Zach points out that most of the posts about thyroid treatment issues at metabolism.com are from women. That makes sense because autoimmune thyroid disease is approximately 10 times more common in women than men. But man or woman, thyroid hormone treatment is still the same and his success with Cytomel is something worth noting.
Hi everyone. From what I can gather, most posters here are women, well Iâ€™m a guy with similar problems. I thought my story might be useful so that men donâ€™t think itâ€™s a women only problem. I gained a hypothyroid diagnosis at the age of 25 due to Hashimodoâ€™s. There was no direct cause, it runs heavily in my family. For a year, or two, maybe even three (itâ€™s hard to tell due to widespread symptoms), I was feeling nervous, bad memory, attention problems, sleep problems, low appetite, and easily fatigued from a normal 8 hour work day. I assumed my lifestyle choices were causing these symptoms so didnâ€™t go to the doctor for years.
Finally when I was diagnosed I was put on levothyroxine. The very first day I took it I felt IMMENSLY better. However, months down the road the symptoms gradually built up again. Every time my dose was raised, I would feel better for about 2 days, but the symptoms would gradually return. My endo decided to drop my T4 dosage and put me on a combo T4/T3 (T4 was dropped by 50 mcg and one quarter of the drop was added in as T3, so 12.5 mcg of T3). This is the first day Iâ€™ve tried it, and instantly the morning of starting on T4/T3 my body aches have almost disappeared and I am feeling much less sleepy at my desk during work.
Suzi has hypothyroidism and high blood pressure. She sends the following story describing how t3 treatment appeared to help normalize her blood pressure. This is the first time I have come across this effect and thought it would be helpful to share her story on the main blog. Does anyone else have a similar (or contradictory) experience?
Hi Dr. Pepper,
I was diagnosed hypothyroid 2 years ago and given levothyroxine. On diagnosis I had lots of symptoms and my BP was 175/115 despite my whole family having low BP. After some months on T4 I did feel an improvement in a lot of ways and my BP got better. Then after a year, things started going wrong, as if my body didnâ€™t like T4.
I tried reducing my dose of T4 back down to 75Âµg but went hypo. But each time I increased above 75Âµg my BP increased again, then on 112Âµg it became a serious problem, especially the diastolic. I still had fatigue, constipation, red eyes, swollen legs and so on.
About 3 weeks ago I started on 10Âµg T3 and reduced my T4 from 112 to 75Âµg and pretty much immediately felt clearer headed and more energy, the constipation went etcâ€¦.. My BP has gone down by an average of 20, which I know because I check it regularly myself. Iâ€™m doing a 24-hour BP monitor this week too, because my doctor put me on Amlopidine 6 weeks ago after being shocked by the monitor results from then while on 112Âµg T4 (only took Amlopidine for 2 weeks after terrible side-effects incl. overwhelming fatigue and massively swollen legs).
So, it looks as though my body goes weird on T4 tablets when the dose is above 75Âµg, but if I stuck to that dose Iâ€™d be really hypothyroid. The T3 has changed my life completely!!
Now Iâ€™m wondering what the ideal balance T4 / T3 tablets would be? Is that possible to say or does it depend on each individual body and genetics? My typical BP now is around 120/ 95; it goes down after eating, and gets worse when Iâ€™m hungry or tired. The T3 reduced my BP so much more than the Amlopidine did, and on T3 I feel great whereas on Amlopidine I felt half dead. Iâ€™d like to get my BP back to before I got hypo, so thatâ€™d be 110/70.
All I need to do now is find my ideal dose of T4 and T3, could you possibly advise me on that? If I started 20Âµg T3 instead of 10Âµg, would you advise a reduction in T4 from 75Âµg? ( Iâ€™ll be doing a TSH, fT3 and fT4 test in about 5 weeksâ€™ time, maybe I should wait till then?).
Thank you so much!
Every so often I like to bring attention to someone who has struggled to get properly treated for hypothyroidism. Not everyone shares the same dilemma regarding treatment of hypothyroidism because T4 by itself may be sufficient in many instances. But for those who continue to experience symptoms of hypothyroidism despite T4 treatment, adding T3 can be a life changing experience.
Here is Sarah’s story:
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in my early twenties and Synthroid did not help. I did not know at the time that many of my symptoms were due to hypothyroidism. After changing to my long time physician, I told her of my original diagnosis some years back. She did only the TSH and told me I was no longer hypothyroid! So for some 15 years after being in her care and continuing to feel crummy, then for the last 8 steadily gaining weight and feeling worse, I was not on any medication. I begged her for Cytomel several years back and was deniedâ€¦she said she didnâ€™t treat with that. When I finally was deemed hypo by her, she put me on the smallest dose of levothyroxine. It did not help. I finally went to see a shrink and he put me on 25 mcg of Cytomel. For the first time in my post pubescent life, I feel like living. My dose was upped to 50, and I felt even better but my thyroid levels were off, so we are now working on that and I am back to 25 mcg per day. If you canâ€™t get Cytomel from your regular physician, you might get a psychiatrist to prescribe it. It changed my life and I finally feel alive. Iâ€™ve since switched primary physician because she wouldnâ€™t listen to me, and she didnâ€™t like that I was on Cytomel. I donâ€™t know what it is about this medication that regular physicians donâ€™t like and make them refuse to treat with it, especially when so many can benefit from it. Iâ€™ve lost only 12 lbs since being on it, but I gained nearly 35 unnecessarily while not being properly treated and was told to eat less and exercise moreâ€¦I only ate about 1500 calories a day and walked my dog 2 miles each day, so I donâ€™t feel it had anything to do with my diet!