Extreme Fatigue following meals

I am new here but I have been on Thyroxine for several years now, but every so often go through a period where I can eat a meal and be completely wiped out. Even gentle exercise following eating does not help. The fatigue is so extreme I cannot function. Does anyone else get this? I have a pretty healthy diet and exercise regularly.

15 Replies

  • Welcome to our forum and am sorry you are having a problem, particularly with fatigue after eating.

    I am not medically qualified but, as you say you've been hypothyroid for quite a few years so I will make a guess - i.e. you may not be on sufficient thyroid hormone replacements. Do you have prescriptions for any other problems (doctors are apt to treat clinical symptoms as apart from hypothyroidism). One common symptom is low stomach acid which means we cannot digest food adequately and can feel quite uncomfortable. As High Acid has similar symptoms we are usually given antacids which don't help as we actually need acid to dissolve the food.

    I shall give you a couple of links but before you do anything at all - I'd suggest getting a new blood test and I'll give you a list.



    It has to be the very earliest possible, fasting (you can drink water) and leave 24 hours gap approx between your last dose of levothyroxine and the test and take afterwards. Ask for a print-out of your results, with the ranges, these are important and post for comments.

    Ask for TSH, T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3, Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate.

    If GP wont do them all you can get them through a recommended lab which are quite cost effective, particularly if you are low on any of the above. Most doctors tell you you are 'normal' meaning somewhere in the range, whereas we have to have a TSH 1 or lower, with FT4 and FT3 towards the upper part of the range (not anywhere).

    We have a list of recommended labs.

  • Its a very typical reaction to any food coked in or on aluminium or non stick coated cookware or foil ......be very sure to only use stainless steel or true cast iron or glass

    Do not use things like slow cookers or george forman grills etc

  • I had the same problem for a long time. In my case it was caused by too low a level of T3 (I take T3-only to treat my hypothyroidism) and too high a level of cortisol.

    I was trapped in a feedback loop. I needed more T3 to reduce my high cortisol, but my high cortisol made it impossible to increase my T3.

    In the end I took something to reduce my cortisol (Holy Basil), independently of my T3 level. Luckily it worked for me (it doesn't work for everyone who tries it) and I was then able to increase my T3. I don't have those bouts of extreme fatigue any more.

  • Hi I also get this, just sometimes, no rhyme or reason to it. Within half an hour of eating I get overwhelmingly tired and just need to sleep. I'm thinking its some sort of blood sugar issue?

  • Same here. I can be fine for weeks and then one meal (usually lunch) and BAM! Ten ton eyelids! I try to not give in to a lie down and just fight through it and go for a walk round the block and it usually just fizzles out.

  • Whilst not tired after eating I struggle with exercise i.e just walking uphill for at least an hour.The energy seems to be used in digestion and there is little for movement.

  • Thank you everyone for the comments. It is helpful to know others get similar experiences. I have a regular TSH test coming up very soon so that will help see if any adjustments are needed. I feel that diet is the biggest factor, although I am overall a reasonably healthy vegetarian eater it is likely that some sugars are playing a damaging part.

  • I have exactly the same especially after my lunch. I make myself walk my dogs on flat ground for 1/2hr just after lunch and it seems to go ish. I am tired most of the day though. I have no problems with digestion at all. I wish I could help.

  • Thank you for your kind thoughts Bunnyjean.

  • I have a hazy memory that this could be something called reactive hypoglycemia, blood sugar dropping shortly after eating. I think other members have talked about it, so you might find good things using search.

  • Have you had your blood pressure checked recently? i was having a similar problem after exercise which I posted about last week and when i went to the doctor for new bloods my blood pressure was low. This will cause sudden fatigue and tiredness and is a side affect of Hypothyroidism so I would say to get your blood pressure checked in the local chemist or with your GP.

  • Dancer22 .......you mentioned that you are vegetarian. You probably get sick of people saying this but have you had your B12 checked lately? Lower levels "in range" are usually not good enough for us hypos, we need to be in the upper part of the range.

  • Hi,

    I am usually tired after meals if I eat carbohidrates or sugar. Other than that, I seem to be ok after all meals. Have you tried having varying your meals around in order to see if there is a difference depending on what you eat?

  • Thank you for this, I have spent time trying to figure out if any particular foods cause the problem. It seems rather a random pattern, but I am sure when the body is overloaded with simply carbohydrates and sugars it is more likely to respond in this way. I intend to keep the carbs and sugars low and hope this keeps this problem away.

  • I used to get this if I ate starchy carbs for lunch. Sometimes I would eat a dry bagel between appointments. Now I eat lean protein and salad/vegetables and save my starchy carbs for the evening.

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