Is there a link between being hypo and fainting?

Hi. I am hypothyroid (I have my thyroid but it's simply not working for some reason). I was put on Levothyroxine when I was diagnosed, that was 9 years ago. After listening blindly to my doctor for 6 years I had enough and decided to get myself out of the misery. I first tried with NDT listening to all the wonderful stories about it. I was taking it for 8-9 months and realized that in my case it was not "wonderful" at all. But I didn't give up on my wish to get better. I went back to Levo, but the lower dose and I added T3. After a while a big change started for me - for the better of course. So, basically I am fine now. But there is one thing that is on my mind all this time. Before I was diagnosed and while on Levo alone and later on NDT I was fainting quite often, that at the end I was put on Lamictal (medication for epilepsy). This all stopped since I am feeling better on my T3 so I even stopped taking Lamictal on my own. I don't faint anymore. Now I am wondering was this all because I was not properly treated for being hypo, or there is no connection since I don't see other hypo people mentioning that they had this as one of the symptoms? If anyone experienced something similar would be nice to finally know the answer. Thanks.

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19 Replies

  • Sofitel Hi, yes i get many really severe dizzy spells, mainly when I'm getting out of my car and I'm not sure why I've never gone over. Been like it when I was on levo and now NDT. I assume its because levo was not working for me and I've not hit my sweet spot yet on NDT. I used to speak to my gp's about this often and all they would do was take my BP and say thats fine so dont worry about it, complete waste of time.

  • Also, and I dont know if its related, but if when standing I tilt my head back and look at the ceiling I'll usually get a dizzy spell.

  • Thanks Thor. Well my doctor didn't dismiss it but he gave me medication that practically didn't have any effect on me, just useless. He never even took in consideration that it might be connected with me being hypothyroid.

  • There can be many underlying causes of syncope (fainting or passing out), but blood pressure that's too low and therefore decreases flow of blood to the brain, is typical in hypothyroidism, so this may well have been the cause for you.

  • Strangely enough until I introduced T3 in my life I had high blood pressure. Now it's normal.

  • My husband often fainted before his hypothyroid got diagnosed

  • Thank you for sharing. It's comforting to know that this was not happening only to me and that those two thing are connected.

  • Sofitel, my FT3 was very low on Levothyroxine and I was suffering palpitations and dizziness which made me feel very faint. There were many times I felt everything going black and would have passed out if I hadn't sat down for 5-10 minutes. On T4+T3 FT3 is good and I no longer experience the dizziness.

  • In my case those were not only dizzy spells, I was literally loosing consciousness. I would suddenly feel like people and things around me were like far away in some other dimension and suddenly nothing. Sometimes I would wake of the floor, sometimes somebody would hold me not to hurt myself falling. People who saw me unconscious said that I was cold and white, some thought that I am dead. While I was "waking up' I always felt like blood is returning to my body. I was usually unconscious for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • I used to have frequent fainting spells when left for 10yrs on 50mcgs T4.It was mostly followed by nausea and left me drained for days.My GP never related it to my thyroid just said I'd had a good clear out!! It destroyed my confidence and I started avoiding the big occasion,not knowing how I would be.I often wondered if it was related to low cortisol or adrenal problems but nothing was ever done for me in that direction.

    Thankfully,once referred to my Endo he prescribed T3 for me and things gradually improved and now I am fine.However, when I think how debilitating hypothyroidism can be for some people I could scream,but these days I try not to look back.

    I am just so thankful to have found Thyroid UK and this forum,who helped put me on the road to recovery and also grateful to my Endo who thought beyond T4 Levo!!

  • Marfit, I know exactly how you feel. I was embarrassed, too. Once it happened to me on important gathering at my job, I was always afraid that it will happen to me when I had something important to do, or if I am somewhere where I can hurt or kill myself while falling. So, same as you I started to avoid people, places... This all stopped since I take T3, never happened since then, but no doctor helped me with that, I decided to get it and add it to my levo all alone. Now I am so glad that I did.

  • Sofitel I have complete sympathy for you having to go through that too.It was the most distressing symptom I suffered and completely destroyed me.I never completely regained my confidence after those incidents and it was such a shame as there was nothing my husband and I enjoyed more than a meal out with friends and a good chat.We have never been party animals or been happy in large gatherings.

    I began to feel that I wasn't meant to have fun.

    However,it is no good looking back too much so now I just enjoy the simple things ......and having my Endo add T3 to my meds( now in Armour) for the last 20 months has helped a lot.

    Doctors just don't seem to realise what they are doing to some of their patients.I can't understand their insistence of relying on TSH ranges on a computer screen and not listening to their patients symptoms and learning from them.

    Are they really trying to pull the wool over our eyes as to the importance of the thyroid ?

  • I hope you are feeling better now Marfit. It took me quite a while to get my confidence back but since it stopped happening to me for a while now, I am slowly stating to return to my old life. I feel, though, like I lost so much precious time being sick, miserable and insecure.

  • Thanks Sofitel........yes I am feeling quite well now though as you say it is sad that we have lost so many years that we can't have back.

    I wish you well and let's hope things will move forward for everyone in 2016.

  • My best wishes to you too Marfit! We can't bring back our lost years but lets hope that at least we can live the rest of them the best we can.

  • I fainted for the first time ever just prior to being diagnosed but it was balance problems that led to getting the blood tests as the faint was dismissed as dehydration.

  • Did this happen again? Were you really dehydrated or they used it as an explanation because they could not understand the connection between this happening to hypothyroid patients, same as in my case.

  • The explanation came from a neurology consultant in response to a letter from the GP and had a much simpler and stupider reason than you suggest . The assumption based on that it the last day of a holiday in Portugal and I had drank wine the night before. Total rubbish ,I had been dehydrated many times without fainting ( in fact I had never fainted )and I was not dehydrated that morning.

    So I said to GP why is my balance poor and having checked my ears he asked for a blood test.As it happened he had a hypo niece but whether that suggested the possibility to him and led to the TSH test being requested I do not know. I have not fainted since.

    Of course with hindsight I now know there were earlier symptoms : mega snoring and sleep apnoea , falling asleep in the day, my voice becoming croaky and my speech slurred. Thought old age was the cause.

  • This was really stupid of them. I mean people don't faint from dehydration just because they had some wine the day before. Sometimes I can't believe how ignorant doctors can be!

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