feel better.

If you are having symptoms of Hyper or Hypothyroidism it is important to get yourself to the doctor and start on medication that will help alleviate those symptoms. What symptoms? Fatigue, weight gain/loss, hair loss, dry skin, cold/heat intolerance, constipation/diarrhea, weak/thin/splitting nails, stomach issues/GERD, infertility/miscarriage(s), slow metabolism, racing heart, muscle cramps, joint pain, menstrual irregularities, loss of enthusiasm, weakness, depression!

Getting help or going on medication is not a sign of weakness, it’s just better for you to get help while you are trying to balance your thyroid hormones. To not do so could very well cause damage to the thyroid gland and that in itself is not good. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis left unchecked will ultimately cause severe damage to the thyroid that will result in Hypothyroidism.

One quarter of patients with Hypothyroidism can experience chest or joint pain, and it also increases the risk of heart disease. Also, having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis you are three times more likely to develop¬†thyroid cancer.

Pregnancy can actually put Hypothyroidism in remission during that time in a woman’s life, but will definitely return once the body has returned to its natural state. Unfortunately, a lot of women who have Hypothyroidism will either be infertile, or if pregnant, likely will miscarry. It’s also suspected that women with under-active thyroid (Hypothyroidism) may deliver a child with intellectual issues. So its very important to check these things out if you are anticipating parenthood or if you have problems getting pregnant. Doctors generally do not check the thyroid on younger women, but if you suspect any irregularities before getting pregnant, get it checked out right away. This disease can strike anyone at any time without warning. As I mentioned in my last post it can take about 10 years for these things to manifest themselves into problems for you and you won’t know it.

I also mentioned in the last post that I inherited my thyroid issues. This is one of those diseases that is strongly linked to heredity. Check with your parents, or even further back, if possible, to see if there was any indication of thyroid disease in your family history. If so, make sure your doctor(s) are informed and have yourself tested at least yearly to keep an eye on your TSH, T3, Free T3, T4, Free T4, TPO Antibodies, and TG Antibodies, or if you develop any symptoms as noted above.

Genes are not the only cause of development of thyroid disease – serious life stressors, puberty, pregnancy, menopause, bacterial and viral infections, some medications, hormonal imbalances are all known instigators.

Do you have an autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohns Disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Addison’s Disease, Pernicious Anemia, ¬†or Hypoparathyroidism (there are about 100 known autoimmune diseases)? If so, you are also prone to more autoimmune diseases. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Grave’s Disease are autoimmune diseases as well.

If you have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or stress issues – have your thyroid tested. You may find it’s actually caused by this very small gland. Unfortunately, if you are of the younger generation, your doctor will likely pass your symptoms off as one of these conditions and misdiagnose you altogether. Not good. If you get on top of this before it gets too far along, you will be able to do great things and perhaps reverse any issues. I wasn’t that fortunate, but want you to know that it is possible to get better.

To be continued. . . .

Have a wonderful day and week ahead.

Louise