Was diagnosed with the above medical condition, 10 days ago......and feel positive about the future. I have felt ill for so long, without understanding why, that to know I actually have a condition which explains my ill feelings is great. To know that it is a very treatable condition, however, is excellent. Have been highly active all my working life and never sit down. I have true worker hands! I have always been a side 10 and very slim so to suddenly experience a rounded bloated middle - particularly the upper abdomen is not only highly uncomfortable but very expensive! Like so many others, I put all my symptoms down to getting older.etc etc. However, it was very demoralizing.

Today I feel more energised than I have for many many months so I think the Levothyroxine is now beginning to work.... Stomach still very bloated and very very uncomfortable - (has seemed to get worse not better)......but I am hoping that this condition will also abate very soon.

Would love to hear if anyone else suffers this bloated, full uncomfortable feeling in the upper abdomen?

Shon Davis

12 Replies

  • Welcome to the forum, Shon2015.

    It takes 7-8 days for Levothyroxine to be absorbed before it starts working and up to six weeks to feel the full impact of a dose. It's likely to take a few months, possibly up to a year, before you feel well but you will be experiencing improvement along the way.

    You should have a follow-up blood test in 6-8 weeks to check levels as you may need a dose increase. Leave 24 hours between last dose and blood draw. TSH is highest early in the morning and before food, so have an early fasting test (water only.)

    Dose increases are usually in 25mcg increments every 6-8 weeks until TSH is between 1-2. Most people are comfortable with TSH just above or below 1.0 with FT4 in the upper quadrant of range.

    For maximum absorption Levothyroxine should be taken with water on an empty stomach, one hour before, or two hours after food and drink, 2 hours away from other medication and supplements and 4 hours away from iron, calcium, vitamin D and oestrogen.

    Low stomach acid is common in hypothyroid patients and makes digestion difficult causing bloating, gas and constipation. You can aid digestion by raising stomach acid by taking Betaine Pepsin, or raw apple cider vinegar in fruit juice or honey-sweetened water, before meals. If that doesn't help with bloating you may want to try a 100% Gluten-free diet for a few months to see whether symptoms improve.


  • What a lovely surprise to get a response to my post! And thanks for referring to the most concerning issue for me at mo (bloated and full upper and lower abdomen). The swelling of my upper abdomen came on quite quickly about 7 weeks ago and I feel as though I have been filled up with water like the michelin man! So, it feels more like water rather than gas (and I do not suffer with flatulence at present). Is this what others experience?

    by the way, thanks for taking the time to reply . shon

  • Shond, it takes people differently, some retain water, others get gas, some flatulence and the unlucky get all of them. I had a lot of acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion and flatulence. My dogs didn't care for the farting and would sidle out of the room. Happily it became a thing of the past once thyroid replacement was optimal.

  • I was diagnosed as hypo about 6 weeks ago and at that point I couldn't do up any of my clothes and looked very pregnant!! My stomach was hugely distended to the point where I was waddling. It was rock hard and incredibly uncomfortable.

    Six weeks into taking Levothyroxine I'm pleased to say I am back in my jeans and it has gone down significantly. I am not optimally medicated yet but there has been definite improvement and hopefully there will be for you too. Be patient.

  • thank you so much for this info about your own experience. Having been slim and healthy all my life and active cattle farmer...it does come as a bit of a shock doesn't it. Its very encouraging to know that others have similar symptoms and that it may get better! I was just worried that the symptoms related to Ovarian Cancer. I really appreciate your reply. Thank you. :) Sonia

  • I can identify exactly with everything you are saying. I was diagnosed five weeks ago and whilst I am still highly symptomatic I feel better knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have not yet lost any weight but hopefully when I am optimally medicated and my metabolism starts to work properly again this will be resolved. Like you my distended abdomen is horrible. I have dramatically reduced my wheat intake by about 99% over the last couple of weeks and have felt much better. My bloating has reduced but not gone completely. Yesterday I couldn't resist a mouthful of banana cake and unbelievably my abdomen swelled again within hours! I have read on this forum that maybe it is best to wait until my levels are sorted before going gluten free but cutting out wheat so far has really helped.

  • Wow....honestly, its almost a relief to know someone else has the same thing and similar symptoms - horrid as that may be!! Is your bloated swelling in the upper abdomen, just beneath your bra? Sonia

  • Yes, just below my bra is the awful 'football' shape but I also suffer around the middle too. Everything there just swells up with wheat and I can barely fasten my jeans. V

  • Lots of us have given up Gluten.. the gluten molecule apparently looks like a thyroid molecule and our immune systems are confused by the two. You could cut it out for 10 days and if the bloat goes then you are in the same boat as lots of us, reduced to Gluten Free but feeling lots better... Good Luck..

  • Thanks. Will give it a go.

  • I suggest you gop completely Gluten free as this is likely to end the bloated feeling

  • Hello

    Thanks for your reply and advice- Shon

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