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TOPIC: Help! Synthroid and weight loss

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September 4, 2012 9:02 PM
Hi all!
I have been a MFP member for a while and lost about 30lbs. Then, out of no where, I had zero energy, my hair was falling out, I could hardly think. I had many people tell me "it must be your calories, you are not eathing enough" so I upped my calories. No change. I upped them again. No change. So I finally went to the doctor and turns out even though I lost weight, apparently I have hypothyroidism. She said she was suprised I lost any weight at all! (Trust me that weightloss was hard won!)

Now I have been on Synthroid (levothyroxine) for about 2 weeks. I have more energy and mental clarity, but unfortunately, I have stomach cramps and bloating to go wtih it, not to mention I am starving all the time. So, because of that-I have also gained back about 8-10lbs. I have lost all motivation to work out because my stomach hurts and I just dont think I can do this anymore.

Is there anyone out there who has hypothyroidism, who takes this med, and still loses weight?

I read that you shouldnt eat before a hour when you take the med, then I just read 3 hrs. Which is it? Are there certain foods I should/shouldnt be eating? I cant find anything on the net to help. So damn frustrated!!


Any help/words of wisdom would be appreciated.
  15321691
September 4, 2012 9:08 PM
I think it is recommended to wait an hour after taking the pill to eat, or wait 3 hours after eating to take your pill. I just take it in the morning on an empty stomach. I would avoid taking the pill with anything dairy- the calcium counteracts the meds.
  213875
September 4, 2012 9:09 PM
I had hypothyroidism that went on for a long time and started to get severe with hairloss too - the most distressing symptom! It's finally all growing back in but I have lots of little baby hairs that stick up now.

I used to wake up every morning and not be hungry for an hour or two. I was prescribed Synthroid to take first thing in the morning, so on an empty stomach and then nothing to eat for at least an hour. Since starting the Synthroid, I wake up famished most days! I drink coffee over that hour waiting to eat breakfast, although the last few months I've been doing exercise in that time, which helps me stave off the hunger a bit. I don't feel especially hungry when my heart rate gets up from cardio.

I gained a lot of weight while hypothyroid and you can see how much I've lost now on my ticker.

I don't have any hunger issues throughout the day.

The timing issue, that I have read, is you should take it on an empty stomach, so either first thing in the morning, or at night 4 hours after you have eaten. The problem is that if you have food in your stomach, it interferes with uptake. When are you taking yours?
  25424091
September 4, 2012 9:16 PM
Hi Jennifer!
I am new to MFP. I have been doing Weight Watchers online since January.

I had 1/2 of my thyroid removed 4 years ago. I am on Synthroid. I was told to take my Synthroid and then wait an hour to eat. I normally do that but I exercise first thing in the morning. If I don't eat a little bit of something I can't make it through my workout. I would double check with your physician the next time you go.

I have lost 40 lbs since January, 2012. It has been very slow and I have had to fight for each pound. I have had to really watch what I eat and make sure I exercise. It's been tough but doable.

Hang in there. Be consistent with your eating. Hope this helps.
September 4, 2012 9:17 PM
I am taking mine at 5pm. I am a nurse and I work nights so I get up at 5, shower, dress then by the time I get to the kitchen before work (about 6pm) I feel like its safe to eat. Right now, when I get up I have the worst stomach cramps and nausea. I took my pill tonight and havent even eaten yet. I am waiting for the cramps to go away. I do wake up hungry, but the stomach pain makes me not want to eat.

Did your hypothryoidism go away with weight loss??? Please tell me thats possible!



(ps. I know I am a nurse and I should know how to fix this, I just have never had a patient complain of these symptoms!)
  15321691
September 4, 2012 9:18 PM
I have hypothyroidism. I take synthroid and I have been losing weight pretty easily-about 12 pounds since July 30. Just so you know, only someone who is not producing enough thyroid hormone should have trouble with weight. Since you are taking synthroid, you are getting the thyroid hormone replaced so you should not have any problems.

When taking synthroid, take it the same time every day and take it with a full glass of water. Wait one hour before eating. Do not eat or drink anything other than water during that time frame. That means no coffee either!! I had a hard time with this rule at first, but it gets easier over time. It also makes it easier knowing the synthroid is helping me lose weight!

If you're having stomach cramps, talk to your doctor. You might need a different med for your thyroid. I've never had any side effects from taking the med. Good luck!
  27142596
September 4, 2012 9:22 PM
Transvenouspacer: "If you're having stomach cramps, talk to your doctor. You might need a different med for your thyroid. I've never had any side effects from taking the med."

I read that is an "expected side effect" so what remedy is there for it? I have been sucking it up for 2 weeks now and it hasnt changed. My doc started my dose at 75mcg so there was no gradual increase. I think I want to cut it in half and try that for 2-3 weeks to see if that helps. Is that dumb? Dangerous?
  15321691
September 4, 2012 9:26 PM
Synthroid is horrible. Get off before it's too late. All the thyroid drugs shut down your thyroid completely. Google this and found out the truth before you are one of the unlucky.

Instead of replacing the hormone that your thyroid is sluggishly producing, thus causing your thyroid to give up altogether, instead you need to kick your thyroid into gear.

You might want to consult a naturopath, holistic health provider or chiropractor (yes! natural, non-drug prescribing physicians actually work), you may get some advice on supplements to build your thyroid back up instead of shutting it down by replacing the hormone. One such supplement is called Thytrophin PMG; you can buy it on Amazon; it's very cheap and very effective.

I was on thyroid drugs for 7 years with no effective symptom management. It was only when my prescription (Armour Thyroid) became temporarily unavailable in the US, that I looked for an alternative and found this. It literally saved my life.

2 years later, I have NO hypothyroid symptoms (previously had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's), and that means I have completely normal blood levels, throat scans show NO goiters, no fatigue, no more hair loss, no more gray skin, cracking nails -- none of the problems I had, that never improved with drugs.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to hear more.

blessings,
September 4, 2012 9:27 PM
My hypothyroidism started up when I was fairly thin and working out - I was ready to run a 5K, but always felt a slight lack of energy. I chalked it up to getting older. If the thyroid gland isn't working, weight loss isn't going to change that.

I'm not sure what to suggest since it sounds like you are basically doing what I do, except your day is shifted to later. What I'm thinking is maybe the stomach cramps have to do with how you are eating before you go to bed. Do you snack late or is it hours between you eating and going to bed? I'm wondering if having a light snack right before bed could stave off the cramps and nausea.

Are the cramps and nausea before or after you take the pill? I changed to Synthroid from a generic since I was having an allergic reaction to something when I started taking it. Might not have been the meds, but it could have been. They put things in the pills (fillers to make everything stick together and different chemical dyes) and I might have been reacting to that. You might want to change manufacturers to see if there's an improvement as well. Checking with your doctor is a good idea.
  25424091
September 4, 2012 9:33 PM
Actually I was going to suggest that your dose might be too high since you're hungry all the time. You should run the idea of cutting your dose by your doc at least. Just to do it the "right" way lol.

Also is your doctor a primary doc or an actual endocrinologist? Primary docs usually don't know as much about the thyroid as endos. There are other thyroid meds out there besides synthroid so if you're not tolerating it maybe it would just be best to change meds. But it's definitely worth a try to just decrease the dose first.

Another thought is are you taking generic synthroid or the name brand stuff? That might make a difference for you too. I take generic but don't have any problems. Everyone's different though!
  27142596
September 4, 2012 9:37 PM
QUOTE:

Synthroid is horrible. Get off before it's too late. All the thyroid drugs shut down your thyroid completely. Google this and found out the truth before you are one of the unlucky.

Instead of replacing the hormone that your thyroid is sluggishly producing, thus causing your thyroid to give up altogether, instead you need to kick your thyroid into gear.

You might want to consult a naturopath, holistic health provider or chiropractor (yes! natural, non-drug prescribing physicians actually work), you may get some advice on supplements to build your thyroid back up instead of shutting it down by replacing the hormone. One such supplement is called Thytrophin PMG; you can buy it on Amazon; it's very cheap and very effective.

I was on thyroid drugs for 7 years with no effective symptom management. It was only when my prescription (Armour Thyroid) became temporarily unavailable in the US, that I looked for an alternative and found this. It literally saved my life.

2 years later, I have NO hypothyroid symptoms (previously had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's), and that means I have completely normal blood levels, throat scans show NO goiters, no fatigue, no more hair loss, no more gray skin, cracking nails -- none of the problems I had, that never improved with drugs.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to hear more.

blessings,

Nearly 2 years on Synthroid and I have no hypothyroid symptoms, completely normal blood levels, clear scans, no fatigue, hair is growing in and skin and nails are fine. Your experience is unfortunate, but certainly not typical for Synthroid.
  25424091
September 4, 2012 9:50 PM
3-hours is more appropriate than 1 hour. There's also a couple tricks I've found:

1) Calcium inhibits synthroid, avoid dairy or multivitamins with calcium in the morning.
2) High fiber can interfere- don't have a high fiber cereal for breakfast
3) Soy hurts thyroid function, you don't have to go crazy avoiding it, but it shouldn't be the main source of protein for you either
4) If you have trouble with the scheduling, set an alarm and wake up and take it a couple hours before you get up in the AM. I switched to a no-breakfast schedule where I don't eat at all until 2pm, but if you want breakfast take it early. I suggest getting one of those day-minders for your pills because from my experience, it's hard to remember if you took it or not when you wake up.
5) It can take a while for your levels to even out- don't expect immediate results.
6) Exercise- people with underactive thyroid have a more difficult time than healthy people losing weight with a calorie deficit alone.
7) Eat more protein. Limit carbs- within reason for your life. I've never gone "low-carb" but moderate carbs makes a big difference for me.
8) Don't compare yourself with other people on this site that are healthy. Once you have thyroid disease, your body simply doesn't work like other people's and it can be discouraging if you expect the same results.
9) Be rigid with your workouts and diet. Sticktuitiveness and patience pays off with thyroid problems.
  20711900
September 4, 2012 9:58 PM
Here's my story. I started my weight loss journey June 2010. In November 2010 I was diagnosed with Thyroid issues by my PCP. I had to go through months and I mean months of tests. I had thyroiditis. I was hyper, normal and then showed signs of hypo. I was on cytomel for a while and then synthroid (levothyroxine generic).

Anyways, I have taken the meds for over a year now...and they should not effect your weight loss....not much anyways. As the nurse pract. I see put it, that you still have to work hard at it, losing the weight that is.

I'm on 37mg, so pretty low. It's helped me a lot with energy and other stuff. Keep taking it. It never made my stomach feel horrible though.

Also, give it time. Two weeks is not enough. Should take it about 6wk to have the full benefit to even begin.

I take mine in the morning before the food...waiting 30 min before anything but water. My nurse pract said I could take with my other meds, but I chose not to.

I know the only time I really gained weight was with anti depressants and anxiety meds. Never really gained with thryoid meds. I know having thyroid issues doesn't help weight loss though.

Hope this kind of helps.

Michelle
  17896770
September 4, 2012 10:50 PM
Hi there...several years ago, I was having those same symptoms...I don't know which one was worse, the hair loss, or the forgetfulness!! Anyhow, after being tested, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and put on Synthroid and off I went. It should be noted...it takes about 6 weeks for your hormone levels to regulate, so, give it some time perhaps.

I had a very hard time with taking the medication...the words of my doctor kept running through my head, "once you start...your body will not be able to produce enough to regulate itself, so you will need to take this for the rest of your life........"
After losing a significant amount of weight, I was tested again, and my levels were ok. So...perhaps it's possible with diet and weightloss. I couldn't say for sure...I'm no professional.

Perhaps it was a risky chance...but I opted to try weighloss first to see if that would help before I put myself in a position to have to take a pill for the REST OF MY LIFE.

You being a nurse, I'm sure you will do what is best for you and your body. Best wishes to you. :)
  3884767
September 5, 2012 1:40 AM
I was diagnosed hypothyroid 5.5 years ago. I initially went on a synthetic thyroxine (I'm in NZ). While that regualted my blood levels and I immediately lost weight I felt awful on it. I changed to a more natural T3/4 mix called whole thyroid. I have been taking that for about 5 years now and do well on it. It does take some time to work out the right dose - at least 6 months-year for most people. I now regularly have my bloods checked but am very good at recognising if I am running high or low. You will get better - just give it time :-) Don't play around with your meds without medical advice. Find a medical practitioner that knows about thyroid issues and is happy to test you reguarly to get your levels right. You will be okay :-)
  10861499
September 5, 2012 4:25 AM
I had my thyroid radiated so now I am Hypo...........I take two different doses of synthroid a day along with cytomel

weight loss for me has not been that hard but you do struggle with being hungry/thirsty etc because of the meds

You are suppose to take your meds one hour BEFORE eating or two hours AFTER eating
and do not take with orange juice etc only water, lot of foods kill synthroid like broccoli, cabbage etc so be aware
of what you're eating near when you take your food
September 5, 2012 4:32 AM
I have been on it for 2 years and have lost 35 lbs. I take it first thing in the morning with a full glass of water. Everyone is different, some people can take pills and have zero side effects and others take it with no problem. You may have to try different times of day and different ways of taking it, also ask your Doc if there's another option (shots or patch)
September 5, 2012 4:33 AM
I have no thyroid - mine was completely removed last November and although it was a bit of a roller coaster ride to get the Synthroid levels right - I finally got to the correct dosage about 4 months ago.

I actually take mine when I have breakfast but because I take it with food everytime - my dose was adjusted to compensate. I have to eat as soon as I get up or my blood sugars drop. The doctors said this is ok to take with food as long as you do it everyday. Haven't had a problem since my TSH is now normal (and checked regularly) and I'm losing weight.

Most times that people have a problem, it's because the synthroid dosage isn't correct - I take as much as my husband who weighs 100lbs more than me but he takes his on an empty stomach.
  27962567
September 5, 2012 4:35 AM
1st, put a call in to your doctor about when you should take your meds. very important. 2nd, water, water, water, fiber fiber fiber.
You can control this and even it out. keep grapes and berries around to snack on, and try serving size snack bags of cherios. you lost 30 before, you can do this!
  27431231
September 5, 2012 4:36 AM
I have hashimoto's and take 50 mcg of levothryroxine. I take it each morning when I first get up and then wait an hour to eat. There is not a three or four hour period regularly in the day without some food for me to take it after eating. I take it with plain water because it needs to be in an empty stomach. I also am always hungry and have found that if I don't carefully monitor my caloric intake I gain weight very quickly. However, if I do carefully monitor my caloric intake I can lose weight without too much difficulty.

What I cannot stress enough is the need for CAREFUL monitoring of your caloric intake. Do not guess. You must track. You must measure. You must weigh. If you do all of these things, you will succeed.

Yes, in the mornings I deal with extreme hunger while waiting for the hour to pass. However, it is only an hour. I just suck it up and wait. Often, I find that after about 30 minutes I am not hungry and end up not actually having breakfast for a few hours after taking the pill. Some days, though, I am watchin the clock for the hour to be up.

You can do this!

Tena
  28727062
September 5, 2012 4:39 AM
I have had hypothyroidism for over ten years and have been on the same med (as you) for that long. I have been losing weight since October 2010. Have had no issues with side effects over the years. I have had a little bit of issues losing weight - every so often, when I would hit a plateau (or start gaining) for more than a month, I knew it was time to go to the doctor and have my bloodwork re-done. And sure enough, each time I did this, my med needed to be adjusted. As I lost weight, they had to periodically decrease my dosage. And as you can see by my ticker, I have had no major issues losing. :D Good luck to you in your weight loss journey!!
Edited by LorryGuthrie On September 5, 2012 4:44 AM
  2826670
September 5, 2012 4:56 AM
I have had hypothyroidism for nearly 12 years now and I am also an RN. Depending on what is the cause of your disease will determine if you will be able to get off the meds. In my case, i have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is the most common reason, it's an auto-immune disorder, meaning that your body "attacks" your thyroid tissue. With this type of thyroid disease, you WILL need thyroid replacement for the rest of your life. In my case, I have very little functioning thyroid tissue left, so am on a high dose. I have an AWESOME endocrinologist doses my synthroid. Per my endo, it does not make a difference what time of day you take your synthroid, or even if you have food in your stomach, the key being.... if you take your synthroid at 0800 every am at the same time you eat breakfast, then ALWAYS take it that way, he said you can also take at bedtime too, if that's easier. The reason they say you aren't supposed to take on a full stomach is because the amount of synthroid your body absorbs will be decreased, but if you always take WITH food, and have your regular blood tests and have your dose managed appropriately, then you will be on a higher dose, but will be ok, because some is lost dt the absorbancy issue.

I have never had any issues with any of the side effects that many of you mention. It may be dt the synthroid itself, as it's name suggests, it is SYNTHETIC THYROID. perhaps your body would do better with a non-synthetic thyroid replacement like Armour? Also, although generics and name brands are supposed to be equivalent, my endo says that the fillers in generic snythroid can cause issues with some people, so that could be the cause also, and maybe you just need the name brand?

Whatever the case, DO NOT change your med dose or stop taking your meds without talking to your dr, your thyroid hormones are directly or indirectly in control of nearly every function in your body and you could have life threatening consequences.
September 5, 2012 4:56 AM
I have been on synthroid for over 19 years now, had thyroid cancer and had my thyroid and two parathyroids removed. Had the radiation treatments etc.. You might be on to high of a dose..talk to your doctor. Also be pro-active in your care!! Ask your doctor questions and request tests if needed. I was on generic synthroid and never seemed to be just right, finally after talking to my doctor we swithched to brand synthroid, cost a little more but for me it works wonders!! I didn't know that a generic drug can vary 20% high/low......this is FDA approved by the way. What that means is if you are using a generic synthroid and pick it up at the pharmacy today that generic that is bought by the pharmacy by the lowest priced vendor might just be 20% less than the actual dose......you might go to the same pharmacy the next month and in the mean time they bought more generic synthroid but from another vendor whose pill is 20% more than the does..that is a 40% varience in just one month!! Google this and you will see, or ask your dr. Pay for the brand name, its constant therefore your levels won't change and they won't be changing your dose every few months! Also, I recently found out that I should have been asking for a PTH blood test...no biggie when they are taking your blood anyhow.......it is for your para-thyroid. If your para thyroid is not working correctly you could be having stomach aches from that........make sure to ask for complete thyroid panels to include T4, T3, PTH, Calcium, etc. Last but not least, watch your sodium intake! Don't be down on yourself for not losing...just do what you can do. Your thyroid is a tricky thing and it will most likely take a while for it to get regulated with the synthoid Good luck!
September 5, 2012 5:05 AM
The pill itself won't make you GAIN weight--your hypothyroidism is what makes weight loss difficult. I have lost weight on every thyroid drug out there (I had a complete TT a decade ago at 13), but depending on the pill, I've lost weight quicker or slower. Synthroid I had the most problems with, and had better luck with Armour and Levothyroxine (a slightly different composition of synthetic thyroid).

The half life of Synthroid is about two weeks, but blood and brain chemistry really don't kick in for months. I honestly feel your body is either just adjusting to getting what it's missing, or some of your symptoms may be placebo (like improved clarity). I've give it 1-2 more months before you consider how you actually feel on the pills. Thyroid is notoriously slow.

EDIT: Also, like the previous poster said, brand vs. generic DOES make a big difference (in many hormonal drugs). Look into that too, but again--You need to give your current dose MUCH more time. Rapidly switching doses or drugs once you start treating thyroid can be more detrimental!
Edited by firstsip On September 5, 2012 5:10 AM
September 5, 2012 5:07 AM
bump!!! I have gained 8 pounds in 45 days on Synthroid!!! I do not want to keep taking it!
  8274891

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