Weight gain with thyroid problems

My first posting, so I hope I can be precise: my doctor (now retired) diagnosed me with an under active thyroid 23 years ago. On Levothyroxine daily, now 125mcg, and 3 monthly blood tests. I also suffer from very bad migraines, on Rizatriptan 10mg when needed. I am also registered deaf following a virus 7 years ago. Yes I have gained weight over the years, but felt well, all medication in place, and take great care with a healthy lifestyle. Now a new doctor insists I must lose weight. 1m70 and 80 kilos. Sent me to an NHS weight class locally. I attended for 3 weeks, followed their advice, only to be weighed last Friday and have not lost one kilo. I was laughed at and told to go running around the park 2/3 times, feeling the sweat and increasing heartbeat!! I will not return. BUT I would like to lose some weight, any advice on a dietician who understands thyroid problems. My old doctor always told me it was the mixture of medication I was taking and I have been the same weight for the last 6 years. How do you cope with the weight gain? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

18 Replies

  • If they would give you a decent dose of thyroid medication, i.e. T4 with some T3 added, it might benefit you a lot.

    Weight gain is a clinical symptom of being hypothyroid and many lose it when they are on optimal medication. You might not be on optimum. If you can get a print-out of your latest blood tests for the thyroid gland, with the ranges, and post if you have them or on another question when you do get them, members will respond.

    It is quite usual for some doctors to keep their patients' TSH level within the 'normal' range when we should be around 1 or below to feel really well. Sometimes the addition of a little T3 might do the trick but many doctors won't prescribe it.

    When hypothyroid our metabolism is very low initially and that causes weight gain. A couple of links.



    Maybe your GP would like to read the first link.

    If you haven't had a recent blood test for your Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate ask for these as we are usually deficient and it can cause problems.

  • Thank you for replying. And I will ask my doctor for another blood test for iron etc. but whether she will agree. Since taking over when my doctor retired, she changed my medication to cheaper version, which made me very sick, so she had to reinstate the expensive originals. The weight loss programme was a free NHS one, 3 weeks of stress, no loss and to be ridiculed last Friday too. Who else could I consult? Thank you.

  • If our metabolism isn't high enough with sufficient medication, it would be very difficult to lose weight, even if you ate nothing for 3 days.

    Do you have a copy of your latest blood test results with the ranges that you could post on a new question, for comments. To be ridiculed is beyond the pale by doctors or anyone dealing with people who are overweight. I think it is very unprofessional. Maybe they think they can insult people into doing the impossible and they are just ignorant of the effects of low metabolism.

  • latest blood test results:-

    30th January 2015 - Thyroid function test

    Serum free T4 level = 16.8 pmol/L (10.50 - 24.50)

    Serum TSH level = 0.90 mU/L (0.30 - 4.00)

    On the November 2014 - there are no results but a comment " normal FT4 and slightly raised TSH suggests subclinical hypothyroidism. Provided the patient does not become symptomatic suggest TFTs are monitored annually"

    On the 4th September 2014 no thryroid tests but a full blood count was done with results normal apart from:

    Red Blood Cell Distribution width = 15.4% (11.60 -14.00) Marked with a !

    Can anyone please advise on these results? Thank you.

  • Hi Sue

    If you copy and paste the above into a new question, giving a short resume, i.e. when first diagnosed and dose you now take plus about weight gain, so that you will have more responses. Since the your previous post was five days ago and some will not have seen your original post. I think you could do with an increase as your T4 is quite low. Doctors are quite happy with a TSH but many patients aren't.

  • Thank you for your reply. I will ask my doctor for the last 2 blood tests results. I have always been on Levothyroxine, now 125mcg per day. Nothing else. No vitamins. Why won't doctors prescribe T3? Too expensive? I had that problem with my migraine tablets, this doctor changed them to generic ones without telling me. They made me very sick, and I finally got the originals back whilst being told 63p instead of £2.65, I was bankrupting the NHS. Also have never seen an endocrinologist.

  • The MHRA says that expensive doesn't come into it if the doctor believes the patient needs it. I am sure he can prescribe at least 10mcg (half a tablet) and it might make a big difference.

    The NHS don't give vitamins, I believe, Just Vit D if you are deficient. You may be in the normal range but low so a supplement would be beneficial. The same goes for Vit B12.

  • Thank you.

  • Your BMI is 27.7. That's just a bit overweight. Statuarial tables indicate that this is not a threat to life expectancy, in fact the opposite. Just don't get heavier. That's what they are telling patients here in Canada now because weightloss diets don't work. Losing weight and keeping it off is a lifestyle change. And you can change your lifestyle, lose the weight, keep it off for years and then BOOM!!! Something terrible happens in life and you can start all over again.

    Apparently it makes no difference if someone loses weight fast or slow. Just losing it fast is more psychologically encouraging.

    (Obesity research is so boring and useless.)

    I suffer from 'serving size creep'.... i.e. I know how much 1 serving looks like and then it grows bigger..... and so do I. LOL!

  • Thank you. No I do not put weight on, neither lose it. Have a very healthy lifestyle and diet. My weight has been the same for 6 years now. But have a new doctor who decided to change all my medicine - to save money, but made me so sick, she had to reinstate the expensive originals. Now I must lose weight. I have tried but found the 3 last weeks at the weight loss clinic very stressful and ended up bring laughed at and told to run round the park ! Oh dear, I wonder what she will come up with next?

    Thank you again for taking the time to reply.

  • Just ignore her! Or tell her that if she wants you to lose weight, she should give you a bit of T3! I bet yours is on the low side. Not that you have a lot of weight to lose, anyway!

    New Young doctors are so ignorant about thyroid. They just don't learn about it in med school. And it's very rare to find a doctor of any age that knows anything about nutrition and weight-loss. They just don't do it! They have the antiquated idea that calories in vs calories out equals weight-loss. But it just isn't like that. It's far more complicated than that.

    You have to stand up to her, don't let her boss you around. She isn't there to tell you what to do, she's there to advise you. But you have to give your consent to anything she suggests - and saying nothing is counted as consent! Just tell her that you are perfectly fine the way you are, and that's an end to it!

    As for those morons at the clinic, words fail me! (But I'll make an effort! lol) How dare they treat people like that! The trouble is, some people become obsessed with diets and exercise and losing weight, etc, and have no compassion for those that don't adhere to the same religion or are unable to lose weight due to a medical condition. Stay away from them! Running round the park is not the right thing for you. Your metabolism is compromised, and over-exercising will just make things worse, because it uses up your T3. And, until they learn to treat hypos properly, running is mostly out of the question, I'm afraid.

    Hugs, Grey

  • Thank you for replying. No I am not returning to the weight loss clinic, just degrading to be laughed at because I was the same weight. They knew I had thyroid problems, but still told me to run round the park, which frankly as you say is dangerous. My doctor knows I am not a pushover as when she took over last year she changed my medication, without telling me, to cheaper generic versions. Even the chemist gave them to me without saying a word. I just thought the supplier had changed as the boxes change every time. The new medicine made me very sick. I did some investigating and found out that legally both the doctor and the chemist must advise me before handing out this generic stuff. So saw the doctor and asked for the original one back. After 30 minutes of discussion, she stated that the generic tablet was 63p and the original £2.65, so did I realise that I was bankrupting the NHS. But I won the argument. The chemist was shocked.

    Back to my thyroid, I will ask for my latest blood test results on paper. Have never been offered T3.

  • How dare she say that!!! You aren't bankrupting the NHS, it's doctors like her that don't know how to diagnose and treat thyroid and hand out prescriptions for things like antiDs, statins, PPIs and other rubbish to treat symptoms rather than give the patient a decent dose of the hormone s/he needs! Oh, I would have given her a mouthful for that! A rotten doctor and a rubbish economist! lol Ignore her!

    Also, they have a tendency to believe that generic is just as good as the brand, and that patients are making it up/ imagining that it's not as good. Probably, for some patients, it doesn't make any difference, but for those of us who are sensitive to that sort of thing...

    Well, if that's the way she is - a money-minded-doctor - she won't prescribe T3, that's for sure! The NHS allows itself to be robbed blind by the manufacturers of T3 to the detriment of the patient. But you could buy it yourself, it's much cheaper from Mexico or Turkey.

  • Thank you. No I was not angry but well prepared and very calm. I had the chance to meet a retired pharmacist who advised me on generic tablets and their additives that can often disagree with the patient. I have seen Armour thyroid tablet sold on Amazon, is that recommended to take?

  • What a shame re the new GP!!! Do you feel well at the weight you are which has been stable all this time? Are you developing other conditions as a result of this alleged excess weight your new GP is worrying about.

    Am I correct in saying that surgeries get extra points for referring patients through for exercise regimes? Call me a cynic.....

    I would ask for a copy of your latest thyroid blood test results and post them on here.

  • Thank you for replying. No other conditions. Yes all referrals gain points, and cheaper medication saves money. I will ask for copies of my latest blood test.

  • Hi, I have been doing the same weight loss programme for 6 weeks and have managed to lose weight. I am on a combination of T4 &T3 and I take the pill to control my migraines. All previous attempts to lose weight had failed. See if there is another class in the area and go and talk to them you are not tied to one class. some of the consultants are better than others. Try not to lose heart I have gained and stayed the same weight on 3 weeks. It also took me several weeks to get to grips with everything. Good luck

  • Thank you for replying. I would like to ask a question : you say you are on a combination of T4 and T3, now I have always been on Levothyroxine, dosages up and down, now 125 mcg per day. Nothing else, no vitamins either. Last visit to Doctor told her that I felt quite down and tired, could I take iron for a boost, she said no all bloods were fine and iron would not help. I will ask for copies of my last 2 blood tests. Have you seen a thyroid specialist? And whom? No I am not returning to the weight loss clinic, degrading.

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