Weight gain on levothyroxine: Hi, I know that... - Thyroid UK

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Weight gain on levothyroxine

adin profile image

Hi, I know that this subject has been discussed before but I have not been able to find out the cause. Probably other members have this problem too.

I noticed that the higher the dose, the more my belly swells, no matter what I take, levo or liothyronine T3. If I drop the dose I seem to deflate but I get hypo symptoms. I take 125levo &5T3 and another 5T3 at noon and 5T3 at bedtime. I have gained 20 kg since I got this disease and others do not gain weight at all. I pay attention to what I eat, I check my vitamins, and minerals but in vain.

How can I fix that? I was thinking about a stomach reduction operation, maybe it would help me.

43 Replies
shaws profile image
shawsAdministrator

I am not medically qualified but had to diagnose myself eventully after I found Thyroiduk's website and that was sometime before Healthunlocked was invented.

Many hypothyroid people complain about the unexplained weight gain.

You could trial for a few weeks by going on gluten-free food. I found that this worked for me.

Stopthethyroidmadness (USA site) posted these photos.

stopthethyroidmadness.com/h...

Do you mean a tummy tuck? Or bariatric surgery? The latter is not advisable because hypo weight-gain has little to do with what you eat. It's very often water-retention.

When did you last have a blood test? What were the results? Being over-medicated can make you put on weight, just like being under-medicated. :)

adin profile image
adin in reply to greygoose

Thank you for your advice.I thought about bariatric surgery but it's just an idea of mine :)).I wouldn't have the courage to do it.

-water-retention? hm.. interesting.

In general, my tests are ok, ft4 was in the middle last time, around 16(12-22) and ft3 was 5,3(3,2-6,8) and tsh 0,068!! on 125 tirosint andT3. I may be a little hyper, that's how I feel but if I reduce the dose to 112 I feel weak.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to adin

FT4 16(12-22) 40%

FT3 5,3(3,2-6,8) 58.33%

Not very high. A lot of hypos would find they were under-medicated with those results - certainly I would! Hypos often need their FT3 up around 75% through the range, or even higher. Are you sure you're not mistaking hypo symptoms for hyper symptoms?

Have you tried the pinch test?

youtube.com/watch?v=oI9yurd...

adin profile image
adin in reply to greygoose

I tried to increase the dose but I get anxiety, sweating, increased pulse, disorientation, nausea, tunnel vision, gained more, etc... I thought I'd try ndt again with levo. I wrote a new post for that.

janeroar profile image
janeroar in reply to greygoose

Never heard of the pinch test greygoose. How well documented is it? Just tried it and my skin is not pinchable - even though medicated. So interesting.

Is the lack of pinch ability linked with fluid retention do you think?

I’ve also noticed an anecdotal association with hyper mobility (which I have) and hypothyroidism and often see this sort of skin in hyper mobile folks (I’m a yoga teacher)..

Baggiesfan profile image
Baggiesfan in reply to janeroar

I've never heard of it either, my skin is not pinch able on my arm and I'm also hyper mobile. Well I might be more so if I didn't have aches and pains back since my liothyronine was stopped due to ectopics. Still got ectopics too 😥

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to janeroar

It's absolutely linked, yes. The skin contains something called mucin. Everyone has it, but hypos have it in excess. The mucin attracts and retains water, meaning that the skin becomes thick and unable to be pinched. If it were just fat under the skin, you would be able to lift the skin up. But, with water-logged mucin, you can't. I believe this used to be another way of diagnosing hypothyroidism, but has fallen out of favour since the invention of the dreaded TSH test! I think Dr Broda Barnes writes about it.

I don't know anything about hyper mobility, I'm afraid.

janeroar profile image
janeroar in reply to greygoose

Thanks, fascinating

adin profile image
adin in reply to greygoose

And how this mucin can be fixed?

janeroar profile image
janeroar in reply to adin

Yes was going to ask same thing!

jand123 profile image
jand123 in reply to janeroar

I can't pinch my skin very well either but I have very muscular arms. I don't have flab at all. Not sure if that's reliable?

janeroar profile image
janeroar in reply to jand123

I’m quite muscular too but it doesn’t make a difference. I’ve tried with muscly family members and they can pinch skin.

jand123 profile image
jand123 in reply to janeroar

Ok that's , so in trouble then! ☺️

Popeye44 profile image
Popeye44 in reply to adin

Bariatric surgery would not be a good idea for anyone on regular medication such as Levo. What people don't realise is that removing part of the small bowel means that you no longer make Vitamin B12 and have to have this by injection. Also it is difficult to absorb any medications so even a paracetamol for a headache probably won't work and possibly your levo too. It's really important to have a good psychological preparation prior to a gastric bypass because unless your head is in the right place you can have a very tough time. It's not a guarantee that you won't put weight on again in the future either.

With all the research being carried out about how the gut microbiome affects weight loss it might be better to try having an analysis of your gut bacteria done to see if anything is missing.

You might consider having a "hypnotic" gastric band. It works well, just tricks your mind into believing you have had a weight loss surgery. Substantially cheaper too!

Steni profile image
Steni in reply to greygoose

Is she asking about surgery ? I thought the questions was about medication ?

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to Steni

The OP says: I was thinking about a stomach reduction operation, maybe it would help me. So, yes, surgery did come into her question.

Steni profile image
Steni in reply to greygoose

Ahh yes I see that now -

adin profile image
adin in reply to Steni

I'm, he 😁

After and before
greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to adin

I am so sorry. My mistake. :)

So, did you try the pinch test?

adin profile image
adin in reply to greygoose

No problem 😁. Yes I did and it's seems to be the same for me too.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to adin

So, you can't pinch up your skin? OK, so that means it's water-retention, not fat. No no amount of dieting or bariatric surgery or exercise is going to get rid of it.

The problem is, no-one knows how to get rid of it. For some people, just being on an optimal dose means that they lose it, but that doesn't work for everyone. Didn't work for me. The only thing that worked for me was being hooked up to a duretic drip for two weeks. But, they didn't do that to help me lose weight! They did it because they thought I had a heart problem. They knew nothing about thyroid or mucin or any of that. About 50 kilos just dropped off me. BUT, since then, a lot of it has returned - especially on my legs and feet. So, even that is not a permanent cure. And, I'm afraid I just don't know what the answer is. Sorry.

gilbert25 profile image
gilbert25 in reply to greygoose

If it is water retention, why couldn't you take a diuretic like lasix to help keep the fluid off... you don't nee to be hooked up to a drip. My mother has a thyroid problem and congestive heart failure and the lasix keeps the water off. I just tried the pinch test and I can't pinch any skin either. I never thought I was retaining water but now I wonder... maybe I will ask my endocrinologist about taking a diuretic to help....

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to gilbert25

The pills are strong enough. I was getting a massive dose on that drip. After I left hospital and went onto the pills, the water-retention still came back.

adin profile image
adin in reply to greygoose

Diuretic drip??? Very interesting, do I understand that you have been connected to a device?

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to adin

I was in hospital, very ill - nearly died, in fact - and I had a lot of intravenous medication, including the diuretic.

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator

What vitamin supplements are you currently

When were vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 last tested

Please add most recent results and ranges

Have you had coeliac blood test

Always worth trying strictly gluten free diet, but rule out coeliac disease first by testing

I think what you eat rather than calories is important. shaws advice to go gluten free is definitely worth a go. It cuts out cr*p like pasties and pies that are very hard for people with Hashimotos to digest. Think ‘eat like a caveman’.

So have lots of good protein, veg and good fats (like olive oil). Eat like this for breakfast too eg avocado eggs tomatoes olives. No bread 😀. Good chunk of meat and veg for your lunch and dinner plus nuts for snacking and a bit of v dark chocolate! I am ok with dairy so can add in cheese and yoghurt for snacks though some people with Hashimotos aren’t. That’s basically my diet and if I deviate I feel dreadful so I know I’m on the right track.

Avoid GF bread and snacks as basically they are processed foods only to be enjoyed v occasionally.

Try this for a month and see how you get on?

jand123 profile image
jand123 in reply to janeroar

I find it very hard to avoid GF snacks when out and about as many places don't cater for GF except sweet treats! I must also mention I don't eat meat, so very frustrating on the whole. I was traveling last week and either went hungry or ate GF rubbish! Even salads have dressings I can't eat.

janeroar profile image
janeroar in reply to jand123

I agree. Out and about mostly what’s on offer is sugary rubbish. I tend to take nuts and raisins with me and a bar of v dark chocolate (which has less sugar in)

I’m honestly not sure what causes the weight gain. I’m starting to suspect that in my case it has absolutely nothing to do with thyroid. I’m optimally replaced on Armour, have very good levels of T3 and yet I’m struggling more and more every year. It makes me very unhappy, I hate what I look like, I hate feeling so unfit. I can only seem to shed pounds if I cut calories to a ridiculously low amount (less than 1200) and for obvious reasons I find that impossible to maintain for any length of time.

Tired of fighting. 😢

adin profile image
adin in reply to Jazzw

How is your ft4 levels on ndt ?

Jazzw profile image
Jazzw in reply to adin

Better on Armour than they were on Nature Throid, for reasons unknown! When I took Nature Throid my FT4 levels were either low in range or occasionally very slightly overrange. I tried adding a small amount of levothyroxine but it made me feel so unwell I very quickly stopped.

On Armour, they’re a few points up from the low end of the range.

adin profile image
adin in reply to Jazzw

On nature-throid i felt well, Armour it's very expensive. On Thai ndt my ft4 was nearly to min range.

Jazzw profile image
Jazzw in reply to adin

I know, I felt more well on Nature Throid too despite the lower FT4. But it’s starting to look like that’s never coming back. :(

Oh, and I’ve been strictly gluten free for something like 8 years now.

jand123 profile image
jand123 in reply to adin

Nature Throid was great, I got so thin again and then they were recalled! I also did well on Westhroid. Any sign of these coming back? I am taking 60 mcg of thybon T3 now and slowing the weight is dropping again

adin profile image
adin in reply to jand123

Hi, I'm waiting too for nature-throid but seems the production it's stoped by fda, no raw material. I have some Thyroid-S and every morning I look the bottle 😁

janeroar profile image
janeroar in reply to Jazzw

Hi Jazzw your post and others here has made me think about what’s causing our weight gain. All of us have bodies that have immune systems that are overactive and our bodies are like in a state of siege. At times like this the body goes into conservation mode, survival is key. The problem with chronic disease like Hashimotos or other thyroid conditions this state becomes a trait, it becomes a hardwired response. It is going to conserve calories at all cost. roukounasGK insight about how stopping his medication, whilst not something he’d recommend, disrupted the homeostasis.

I think there’s other ways to disrupt the body response to conserve energy by going to the gym and with the help of a trainer who can safely show how to push the body out of its safe rut.

Michael Mosleys exercise recommendations of quick bursts of activity and building muscle helps the body to feel more resourced and ultimately more at ease rather than being stuck in survival mode.

I hope this makes sense. Whilst my weight fluctuates more than I’d like, I’ve found gym and yoga (been so good for helping me monitor when to push or hold back on exercising etc) really help plus intermittent fasting (no more than 18 hours for women) also disrupts the homeostasis. Plus of course gluten free, but boy do I miss sourdough!!

jand123 profile image
jand123 in reply to janeroar

You can get GF sourdough bread in Aldi

I don't know what causes it but i have seen it too on myself (i am with hashimoto and levothyroxine for about 20 years). I fact its so much predictable that whenever i wanted to lose weight i just stopped the levo for 3 days. That was enough to get by body on a state of starting losing weight up to 35 kg with no dieting (just normal food). Of course this is not a recommended action, especially if there are other symptoms involved (i was lucky enough to find the hashimoto early on so I didn't experience any symptoms of it until 2 years ago. And of course I haven't tried this test since). I am just stating that something causes weight gain (maybe the medication? The fillers?) No matter what we eat or how much we excersise

adin profile image
adin in reply to roukounasGK

35 kg off in 3 days, i understand well? 👀 Yes I noticed that too when I take the levo in the morning, I'm bloating... The problem in my case I have no thyroid(due RAI) and I have to take hormones (synthetic or ndt).

roukounasGK profile image
roukounasGK in reply to adin

Haha no not 35 kg in 3 days, thats not possible. And if it was it would be extremely dangerous! What i meant was that just by halting the meds for 3 days a process started on my body (like kick-starting the metabolism or something) that resulted to a 35 kg loss without changing anything else (diet or exercise). The loss was in around 2 months period (still very quick). And of course after these 3 days i was back to my normal levo course. But again, i am not recommending anything, it is very dangerous to do that just for weight loss. In fact i was very young when i did these trials (my 20s) which most probably had a lot to do with the loss. Most probably this will not work like that if you did it in your 30ies or later. So please, don't even think of trying this, especially since you have no thyroid, this would be very dangerous!

I am just sharing my experience that, to me at least, the meds definitely have something to do with the weight gain (since I managed to do this process 3 or 4 times at different occasions so i am excluding any other reason for this weight loss).

Have you ever posted your mineral and vitamin results before? Perhaps they aren't as good as they could be? I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for suggestions for you, I must admit. The following link is to a video that has been written with women in mind, but I can't see why it isn't relevant to men as well :

healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

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