Hyperthyroidism and menopause

Recently diagnosed as hyper (TSH <0.05, T4 33 (max 20) and T3 2.9 (max 2.5)). Main symptoms are weight loss, sweating, increased pulse. These and other vague symptoms (joint pain, poor sleep) put down to menopause (LMP June 2013), stress and running. Haven't been to thyroid clinic (St James, Leeds) yet. I am reluctant to start carbimazole as think it is used as a cosh for the thyroid and will push me into hypo. Recent history of work and life stress plus physical stress due to studying and lost sleep. Want to give it a few months to sort itself out with good sleep (quality and quantity), good diet and vit d3/b supplements, stress management etc. Queries are;

* any info on association between hyper and stress?

* any info on association between hyper and menopause?

* anyone had experience of thyroid clinic at Leeds (Jimmy's)

* anyone got any info/experience of hyper and running (I am a runner - ave mileage 15-25 miles per week). Been running since April 2013.

My feelings, and from research on Internet, are that this is due to hypothalamus/pituitary imbalances caused by menopause and stress. Very reluctant to let endo start messing with my hormones and the delicate/complex balances of the hormonal control system - big believer in body's ability to sort self out!

14 Replies

  • Hi there,

    I can understand not wanting to take medication as Im a bit like that too but, from my experience, carbimazole was a life saver. I had left it 2months before going to the gp by which time i could barely walk or talk with shaking that much, my heart rate was through the roof and I had lost so much weight I was like a skeleton. As far as I know, severe stress can indeed trigger the thyroid to go out of whack which was what happened to me a year ago and initially I just thought it was down to stress and would get better. How wrong was I.

    You really need to be careful if you are still running as your body is under a lot of pressure at the moment.

    Sorry I can't be of much help on your other questions but hopefully someone will come along soon.

  • What is carbimazole? Is it something that has to be prescribed?

  • Hi Kirby yes it is a prescription only drug so a doctor needs to prescribe it for you. It reduces the amount of thyroxine the thyroid produces so is used to treat an over active thyroid.

  • Thanks

  • Hi Joy,

    Thanks for your comments. I'm not very symptomatic at the moment. I've lost about 8lbs in weight unintentionally, my BMI is 21 (so well within normal limits) and I'm not currently losing weight (put on 1lb this week). I don't have any tremor, my basal temp is under 37•c, don't feel hyper. I have some palpitations and sweats (but are these hyperT or menopause?) I am hoping that they will do more tests when I get a thyroid clinic appt which will tell me more about what is happening and if things are changing one way or the other.

    Running is a way of stress management for me and I monitor my daily calorie intake (and eat more when I run). All the same I have reduced my miles in the last month from 25 to approx 9-16 per week to reduce the strain on my body. My pace is quite variable, which may be due to the hyperT and it's effects on muscles, but also think running has protected the strength and mass of my leg muscles.

    Thanks for replying - I found your comments really useful.

  • Hi My Endo says that the only T3 test worth having is the Free T3 test, often totally different. It is well known that thyroid disease may start or get worse with the menopause.Sounds like you also need a 24 hour urine test for the Pituitary glkand, rare but can cause low TSH.

    Make sure the other hormonal, autoimmune things have been tested. A good Endo should do that. Low or very high vit D, just hormonal,B12 + foliates, diabetes,iron/ferritin, not hormonal but vital,

    Be sure to do all your research before asking for a referral. A good ,listener most vital, then treatment views.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi Jackie,

    Not sure I understand the following..."Low or very high vit D, just hormonal,B12 + foliates, diabetes,iron/ferritin, not hormonal but vital"...

    Can you elaborate please?

    I am taking high dose but D3 and B vits at moment.

  • Hi Sorry if not clear. Vit D is hormonal and strongly affects the thyroid. B12+ Foliates is hormonal and autoimmune , and there for strongly affects the thyroid

    Diabetes, autoimmune and hormonal, strongly affects the thyroid.

    iron/ferritin not but still strongly affects the thyroid.

    These tests should be done annually with thyroid problems or more if on treatment for any of them. B12 should be high in range too.

    B12 is only absorbed by injection, if on it retest 3 months then annually, at least.Life long treatment.

    Vit D essential to have checked after 3 months, then annually , life long. Unless the calcium goes over range. Test for calcium before D treatment, ideally under an Endo, then both 3 months, both annually. If calcium goes over range,essential to stop D treatment.

    These are all looked after by an Endo, if possible, their field.

    I hope that is clear.


  • If you do not take the carbimazole you will get weaker and weaker and will be lucky if you can manage a walk let alone a run. I started on carbimazole last July. I had never even hear dog Graves/hyperthyroidism, but when I got so weak I could not even lift a bag of shopping, I knew I had a problem! Luckily for me the carbimazole kicked in really quickly and I now feel relatively normal. I am now cycling 50 miles a week, and feel pretty fit again. Do not delay as this is not something that your body simply cure itself of. You also risk running into a thyroid storm which could be fatal.

  • My wife had similar to you. She decided to take carbinazole (not block and replace), now on 10mg after 6 months. T3 slightly low, TSH now switched back on, hopefully on road to recovery. She's a keen cyclist and has continued throughout with no ill effects - we cycled 85 miles on Easter Saturday, so it is possible to keep exercising. She has also adopted gluten-free diet (no grains, all carbs from root veg/ fruit) which seems to have actually improved her performance during this period! Decision to take carbi taken after chat with endo highlighting small but measure able risk of thyroid storm, and good statistical chance of getting back to normal. Good luck.

  • Thanks for your reply flap_jack. Found it really useful and also reassuring.

  • How was your wife before she was treated? I was doing long runs of 10+ miles at beginning of March. Now I'm struggling to run 3-4 miles and today I had to walk some of my 3.3 mile run. Not really out of breath, just tired/lacking energy. Plus have sore and aching muscles increasingly (not when running).

  • Her ability to cycle wasn't really affected but running is very different as each stride gives a small 'failure under extension' which causes micro-tears in the muscles. Usually it is tha repair of these micro-tears that gives strengthening, but that relies on the hormonal system working as it should. If your performance is deteriorating this again mitigates towards treatment. Good luck and speedy recovery .

  • Thanks flap_jack. Have started propranolol (for palpitations and increased heart rate) since your reply and am now getting out of breath when running (possible exercise induced asthma? my children have it). Have decided if I can't beat 'em I'll join 'em so now folloiwng a walk/run programme until I am well again! Appt with thyroid clinic on 12th May - need to be fit again for the four Jane Tomlinson runs over the Summer - first one at the start of June.

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