Can anyone point me in the direction of information about having Reflux if you are undertreated for Hypothyroidism please. My son has just spent four days in Hospital after getting a piece of meat stuck in his oesophagus. They intubated him and pushed it through and took a couple of biopsies, with the result that they have said there is inflammation in the oesophagus and have put him on the favourite Omeprazole. The only doctor I saw did not want to know about being undertreated for hypothyroidism and could only refer me back to my GP (no help there). He is to see a Gastrologist, who I am frightened may want to operate. My elder son has recently had this operation (but refuses to consider he may have Thyroid problems, even though he has already had Kidney Stones. My younger son has special needs, but My elder son is supposedly an intelligent male (?), so I will just have to hope that he soon sees sense, but I must fight for my younger son as I'm the only one who can. My husband thinks that all doctors are 'Gods' and I know 'nothing'. Any help re reliable information would be gratefully accepted. Janet.

31 Replies

  • This may not be scientific but I and many others with hypo have low acid. Some patients who complain are prescribed antacids. I use betaine with pepsin tablets at each meal and it is better than the medication the GP prescribed. The symptoms of high acid and low acid are similar.

  • I totally agree about the Betaine and pepsin tablets. They help me enormously. My main problem without the betaine and pepsin is that my stomach burns. And from my research I believe this is caused by two things. My food sits in my stomach fermenting rather than digesting. It is the acidity in the stomach which is supposed to trigger the valve to open that lets food out of the stomach and into the intestines. If stomach acid is low and food ferments that emptying reflex doesn't work that well and it causes pain. I think the second reason for pain is that undigested or inadequately broken-down protein being released into the intestines also causes pain.

  • Hi humanbean, thank you for your information. It is interesting to get other people's views and knowledge. Janet.

  • Many thanks for your reference Shaws. I have used Betaine HCL in the past, but am afraid it did not help me. What did help was being treated with Levo some 18 years after a sub-total thyroidectomy. My son's problems are somewhat different to mine and more complex. The PPI's are being given for the inflammation for a couple of months when we will be seeing the Gastrologist. Very grateful for this information and have used this site quite a bit recently. I appreciate many of your posts. Janet.

  • Thanks for these too. Janet.

  • Have a look at this page on the main TUK website:

    Hiatus hernia and gastroesophageal reflux disease as a manifestation of a newly revealed hypothyroidism.

  • Thank you RedApple. Good to have some research information. Janet.

  • Maybe stay away from protein for a couple of days - and eat good quality rice with spinach. Stir the rice into heated olive oil or coconut butter to seal - add boiling water and cook. Before the end stir in spinach and lemon juice. I use the frozen spinach balls - ( easy to add to the rice ) You can add anything that is liked ! I like it cold too... :-)

    I don't have stomach issues - but do have Crohns - and it settles the gut nicely....

    Lots of good advice from the others....

  • Sounds very comforting food Marz, just the sort my son and I like. My son dislikes most meat anyway, and I tend not to give it to him unless I know it is very tender. Thank you for this. Janet.

  • ..I think comfort is what you so need - sounds tough with having poorly sons too. Actually I fry the rice in onions and garlic at the begining as my taste buds are not good..... Take good care - M :-)

  • Hi it is difficult with children of this age! The drug he has been put on is a Proton Pump inhibitor. it is very good, some suit better than others. I have taken it for many years for a variety of problems. it has definitely not affected my thyroid as I have to have a lot of test, due to my heart conditions. All drugs are contraindicated for somethings. You have to decide what is the most important. he does not want to end up with an emergency again, he has been put on one of the best drugs to prevent this.

    Gastros are a very mixed bunch, If thew one he sees he is not happy with, do seek a second referral. I have been under Gastros for about 50 years, in fact since it became a specialty. . You do have to watch them and in fact all doctors. men think doctors are God as frightened of the alternatives. I have had many bad mistakes from bad doctors and have some marvelous ones now. It is important to have a good listener and check every thing!

    Try not to worry, he is having the right treatment at the moment.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi Jackie, thank you for this information. I actually had PPI's about 16 years ago, just before I started on Levothyroxine and it was definitely the Levo that worked. My son has already been in hospital 3 times before with a swallow problem, but this is the first time a Gastro has had to be brought in. Hopefully things will settle. Not happy with him having to have PPI's, but hopefully it will not be for long and will help the inflammation. He has also seen an Endo while he was in there, who was not his usual one, so maybe something more will be done on that side too, as his T3 is only 3.5 and T4 just over range. Janet.

  • That sounds good.Just keep a check on them!

    Best wishes, to you both,


  • Jackie, meant to say the 3 times he has been in hospital with this problem, was in the past 20 years. 10 weeks in care and he has had swallow problem 3 times, though only once in hospital (this week). Janet.

  • Hi Has he had a gastroscopy and throat check, that is ENT, out patients, small scope, not a big procedure. Different consultants, which is why a wonder. My similar and other gut problems did start in my twenties. The best medication for it no longer exists. Replacement meds are not any good, in my experience.Food etc does not make any difference.Jackie

  • Had Gastroscopy and throat check on Wednesday, hence the Omeprazole and they started him on it before consulting me, so could not question doctor about drug depletion etc. Janet.

  • Hi think they must have felt he needed as docs are well aware of the disadvantages of PPI`s now. It will not hurt for a bit, I would discus it at the follow up consultation.


  • Oh dear Jackie. I am dismayed to hear you have been taking proton pump inhibitors for many years. Doctors give these out like smarties, choosing to ignore the masses of scientific evidence and safety warnings even those issued by the MHRA about the side effects of long term use. They are known to cause malabsorption, which is a failure to fully absorb nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract. Here is an extract of the warning sent to GPs about the risk of magnesium deficiency with long term use of PPIs:

    "Serious manifestations of hypomagnesaemia—fatigue, tetany, delirium, convulsions, dizziness, and ventricular arrhythmia—can occur, but they may begin insidiously and be overlooked. In most case reports, hypomagnesaemia improved after magnesium replacement and discontinuation of the PPI"

    Bear in mind that is a warning about just one mineral. Even if the medical professionals choose to take heed of the warnings, they test magnesium levels with the serum blood test which is worse than useless. The reliable test is the red blood cell test. It's more expensive so they don't do it and then a magnesium deficiency is still overlooked.

    It's logical that this isn't confined to causing a magnesium deficiency. So I researched some more. Here are some examples including the strong link to B12 deficiency:

    So in short - us thyroid people have poor digestion which alone can cause malabsorption. Instead of looking at the cause of the digestive problems, they issue a prescription of PPIs to mask the symptoms. Long term use of PPIs add to the problem. Different deficiencies can cause a myriad of overlapping symptoms. Doctors have lost the art of diagnostics. It's easier for them to dismiss the patient because they have too many symptoms - let's give a diagnosis of ME or fibromyalgia instead to get rid of them - or worse put it down to mental health and issue anti depressants.

  • Hi Edit, how nice to see you back on the site and hope you and your sister are much improved. Thank you for the information about magnesium, as my son is now in shared care I will have to try and make sure they are feeding him magnesium-rich foods as there are so many things they are not allowed to give him in care in the way of supplements unless prescribed by a GP. Beginning to wish we had kept him at home and had help in the home instead, but a change has to come one day though, so we thought this would be for the best and maybe even 'open up' life for him at the same time. Before he left home (early December) I had been supplementing with B-complex, B12 and D3 with relevant tests and had got him to a good level, so hope that will stand him in good stead. Other answers above will give you a bit more information.

    So pleased to have the MHRA information, surely they cannot ignore this! It is early days and we are to see a Gastrologist and further tests in 2 months time, so maybe they will begin to tie different aspects together. Personally, I feel the inflammation has been caused by MP Levothyroxine as my son has just recently been coming out in the same kind of plastic covered spots as me. Having changed to Wockhardt 5 weeks ago, and feel a little improved, I had my son changed to Wockhardt 2 weeks ago. Will post in a few more weeks if things improve further. So grateful for all your links. Janet.

  • Hi JBee. I'm fine thanks. My sister is not so good but sadly she doesn't want help. She seems to get more comfort from directing her all consuming anger and bitterness towards anyone and everyone instead of using her determination to get better.

    There came a point where it's impossible to help and I have had no alternative but to stand back in the hope she will come round. It's not working though.

    On a much brighter note there are so many people on here that are determined to get better by learning everything they can and using what energy they can muster in a positive direction. I may as well share information I learned in the hope it will be useful.

    Understandable though it is, bitterness and anger can be a barrier to achieving improved health.

    I'm sorry to hear what a struggle you are having. When others are in control of care it's so very hard to be heard. I do so hope things improve for you and your son soon xx.

  • HI editfmrt, so sorry to hear that your sister is not really accepting your help. My elder son is much the same. It is heartbreaking to stand by and watch them suffer though when you could possibly help them. I'm hoping that my elder son will begin to think about things now he knows that his younger brother is suffering the same problems, never mind that I already have suffered some of them. Thank you for all the information you have shared on this site, I am most grateful. So glad that you are fine. Janet.

  • Hi Thanks for your concern. I have very complex problems, including all my abdomen gut, heart and vital organs. I also have have take electrolytes and twice weekly bloods. Sounds like you have been luckier.I have been under various gastros for many years but I see a Hepatologist too, who is wonderful and so different.I actually dumped one gastro, another refused to see me any longer as afraid I would die in his care. I told him it was a good experience for him! He was not convinced, scared.!

    Best wishes,


  • Hello Edit! I've been off here and just read below that you have too - truly hope both you and your sister are keeping well. Your post above is very informative and spot on.

    Having to sometimes take huge amounts of antibiotics for overgrowth (SIBO... tried everything else, at least my GP is now listening that it IS bacteria and not IBS!). I refuse to take PPI's (took these once and then read up on them - wahhh!). I use Betaine HCL daily and Digestizyme (Lamberts) BUT, when I have reflux I squeeze half a lemon into water and this seems to do the trick (i.e. TOO LITTLE acid is my problem, not too much). GP gasped when I explained the lemon juice for dealing with acid reflux... anyone else heard of this?

    Take care both of you xx Linda

  • Hi there, i have read with great interest about your son having kidney stones as i had them as well and due to doctors negligence i had to have one of my kidneys and adrenal gland removed about twenty seven years ago and then fifteen years ago i also had to have my gall bladder removed because of stones and like your son i am untreated for Hypothyroidism and suffer with terrible GERD (reflux) and i have been on PPI's ever since and i have a liquid diet as i cannot swallow anything lumpy, but i think this is caused by my thyroid nodule getting bigger, but my doctor tells me that there is nothing wrong and will not treat me, i also have a hiatus hernia that is very uncomfortable. What i am trying to say is be strong and keep at the doctors to do something for your son, print off what your findings are and show them that you mean business. I too am waiting to see a gastroenterologist and if i get no where with them then i will keep asking for another opinion. I truly feel for you and i pray that you get the help needed for your son. God bless you and your family.

  • Hi xeena, So sorry to hear of your thyroid problems and definitely feel that all your other problems have been caused by untreated Hypothyroidism. Do hope you have read the comments by Editfmrt and the links she has provided. I think they are so helpful. This is such a helpful and friendly site and it would be good to put results of blood tests you may have had done in questions and ask for advice from some very knowledgeable people here. Thank you for your good wishes for my son and hope you soon find some answers and treatment. (My son would love your name as it sounds like one of the Power Rangers names and he is very into super heroes - we need one for all our thyroid troubles). Janet.

  • You may be interested in this Russian paper - which I have quoted before here:

    Klin Med (Mosk). 2006;84(2):71-4.

    [Hiatus hernia and gastroesophageal reflux disease as a manifestation of a newly revealed hypothyroidism].

    [Article in Russian]

    Savina LV, Semenikhina TM, Korochanskaia NV, Klitinskaia IS, Iakovenko MS.


    The aim of the study was to reveal hypothyroidism (HT) in patients with hiatus hernia (HH), treated at Russian Centre of Functional Surgical Gastroenterology. The subjects were 64 women: 18--with HH and diffuse or diffuse nodular goiter, 36--with HH, and 10--without endocrine or somatic disease background. The examination included the evaluation of the thyroid and metabolic status, endoscopy, and 24-hour ph-metry. The results show that one of the early signs of HT is HH and gastroesophageal reflux disease. The latter in HT patients is associated with gastrointestinal motor-evacuatory disturbances rather than with acid exposition in the distal esophagus.



    [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    Wish the whole paper were available in a decent English translation!

    Hiatus hernia and related issues around the effectiveness of the lower oesophageal sphincter seem to be behind many acid reflux issues in hypothyroidism.

    All too often the issue is NOT the production of excessive amounts of acids - for which PPIs and other medicines may have their places. Indeed, insufficient acidity seems to be implicated.


  • By coincidence I have printed this out earlier this evening Rod, but thank you also for giving the link. It is definitely one of the best links to be showing the Consultant when we see him. I have been keeping up with the under and over acidity problem with thyroid troubles, but unfortunately I had left the hospital when the Consultant came round and my husband spoke to him (meaning he just listened to what Consultant had to say). I had so many questions to ask as well. Anyway we will now have to wait for a couple of months for a follow-up appointment. Thank you for this though. Janet.

  • Hi j_bee, I so feel for you in these circumstances... where no one listens and even within the family, people assume you can't possibly know what 'they' know. Just got to keep on going to do the best for yourself and your boys... doctors cannot possibly have the vested interest that you do.

  • Thanks LindaC, I guess doctors have to be fairly 'hard' as with some of the tales they hear they would not be able to do the job (not that I think some of them can!). We have some knowledgeable people on this site and each learn from one another with good links to back up information, and I wish doctors would also keep up with present day information and treatments. Thanks for your concern. Janet.

  • Oh j_bee, I couldn't agree more that some distance has to be there; however, that seems to need to be on an emotional level and not a knowledge one ;-) Yes, there are some wonderfully knowledgeable, wise people on this site... one of these fine days some of doctor training will come from such forums. I used to work in a field (Mental Health) where we used to train GPs, even psychiatrists in the then Community Care Act... even police forces received training from the voluntary sector who worked within the community. Time for thyroid and gut issues (surely other problematic areas) being approached in a different way.

    Very best to you and yours. Linda

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