Sudden weight gain

Over the past 8 weeks I have put on 8 pounds in weight which is completely unaccounted for (my calorie intake is around 1300-1500 a day so I'm hardly gorging myself!). I have also had concurrent problems with joint pain and aches and increased tiredness.

Yet another blood test result (there have been many thyroid function tests over the years) has returned as normal (TSH - 2.56 - range of 0.3-4.5 and T4 - 12.4 - range of 10-22).

Given I'm a 53-year-old woman I suspect I'll be told it's the menopause, but this is especially galling as it took me ten months to lose 10 pounds in weight fairly recently so for it to go back on while not adjusting my diet and also so suddenly is particularly depressing.

I'm now stumped as to what to do next, though I do have an appointment with my GP in a couple of weeks and have been asked to weigh myself and monitor the changes on a daily basis.

Any thoughts or wisdom out there would be gratefully received.

4 Replies

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  • hi

    this probably wont answer your query i have a problem with weight increase but mine is all abdominal and it s happened mostly over the last 2 years.my dr said I was obese just becos of BMI but I am a normal size 12-14 and any weight gain is abdominal-I actually lost weight on my arms legs and bum a year ago tho no one acknowledged that.its not thru diet as I don't eat cakes biscuits puddings or fried food tho do have chocolate.my rheumatoliogist said i needed to diet as I had gained 11 kgs .but its 7 years sicne I last saw him and so I told him it is only in last 2 years and its all abdominal but that fell on deaf ears.have had disputes with my DR as why my stomach is so huge-never got any definite answers.tho I recently had gallbladder op(found by a private dr)as mine refused to do a scan.i know I have a thyroid problem from symptoms and also lupus tho they say everything is fibromyalgia,

  • Hi Try and get your Free T3 tested. GP`s always used to do that as part of thyroid tests, now mos tNHS Labs will not. Try the GP and if not ask if you can pay through their Lab. If not ,if possible have it done on line. I use Blue Horizon, a well known Lab, quote TUK 10 for a discount( £ 10) very reasonable compared to private hospitals for the same test, same Lab. Often when thyroid first a problem only the low FT3 shows on tests. This is commonly a cause of weight gain treatment is still with levo ( T4) and usually a little T3 too. Thyroid disease is also often worse over a "certain" age. it would also be worth asking for a vit D test, this is hormonal ,so strongly effects thyroid function. If low a corrected calcium test, before treatment.

    Best wishes,

    Jackie

  • Hi Amanda

    I'm assuming you have been struggling to get a diagnosis and your are not on any treatment? If you are on meds then your TSH is too high and FT4 too low. If not, then it seems like you could be a victim of the flawed thyroid function tests and the GPs who are slaves to the test.

    Looking at your previous posts from two years ago you don't seem to have been able to move forward. If this is correct then, I wouldn't mind making a few bets that:

    Your doctor has said things like, "Your bloods are in the normal range, so it can't be your thyroid". It must be "ME, CFS, depression" or the most infuriating one, "The menopause", even if your symptoms began before the age of the menopause. Early menopause is a symptom of low thyroid, so it doesn't take much brains to work out that if they wait long enough that prophesy will come true. This makes me hopping mad. You can see the picture.

    It seems like your doctor, like so many is a slave to thyroid blood testing. In the days when they only had symptoms to go on you would have been treated. How does your doctor know what YOUR normal range is?? The lab ranges are flawed anyway - calculated by using data taken from sick people's blood samples. Why else do people have blood tests? You might even find your own results over the years are part of that population of the sample because of course "you don't have hypothyroidism do you?

    I don't want to come across as blunt but there comes a time when a doctor won't or is incapable of helping and we have to take control of our own health. You know there is something wrong. You know the doctors are missing something and deep down you know they have got it wrong. Otherwise you would not be questioning. If that is right, then you need to trust your own instincts.

    Ask yourself - what is MY normal range? If YOUR 'normal' range is a TSH at the bottom of that range and an FT4 at the top, then it's not rocket science to know you could be feeling lousy.

    Were these test results taken before your recent weight gain? If so, your TSH might be even higher now. So many times we read of years of neglect until eventually it takes a toll and TSH levels suddenly rocket - then they get a diagnosis and no apology.

    If your GP waits long enough without giving you a trial of thyroid medication, then it all gets more complex and you can develop deficiencies (if you haven't already) which add to the symptoms and further problems in diagnosis and treatment. You need an FT3 test too and the usual vitamin and mineral tests in case you have now after failure of treatment developed those associated deficiencies.

    I don't know your circumstances but can you go to see someone like Dr S who will diagnose and treat you on symptoms?

    Or would your doctor agree to a trial?

    Or could you change doctors?

    I know it's simple to say all this and much harder to put it into practice but if the doctors refuse to change what they are doing - then we have to change what we are doing in order to get well.

    Wishing you all the luck - keep fighting and get cross xx

  • Many thanks for this (and to anbuma and Jackie). My health history is a complex one (ME; polycystic liver; borderline polycystic ovaries) though my energy levels have actually improved a lot in the past few years (long story).

    The test results are after the weight gain - I went to my annual screening for the liver problem thinking the weight gain might have been associated with an increase in liver cysts but the consultant was sure it wasn't; hence the THS T4 tests.

    In reality the THS is increased as the last one was 3.6 (range 0.35-6) so I do think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and go privately as the doctors in the surgery aren't very open to further tests (though I'll be seeing another doctor at my appointment).

    Out of interest, how many 'symptoms' should I be exhibiting, e.g., from the list on the ThyroidUK site? I am ticking off around a third of the symptoms, mainly weight gain, joint pain, intolerance to temperature extremes, feeling the cold (winter is a nightmare), insomnia, dry skin, palor, brittle and splitting nails, puffy ankles, alcohol intolerance, noises/hissing in the ears.

    I've ordered the recommended thermometer to measure temperature. Usually my coldest time is around 3pm when I can feel bitterly cold in winter and have to go to ridiculous lengths to keep warm.

    And yes, if I'm told it's 'just the menopause' I'll scream!

    Amanda

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