Thyroid UK
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Help :(

I was hoping someone can help, I've had an under active thyroid since I was 14, so 10 years and I'm on thyroxine, I've managed to keep my weight under control but recently it seems there's nothing I can do, I eat a healthy balanced diet and am very careful and exercise when I can, I've been to the doctors several times but as I'm not obese (yet) they don't take me seriously but I want to get this under control before it reaches this stage, please if anyone can help?

8 Replies

Hi lauramc

I am sorry you were so young to be diagnosed as hypothyroid. It may be that, ten years later, you need an adjustment in your levothyroxine (T4) or the addition of some liothyronine (T3). Liothyronine is the active hormone we require in all our receptor cells and T4 is inactive and should convert to sufficient T3 but doesn't always.

The first thing to do is to get a new blood test for your thyroid gland, if you haven't had one recently and ask your GP for a Full Thyroid Function Test, which is TSH, T4, T3, Free T4 and Free T3. He may not do them all as some labs don't do anything other than the TSH and if it is 'within range' that's all the may do.

Don't take T4 on the morning of the test, take it afterwards. Also have the test as early as possible. Get a print-out of your results, with the ranges, a few days later and post them on a new question for comments. Also, if you haven't had a recent Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate ask for these too as we can be deficient. If you take T4 at bedtime, miss this dose and take after test. You can also take the night dose as usual if you wish.

Some can gain weight if our TSH isn't low enough, i.e. around 1 or below. Also T4 may not raise our metabolism sufficiently so weight is gained.

Weight gain on levothyroxine is one of the most common questions on this forum.


Hi Laura, they are reluctant to do free T3 testing in the UK, probably because they are reluctant to prescribe T3...too expensive I guess. This seems to be a pervasive problem in the UK. You are too young to be stuck in this scenario as it is probably going to get worse. One problem is your low metabolism does not burn calories as normal people. I've read 17 less calories per hour. This may not sound like much but several hundred calories a day will add up. If your thyroid is low, and if you cut calories, your adrenal gland might down regulate your TSH to conserve even more calories. This situation is so wrong that some people here have decided to acquire their own T3 or NDT (which contains a little T3 by the way) and even do their own thyroid testing through Blue Horizon.

Please read some of the experiences here that sound so much like yours.

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HI In addition to import suggested bloods ask for a diabetes test Hb A 1c as it is common with thyroid issues as both autoimmune and hormonal with similar symptoms, It should be tested annually if thyroid disease. Other than that the most important tests are t4 and Free T3.

The tests you had are mildly raised which is not important although probably related to slight infection or inflammation.

Best wishes,


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Don't forget that weght gain can creep up if you are involved in less physical activity as you continue to grow older. Reflect on how things have changed. E.g did you have gym sessions at school, were you walking/dancing more? If so, you might like to up you activiy a bit to see if that makes a difference.

Best wishes


Couldnt you find a doctor who would do the right testing and maybe prescribe you a natural thyroid hormone like armour or a synthectic thyroid hormone that has T4 and T3 worth a try?


I have heard or read somewhere that t2, which R bodies make and is found in natural dessicated thyroid, but not the synthetic that we get prescribed in the UK, is important in the burning of fat and may be why some of us still have problems keeping weight normal despite being on meds. It may seem expensive to buy natural thyroid when you are getting synthetic free, however even adding a little to a synthetic prescription can help give us the things we need to feel more normal, so it doesn't just have to be about taking natural instead of t4. Something to consider and research for yourself.


In addition to what I said below about t1 I also want to say to you that the worse thing any one can do is go on a diet. Trying to control what you eat, cutting calories back, worrying about food is a viscous circle that ultimately leads to a miserable fatter life. When we do this not only do we lower our metabolism further but we think about food all the time. The best thing you can do is try to maintain a natural relationship with food where you listen to your body, eat when you feel hungry, try to eat a varied diet with lots of fruit and veg and make sure you walk, ride a bike etc a few times a week.

I speak from experience, as a teenager I was ' plump ' I became so obsessed with what I ate that I veered between bulimia and starving, calorie counting and things like the Cambridge diet which involved eating 330 calories a day. Did this work ? No! I got fatter, more miserable and my relationship with food was totally messed up where all I did was think about when I was allowed to eat. Now I would love to be that 10 stone person because how much do I weigh now? At least 16 stone and yet I have spent the best part of the past 30 years trying to be slim. Please don't waste your life in the same way.


Lauramac, I think it's possibly a good thing they don't take you seriously! What do you think they are going to do about it? Give you diet pills? Could wreck your liver and kidneys? Bariatric surgery? You could die of starvation (no kidding). Tell you to eat less and exercise more? That will only make you worse!

Sulamaye has already said that the worst thing you could do is go on a diet, and she's right. If you cut your calories too much, you are not going to have any to help you convert your T4 to T3. If you are putting on weight, the odds are that your T3 is already way too low, so cutting your calories would mean you have even less T3 and would put on even more weight.

Same goes for exercise, but not only does it use up your precious calories, it also uses up your precious T3! But doctors don't understand that - they are woefully Under-educated on all things thyroid. And nutrition! They have this ingrained believe that calories in vs calories out = weight loss. It doesn't when your hypo - not a great solution even when you're not hypo!

So, the bottom line is, you need more T3. Now, not having seen your test results, we don't know how well you are converting. Could be that you're not converting very well, which could be due to low calorie intake, or nutritional deficiencies - most hypos have them. So you need to check.

Or, it could be that you're not on enough T4 to begin with. In which case, you need an increase in dose. So, wht do you do if your doctor won't give you one? Change your doctor, perhaps, or ask to see an endo. But first of all, you need all the tests done that people have suggested below. Then, you need to get a print out of your results - never just take your doctor's word for anything! He has his own agenda. Then, you post them on here, and people will be better able to advise you.

Hugs, Grey


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