Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Month of Hypo Symptoms

After experiencing hypothyroid symptoms (irregularity, bloating, gas,  indigestion, esp. reflux, fatigue, low body temperature) during most of April, I finally realized that I needed to increase my T3 dose by 2.5mcg (which is a small amount, but effective with T3 only treatment).  I tried that small increase off and on during the past couple of months, especially after my last allergen (vanilla) contamination incident.  Most celiacs react to contamination with diarrhea, not constipation, which is more indicative of hypothyroid than allergy reactions. However, I had experienced soooo many years of constipation before my hypothyroid diagnosis that I automatically think that I must have eaten the wrong food or not eaten enough of the right food or not drunk enough liquids or not exercised enough, etc., etc. I heard all that 'constipation cure'  advice for so many years that I can easily forget that the only longlasting solution for me is an effective thyroid dose.

 Last year I spent 8 months slowly raising my T3 dose (according to symptom appearance and resolution). So I believed I finally found my final, full effective dose, when I had no hypo symptoms for 8 months.  I wanted to stay at one dose. I didn't like having to request new prescriptions with new doses, although my doctor lets me tell her how much I need.   

 I should stay open to the possibility that I need to increase my dose.  Of course 2.5mcg is a tiny increase, but enough to notice a huge difference in my digestion, gut motility, energy level, body temperature and general attitude toward life.  I don't know whether I'll stay at this dose. So I plan to ask my doc to give me a new prescription witn a 5 mcg increase, just in case I need another small dosage increase.


zen thyroid said...

It is so nice to read that the increase of T3 made you feel better and especially wonderful to read that you enjoyed MONTHS of no symptoms! I wonder how much the change of seasons plays into the amount of medicine that we need. Have you ever gone up on a dose and then come back down?

sue said...

I wouldn't exactly say 'feel better', but I'd say relieve my hypothyroid syptoms. LOL If you've read earlier posts in my blog, you'd see that I took 8 months to work up to an effective dose of T3 and get rid of the T4 (from Levoxyl), which had prevented me from absorbing the T3 when I was on a T4/T3 regimen.

I followed Paul Robinson's book "Recovering with T3" to only slightly increase my dose. Those slight increases (2.5 mgc) relieved my symptoms for 1-2 weeks, before symptoms returned, which told me to increase my dose again. So I'm familiar with the dose increase to relieve hypo symptoms regimen.

However, after 8 months of no hypo symptoms I thought I was on an effective dose and wouldn't need more increases. Obviously I was wrong.

That first increase at the end of April/early May only relieved symptoms for a little over a week, before symptoms returned and I needed another increase. Unfortunately I waited so long that it took 3 days on the increased dose before I experienced any symptom relief.

If my only hypothyroid symptoms were fatigue or low body temperature, I would suspect the change of seasons (warmer weather) would relieve my hypo symptoms somewhat. HOWEVER, my most obvious symptom is constipation.

Please don't suggest 'regularity relief' ideas. I tried EVERYTHING during the 60 years that I suffered from chronic constipation due to hypothyroid. I only got ongoing relief when I had C-diff (4 recurrences). The T3 only regimen relieved ALL my symptoms (including constipation, low body temperature, loss of eyebrows, fragile/tearing fingernails, fatigue, etc., etc.)

I've never increased a dose and then needed to decrease that amount, EXCEPT when I was on T4, which could give me hyperthyroid symptoms without relieving my hypo symptoms. I increase my dose by such small increments (2.5mcg) and stay at that level for 3-7 days before I consider another increasae. Again I recommend Paul Robinson's book, if you're interested in T3 only therapy.

zen thyroid said...

Hi Sue~ Yes, "feel better" is certainly a relative term to us thyroid folks :) But I am happy that you have found what is working for you and that you choose to share your journey with your readers. I was on T4/T3 for awhile and was doing well...for awhile. I eventually started to overdose and my TSH went to 0.006. Now I am on NatureThroid and am stabilizing - my thyroid symptoms are manageable. I guess you could say I feel better...in our thyroid reality, of course.

I had considered at one time a T3 only protocol like yours. In doing research about it, I read that some people had found that they needed to alter their dosage based on seasons, which I found interesting from a scientific perspective. I feel most comfortable when my dosage is stable for as long as possible. There is no doubt that we each have our very own personalized path to healing.

Your chronic constipation sounds so frustrating! I am currently undergoing an intense heavy metal chelation and it is crucial that I am regular as the metals leave the body through the bowels. Any days that those thyroid symptoms decide to pop up are extra stressful for me right now.

You mentioned that your T3 regimen relieved your symptoms, such as loss of eyebrows. Did they stop thinning or did they actually grow back?

Thanks for sharing your experience. Sending a hug and best wishes for your PERFECT health!

sue said...

You said you did well on a T4/T3 regimen, but started to 'overdose'. Did you get overdose symptoms (diarrhea, tachycardia, overheating, shaking)? Or did you just have a low TSH reading on a test? If the latter, you might want to know that many knowledgable thyroid experts believe that an effective thyroid dose will suppress the TSH reading. There's a good article by the late Dr. John C. Lowe ("Four Studies of Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapies: Logical Analysis and Ethical Implications") in which he explains why suppressed TSH reading is good, not necessarily indicative of overdose.

I actually got overdose symptoms on T4 (rapid heart beat and overheating), but still had other hypo symptoms (fatigue, constipation, low blood pressure, etc.) until I switched to T3 only.

I agree that increasing or decreasing doses to find an effective level is a bother. However, I don't know any other reasonable way (thyroid blood tests are rather worthless to indicate effective dose, if you still have hypothyroid symptoms) to get to an effective dose. If you've read Paul Robinson's book about T3 therapy, you'll know he raised his dose by very small increments. That method avoids hyper symptoms, but eliminates hypo symptoms. Even people on T4 or t4/t3 therapy need to adjust their dose until they reach the effective level (which eliminates all hypo symptoms).

Actually my eyebrows grew back and turned color (from gray to my original dark brown). So I believe an effective dose should relieve all your hypothyroid symptoms. If it doesn't, you need a different dose or different product or different combination of t3 and t4 (which may include t4 only or t3 only).

zen thyroid said...

Thanks for the info and the HOPE for the eyebrows. When I was in an overdose state, I actually had an onslaught of hypo symptoms, rather than hyper. I have definitely felt much better since making the switch to dessicated.

sue said...

If you had 'an onslaught of hypo symptoms', what made you think you were 'in an overdose state'?

zen thyroid said...

Honestly, I didn't even realize that I was on too much Synthroid and Cytomel. I just knew I didn't feel well AT ALL and was definitely not improving any longer. It was at this time that I decided to start working with a new doctor. It was he who determined that I was on a higher dose than I needed. He suggested that I try a lower dose of dessicated which I did as I was willing to try whatever at the time. I felt better within two months and have remained on that same dose since (9 months total). That just seems to be what is working for me at this time.

When I first went on T3/T4, my symptoms did improve quite a bit. I do believe that I increased too quickly - I was impatient and I had a doctor that was giving me the green light to increase at will. I think I was too emotional and desperate to make those kinds of decisions and I think my doctor was not the kind of doctor I needed at that time. She did however think that I would have done well on T3 only and actually suggested it but I was already feeling that it was time to try a different course. I definitely needed more help and direction at that time.

sue said...

When my doc put me on T3 (generic lyiothyronine) as well as Levoxyl (t4) I improved a little before my hypo symptoms returned. So she raised my t3 dose, which helped for awhile before my symptoms returned. That happened many times as we chased symptoms with increased doses. Eventually I wondered whether the T4 Levoxyl was causing the problem and i abstained from Levoxyl while continuing to take liothyronine T3. Then I stayed symptomfree for about 6 weeks. About that time I found Paul Robinson's book about T3therapy which convinced me I was doing the right thing. Eventually i reached an effective dose.

Idon't understand how your doctor decided you were overdosing, if you had hypo symptoms. Maybe he regarded the suppressed TSH as an overdose sign. Whatever ... I'm glad you're doing better on Naturthroid. My husband takes that and likes it. Of course, he never had difficulty converting t4 to t3, like I do.

Margaret A. Gannon said...

Sue, do you have your thyroid? If not, just t3 is enough?

sue said...

Yes, I have my thyroid, fortunately, but my T4 was very low normal and my T3 was well below normal when I was tested before thyroid hormones. After 3 months on Sythroid, my T3 was still below normal and my T4 wasn't much better. Fortunately my TPOab (thyroid peroxidase antibodies) were at the upper limit of normal range and decreased by half after treatment with LDN (actually for low immunity problem). However, I've been gluten free for almost 9 years. So I expect the antibodies to decrease. Unfortunately I had hypothyroid symptoms for years before diagnosis. So I don't expect any improvement in thyroid function even while avoiding gluten. The damage was done during all those years I was misdiagnosed and discounted by traditional docs.

Yes, I'm sure T3 is enough, especially after reading "Recovering with T3" by Paul Robinson. His book reassured me that my instincts were right on.