At risk of developing low thyroid?

Hi! I'm new to the board,

I'm 22 and have had trouble with an eating disorder over the last year which i feel i am recovering well from. During this time i fell underweight through little eating and excessive exercise, my periods stopped and i had blood examinations in April to check my hormone levels which i was told was all fine. I managed to gain control over my ED and put on needed weight and my periods returned.

However, for the 6 months or so i have had trouble with horrible constipation, which i though was due to my ED. I have tried all laxatives, paying close attention to my diet and nothing works, i had some blood work done at the doctors because the bloods from April revealed a low thyroid when i was informed everything was okay.

The lasted bloods came back THS 1.7 (0.27-4.2 being and healthy range), T3 3.9 (3.1-6.8) and T4 12.1 (12.0-22.0), doctor informed me that these are healthy levels and my thyroid is working as it should and my current bowel situation is IBS.

I return to the doctors today because i am in a lot of pain with constipation so i get prescribed alternative tablets to try help settle this. After thinking my thyroid is okay, the doctor tells me that the antibody blood test came back and i am at high risk of developing a low thyroid due to antibodies that attack the thyroid being present.

For now i am told there is nothing that can be or needs to be done but regular bloods to continually check thyroid levels.

I'm just so stressed with this news... being told things are fine and then finding out otherwise.. I fear that i wont be able to get help for a low thyroid until my levels are low enough and symptoms are raging. My biggest concern is my weight, i really felt as though i got out of a mindset of being obsessed with the scales, running miles everyday and eat so little but now i feel these things coming back, i'm ready horror stories of people piling on weight with a low thyroid...

also reading more into symptoms, i feel the cold more than anyone, i am tired ALL the time, i have feelings of depression which i've been struggling with for years now.. but until i have the blood work nothing can be done..

Is there anything i can do NOW to prevent these symptoms such as weight gain, and feeling tired all the time.. any natural supps? anything to avoid in my diet?

any advice or personal stories would really help me right now, thank you

Christina xx

10 Replies

  • Hi Chrissie, welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry you're going through all this. It is a worry I know.

    Well, first of all, I would like to say that of course there are horror stories - there are horror stores about just about everything in life - but that doesn't automatically mean that they will happen to you. Some people put on weight, but not everybody. Some lose weight. Some just stay where they are. But, even if you do put on weight, it's only temporary, you will lose it when you are optimally treated.

    So, you have to understand that doctors know next to nothing about thyroid. Your doctor is just looking at your TSH when he says that it's perfectly normal and healthy. He does not understand the other two readings, that's the problem. Your FT4 and FT3 are too low for you to be healthy. But, as your doctor hasn't learnt much about that, he doesn't know.

    It's true that having antibodies - I presume he tested TPO antibodies - means that you have autoimmune thyroiditis, which will, eventually eat away at your gland, until it's all been destroyed, and you are totally dependant on thyroid hormone replacement. But, he's wrong when he says that you will go hypo, because you already are hypo, despite your 'normal, healthy' TSH.

    The TSH is a very unreliable test, because the TSH can be influenced by so many things. It is a pituitary hormone, secreted to stimulate the thyroid gland to make more hormone. Your pituitary is not secreting enough TSH to stimulate your gland, so it isn't making enough hormone. This is what we call Secondary Hypothyroidism. What I would suggest you do is read up as much as you can on secondary hypo, so that you understand it, and then go back to your doctor and say that you believe you have secondary hypo and you want to see an endocrinologist.

    Now, I know all that sounds frightening, but it really isn't that bad. And, yes, there are things that you can do yourself. Firstly, to keep the antibodies low, you should try a gluten-free diet. That works for a lot of people to lower their antibodies, and maintain their weight. Also, try taking selenium, that can also lower antibodies. These things are not cures, but they do help with symptoms, and slowng down the progression of the disease.

    Now, as you've been having problems with eating, and you are now hypo, it is possible that you are low on a lot of nutrients. So, ask your doctor to test vit D, vit B12, folate and ferritin. These all need to be optimal for optimal usage of hormones. When you get the results, post them on here, and we'll be able to tell you what you need to take. And, in the meantime, you can try taking some magnesium, and vit C. BUT only start one supplement at a time, not a bunch of them, and leave about two weeks before starting the next one.

    As for food, well, yes, you probably do need to eat more. Low calorie diets have a negative effect on the conversion of T4 to T3. Eat what makes you feel good. If it doesn't agree with you, don't eat it. But, do make sure you get plenty of good fat - butter, olive oil, nuts, avocados, fish oil, animal fat, coconut oil... Just avoid processed seed oils. The only thing you should totally avoid is all forms of unfermented soy : soy milk, soy oil, soy protein, soy flour, etc.

    And, most importantly, remember that you are not alone in all this. We are here. If you have any questions, we can probably answer them. We know what you're going through and we understand. x :)

  • Hi! Thank you for your reply!!:) until I had these blood tests I knew little about thyroid issues and didn't even know people struggle with such problems !:(

    So my bloods indicate I am hypo? But now I'm in a battle with the doctors to get treatment, they won't give me any treatment until my levels have dropped out of the 'normal' range:\ this is even more frustrating because I know I don't feel right and haven't done for the last year or so, I've told them this and they are saying my thyroid is working perfectly..🙄

    I'll make the diet changes and ensure I don't eat too little, which is scary because every meal I eat now I just think about how my body is just going to store it as fat.. it's heartbreaking because I'm so into my health and fitness and going to the gym, with all this I'm sat here feeling 'what's the point?' ..

    I'll have to get another doctor, get treated and feel normal again. Long road ahead..

    Sorry that was a bit of a rant! Thanks again for the reply! And I know I'm not alone in this !!:) x

  • Never mind the rant, you're entitled.

    But, did you not know that anorexics usually end up with thyroid problems? Or people that have been starved for some other reason. Calories are not just things that make you put on weight, they are essential for your body to work properly, they are the fuel for your body. And if your body doesn't get enough, something is going to go wrong.

    But forge fat. We're not talking about fat, here. Every mouthful that you take is not going to be stored as fat. People who put on weight with hypo are rarely 'fat', which is why they don't lose weight with diet and exercise. It's far more likely to be mucin, which is a mucousy stuff that collects under the skin and retains water. So, it's water weight. Nothing to do with what you eat. But, if you don't eat enough - or if you exercise too much - it will get worse. Lots of people have found that, to their utter amazement. You see so many people on here saying 'I only eat a thousand calories day and I spend two hours a day in the gym, and I'm still putting on weight, I don't understand'. Well, the answer is, you're not eating enough and you're exercising too much!

    But, you are rather jumping the gun, here. You haven't even started to put on weight yet, have you? It might never happen.

    As for fighting with the doctors, thing is they know very, very little about thyroid. Most of them have never even heard of secondary hypo. That's why you've got to learn about it and educate your doctors, and then keep on nagging and nagging at them until they finally give in and send you to an endo who will, hopefully, have heard of it! Don't give in before you've even started, and don't cross bridges before you come to them, that's the rules! :)

  • Hey! Sorry for delayed reply!! I really appreciate your replies! Amazing to gain proper knowledge about this! Yes I have red about those who are starved developing many various health problems, sad reality is that I believe this is all my fault. As far as gaining weight, I have but I can't exactly pin point this to the low thyroid because my recovery has inevitably led to weight gain, I have been eating loads more than what I was back in April (at my lowest weight of 48kg at 5"4) now I'm sitting at 56ish, fluctuates a lot:\ scales are only going up but again not sure if this is too much food and less cardio or thyroid... hard to say..

    I spoke to a different doctor Friday in hope to get a different response but they have again said 'your thyroid is perfectly healthy' the current plan is to get my bloods re tested in 3 months, however I am going back to the doctors again in a month because I am still severely constipated with not drugs working and I've had a raised lymph node for the past month now :\ ah many things going on!! No answers yet.. :\ x

  • Oh, dear, they're all so ignorant, and only looking at the TSH. When you go back for your next test, make sure it's early in the morning, and fast over-night - about 8 hours.

    Did you point out to him that low FT3? Does he even know what T3 is? A lot of them don't!

    Have you tried taking magnesium for the constipation? You're probably low in magnesium, anyway. And, you could try high doses of vit C, too. But, with both of them, start low and work up.

  • Yeah they really are :( all telling the same thing but I'm struggling to find a solution for my health!! Ah will for sure do that!!:)

    Yeah I did point out my levels and they agreed I am boarderline... but still healthy apparently🙄 Ugh starting to feel proper uncomfortable in my body!! Can't poo, raised lymph nodes and weight 😪 I hope I can get a more help after next blood test...

    Aw I've started taking magnesium! Started saturday, no luck yet but I'll keep on top of it!:) will also invest in Vit C !!

    Thanks again for your reply! You're very helpful!! :) x

  • You're welcome. :)

  • sounds like poor digestion of food or low acid, taking probiotic b4 bed every night and magnesium and vit c helps alot for constipation but also you may need to take enzymes with meals too....bec it is often slow digestion of food which also leads to not absorbing vitamins from food...and eat

  • Aw thank you for your reply! I'm currently doing my research and investing in various supplements to hopefully help! Will included them in my diet gradually :) x

  • many take 2 tsp of apple cidar vinegar but it has to be the organic braggs kind....with a splash of lemon juice or just drink thru a straw with a little water b4 meals to help with digestion.....others take enzyme pills with is pretty common as you get older hence you dont want it to get on your teeth -the vinegar... magnesium b4 bed helps with sleep and constipation 400mg, and some things like melatonin makes it worse..lots of fiber helps.....

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