Thyroid UK
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Overbreathing with hypothyroidism/hashi

Hi! I'm nearly 22 years old and was eventually diagnosed with hashimotos after a long period of being ill aged 6 or 7. As soon as my thyroid stopped working, at the exact time, I developed some mental issues (OCD, phobias, extremely oversensitive, and being so self concious to the point of paranoia even from an extremely young age). These never went away despite when medicated with levo.

Around age 13 these problems all got worse, and I developed a breathing problem. I, completely unawarely, begin breathing at a faster rate than I should be, and then end up yawning/gulping air to try and get a proper breath but I just feel like I can't get a breath. This flushes all the CO2 out my system and I feel pretty gross!

It is by no means a panic attack its more of an annoying inconvenience when it happens but due to it being worse in situations where I may be a bit self concious or not wanting it to happen, doctors have forever diagnosed me with panic disorder/GAD/depression. Anti depressants propranolol no help. Sometimes it goes on for days.

I've been seeing Dr Skinner for about a year, I was on Levo but he slowly introduced erfa and in August I completely switched to just erfa and made a great recovery. Within less than 2 months to my surprise I was not tired, paranoid, stressed or OCD and my breathing problem disappeared altogether. My family said I was like a different person. I was unsure if my breathing problem was thyroid related (and still am) so this shocked me. But now, 4 months later, I'm feeling tired again and the breathing problem is back with a vengance!

Long story short... has anyone else experienced this as a symptom? My bloods show I'm very overmedicated so I am VERY wary and unsure about potentially increasing, but at the same time the breathing problem is making my life ABSOLUTELY unbearable!

3 Replies

YES! I also became ill at a young age, 7 I think, but wasn't diagnosed and started on treatment till 10. 1 of my most obvious and distressing symptoms at the time was the chronic compulsive yawning. I had the feeling that I had to yawn or take a deep breath and would only get relief from the urge to yawn if I did it and held my breath in just the right way. Sometimes I would have to do it over and over and sometimes I wouldn't manage to do it right and get the the relief which was a horrible feeling and I remember crying myself to sleep at night as a child wishing somebody could make it go away.

I also had mild OCD as a teenager and was incredibly self conscious and nervous/anxious. Being a child/teenager and growing up with this illness I didn't know any different and thought it was just me so never complained about it and just tried my best to deal with it. But it made me miserable.

The yawning went away after starting T4 but not the mental symptoms (which I think only started once I was on treatment). These only improved in the last 10 years since switching to a T3/T4 combo. I'm 33 now.

Maybe you have gone too far the other way? The more I experiment the more I think that getting the right balance could be the key so not taking too much or too little but just the right amount of T4/T3 (or so I hope). When I go from overmedicated to undermedicated or vice versa I often seem to have 1 day where I feel great like that is the day where everything is just right then I overshoot. Perhaps it is a delicate balance. Maybe you need to decrease and find the point that you feel well. How do your blood tests compare now/before and to when you felt good?


The GP may think you are overmedicated but you should send a copy complete with the ranges to Dr S for his opinion. When he was trained, patients were medicated until symptoms went and for other doctors of his era patients had doses between 200 and 400 mcg.

I am glad that most of your symptoms went with Erfa.


Thanks!, and yes Hashi_since_age9 thats exactly what I have, you try and try to get a yawn/breath and when you get one the relief is immense.. then a few seconds later the cycle starts again!

Shaws I've got an appointment with dr S in 2 weeks and have just spoken to him on the phone :) He has said an increase is a likely option but we'll see my blood results and wait till he sees my in person first. Hopefully I will get my blood results back soon and it can give me some idea of where i am. My TSH is always undetectable and everything else on the high side. However I'm sooo sleepy all the time (im usually chirpy for about 4 hours after i wake up from a 9+ hour sleep but by the time ive been awake for 6 hours... zzzzz!) and have very dry skin/hair and my heart rate isnt anywhere near being too high so symptoms show i'm not overmedicated, i suppose!


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