How long do people usually have off work with hypothyroid?

Hi everyone. I've been off work 4 weeks now, been on 25mcg Levo for 2 ish weeks. I feel like I need a rest after doing anything and some days have to sleep all day. My mood is pretty low but on anti depressants so that's improved a LOT. I was suicidal 4 weeks ago. I chatted to a work mate who has been covering my lessons at work last night (I'm a college lecturer) and that sent my anxiety though the roof. I feel like I'm letting my colleagues down as were short staffed and there's loads of people who work with hypothyroid and I should just get on with it. But I work long hours- over 12 hours on a Tuesday and don't know if I can cope with it. Some of my students are challenging (I can cope with the teenagers- I really miss them) but the adults are so demanding. I don't know what to do :-(

18 Replies

  • Although I can't tell you how long it will take for you to feel better as I am not on medication as yet. However, I can relate with how you felt/feel, as I felt suicidal last year when I became ill with so many hypo symptoms and am now taking anti-d for my depression which I am hoping to get off as soon as they start me on treatment. Just letting you know that you are not alone with this horrible condition.

    I have only just returned to work after being off sick for six months.........Each day is a struggle to get to work, sometimes I wake up with headaches, fatigue, weakness etc, but I just plough on as I can't afford not to's hard, I know.......

    Take one day at a time and please don't feel guilty about letting your colleagues down because your health is more important..........take care...

  • Thanks for your reply. I hope you get your thyroid treatment started soon x

  • It will entirely depend on the severity of your symptoms and will range from a couple of weeks to years. Your colleague sounds unsympathetic and is not what I would call a mate. Your employer is responsible for adequate staffing levels and shouldn't find it difficult to get temporary support while you're sick. The hypothyroiders who are just getting on with it have presumably had their condition stablised with medication. You've just begun medication and are probably not yet on an optimal dose.

    If you feel able to work shorter hours perhaps you can make an arrangement with your employer. There's no point in attempting to work long hours which you know you can't cope with as it will further impact on your physical and mental health.

  • Thanks for your reply x

  • You would appear, to me, to be on far too low a dose of levo. I saw a Professor of Endocrinology and he said I should have been started on 50 levo which was then gradually increased every 6 weeks.

    A low dose, in itself, can have the opposite effect but GP's are unaware of this. If you were extremely frail with heart problems 25mcg would be o.k. to start.

    Cursor to the date November 20, 2002 to read the question/answer. Links within may not work:-

    Always get copies of your thyroid gland blood tests for your own records and so that you can post here if you have queries.

    I'm sorry you're feeling so unwell. I think I was off work for about 5 weeks initiatialy.

  • Hi thanks. Got an appointment with my GP on Monday. I will be posting my results when I get them then :-)

  • I've been off since mid January and no treatment yet either, so could be ages yet! I feel guilty too, but you, and I, have to concentrate on getting better before we can help anyone else. Be kind to yourself xx

  • Thanks. Hope you feel better soon x

  • Hi mpfree

    I have hashimotos hypothyroidism for 11 years and suddenly went hyper ,now hypo again.I have been off 5 1/2 months,back to work last week ,but still feeling ill.Some times we just have to listen to our bodies and take the time to adjust and rest.I was very anxious with any outside stimulus too ,but now on higher dose of thyroxine it seems to have settled.So take comfort ,it will get better it just takes time with thyroid condtons.

  • Thanks. I'm just hoping I don't stay like this for any length of time. I used to be so active. Hope you feel better soon x

  • You should stay off until you're feeling stronger. Hypo can really impair ability to cope with stress. It would be best to ask your GP to support you returning to work on a phased return basis so that you can avoid the very long working days at first. Thay don't really want you at work until you're well enough to do all the usual work plus some catching up, so be careful not to return too soon.

  • Thanks. Good advice

  • I am just a year in with hashimotos always been hypo just had another flare up started on 100mcgs and increased now to 175mcgs of Levothyroxine . Lots of symptoms worst for me is fatigue , worked full time NHS nurse until Nov 13 reduced hours to 30 per week since then (shift work) I found going to occupational health very supportive they keep intouch , sick time for me has mainly been due to repeated viral infections I have been unable to fight off like before . I have felt guilty about being sick but also annoyed that I have gone to work not feeling well enough , my sick time has been days and not frequent but it has been a major struggle , ask your GP to write to your occupational health advisor most employers have to regard sickness sympathetically if it is confirmed due to a diagnosed medical condition . Take care and you will know best when you are able to return if employer offers support grab it !

  • Thanks. My employer is referring me to occupational health so hopefully they will be able to help

  • Firstly has anyone checked your ferritin and folate because long before symptoms of hypothyroid appear or the blood tests shift ferritin, folate,vit b12, vit d3,calcium and magnesium and zinc along with VitB and C levels plummet but medics fail to recognise this

    Until your ferritin and folate levels are at least halfway up their ranges your body is unable to correctly utilise and convert the T4 in Thyroxine into the T3 your cells are screaming for

    25mcgs of thyroxine is a starting dose so theres no hope of you feeling better until above defecits are corrected and you need to be given straight T3 in the interim

    You may have a battle to get this prescribed but that is what is needed

    It takes 3 or 4 months for ferritin and folate to get back to correct levels so patience is needed

    when those levels are at halway then you can start increasing thyrocxine by 25mcgs every 3 or 4 weeks until your symptoms fade

    Be warned that many anti depressants are flouride based and depress thyroid function furthur and in any case since the depression is simply a symptom of hypothyroid whats needed is return of thyroid staus not anti depressants

  • Thanks, I'll ask them about those tests. Thanks

  • Hi. Have you ever checked for a vid.D level? Lack of vit.D lowers your mood, weakens your muscles and doesn't allow your body to absorb minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium what can make you feel very unwell. I have gone through real hell and no doctor could diagnose me. It turns out that I also have tumors on my thyroid and some thyroid issues and now take thyroxine. In my case it is never clear whether I have a titany attack because of low ironized calcium or magnesium or I am just anxious or low in potassium or low blood pressure. I have to keep checking all possibilities before I take action what makes is more difficult but since I discovered that I have a very low vit.D and I started taking an active vit.D and my minerals seem to absorb better and I generally fell better. And yes hypothyroidism can make you very ill. This hormone regulates all body.

  • Thanks. I'll ask about this tomorrow.

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