My Thyroid Medication Journey

My journey started in 2014. I remember the phone call from the doctor like it was yesterday. “Your thyroid labs came back. You have subclinical hypothyroid. You will have to be thyroid medication for the rest of your life.” A part of me felt relieved. I finally had an answer to why I was feeling so awful. Another part of me felt confused. What did they mean I’d have to be on medication my WHOLE life? This is where my journey began.

Immediately after my “subclinical hypothyroid” diagnosis, my conventional doctor prescribed me your standard Levothyroxine/synthroid medication. Upon taking this for a few months, I STILL felt awful. (Most people do NOT feel better on this medication as it only contains T4 and most likely has a lot of fillers that could be causing more problems).

I began doing my own research and came across a medication called Armour. I made an appointment with my conventional doctor and asked her about switching to this medication. The doctor laughed and said, “That one doesn’t work, but you can try it.” She was right. It was in fact, not right for my body. I began getting severe heart palpitations immediately after starting it.

I knew there had to be a better way. I told my doctor that I did not want to be on medication if it was going to make me feel THIS bad. She advised me that I could go off of it for 6 weeks to “reset” before getting on a new prescription. BIG MISTAKE! I was right back to square one. Severe fatigue, brain fog, cold hands and feet, anxiety, and just all around not well. (Bad move on the doctor’s part-I don’t EVER recommend doing this!)

I knew there had to be a better way. I decided to see a Naturopath as I was desperate for a different perspective. After seeing a Naturopath, I was finally diagnosed with Hashimotos Disease. I had a full thyroid panel ran prior to my diagnosis (free T3, T4, TSH, TPO antibodies, and TGAb anti-thyroglobulin antibodies). I was then given a compounded thyroid medication (made from scratch with no fillers). I struggled to find the right dosage at this time and did not stay on it long enough for my body to adjust (I believe it takes a good 6 weeks to adjust to any new dosage or new medication).

I then switched to Nature Thyroid and stayed on this medication for a year or so. (Many people do very well on it.) After a while, I started to have histamine symptoms (rashes, face flushing, etc.) Nature Thyroid is made from porcine which is extremely high histamine. I suddenly made the connection and asked to be put back onto the compounded thyroid medication (after looking closely at all my lab work of course). I allowed my body to adjust to the dosage of medication and have only had to increase once in 10 months. Compounded thyroid medication has been the best for MY body, but everyone is different. I am extremely sensitive to fillers and other components of medication and have found that having the right combination of both T4 and T3 seems to personally make me feel the best. There are other great thyroid medications out there that I personally have not tried that seem to work well for other people. It really is about finding what works best for your body.

I used to be under the impression that doing things “holistically” or “naturally” meant that you didn’t take any medication. That is very far from the truth. While we work on healing ourselves, we still NEED thyroid medication to function. This is the only medication that I know my body ABSOLUTELY NEEDS to function properly. I do know people who have been able to get completely off their medication and this is my ultimate goal. However, I will continue to take my medication for as long as my body needs to heal itself.

Throughout most of my journey, I worked with multiple functional medicine doctors. I had a FULL thyroid panel ran multiple times in order to accurately dose my medication. As always, please work with a functional medicine doctor to get proper labs ran, find the right dosage, and to find which medication is right for YOUR body.

 

23 Comments

  1. I have been wanting to see a functional doctor as no one listens to me but I’m so afraid of the cost. Is it worth it and where did you find a notable professional?!

    1. I totally get it! I was afraid of the cost when I first started too. Yes, it is worth it to have proper testing and to get to the root of it all in my personal opinion. Under the “Resources” tab on my blog you can find professionals that I trust. I know Dr. Jess does skype consults. If you want to find someone to see in person locally where you live, I recommend typing in your zip code here: https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/. Best of luck to you!

    2. Me as well! I am 50 and I feel so old. Joint pain, hair loss stomach problems, depression. The list goes on. I don’t know what to do to help myself or a good doctor to help me?

      1. I also had the right live removed after discover a really large goiter in 2003. I have been on 125 mcg of synthroid since. I have never been the same since.
        I’m at my wits end. Living in the Phoenix area if you can recommend someone?

        1. I’m not sure if you were asking me to recommend someone or not, but many functional medicine doctors work remotely. I have one under my “resources” tab on my blog if you’re interested. She works remotely and is a Medical Doctor who practices holistically. Her name is Dr. Jess. I’m so sorry to hear all you have been going through. I hope you find someone that is a good match for you.

      2. I am so sorry to hear all that you are going through. That must be very frustrating for you. Have worked with a health coach or functional medicine doctor before? They are specialists at all you are going through. Many work remotely as well. Sending healing vibes your way.

  2. I really thought I was alone with thyroid disease… but to see comments form people with the same problem, makes me feel much better. My medication was also not working for me, iam now waiting for the results after radio active oiodine treatment.

    1. You are definitely NOT alone! 1 and 3 women today will be diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. Sending healing vibes your way and fingers crossed for good results!

  3. I tried many of the same meds you did. My numbers got better but still didn’t feel great. After cleaning up my diet (gluten free, non gmo foods, no sugar) I accidentally discovered this CURED my thyroid. After being on meds for 20 years I no longer take anything! I totally reset my thyroid, even when I went off the diet short term it still worked. I fell off the wagon and ate gluten and ALL the foods for a couple of years and noticed my symptoms came back after being off the diet long term. Sure enough I got tested and my thyroid level was 4.7. Within THIRTY DAYS after going back to the healthy diet my level was 2.7. That was the only change, no meds. It works!!!

    1. I’m so happy to hear you are feeling better! Way to listen to your body!

    2. That’s great! Yes, a healthy diet in conjunction with the right dosage and thyroid medication (if needed) is essential to healing. I”m so happy you found what works for you!

  4. I am tanya, I am 29 years old and I was diagnose with thyroid at age 27, this all started because I felt fatigue and tired with no energy, so I got some bloodwork done and that when I found out about my thyroid, so I went to my doctor he gave me prescription to help me and out, he told me to keep a well balance diet and be more active so after a month that I found out, I was able to control but I also found out I was pregnant!!! So during my pregnancy my OB never mentioned to me to keep taking my pills and after I had my baby I started to feel the same, so now I feel more tired, more fogginess and fatigue as well its much harder to keep the weight off even if im taking my prescription, some people think having thyroid its nothing but it is hard

    1. It is hard. I hear you. Many women experience worsening thyroid symptoms after having a baby. I know you will find what works best for your body. Best of luck to you on your healing journey!

  5. I have had hyperthyroidism since I was about 17 years old and shortly after got diagnosed with Graves’ disease. They started me on medication when I was just graduating high school but that summer I was so irraitable I had to get off of it right alway. After that I thought nothing could get worse then it had been. After that they discovered that I have two nodules on my thyroid as well. I am 21 years old now and I am still having symptoms of heat sensitivity, tremors in my hands, short and light periods and aniexty that hasn’t lightened up. Just yesterday I got the call that my blood test came back and showed that I have severe Graves’ disease and I needed to start on Methimazole right away. They think I should take my entire thyroid gland out but I am hesitant. Anyone have any advice or experience?

    1. Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear all that you have been through. I personally also had a thyroid nodule at one point, but believe it went away. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Graves, but I would recommend finding a functional medicine doctor that can give you a second opinion.

    2. Hi Kali,
      I was diagnosed with Graves in October 2018, took Methomazole for one month and it affected my liver since it’s hepatotoxic. My doctor and I felt the best treatment for me would be a total thyroidectomy. I feel so much better now. I did gain 15 pounds since December 2018 when my thyroid was removed but I’m working toward getting my synthroid at the right dose getting labs done every 6 wks for now. I honestly don’t know how I was functioning before removing my thyroid. Keep in mind that everyone has different effects on treatments, but I wanted to share my story with you. Wish you luck in your recovery!

  6. Hello I am a 48 yr. old moderate activity High School teacher . I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism more than 5yrs ago. Over the years my Doctor has tried several dosages of thyroid meds. Settling on 137mg . I feel the same as far as fatigue, weight gain , and recently acquired migraine headaches . I was a soda & sweet tea junkie until 3 months ago when I have it all up cold turkey . I’m so ready to be off these meds. I have lost NO weight what so ever and feel the same. My face & neck are very swollen all of the time as though I’m retaining water. My doctor said I was border line diabetic . What can I do differently?

    1. Hello,

      I am so sorry to hear all that you are going through. That must be very frustrating. I hear you. Are you interested in a free health consultation? It would be a 50 minute phone consultation where we would look at your lifestyle from a holistic approach. If so, please e-mail me at: allison.rassp@gmail.com

  7. I love your story! I’m currently still trying to find what the best medication for my body is. What kind of compound medication do you take? I have found an endo that is willing to work with me and try alternatives

  8. I love your story! I’m currently still trying to find what the best medication for my body is. What kind of compound medication do you take? I have found an endo that is willing to work with me and try alternatives

    1. Hi Ashley, I take a combination of t3 and t4 based on my personal thyroid labs. It has a combination of levothyroxine and liothyronine. Hope that helps! 🙂

  9. Thank you for your story Ashley. I recently requested to change from levothyroxine to Armour thyroid. Gone are the daily headaches, the heart palpitations (actually went to a cardiologist because of this), constipation, joint pain and insomnia. My hair loss seems be less severe than on levothyroxine. Our thyroids play such a roll in our general well-being and body function. It took 5 years to stand up for myself and seek care from an endocrinologist and request the Armour thyroid. We have to be our own advocates for health care which works for us as individuals. You are an encourager to people with hypothyroidism. (PS. I was also tested for hashimoto’s and to my astonishment, I do not have this version. She said selenium helps patients with this type of hypothyroidism, but people should check with their doctor.
    The endocrinologist was focused on gluten intolerance, which I also tested negative).

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so happy to hear you are advocating for yourself and finding what works for your body! Sending healing vibes your way! 🙂

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