New and terrified

Hello, I've just been diagnosed with hypo and have started on 50mg levothyroxine. I've been googling and researching and keep reading about people gaining weight (I'm already plump enough!) and getting panicky on Levo, also the feeling worse before you feel better is a bit daunting. I only went to the GP because I've been feeling exhausted for a while and this thyroid diagnosis has come as a shock. Don't really know where to start and hope the medication gives me a bit more energy. Acidly on reading the symptoms I'm surprised how many I've had and not realised for some time. Any advice would be much appreciated.

18 Replies

  • Welcome to the forum, Laura_leianne.

    It will take 7-10 days to absorb Levothyroxine before it starts to work and up to six weeks to feel the full impact of the dose. It's likely 50mcg dose will need increasing after a blood test in a few weeks. Dose adjustments are usually in 25mcg increments every 6-8 weeks until TSH is between 1-2.

    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 medication and supplements, and 4 hours away from iron, calcium, vitamin D and oestrogen.

    You will need a thyroid blood test in 6-8 weeks to check levels. Have an early, fasting test (water only) as TSH is highest early in the morning and before eating and drinking. Take your Levothyroxine dose after the blood draw. Results may be available 48 hours later. Ask your GP receptionist for a printout of the results and lab ranges (figures in brackets after results) and post them in a new question for advice and comment.

  • Thanks for the welcome and the advice. I'll ask for a print out after my next blood tests so I can get some tips here. Seems like there's lots to learn about managing (or hopefully managing) this condition.

  • Laura_Leianne, probably THE most important thing is to see your results and never accept they're 'normal' or 'fine' from a doctor. It is manageable but it's a slow process.

    May as well give you a heads up now that vitamins and minerals matter when you're hypothyroid. Ask your GP to test ferritin, vitamin D, B12 and folate when you have your next blood test. They're often deficient/low in hypothyroid patients and getting levels optimal helps thyroid and general wellbeing.

  • Is it worth starting to take a multivitamin anyway in case? I'm due for follow up blood test in 8 weeks to see if my levels are improving with meds. Hate needles but I gusse I will have to get used to them. Thanks for the tips. I will ask about getting the other levels done with next bloods.

  • Laura_Leianne, a multi-vit rarely has enough of anything to help low levels but it won't hurt. If it has iron in it take it 4 hours away from Levothyroxine.

  • Hello Laura_leianne,

    Welcome to our forum.

    Clutter has already given you excellent advice but I just wanted to add that it is wise to educate yourself in order to understand your condition.

    A good read is "Your Thyroid and How To Keep It Healthy" by Dr Barry Durrant Peatfield.


  • Hello Laura_leianne,

    I was diagnosed 10 days ago so am also a newbie here. It's a great forum with masses of info - but don't panic about trying to get your head around everything at once.

    I have spent the last week popping in and out, reading a bit, crying a lot, sleeping, not sleeping and just giving myself time to take on board that things have changed in my body.

    Accepting this has completely changed my outlook - I was at despair on Wednesday and shared it here - the outpouring of tlc and support from folks was lovely. By yesterday (end of week one on the meds), I had started to feel a bit less foggy and I am sharing the good days too.

    I agree with everyone, getting lots of info is important, and I have decided to read a bit at a time so I don't feel overwhelmed and am going to bear in mind that we are not all the same and I may take longer or less time to adjust, find my level etc. etc.

    Once you have your results the folks on here will be able to help you interpret them x

  • Clutter has given her usual excellent advice. You may feel little difference on 50mg but your body has to become used to it. Then more tests and probable increases every 6-8 weeks until the GP says you are "normal" based on blood tests.You should feel better but maybe not normal ! After 9 months I wanted more T4 but was refused ,after 12 months I had a holiday in a very hot place and felt great,when I returned I was worse than before but as the weather improved another four months on I feel much better and am now about 90% but worry in case the winter will make me worse.Unfortunately there is no quick fix.

  • Yes Treepie,

    I so agree. The cold definitely makes our illness worse.

    Enjoy the sunshine while it is here.


  • Thanks all for the encouraging words and support. This seems like a great forum and I will be here on a regular basis to learn more and share my experiences. Lizzie I'm glad you're starting to feel a little better, it a lot to take in. I was hoping the GP would say there's nothing much wrong but here's some iron tablets and u should feel better soon! I'm on my second day of levothyroxine so it's very early days here. Thanks again. x

  • Hi I am also new to hypothyroidism and am now four weeks into ,50mcg levo. I had a poor first ten days then felt much better for a week or so then felt very sluggish again. I looked at my diary and realised (with help from the forum) that I had stopped taking my supplements as the blood tests told me I was within range. I understand now that I need to keep taking supplements until I am within a higher normal range and what feels comfortable for me.

    I have the peatfield book and this has helped me understand much more. It still feels complex situation but now I have a more basic understanding and know what to ask of my GP who has been good so far.

    It really helps having this forum with so many people in the same boat.


  • Hi Padster7 can I ask what supplements you are taking? Should I be taking them as well? The forum seems great and loads of nice people here to give support. I will pick up the peatfield book and do some studying. Thanks for your message :)

  • Ur bound to be terrified I was 26 when I had my diagnosis. It made me bitter. People who don't have it are very judgemental, only we know how we feel. It's great u found this forum so Early in ur diagnosis. It's taken me years to find a place like this. Everyone is so lovely and so helpful and seem to know hell of alot better than docs. I'm not a newbie to hypo but a newbie to forum only been here few months ever need a chat just msg xx hope u feel better soon x

  • Thanks Razzar that's very kind of you. I'm just hoping that the medication will help and at least there are lots of people here who can give me some advice. Everyone's been so welcoming.x

  • Ur welcome hun and u are in good hands here people are so wonderful better than some forums I been on hope u feel better soon babe x

  • Hi laura_leianne

    My blood results showed I was in the lower range for ferrtin, vitamin D and B12. I have ordered some B12 lozenges and some vit D spray. I am currently taking a multi-vit called vitabiotic hairfollic as I was losing hair. This contains the vits I am deficient in. I supplement this withan extra Iron &vit c tablet to increase my iron and an extra vit d tablet. I also have liquid evening primrose at night. I take my levo first thing then take supplements at least 4 hours after this.

    My next bloods are due in a week or so, will see what effect this has.

  • You don't say whether you have tested positive for thyroid antibodies. If you have, then you can expect your dose of thyroxine to need increasing regularly as your thyroid responds to the antibody attack by shutting down. This can take months or years. I was diagnosed about 3-4 years ago now and have slowly increased my dose of Levothyroxine from the 50mcg starting dose up to 150mcg. I may even start taking a little bit more now autumn seems to have set in if I start to feel colder than everyone else around me again. I managed to convince my doctor to go by the FT4 result rather than the TSH on the principle that "It's not what goes into the thyroid that matters, it's what comes out of it".

    Good luck, and it's not the end of the world. I would rather have hypothyroidism than cancer for instance. You will need to take your health into your own hands and become your own thyroid expert. After all it's your thyroid and your health.

  • Hi Eeng, I don't know about the thyroid antibodies. I know that my TSH level was way over what it should be and my thyroid level itself was low. I will have to read up on things a bit more before my next blood test.

    It's day 5 on the tablets and I must say I think I feel even more tired than I did before starting to take them! I know it usually takes about two weeks to start feeling an improvement so fingers crossed. x

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