Are you being treated for hypothyroidism, but you still have symptoms?
If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, it can feel like such a relief to finally get a proper diagnosis. If you’re like most people, you can’t wait to start taking your thyroid medication to make the dreadful symptoms go away – the constant fatigue, brain fog, stubborn weight gain, headaches, sleepless nights, depressed moods, and so on. However, what happens if, week after week, you take your medication faithfully and still don’t feel any better?
Then, when you tell your doctor that you don’t think your thyroid medication is working, he won’t increase your dose because your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is back in the normal range. You are told that you should feel fine – but you don’t – so you’re offered an antidepressant or other prescription medications for your symptoms.
A new research study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that people with “normal” TSH levels while taking levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, were significantly more likely to also be taking antidepressants compared to the control group. They also had more weight gain compared to others with normal thyroid function.
Why Levothyroxine is Not Effective
Levothyroxine is the generic name for the synthetic (man-made) version of thyroxine (T4), the inactive thyroid hormone. It is also known under the brand names of Synthroid, Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Tirosint, and Unithroid. Often patients who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism will complain that they still have symptoms even though they have been placed on one of these synthetic thyroid medications. This is a very common occurrence, and here’s why.
Your cells must be able to convert T4 to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, in order to produce energy. If they can’t make the conversion, you may still experience symptoms of hypothyroidism while on the medication. So, it would make sense that if you are taking levothyroxine and aren’t seeing your symptoms resolve, you might be described an antidepressant for your low moods and be gaining weight, as occurred in the research study. What your doctor should really be doing is further investigating why you still have your symptoms.
Our Solution: Desiccated Thyroid
Desiccated thyroid is bioidentical to the thyroid hormones made by the human body and contains both T3 and T4, as well as numerous other thyroid hormones and nutrients needed by your cells. Natural desiccated thyroid is most well known by its brand names of Armour Thyroid and Naturethroid, and it can also be prepared at a compounding pharmacy.
The TSH Roadblock
Mainstream medicine advocates the TSH test as the definitive diagnostic tool to determine if a person has hypothyroidism, but it fails the majority of patients. The issue with only evaluating the TSH is that your lab results may fall within the “normal” range; however that may not be where you need to be for your optimal health. For example, you may fall within the high end of the range, but what if you really need to be in the low end of the range to resolve your symptoms? This lab range is so wide that most patients fall within it.
How to Diagnose Hypothyroidism
The single most important tool in determining your thyroid status and hypothyroidism treatment is a thorough review of your symptoms and a physical examination. The diagnosis of hypothyroidism should be made primarily on the basis of your clinical history and basal body temperature. Make sure your doctor listens to and evaluates all of your symptoms.
Try this at home. Take your temperature each morning for a few days. If your basal body temperature is consistently below 97.8, it is highly indicative that you may suffer from hypothyroidism.
If you’re frustrated that you’re not feeling better, know that you are not alone. This is a roadblock that many hypothyroid people are running into with their doctors today, even with all the information available about properly diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism. At Hotze Health & Wellness Center, we see patients all the time who come in not feeling well on synthetic thyroid. By switching them to desiccated thyroid, they finally get relief of their symptoms and get their health back on track