Hypothyroid & gallstones connection?

I've been taking T3 (cynomel 25 mcg) for 5 weeks now, after a couple of weeks I felt less tired & was able to stay awake after 2 pm! I also lost a couple of pounds. THEN I began having bouts of intense pain and to cut a long story short, ended up in hospital where gallstones were found, they had moved and caused quite a bit of damage, so will have to be removed as soon as I am well enough.

I did a bit of googling & discovered that there is a recognised connection between gallstones and hypthyroid. It makes sense really as everything else slows down, the bile becomes sluggish & stones form. I am wondering whether the T3 kickstarted everything again and caused the stones to move. I guess I will never know the answer to that one.

I wasn't allowed to eat for several days and am now on an extreme fat free diet for several weeks until the op. I have lost a stone in 2 weeks!

It is hard to say what effect the T3 is having now , but I feel that I am coping better than I might have expected to.

It does feel like there is no end to the effects of being hypothyroid and we all need to be vigilant, it also underlines the importance of getting the proper treatment.

16 Replies

  • Interesting.

    11 years ago I developed gallstones as a side effect of being prescribed The Pill as a 'cure' for my pcos.

    Long story short, I was in constant agony, and was told it would be at least 6 to 9 months wait to see a surgeon, so we paid £150 to see the top man in the field, who gave me 3 weeks to get christmas sorted for my kids, as he was taking my gall bladder out on the 27th october....

    He came to me on the ward afterwards, and said that it was no wonder I was in agony, as one was stuck in the tube and would have burst within a couple of weeks (his words) and I would have been left in an awful mess (his words again)

    I also had to follow a very low fat/fat free diet, and lost 3 stone in 3 months.

    I dont know if they are connected to the hypo I feel I am, but I have always been overweight, from being a toddler really.

    Hope you get sorted soon

    Ann xxx

  • rapid weight loss can sometimes trigger gall stones and it doesnt have to be very much weight. I had suspected gall stones itchy skin and accute pain over a couple of days but by the time I got a scan (3 months later) there was nothing to see, the consultant confirmed this 6 months after the attack.

  • I think there are so many reasons for getting gallstones it would be quicker to list what DOESN'T cause them, and for that reason (ie. there are so MANY reasons) I don't think of it as a specifically thyroid issue, although no doubt it doesn't help, and is often there alongside! :-(

    High carb diet which produces lots of insulin which therefore stores fat up in the liver (effectively Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease - NAFLD) is another (first sign is often raised liver enzymes as well as generally being overweight), and probably the number 1 cause, and accounts for the "fair, fat & forty" people talk about as those commonly affected with gallstones, but of course that also describes a lot of newly hypothyroid too, (I wonder what comes first, Hypo or NAFLD: chicken or the egg!?)

  • It is interesting isn't it? The timing (coinciding with taking T3) might have been a coincidence. I always ate a low carb diet and felt better on it but couldn't lose weight. I know that the gallstones weren't there a few years ago because I had a scan for something else and their absence was remarked on, so they have appeared during the time when I felt awful and didn't think my hypo was being treated adequately.

  • If you google Hulda Clarke, there is a great recipe for a liver cleanse on the site... Gallstones can be passed painlessly... It is well worth doing...

  • I think I'm beyond that, there are lots of stones, the stone that I did pass caused excruciating pain and has caused a lot of damage, inflammation & infection, so as soon as it has all calmed down I will need the operation as the damaged areas are liable to necrotize with all that that entails.

  • I kept having periods of pain that lasted between 3 hours and 30 hours. Pain was excusating. Anyway went backwards and forwards with drs. Gave me gaviscon and changed my lansoperazole to omeprazole.

    Finally after research myself asked if it could be gallstones, finally a scan was arranged for just over a week away. Scanner lady commented on gallstones, at last a diagnosis. Had bloods done the same week amd thyroid came back borderline. Dr said I needed an op and we'd start on Levo if next bloodtest was borderline, guess what it was borderline but slightly lower than before, dr did not then want to give me Levo, but I did get a referral to an Endo who did prescribe.

    She was also concerned with my cholesterol, I'd actually asked the dr about this, he said was fine at 4.something, Endo said was bad at 7.1. It seem one was looking at combined, other looked at just bad cholesterol.

    I've not had any bad pain since with the gallbladder, occasional grumbling but not the pain, I think it's given up as scanner lady did ask if I'd eaten that day as it was not contracted i hadent of course since the previous day. But I may ask about op again if the fatigue I have continues.

    As for the weight, I'd lost 3 stone on dietchef prior to gallstone attacks, now only gain weight on the same diet, 800 calories a day.

  • Funny how stuff pops up. I developed a tendency to some pain on the RHS under my ribs at times after increasing the proportion of T3 i've been taking too - which otherwise helped with better stamina and mood.

    It thought initially that it might have been wind/musle strain/something to do with the many ribs i broke over the years, but it became more severe and then cleared for a few weeks.

    It came back last week, but has now cleared again.

    Entirely speculative, but i was starting to wonder if I might not have been passing some gall stones too.

    The same pain was about at times and seemed to be gallstone related back when I was seriously hypo, although luckily enough they always cleared. The GP diagnosed gallstones back then anyway....

    The traditional olive oil/lemon juice/epsom salts liver flush helped me then, but was an intersting experience and gets mixed press.

    Can't speak for the pros and cons of gall bladder surgery, but my intinct is basically to avoid it if at all possible....


  • You commented on broken ribs. Do you have osteoporosis?

  • I have been taking Thyroxine (100 mcg) since 2001-2. I recently had a scan, I also have gallstones. I had a blood test in May and it showed very slightly raised TSH at 5.39 . I must now have another blood test in October. I have hypothyroidism.

    I am due to see the specialist again in August to find out what they plan to do. I have pain beneath the sternum, almost continual back pain. This is the first time I have read of other people with thyroid conditions and gallstones. I have been complaining to my GP since 2010 about the pain, the nausea etc. I thought I was beginning to imagine all of that.

    I have learned so much over the past weeks since I became aware of this site.

  • See my comment, I forgot to reply to you directly!

  • For someone hypothyroid and on Levo your TSH needs to be suppressed below 1 to feel 'normal'. Please mention this in August . I can't remember where this info comes from, but I'm sure someone else will help so that you have the reference for this.

    Good luck,


  • Mary,

    Many thanks for this, perhaps that explains why I feel so ghastly

    Thank you.

  • Hi V. Re ribs. No osteoporosis that i know of - just the result of too many motorcycle racing mishaps during my mispent youth...


  • Safer to stick to walking, not in the midday sun though.

    Keep well.

  • This is interesting;


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