Synthroid Armour Thyroid, Thyroid Hormones, Severe Endometriosis, Prozac Dose, Fracture Risk
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was around 14 years old. For the next 30 years, I was treated with Armour thyroid and did quite well (weight was stable, energy level good, positive outlook on life, etc.) Then I was diagnosed with significant ... more »
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was around 14 years old. For the next 30 years, I was treated with Armour thyroid and did quite well (weight was stable, energy level good, positive outlook on life, etc.) Then I was diagnosed with significant osteoporosis in my 40's (Doctor told me my bones were equivalent to someone in their mid-80's, and my fracture risk was very high.) My gynecologist felt the cause was a combination of heredity, and low estrogen (I had an ovariohysterectomy when I was 26, due to severe endometriosis). She increased my dose of Premarin, and also recommended I see an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist blamed the osteoporosis on my thyroid meds, and immediately switched me to Synthroid, which I took for 10 years. Within just a few days of starting the Synthroid, my short-term memory (aka working memory) was severely affected, and I began to experience symptoms of depression. Within the first year of being on synthroid, I gained 30 pounds! I also developed terrible eczema on my hands and feet. I was seeing the endocrinologist regularly, and she kept telling me that my "circulating thyroid hormones were normal"; she also insisted my symptoms were NOT being caused by the switch to Synthroid. Eventually, she prescribed Prozac for the depression, and sent me to a dermatologist for the eczema. Over the years, my Prozac dose was increased to 60 mg. per day and I started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life. Much of the time, I felt I was barely functioning, my brain was in a fog, and I was exhausted all of the time, regardless of the amount of sleep I was getting. I also awoke each morning with terrible aches and pains.
My husband started talking about moving out, and I was at my wits end. I saw the Therapist for 4 years. The dermatologist prescribed various ointments for my eczema, but nothing had a lasting effect. The skin on my hands and feet were either cracked and bleeding, or dead-looking and peeling off in chunks. My allergies to everything became more severe, and I had frequent asthma attacks.
Then my endocrinologist became very annoyed when I forgot an appointment, and refused to extend one of my prescriptions (it was for Prilosec, to treat acid reflux, and soon became an OTC medication) for even a few days. It seemed to me she did not care if I was in pain, and I decided to start seeing a GP. The new Doctor kept me on Synthroid, but was concerned when my TSH was consistently abnormal (I'm sorry, but I don't remember if it was too high or too low.) She advised me to see an endocrinologist, but after 10 years on Synthroid, I decided it was time I did some research, and found a Doctor who would listen to me.
I was stunned when my internet research led to so many people who had had similar side effects from Synthroid. I searched for a Doctor who would at least consider a switch back to Armour Thyroid, and finally found one close by. A battery of tests showed that my TSH was still off, and at first the Doctor wanted to try lowering the synthroid dose, but as I explained to him, this had been tried before with no success. I literally begged him to put me back on Armour Thyroid, if only as an experiment, and he agreed. After 6 months on Armour, my TSH was normal for the first time in years! I also felt much better, with more energy and a more positive outlook on life. I honestly was not expecting any change with my eczema, but within the first year the skin on my hands and feet became normal again - the only change (medication wise) was in the thyroid meds.
I have now been on Armour thyroid for about 2 1/2 years, and my TSH has remained normal and steady. I no longer wake up feeling 20 years older than I actually am, and my allergies and asthma are now much easier to control. I feel like I have my life back, but I am kicking myself for not making the change much sooner - it's as though I wasted 10 years of my life! My osteoporosis is better as well (I am now osteopenic) and when I asked an expert on bone health about the connection between Armour thyroid and osteoporosis, she told me that ANY thyroid med, if given at too high a dose, can aggravate osteoporosis.
Anyone having similar problems while on Synthroid, I advise you to find a Doctor who will take your concerns seriously, and will prescribe Armour thyroid, at least for a trial period. Don't waste years of your life as I did.....