HRT and T3 together?

Does anyone currently take T3 and HRT together and if so what is your experience? I'm 45 and have just been diagnosed with stage 3 endometriosis and gynae wants to perform hysterectomy and put me on HRT. I am very reluctant as I have only become really well by changing to T3 this summer after 13 years of poor health with under medicated hypothyroid and don't want to upset the balance.

25 Replies

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  • I had a hysterectomy at age 39. They left my ovaries though. I never took any hrt and only started using progesterone cream a couple of years ago. ( I'm 55.). Maybe you won't need the hrt?

    Hrt can give you too much estrogen, which is a the worry with breast tissue and estrogen messes up the thyroid hormone transporters.... So the hormones can't get to where they need to go

    G

  • To be honest I am getting off this thyroid debate because reading all this on this forum does my brain in. I have not read any positive news about thyroid except everyone giving their thyroid problem. I have under active thyroid and I go and have blood taken out every 3 months and to be told that I must stay on the 75 mcg. I know in myself I don't feel well : weight problem, bloatet and by the end of the day I feel as if I am pregnant. Surely my GP should send me to a specialist so that I can get help. Please reply yes or no about my last sentence.

  • Therese22, sorry you feel this way, I can understand what you mean, and it can be wearing to hear others complain. This is not a magic cure-all but a support forum. Some people find it helps them to feel less alone by reading about others' problems, while others just want action. I understand and sympathise with you, believe me. Thyroid UK Support has helped me to get the courage up to really insist that my doctor helps me, and it has already started to make a difference.

    With regard to your last sentence, YES, if you still feel bad and the doctor is not helping, ask for a referral. I'm no doctor but 54 years of thyroid troubles tells me that you have the right to feel better. I do hope that he helps you, but if you have trouble, that is where this website can help with support and advice. XXMarie

  • Thanks so much. X lorna

  • Hi Therese, I know where you're coming from. After years of bloating,no waist, and different sizes of clothes each day. I had such a bad episode I went to my GP.He didn't refer me but we talked and since then I have given up wheat and some other grains. I also find potatoes are a problem BUT I can now where trousers with a ridged waist. OK I do have to be careful what I eat and still have other thyroid problems, but I have found the support of this site a great help, I hope you stay with us.

    Good luck,Beaton.

  • Therese

    My sympathy. My thyroid is being cared for by my lovely GP and most of the time I feel very well.

    Jacks

  • Rachelb, I had a hysterectomy age 46, 2 years ago and the consultant like yours talked about putting me on HRT after. I did some reading about it and found that basically if there's no problem with your ovaries then you should ask to keep them and then you will have the menopause at the normal time. From what I could establish, the reason they want to do the full hysterectomy and remove ovaries as well is so that they remove any risk of having to operate again in the future to remove the ovaries in the rare care of someone getting ovarian cancer. So I would say, stand up for yourself and say you want to keep your ovaries! It's not worth losing them if there's nothing wrong with them and then subjecting your body to HRT. You have enough to cope with getting your health right with T3, don't complicate matters by having your ovaries removed and going on HRT. By the way I am also recovering with T3 and feeling so much better since taking it. I had my total thyroidectomy and hysterectomy done in the same year!

    Good luck Rachel !

    AndTherese22, if you look carefully you will see that the positive stories are there likeRachelb and me from taking T3. Your GP won't just 'send' you to a specialist. You need to be pro-active unfortunately. Find the name of an endo who will prescribe T3 and then TELL your GP that you would like to be referred. Good luck.

  • Exactly the same thing happened to me when I was 38. The chap was a "general surgeon" and in his case it was "everything out!" I said "no thank you!" and found a surgeon who was prepared to leave my ovaries in as I was only young. I was lucky to be insured at the time. Endometriosis is a messy business and makes things hard for surgeons and mine was very messy. Bottom line...kept ovaries...no need for HRT and years later aged 55 had appendix out and they took ovaries then. Didn't mind that! Try and hang on to those ovaries if you can.

    I can remember going blue in the face with the first surgeon and shouting "would you have your testicles off? it's the same thing!!!"

  • Rachelb, I had a hysterectomy at 39, three years after having a thyroidectomy. They took one ovary but left the other. I did not find that the hysterectomy destabilised the thyroxine levels but of course not having a thyroid is different from being underactive, however the same principle applies.

    What did happen, though, and I think it is common, is once the womb has gone the ovaries gradually stop working. I had to go on HRT because I went into the menopause about 5 years later. The symptoms had some similarities to hypothyroidism but it was the hot flushes which gave away the true cause. I was taken off HRT when I hit 60, (The doctor said 'time to grow old gracefully' - rather insensitive, I think!) and now have hormone cream instead.

    Mind you, I'm not sure that a hysterectomy will sort out endometriosis, as by definition it is endometrial tissue which is OUTSIDE the womb. Unless it is only in the fallopian tubes only, and they plan to remove them, This suggests that they want to remove your ovaries as well since the only real cure for endometriosis is the menopause. I know that the hysterectomy did not cure my endometriosis.

    See if you can get medical advice regarding the possibility of destabilisation, just in case there is a possibility.

  • I am on HRT and thyroxine and since being on the HRT my TSH levels have dropped . It says in the HRT leaflet that it can 'affect thyroid test results' and I have been unable to establish if this means my TSH results are not accurate or that it means HRT hels the thyroid to work more efficiently ... I believe it's the first option but all my Doc sees is a 'normal' TSH result.... So my answer is avoid HRT and T4 or T3 together if at all possible! Anna.

  • I had a hysterectomy at 30 (cervical cancer) but they left my ovaries. I am 56 and currently on a form of hrt ,primarily to help with osteoparosis but was tol it would help with the constant hot flushes. I take T3 also and have taken both pills together in the morning for the last two years with no problems at all . Hope this helps.

  • Rachel I do hope you find the answers. What really annoys me is when I hear people saying that they had to go on HRT - in other words their doctors have told them this and they go along with it, same as so many other things - like high cholesterol - oh you must take statins - RUBBISH.

    You are doing the right thing by questioning it. I would avoid HRT at all costs. Progesterone cream works for me. When I had private bloods tests done some months ago it showed that my oestrogen was ok (even though I am post menopausal) and yet my gynaecologist wanted me to take an oestrogen cream without knowing my levels.

    Many people I know who take HRT have no idea what it is, they just take it because their GP said to.

    I do hope that you find the right answers :-)

  • I had a hysterectomy at 45, they left my ovaries, which curled up and died 10 months later. This is apparently quite a common thing but no-one thought to mention it... I have been on 1mg HRT maintainance dose since and, although I knew none of the above associated problems, my physical reaction to levothyroxine is the same as it always was- not brilliant but not dire either, so I wonder if its how much HRT you're put on? I know without it (when I get prescription timing wrong lol) the menopausal symptoms kick in quickly and are severe so I'm happy to potter on as I am for now. Cx

  • Your ovaries CAN fail after a hysterectomy even if left. I`m 41,and had a hyst 2 years ago, and within one month i was having awful meno symptoms, i`m now on HRT and feel much much better, but not completely normal.

  • Hi there Rachael

    I don't know if my experience can help you make a decision or not (I have not had a hysterectomy) but here goes.

    I have had a lifetime of thyroid trouble starting in my childhood when I was just 11, I am now nearly 60. I have had years of trauma and mis-diagnosis due to this condition.

    Before you make any decision about HRT have a read of 'HRT Licensed to Kill and Maim' author Martin Walker

    Like so many people I have been through the mill seeing various doctors and specialists all with their own take on it and most in complete denial with regard to my thyroid. (I had a subtotal thyroidectomy at 24 which I now feel was a big mistake)

    When I was just 39 I was put on a high dose of HRT, mainly because my thyroid was malfunctioning and I had a severe lactose intolerance which the doctors denied. I was so desperate at the time that I went along with it believing that they must be right and I must be wrong.

    It was only after being put on HRT that my body changes began with hair loss, change in nails, swelling, muscle loss and a host of other symptoms which, just like the thyroid creep up on you insidiously.

    Personally I would never take HRT if I could turn the clock back, I believe it has ruined my hormonal balance and I have been unable to come off it despite many serious attempts.

    I have now started to get off HRT with the help of DHEA but this again is causing me problems and I think exacerbating my hair loss. I am really lucky in as much as my GP is great, not that he knows what is wrong or how to sort it but he will always refer me on, never gives up on me and is now supporting my quest to have all my hormones tested on the NHS in the hope that we can identify what is out of balance (worried the lab won't play ball though)

    I believe that I did have problems with my hormones before HRT but this was SHBG, DHEA, Testosterone etc low - not oestrogen and progesterone and this is what should have been addressed.

    It's hard to give advice to anyone but we are all different, if you are feeling well on your current regime it doesn't seem wise to make a major change.

    Hormone balance is difficult and I believe that mine were completely thrown out by the introduction of HRT, I never knew that getting off it would be all but impossible.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do but my very best advice would be to do your homework and make an informed choice, i's your body, you know how you feel and how it responds. Don't be pushed into making a decision too quickly by anyone, just be sure to get as much information as you can and do what you feel is right for you. Always remember it is your choice.

    Good luck with it all.

    Debs x

  • I have always been averse to the very thought of hysterectomy. The only reason I'd consider it would be if I had cancer. After a procedure to remove a cherry type polyp, my doctor (since fired) said that he wanted to do a hysterectomy so I wouldn't have any more problems. "You're old" he said. "You aren't going to have any more children, so your uterus is useless. I'll just take it out." I was furious. Instead of finding a problem and figuring out how to treat it, he'd take the easy way and cut it out!

    Now, for me (TMI) the center of sexual feeling and orgasm is in my uterus. I like that. I don't want to give it up (even if I'm not "active" hope springs eternal <g>). Further, I believe that the uterus is there for a health reason beyond giving birth. If it is removed, that's FINAL and I'd just be SOL. A eunuch. And I'm sure I'd age 10 years as my friends have.

    Anyway, I looked at the doctor and said "You're older than I am and your p**** (my asterisks) isn't going to make children either. Why not just cut IT off?" I never went back to him.

    Anyway, while I DO believe in hormone therapy -- thyroid, estrogen et al, progesterone et al, testosterone et al -- for me, I'll take as supplements and do not want my very important organ, my uterus, removed except for cancer. That's me. You will have to do what works for you, but I, for one, support you in whatver you want to do.

    These are some links I found useful and hope they are helpful to you:

    tinyurl.com/a9exm5y Hysterectomy Experts (read all sorts of links and info too)

    tinyurl.com/cgyelys (HysterSisters)

  • Love it - you go girl

    Jacks

  • I have a different tale to tell. I had a full hysterectomy many years before i became Hypo and was thrilled to have everything removed including the ovaries as I had had terrible PMT (real axe murderer rages etc) and periods that were at least 2 weeks long and like floodgates. I was put on oestrogen afterwards and have been on it ever since. I have always felt great on oestrogen and am very worried about when it comes the time to slowly wean myself off it and go through the menopause and how it will effect my thyroid balance/meds (I was diagnosed about 4 years ago and take T4 only) which after a wobble in the summer, seem to be returning to "normal". Fortunately my GP is saying, eventhough i have been on it a long time and will be 60 next year that it would be unwise to stop taking the oestrogen at the moment as I am suffering from various other health issues at the moment (pending operation for bladder/rectal repair, also balance/walking/tingling issues) and it could easily add to my problems if I started reducing it. And it's better to tackle the other health problems and resolve them before thinking about going through the menopause. And I am very happy to go along with that.

    So all I can say is T4 and HRT for me has been fine, no problems but I don't how it might be with T3 and of course I was on the HRT for a number of years before taking the T4 rather than the other way round so I don't know what a difference that would make.

  • oldgreybird

    You are fortunate to have a decent GP. I suggest you get a copy of Superwoman by Uzzi Reiss.

    The menopause is known to cause ill health and one in three NHS beds is taken up by a patient with a menopause related disease.

    Personally I'm using hormones for life.

    Jacks

  • The day men benefit from not having testosterone in their bodies is the day you don't need estradiol.

    Jacks

  • I would like to add that there is a school of thought which views menopause as something women go through because of our extended life spans. I take Estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and pregnenolone and I'm not going to risk osteoporosis by stopping them. The thyroid impacts on the reproductive hormones and vica versa. See how many men undergo castration in the belief it helps with thyroid issues. Packing up hormones will NEVER help a misfiring thyroid.

    Jacks

  • I had a hysterectomy due to endometriosis around 20 years ago, in my mid-30's. Everything was removed and put on HRT which gave me a new lease of life. It's only the last few years that I've been questioning taking HRT.

    My underactive thyroid started around 3.1/2 years ago. Dr P advised stopping HRT and replacing with Wellsprings but unfortunately neither version did anything. Now I just manage without.

    Has the consultant talked through other options with you? I would insist on being fully informed of your choices.

  • Rachel has everyone helped you or confused you?

    Hope you are ok, Sue x

  • I was forced to stop HRT when I developed Hormone dependant breast cancer. I had been on it for fifteen years and was told this was the reason I got the cancer. However, I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes/hypercholesterol/and raised lipids. I have been hypothyroid for many years, but now I am "old" (70) I am under even greater pressure to reduce my dose of Levo (150mg) per day. The symptoms regarding my cholesterol are also symptoms of hypothyroid. Even though I have had "some" Levo for a number of years, my symptoms have never totally stopped. Since the thyroid gland controls the activity of all other endocrine glands - and since the pancreas is also an endocrine gland, I believe that medical delusions about TSH have deprived me of much of my life I want to let others know that I think it more likely than hypothyroid can contribute to diabetes, rather than the other way round.

  • Latest research with thousands of women over 20 years has so far disproved the link between taking HRT for over 5 years (this research measured at 10 years) and an increased risk of breast cancer and/or stroke. I have to admit I am ignorant of the link between taking HRT and lowered TSH levels. However, after my having been on HRT for 5 years, my GP decided to take me off it a year last September (this new research data was only released within the last couple of months) and I was catapulted into a slide downwards that was horrible.

    The hot flushes are so bad my life was all but destroyed since they impacted my sleep - I have not had an unbroken night since stopping the HRT. I have tried Wellsprings - could not get a 'pea-sized' amount in a scoop, would forget to put it on at all, and then forgot how many days I'd taken it, and then realised after trying it for weeks I'd been rubbing it on in the wrong places . . .

    To cut a long one short, since I went back onto HRT non-bleed patches last Monday after a vigorous campaign, the flushes are calming down and hopefully, the small but perky moustache I was developing (Veet burns like hell, and you try tweezering! Boy, is that a cure for dry eyes!) seems to have gone back into hiding and with a bit of luck my fanny won't feel like it's full of razor blades. (Maybe that's where I should have shoved the Wellsprings!)

    With the added bonus of preventing baldness, a chin like a bloody walnut, boobs that insist on pointing to magnetic south, small but perfectly visible road-maps leading into the top lip beneath a fine set of whiskers (you have to admire a woman who can sport a moustache - I'm not one of them), a vagina like it's been healed closed by a miracle and sweats like a bull in field of heifers on heat - I'm quite happy to be back on the stuff. If the TSH starts playing up, then I have a minefield of information from this site with which to bombard the Endo, poor sod.

    But good luck - and each to her own. it is a very individual choice.

    X

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