Thyroid working extra hard?

I have just received the results of some blood tests, taken as I am run down and have severe debilitating joint pain. My GP said this " all normal, except your thyroid seems to be working extra hard so we will test again in 6 months" I was slightly stunned and said is that because of the partial thyroidectomy? she seemed quite blase about it and pushed me off with a referral to a rheumatologist for the joint pain. Now I am at home worrying about the thyroid and the fact I seem to have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism and assuming that the its working too hard comment means I have raised TSH levels. I am going to collect the referral letter and intend to ask for a print out of my actual results. For back ground, I had the partial thyroidectomy about 8 years ago due to a goiter, I was told it wasnt cancerous and they had left a tiny about of the gland and so it could grow back and be ok. I have never had any medication for it. I have had severe and debilitating joint pain for the last 6 years which is getting worse,resulting in decompression surgery on my spine, still have constant pins and needles and probable carpal tunnel syndrome. How do I get this GP to take this seriously? is it normal to not treat a patient after partial throidectomy surgery? I am thinking perhaps the levels should have been monitored more closely?

9 Replies

  • There is, so far as I know, no test which says "working too hard"!

    This is surely a simple case of TSH being too high? Which would simply mean thyroid not producing enough - because it can't! Anthropomorphising organs is crass medicine. Would your little thyroid like its summer holiday now, dear?

    Treatment after partial thyroidectomy varies from checking TSH and hoping all is well to near-replacement levothyroxine, so far as I can tell.

    I urge you to also get checked for the usual things:

    vitamin B12



    vitamin D


  • Thank you for your replies - 6 years ago I had decompression and fusion surgery due to cervical spondylosis - thats when the pins and needles in my hands started, it seemed to help initially and I have been on voltarol retard all that time, which resulted in the ulcer. My joint pain has just got worse and spread, it now affects hips, knees, feet (plantar facisitis), hands lower back etc I am almost crippled - standing or sitting for more than 30 mins causes pain. Shopping - normally a pleasurable experience can be agonizing. My hands are numb and I frequently drop things and have become clumsy frequently falling. Despite various test and referrals no one can tell me why, the neurologist thinks I need further surgery which I am resisting as I am not convinced this is the root cause of the problem. My vision has become particularly worse over last couple of years, very blurred, I went through menopause before 50 years old! I am 53. I am always cold, have very dry skin and hair (hubby calls me lizard woman-cold blooded and scaly!) writing this down, even I am shocked

  • I urge you even more strongly to get the additional tests done. And do whatever you need to do to achieve that.

    Thyroid regeneration has been discussed here several times recently, from what I found it seems more common in people suffering Graves' - and it is certainly not a foregone conclusion that it will happen.

    By the way, if you click on the blue "Reply to this" then your reply gets indented and the person your are responding to gets an email alert. :-)


  • Thank you again, in fact the more I read about this the more things are noticeable (and yes I am trying hard to be objective and not think myself into it, lol!) My hair, once a dark brown/black has become white (yes white!) over the last 3 years, no sudden shocks or anything in fact stopped dying it as I noticed it seeemed to be thnning at the front (and trust me its enormously thick) and the hairdresser said it may be the frequent dying. I havent mentioned it to the doc just thought I was unlucky. I also have tinnitus constantly - for about a year, again just told nothing can be done really and it may be stress - now I see the hair and the tinnitus are mentioned as symptoms as well as the fact I have had ongoing issues with what are thought to be ingrown hairs resulting in boils/abscess's as well as terrible constipation resulting in strangulated hemorrhoids, and bowl surgery on a prolapse bowl - all within the last 6 years - could all of this really be a result of a thyroid issue?

  • I wouldn't wish to deflect from the possibility of other causes, but we see an awful lot of things end up resolving, at least to a considerable measure, upon satisfactory thyroid treatment.

    I have had tinnitus for many years, but it certainly has been worse since thyroid came along. Despite apparently satisfactory treatment.


  • Wow you could be my twin in a lot of ways!!!!

    Constipation, dry skin, now hair loss, stiff hip, severe muscle stiffness and pain. clumsiness because of loss of feeling and sensation in hands. White/grey hair, severe pain in feet after walking, neck spondylosis, pins and needles/spongy feeling in hands,

    I am 54 and mine all started 7 years ago after being super super fit!!! after 7 years of many life changing events I was diagnosed with under active thyroid. I was prescribed levothyroxine but have deteriorated to my current state.

    As Rod said ask your GP for those tests.

    You will get amazing advice and guidance from Rod and the admin team here as well as many other members who are in many different stages of trying to improve their health.

    I have learnt so much since finding this forum and am so thankful for the advice and expertise

  • Hi I also have a very sore left hip but it seems to be connected to a very sore left groin and down to my knee. I have had these pains on and off since before my thyroid diagnosis nearly 7 years ago. I was borderline about 20 years ago but nothing was done and I didn't know any better. Do you think they could be thyroid related or me needing a hip replacement as my mother thinks.

    Jo xx

  • Yes. You may have the other deficiencies that go along with lack of thyroid hormone which create many of the conditions you mentioned.

    You've been left to disintegrate it seems.

  • Hi Anne

    I'm so sorry this is happening and you are suffering.

    There may be other health issues going on, but if there is an issue which has been identified with the thyroid, until this is optimised, there will be other problems as every cell of the body needs thyroid hormone.

    Six months is far too long to 'wait and see'. Why wait? And wait for what exactly?

    Does your GP want to see how ill you can become before your GP actually treats something which they have already noticed is an issue?

    I'd get those TSH test results and get your 'overwoked' thyroid some help in the first instance. You may find, as I did, that a myriad of health problems and issues disappear on 'optimal' treatment with T4. I wish I'd started treatment earlier - I wouldn't be left with a BMI of 29!

    Good luck with this - sounds like you have to be strong with your GP.


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