Help - constant fatigue and catching every bug ... - Thyroid UK

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Help - constant fatigue and catching every bug going!


I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid about 2 years ago, after a prolonged spell of exhaustion and regular illness. I'm on 25mg of Levothyroxine a day. Since then I've continued to be constantly tired, but the worst bit is that I seem to catch every bug going. I'm being floored by flu-like symptoms at least once every 4-6 weeks, for at least a week at a time, even through the summer. My vitamin B and D are a bit low, despite taking multi-vitamins, but not too drastic. My GP thinks everything is fine and I've just been a bit unlucky with bugs.

I've tried going gluten-free, but that didn't make any difference (and I've been tested for coeliac, which came back negative). I've tried to get fitter - but the in-between-bouts-of-flu spells aren't long enough, and I faint quite often during or after rigorous exercise. Saying that, I am still trying to do swim or walk a few times a week. I've tried eating super healthy. I rarely go out, or do anything, as I just want to sleep.

Any ideas? I want my life back.

My last results were:

TSH = 3.2

Free T4 = 17

Vitamin B12 = 287 (up from 194 at previous)

Serum folate = 5.4

Vitamin D = 53

17 Replies

Hi, me too slightest bug going around and I get it,but really bad, what are the ranges of your lasdt test that's the ones in brackets, if you repost someone will be able to advise you better. I too had every test under the sun and all came back fine my t4 was up a little but that's fine it was 22.9 (12-22). Tsh 0.22(22-42),

I bet you need more thyroxine, but I am not medically trained, it's only from reading things on here and the replies from others that I make any sense of anything.

Good luck c

CJ01 in reply to Scampi1

Thanks for a quick reply. My results we're:

TSH = 3.2 (normal 0.2-4.5)

Free T4 = 17 (normal 9-21)

Vitamin B12 = 287 (normal 180-2,000)

Serum folate = 5.4 (normal 2.8-20)

Vitamin D = 53 (no normal range given)

My doctor's insistent I don't need more Levothyroxine, but I'm not sure. I'll read a few more replies, and may try taking 2 pills a day for a while to see if that helps. I can't feel any worse!

Thanks again,


Any ideas? Definitely I have one - sack your GP if you have been on 25mcg of levothyroxine for 2 years. No wonder you are unwell. I just don't understand why some GPs appear useless.

Have you been on 25mcg for 2 years?

CJ01 in reply to shaws

Yes, nearly 3 years now. Have seen 3 different GPs in the last year - including one private, separate from my usual clinic. All say my dose is fine and all reckon I'm just unlucky with bugs. Today the doc told me it was normal to have 5-10 episodes of infection/illness a year and I was in that range.

shawsAdministrator in reply to CJ01

First, cursor down to the date November 28, 2003 to read:

The other questions on the page may interest you as well. At the top of the page are other topics as well.

Email and ask for a copy of the Pulse Online article and read question 6 and discuss it with your GP., you will see how low our TSH can go without any danger and even suppressed.

When you get blood tests for your thyroid gland in future, do NOT take levothyroxine in the morning, take it afterwards as it skews our blood tests. Your Vitamin B12 is woefully low. Supplement with either tablets or spray. It must be methylcobalamin B12. I would go for the higher dose. If you order through Amazon, get a small donation to help with their office etc.

CJ01 in reply to shaws

Thank you!

25 mcg is a starting dose and should have been increased. Your GP has probably made you worse not better. Your TSH is too high for someone on medication. Go back and ask for an increase to 50. You probably need more but one step at a time. Also ask for blood tests for iron, Ferritin

CJ01 in reply to Hennerton

Thanks, I've asked for that before, but they just did a full blood count, and my Haemoglobin looks ok - 130 v normal range of 115-160. I'll try again!

Sorry sent before finished. A full iron panel would be useful. My GP refused to do this originally. When she did, I was found to be very anaemic but it did not show with just an iron test . Low iron would explain your flu like symptoms.


You are lucky really to be on your feet at all, without trying to also do exercises except the gentlest walk. If we are not on sufficient medication, it puts a strain on every part of our body particularly the heart as we don't have the hormones to do things normally. The thyroid gland runs our whole metabolism and if hypo everything slows down, heart rate, pulse etc. etc.

CJ01 in reply to shaws

I get that, but I've always been fit and active. And I can't believe letting myself get unfit will help me, so I have to keep trying, even if I can't do anything like what I should be able to.

shawsAdministrator in reply to CJ01

I understand how you feel and it is upsetting you cannot do what you used to at the moment. Take T3 for instance (the active hormone which has to get into the billions of cells in our bodies), which levothyroxine should convert to sufficiently in order to help you recover. Exercising when you are not on an optimum medication reduces T3 and our receptor cells need T3, the brain contains the most cells. The fact that you are on the barest minimum amount of levo would lead one to believe you haven't sufficient thyroid hormones to convert and your body must be struggling.

Thanks. I'll push for that when I go back next week. I haven't had T3 or ferritin checked.

Hi :)

One thing that struck me when reading your post was the way you describe the flu like symptoms every 4-6 weeks. I've experienced those symptoms many times on my journey, for the past 5 years. They are not usually a bug with me but symptoms of my hypothyroidism and subsequently not enough medication. It's usually accompanied by feeling very heavy, extremely lethargic, low mood, some brain fog and general bleurgh.

C101, That B12 still needs to be much higher. That alone could be causing you to feel bad!

But as others have said, you should be on a much higher dose of levo. I cannot understand doctors leaving you on a starting dose for little old ladies with heart disease! You should have been tested after 6 weeks and your dose increased by 25 mcg. And that process should have continued until all your symptoms were gone and you were on an optimal dose FOR YOU. Test results are more or less irrelevant. It's how you feel that counts. And if your doctors don't know that then they are guilty of gross negligence!

And, as others have said, give up the rigorous exercise, for goodness sake! I'm not surprised you faint. I'm surprised you've survived this far! You are only making yourself worse like that. You are using up all your T3 and cannot replace it. How do you expect to survive like that? You cannot live without T3.

What do you call 'eating super-healthy'? I'm always interested when people say that, because one man's idea of healthy is another man's recipe for disaster! lol My question always is : are you getting enough calories? Are you eating enough fat? And enough salt? Because many things that have been considered 'healthy' in the past, are now known not to be healthy at all! And if you're eating the wrong things, that could be making you feel bad, too.

Have you noticed what you eat at the time you start to feel flu-like? Could it be caused by something you're eating? Do you eat soy? Because that is considered 'healthy', but it is really, really bad for us hypos - even more than for the general population (soy is NOT a health food!).

So there are lots of things to investigate, besides needing more Levo and B12, and if you give us more détails, we could help you sort it out.

Hugs, Grey

CJ01 in reply to greygoose

Thanks. And to everyone for help. By super-healthy I meant I'd been really focussing on loads of fruit and veg (12-15 portions a day) and reducing sugar/salt/fat. I wanted to see if taking in a lot more vitamins helped. Nothing faddy! Anyway I think my next steps are to get my t3 and ferritin tested and to get my dose increased.

greygoose in reply to CJ01

Well, there you are, then! Reducing salt and fat isn't as healthy as you've been lead to believe!

Your body needs salt. Your heart needs salt and your adrenals, especially, need salt. Some people drink a spoonful of salt in a glass of water every day to support their adrenals.

Your body needs fat! Forget the myths about cholesterol, it isn't going to kill you. Your brain is mainly made up of cholesterol. And your adrenals need it to make sex hormones. No fat, no testosterone, progesterone, etc. You are already hormonally compromised by having thyroid problems, cutting out fat can only make it worse! And eating fat is not going to make you fat. The opposite, infact. Eating fat satisfies you and you aren't tempted to nibble between meals. Those that eat the most fat, lose the most weight.

Also, did you know that some fruit and veg - the cabbage family, pears, strawberries, spinach, and quite a few others - can be bad for hypos. They contain what are called goitrogens which impede the up-take of iodine by the thyroid gland. Not all goitrogens are bad for all hypos, but if you're sensitive to some of them, that can make you very, very tired. Besides, being as hypo as you are, there's no guarantee that eating all that produce will give you extra vitamins because there's a possibility that you aren't absorbing all the nutrients.

So, you see, your diet isn't as 'super healthy' as you think it is. Also, it doesn't sound as if you're getting many calories. You need calories for every bodily process - including conversion of T4 to T3. If you're not getting enough, you won't convert - which is difficult enough for a lot of hypos as it is! Especially with all that exercise! If you get enough fat in your diet, you don't need to count calories, you just eat what you body needs. So, if I were you, I would have a close look at what you're eating and make sure you're getting enough of the essentials.

The important thing is that all your food is fresh. No processed food. Cook everything from scratch. That way you avoid all the chemicals and préservatives and possible soy and refined sugar. But there are good sugars, you know. Like coconut flower sugar. Very low glycemic index. Nice caramelly flavour. It's refined sugar that is bad.

Hugs, Grey

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