Hypothyroidism or cancer?

I am a 57 year old male who has been on levothyroxine 150mcgs for approx 20 years and until recently have been fairly symptom free.

My latest blood test however, showed that my levels were high and i was told to cut my medication down to 125mcgs which i did. I had been feeling tired and run down for a couple of months prior to this but did not make a connection. After I reduced my dosage I became gradually more and more fatigued so went to my GP who did more blood tests and found that my iron levels were low and suspected I was aneamic too. I also developed bowel problems mainly constipation, feeling full and bloated and I have lost weight.

I am now told that I have a high ESR and low b12 levels and need to have a gastroscope urgently, as my doctor does not think my biochemistry is explained by any problems with my thyroid.

On looking at my medication I noticed that a few months ago when i was told that i could no longer have 3 months supply at a time, I have actually been given levothyroxine from another manufacturer. I asked my GP if this could account for my symptoms, he said no, my stomach problems were not related to my thyroid.

Can anyone help with this?

Captiva

26 Replies

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  • Sorry you have had no replies - hopefully someone with relevant knowledge will pick this up from Latest Activity..

  • Screams coeliac too me - low iron, low B12, gut issues, weight loss could all be down to gluten troubles. Give it some thought and do some research.

    mindbodygreen.com/0-7482/10...

    You might also want to look in the posts section on this site under "browse by category" where you will find a few gluten discussions.

    Moggie x

  • Thank you for the idea's I'll certainly take a look into your suggestions

  • Your welcome - I'm having a gastroscopy on Saturday so by Monday I will be able to tell you what its like.

    Moggie x

  • good luck! I hope everything works out well for you.

    Captiva x

  • Hi Moggie

    just wondering how things went for you on Saturday with the scope. Did they give you the results there and then or will you have to wait?

    Best wishes

    Captiva x

  • Got the results there an then but I've got to say that it was not a very pleasant experience.

    I have a sliding hiatus hernia!!!! and had a small polyp was removed.

    healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

    Thank you for asking and if you want any further info let me know as I know you are going down the same route.

    Moggie x

  • Really pleased it's all over for you now moggie and you can enjoy your xmas without it hanging over you.

    I'll be glad when Friday is over, too, the way things are I'll be too tired to care! A bit worried by my symptoms and some things on my blood tests which seem to suggest a lot of inflammation, you just can't help but think the worst sometimes.

    Have a wonderful xmas, and thank you for your help, It has been much appreciated.

    Captiva x

  • Hope all goes well for you to and I wouldn't be to worried about your bloods showing inflammation, mine did too but it turned out my stomach is inflammed and also gluten intolerance can also show up as inflammation. It's easy to think the worse isn't it but usually it turns out o.k.

    Let me know how you get on wont you.

    Have a very happy christmas and a helathy 2014.

    Moggie x

  • Hi Moggie

    Well you were right, the words pleasant and experience are not adjectives you could use to describe an endoscope!

    Seems I have an ulcer, the doctor has requested more blood tests and has taken some samples from my stomach, so I guess I just wait now?

    Starting to feel much better now I'm back on the 150mcg of thyroxine at least, hopefully getting somewhere now.

    Hope you are ok after your scope and that you had a lovely Xmas. Thank you so much for being calm and considered, when I definitely couldn't be!

    Captiva x

  • So sorry about the ulcer - did they give you any idea about treatment?

    Your right about it not being a pleasant experience, especially when you fight against it like I did, but it's over now and you can move forward. No wonder all your vitamins are low, particularly your iron. The sooner they start you on some treatment the better.

    Glad you are feeling better on 150mcg's of levo, maybe when you get your iron sorted you will have to reduce that - I had to reduce mine twice as my iron levels increased.

    Yes I had a lovely christmas, as I hope you did, and now looking forward to a few relaxing weeks off work before my operation on the 20th Jan.

    Glad your o.k. and are now looking forward.

    Moggie x

  • Lots of things can go wrong in the gut when the thyroid is off kilter. There are loads of receptors for T3 in the gut lining...so if your T4 medication is not converting into the ACTIVE T3 then problems will ensue. Low Iron and B12 can cause the conversion to be inefficient.....and vice versa - gut problems prevent good absorption of vits and minerals.

    VitD levels also need to be optimal and not just in range. I have Crohns which is auto-immune and also Hashimotos. Have you had youe Thyroid Anti-bodies tested ? Anti-TPO and Anti-Tg ?

    It is important to look at your diet and maybe make a few adjustments....low acid is also common in Hypo's so don't let anyone prescribe PPI's to reduce acid until you have explored optimal treatment of your thyroid. Was diagnosed with Crohns 40 years ago and Hashimotos in 2005....so have an interest in gut health and of course the thyroid ! Hope all goes well.............

  • thank you so much for your input. Because until recently i didn't have any symptoms to complain about, I basically took my medication and test results for granted. Didn't really think to question the change in the brand of my levothyroxine, blase or what?!

    The only reason I know that I have low B12, low iron and anemia is because my GP tested this when I complained of extreme fatigue, gastric problems after reducing my levothyroxine, I feel like my food is sitting on my stomach after eating. I have never been tested for these things before to the best of my knowledge, and my GP has not mentioned thyroid antibodies? Anti TPO and Anti Tg (will look all of this up now).

    I am scheduled for an urgent gastroscope because of my blood results and symptoms, but will change my diet as from tomorrow to a gluten free one. You are right that my GP has given me omaprezole ahead of the scope which I won't be taking now. I asked about vitamin supplements but was told the question should be what was causing the deficiencies? Supplements can't hurt can they?

    Thank you for taking the time to respond, and I wish you well with your own health issues which seem complex and debilitating, but your generosity in sharing your knowledge is a great comfort to me, and no doubt to many others in a similar situation. Thank you.

    captiva X

  • ....you could start with B12 patches - High strength with the other B's in them. You can order them from Amazon and that would bypass the gut. Also the liquid iron Floradex - is gentler on the stomach. A good tonic. The food feels as if it is lying in the gut as there is possibly LOW acid - acid is required to break down proteins eg meat - so it can pass into the duodenum in a more digestable form. VitD is a cheap supplement and there is lots of information on the vitamindcouncil.com ....VitD is a steroidal pre-hormone and also anti-inflammatory - so will help the gut. Very low levels are found in poorly people. Ensure it is D3. I take 10,000 IU's a day however I would suggest starting on a lower dose. If you have heart issues then have your calcium and adjusted calcium checked as VitD improves the production of calcium and too much can be harmful.

    Jackie on this forum always gives the advice about calcium and Hampster1 has good knowledge on B12 and anaemia....you may wish to read some of their posts.

    You may also find it helpful to check out acid and alkaline foods- there are lists on the internet. Illness is more rare in alkaline bodies.

    Good luck with the gluten free - it is not as difficult as you think - just different ! My health has improved since joining this site where there is so much good reading and advice...lots of clever people too. Lots of people leave when they feel better but I like to hang around in case I miss something !!

  • Thank you for the supplement information, I have been reading about the acid thing and it does make perfect sense.

    I started back on 150mcgs of actavis levothyroxine today, and will get on with my gluten free diet. Don't know if its the anemia or the thyroid but I feel as though I am going down hill fast. So tired I can hardly stay awake, I just hope and pray that I respond to some of these things soon.

    I will check out the other members you refer to, and again thank you to all you wonderful people for taking the time out to help me, I appreciate more than you could know.

    Captiva x

  • Floradix has gluten in it in the UK. My pharmacist has given me Spatone liquid as it's gluten free

  • ..thanks for that snippet...very helpful !

  • Me too ! But am female and taken 150 mcg thyroxine for umpteen years. I also had my dose reduced and seriously seemed to fall apart - including all kinds of digestive problems which I had never had before. Its a long story but I want to ask - do you have any records of your blood test results and reference ranges ? Do you know what they were before your thyroxine was reduced ?

    The reduction of my dose caused me all kinds of problems which were all treated individually - when really what I did need was my dose put back up again. A low B12 and high cholesterol because of malabsorption is fairly common too.

    I am just flagging this up for you - I guess you have reached the stage where you need to be educating yourself just a bit - you will find loads of information on this site - good luck for Saturday - and start reading ! Lindy

  • I thought I'd replied to this earlier, so forgive me if I have and it went somewhere into cyber space I feel so low at the moment its all I can do to stay awake. Thank you for your input, I don't have my blood results, like I said I have been quite blase about my tests and medication because until recently I felt fine.

    I have heard that you can access results on line? So will look into this. Have upped my thyroxine back to 150mcgs, and am trying all the things you good people are suggesting, so hopefully I'll turn a corner soon. Thank you, and glad to hear that your own health issues have improved.

    Captivax

  • Before you go gluten free you must ask your GP if you are being tested for coeliac as it is very important to keep eating gluten right up until the test or you may get a negative result. If he says he is not testing for this then you might want to ask him why he isnt.

    Moggie x

  • Without the actual blood tests that your gp considered high its difficult

    However by sounds of symptoms etc and the low b12 and aneamia i would suggest the entire problem has been caused by lowering your dosage and putting you back into hypothyroidism which in turn gives rise to aneamia and depletion of vitamins

    WE need the results for

    TSH

    Free T4

    Free T3

    Ferritin

    Folate

    B12 and their ranges

    I suspect your ferritin is way below 70 which is where it must be in order to utilise Thyroxine

    Also did you forvet to not take thyroxine for 24 hours before that blood test because that alone could have given rise to a misinterpreted "high"

    Having been ok on thyroxine for that many years i doubt you needed it lowered

  • Thank you for helping me. I have managed to get my latest blood results and I'm trying hard to interpret them. I couldn't impose by listing everything but my doctor told me today that my b12 levels were actually ok, but the serum B12 levels came out at 168ng/L with the normal range being 150 -620.

    This strikes me as being at the lower end of this scale and possibly not that ok?

    My serum ferritin is 13 ug/ L (20- 300) guess this one is on the floor?

    Haematocrit 0.35 (0.40 - 0.50) Anemia?

    My thyroid tests in October were ( don't appear to have been repeated)

    Serum TSH level o.o1 mu/L (0.40 -0.50)

    Serum free T4 22.3 pmol/L (9.0 - 19.0)

    I don't know what this all means but I do know how I feel

    Captiva X

  • You need to go here:

    b12deficiency.info

    If you're seeing a gastro make sure he tests you for Pernicious Anaemia (there is a link on testing in the above website), as well as other things like gastritis, H pylori, Coeliac etc.

  • Thank you for this info, I'll check out the website, my gastroscope is now booked for Friday, so I guess I'll have a better idea whats going on then, and will mention all of the above.

  • you are 100% correct

    your B12 is way too low

    Your ferritin is on the floor ....long way to go up to 70

    i suspect that much of the thyroxine is being turned into reverse t3 and adding to your symptoms

    its vital now that you take iron or spatone plus 500mg vit c at same time

    and take at least 4 compound vit b tablets unless you can get some b 12

    it will take quite a while to increase that ferritin and climb back to normal

    i am sure the gastric investigations will be fine

    do take lactulose those if you continue to be bothered by constipation

    your symptoms are reminisant of all my husbands problems when hypothyroid

  • HI

    I have had underactive thyroid or 28 yrs and have in the last 5 yrs been diagnosed with pernicious anemia, which is also an auto immune disease ask your doc to test you for intrinsic factor . Also High cholesterol is linked with underactive thyroid.. It is not uncommon for people to have more than one auto immune disease, some people have upto 5 !

    hope you feel better soon

    Ollie

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