HRT and Levothyroxine, personal experiences needed please, are they good or bad together ?

I'm Hypothyroid and after finding out that HRT can interfere with my Levothyroxine uptake I am doing an experiment on myself to see if leaving off HRT will make any difference to my health or make my health worse. I was on HRT just before finding out I had Hypothyroidism, several years ago.

What I am reading and being told is all 'swings and roundabouts.'

I was clinging onto my prescribed HRT as many women say the estrogen gives them an energy boost among other pluses, after the menopause.

I do try to 'listen' to what my body is telling me to help make medical decisions, but I have no idea what to expect when leaving off the HRT.

My Doctor is trying to get me to take a 'new,' but lower dose HRT, so thought I would experiment before my present HRT is taken away altogether. Once Doctor puts me down to the 'new' lower dose HRT there might not be a chance to go back on it.

So has anyone had experiences regarding both Levothyroxine and HRT and when leaving the HRT off please ?

16 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Hello Coastwalker. I was on HRT and came off it but felt worse and had heard that it can effect our Levo medication. I now take patches as my Gyno said that this bypasses this and does not bind with the Thyroid binding agents. You could ask about these. This way it does not have to pass through the liver.

  • Thank you marmaris, never knew there were HRT patches available, how long do you keep these patches on for and what size are they please ? Funny enough I don't feel too good today and my eyes have gotten dryer, redder and hurting, did wonder if my eye problem was levo or HRT connected, hence part of my experiment.

  • There are several cards on the market you need to ask you Gyno which is more appropriate for you. I change mine twice weekly, just a small patch that I stick to the top of my thigh that I alternate.

  • Sorry meant to say patches not cards.

  • Thank you marmaris, I have used vitamin B12 patches before so I expect they are very similar to use. I certainly will look into the 'several' different patches available on the market you have mentioned.

    Did not realize patches and cream HRT's were out there. :)

  • I take biohrt (but not levo - T3 only) - but there's very little estrogen as I don't need much - mostly progesterone and some DHEA. I wouldn't be without it. However, the usual horse pee and fake progesterone which is more like testosterone (chemically) is not good for you at all. Estrogen should be taken well away from levo as it can bind it and stop it working.

  • Thank you, Angel_of_the_North,

    I think I originally went on the HRT as I kept going back to my Doctor saying I wasn't feeling right, so at menopausal age I was put onto HRT, when maybe it was all Hypothyroidism, but I do remember 'drying up' everywhere and hot sweats, so maybe HRT was OK at the time ?

    Can I ask why you would need and how would you know you need, less estrogen AotN ? and also what is the progesterone and DHEA for (also what is DHEA please.)

    I am on Elleste Duet 1mg, so I am guessing it is the synthetic horse pee HRT. ?

  • it's the oestrogen that interferes with the uptake of thyroxine.

    I use only progesterone (bio-identical in skin cream).

    progesteroneresearchnetwork...

    johnleemd.com/store/faqs_pr...

    wellsprings-health.com/page...

    It has helped me for a few years now, from being pre-menopause (with too frequent and heavy periods) to the other side - 2 years post menopause.

    Having a good level of progesterone (not synthetic progestin), helps the T4 convert to the needed T3.

  • Many thanks mazb, amazing readings, I have had a quick look and on just your first link I was slightly shocked, but not surprised that my HRT estrogen pills might have started off my Hypothyroidism in the first place, (I was also on the Estrogen birth control pill for many years,) but reading that by using Progesterone creams and halving estrogen some patients of Dr. Lees have even come off of their thyroid medication, is encouraging reading.

    Thank you, have noted your tip of needing more progesterone, (not synthetic) which helps T4-T3 conversion.

    From yesterday my eyes have reddened, felt extremely dry along with a deep pain, also I still have a constant heavy headache, (I rarely have headaches,) so wondering if I am experiencing a sort of cold turkey effect from leaving off HRT. :O

  • I wouldn't recommend anyone coming off their thyroxine really (I did, stupidly, once, and the effects, the damage that was done, was really bad - (some irreversible I believe) - I went 'off the scale' (the doctor called it) - TSH 99+

    - but dose adjustment might be necessary IF Progesterone was helping the thyroxine to work better (as it may be for me, but I am not sure this is always the case - as sometimes I forget to apply the cream consistently).

    I'm on 175mcg thyroxine daily.

    I think there are various reasons why someone is hypothyroid

    - for instance - my first pregnancy and childbirth in '89/'90 triggered mine (although I strongly suspect it was dormant before - which is what a typical case history can show, as I found when reading a book on it).

    But, even that is to do with oestrogen, as in pregnancy the body makes more oestrogen to sustain the pregnancy, and the fatty tissue, even 'makes' or produces oestrogen I believe.

    I just wish I had had sufficient progesterone back then - I suspect I hadn't.

  • Is your progesterone cream by prescription only mazb ? If so is it easy to persuade your GP to prescribe it ? or do you source it uk or abroad ?

    My Doctor last said she wanted to put me on a newer lower dosed HRT pill, I said I'd think about it, (to give me time to think if it was good idea or not,) so at least we are on the topic of HRT at my next appointment, when the dreaded summons to see Doc comes up on my repeat prescription.

    Many thanks for the three links, I have read them all and I think all women on HRT (Estrogen) and Thyroid treatment need to be warned about their effect if used together.

  • Hi Coastwalker -

    I get it through Wellsprings - it's called Serenity - (not sure if I can/am allowed to put the link on here, maybe you could Google?)

    they also do another version with 1 part oestrogen to 20 parts progesterone, for those who really do need some oestrogen.

    As far as I know I have not had a hot flush yet, (had night sweats a little bit, although never sure if that is to do with drinking sometimes :-) )

    -and I'm 55 and 2 years past my periods ceasing, so I don't think I need that one (yet).

    They are based in the U.K. but in Jersey, or Guernsey I think (Channel Islands), as I think this might keep the price down (maybe for VAT reasons - not sure), but it means postage is above average - and you have to allow at least a week for delivery.

    But I do notice the difference for using it - things like getting rid of water retention and breast tenderness too, and helping to sleep slightly deeper.

    Oh edit: I do want to ask my GP if they will prescribe it - as at least 1 person (on the Facebook Wellsprings Page) has managed to do this.

    But I rarely go to the docs because of exhaustion (ironically) and stress because of family issues in the last couple of years which are time consuming, and foot/leg lymphoedema making it hard to get there.

  • I have just ordered Serenity mazb, but will have to work out how to ween myself off of 1Mg Elleste Duet, did not realize I was taking part estrogen and part progesterone, I thought it was an estrogen only pill, Dr prescribed it at the time and I just took it. :)

  • Will check it out mazb and 'Google' ;)

    Channel Islands sound a good place to buy from, you don't have to worry about buying over a certain amount like you do overseas, so hopefully easier to work out despite higher postage costs than in the UK. Have been already 'Googling' Prog and prices on line, but never know if it is the genuine item or not, some names look promising, but might only have small amounts of real Prog in them.

    I will ask my Doctor about it if my experiment of coming off HRT works, as it will be cheaper, I feel more normal today thank goodness, but eyes still dry,with deep pain, one of the main reasons I worry about coming off HRT as Estrogen I believe helps lubrication in all areas.

    Can't work out if my eye problem stems from Levo, HRT or just old age. :) (a year younger than yourself mazb, though when I forget to take my low dose ABC vitamins, my eyes play up, definitely something causing it that I can't get to the bottom of 'yet.'

    Could do with a big survey done for women patients with HRT/ Birth Control (or both) & Thyroids to see if it Estrogen that is causing a problem with women's thyroids.

    Sorry to hear of your stressful time mazb, I understand 'time consuming' helping others, think I might have a similar Tshirt to yours, does your T shirt also have 'The Sandwich Generation' written on it by any chance ?

    Might be worthwhile seeing your Doctor to get some bloods done if you say you are exhausted too. ?

    Many thanks.

    X

  • I also feel very strange on eastrogen, panic anxiety, sweating more than usual, I take 50/75 mg levothyroxine have done since I was diagnosed with menopause and hashimotos 4 years ago, looking back to my childhood I was always ill, 2 weeks before my cycle was due sweating a lot panic and anxiety, hundreds of anti depressants, therapy, nothing helped and I carried on for years, I have coil fitted for tiny amount of progesterone, and use ostigel so it's there on sin all day, my temp is 34.6/35.6 which is low, my gp thinks this is fine, I am shaking with cold and burning on my face, think will have to come off hrt again.

  • Go careful coming off the HRT Scampi1, I have now gone back on my estrogen HRT as coming off it too quick was a mistake, I had more hypo symptoms rather than menopausal symptoms. I know both the HRT and Levo have effects on one another so I take them at opposite hours of the day so they don't fight against each other.

    Sorry, I don't know anything about how progesterone works with one's body, only estrogen, maybe you would be much better on the Natural Desiccated Thyroid, (NDT) instead of the synthetic levo, I am trying to get onto the NDT stuff myself.

    Also you speak of anxiety, panic and sweating, ask other members if these symptoms are adrenal symptoms ? (though I might be wrong.)

    Sorry I can't input much, but hope you do sort it all soon.

    X