I have underactive Thyroid. Taking 50mcg Levothyroxine and also lansoprazole capsules. Is heartburn connected to low thyroid?

I am unable to eat or drink without a terrible burning sensation in my chest. I choke on food. I am often sick during eating. I have a constant cough that drives people mad. It's as if there's something I need to get rid of but I never seem to. I have periods of severe pain between my shoulder blades. Please can you tell me if this is all connected to my Thyroid problem and if so any tips to help would be greatfully received. Many thanks.

39 Replies

  • It can be ,make sure you have your thyroid results, TSH, T4 and importantly Free T3 with ranges ( all Labs differ)You may need some T3 with the T4. You are on proton pump inhibitors , for reflux or GOD but they may not be working, are you on the max dose? Also may need to change to a different one, more expensive so not the first choice I assume you have had a gastroscopy, very basic test for gut..It can be your thyroid is swollen or nodules, have you had a simple ECG,and possibly an echo. It is one of these type of symptoms that even docs cannot tell what it is so themselves, so really trial and error.

    Best wishes,


  • Thank you Jackie. I haven't had a gastroscopy or an ECG so I suppose my Doc is just trying different things. I'll go back on Monday armed with this information from you.

  • Hi lindi, If it is worrying you best to get a "proper "medical opinion.


  • Jackie,

    If you can get a copy of your latest thyroid gland blood test results complete with the ranges and post on a new question so that someone will comment upon. You may be undertreated.


  • Hi Shaws,

    sorry but puzzled why you have put this, as I said this in the first post.


  • Hi Jackie. You did say to get the tests but it wasn't clear to me that she should post them on the forum, but maybe it was understood.

    Best wishes

  • Oh I see, you are right , I assumed it.

    Best wishes,


  • I have chronic acid all the time as well lindi. Which is awkward because you are not suppose to mix levo with calcium carbonate and I each rennies like smarties. Is a miserable life isn't it :(

  • I'm feeling really poorly and depressed just now x

  • There is some evidence that acid reflux in hypothyroid people can be due to weakness of the lower oesophageal sphincter (the "rubber band" muscle above the stomach) - rather than excessive production of acid.

    That muscle fails to close up well and so acid can go up the gullet and throat.

    The muscle tends to become weak because that is an effect of low thyroid hormone levels. Also, the tightness of the muscle seems to be related to stomach acidity. If the stomach is low in acidity, the muscle does not close up so tightly, but as acidity increases, it tightens more.

    This seems to be why some people actually do so very poorly on Proton Pump Inhibitors such as lansoprazole or omeprazole. They reduce the acidity so the muscle works less well.

    It needs to be looked at because only doctors are able to do the required diagnostic tests for everything it could be. But do not expect doctors to understand about muscle weakness, low stomach acid and hypothyroidism.

    Some people have found improvement by consuming apple cider vinegar (e.g. a teaspoonful in a small glass of water) before eating. This seems to prime the sphincter muscle to close better.

    BUT - be vary careful. If you try it, and you really are in the high stomach acid group, it could be very uncomfortable. Have some bicarbonate of soda or other ant-acid available!

    And rinse your mouth after the meal to avoid leaving acid on your teeth.


  • Thanks Rod. Sounds very complicated but very informative. X

  • gonna try this today, thanks Rod x

  • mm only got white wine vinegar, will that work?

  • Have heard all sorts of theories/ideas. Some suggest something special about ACV, others simply that it is the least unpleasant to use.

    I do NOT do this (no need) but find ACV perfectly drinkable when diluted - not sure I'd be so happy about other vinegars. Your choice!

    And take it easy. Under-do it rather than over-do it. If it does not have an adverse effect, then you can always use slightly more tomorrow. (Or at some future point.)

  • Thanks Rod I'm just thinking what if I make the mint sauce with it? Would that count?

  • So it's lamb for dinner?

    Maybe it would? Maybe it wouldn't? I really don't know.

    But I have sometimes wondered whether some people regularly eat pickled things because it helps - even if subconsciously?

  • well lamb all gobbled up so I'll let you know later after my power snooze :O

  • well I hardly dare say it but I have not needed a rennie all day since the white wine vinegar. I have had a sleep which is usually a bad time with gravity making things worse. I will try and get the proper cider vinegar now to try, been reading about the benefits of it in general.

    Thanks Rod x

  • If you really are as bad as this you are at major risk of developing Barrats disease - please get everything checked out.

  • Oh Gosh - what's that then? X

  • It is a very unpleasant possible result of long-term, serious acid reflux:



    Absolutely agree with lynx.

  • Will see my GP asap. Thanks. X

  • Interesting question not least because many hypothyroid patients suffer from adrenal problems - a symptom of which is low and not high stomach acid. Hypothyroid patients also have a tendency towards fungal overgrowth. I helped treat my wife for this in the early stages of discovering her condition (she is the reason I write on this forum). It is well worth researching fungal overgrowth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many patients who treat themselves for fungal overgrowth can lessen and stop their proton pump inhibitors (eg lansoprazole). Also, although my thyroid function is fine, I have suffered from fungal overgrowth having had my spleen removed when I was 19 and having been put on antibiotics for 18 years thereafter by my GP. This allowed an environment where the Candida fungus can grow out of control leading to significant health problems. Interestingly I was also out on Lansoprazole which made the problem worse. Have a look and see if it might relate to you huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-... I no longer need the Lansoprazole......

  • Thank you - I will look. X

  • I had a similar reaction to these capsules (no fibro then) and pharmacist said UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED always take with food.

    Capsules can get stuck just below the oesophagus and start to dissolve before they get in the stomach causing symptoms as you describe

    He said this applies to tablets too. Just swallowing with water doesn't always work as water can just swirl past. Even just a biscuit eat half, take tablet or whatever then eat other half. .

  • My experience with lansoprazole is that it reduced my stomach acid too much and I felt much better when I stopped it. Low and high stomach acid can have very similar symptoms but there is an easy way to get an idea what it is by taking some bicarbonate of soda first thing in the morning. See SCD lifestyle website re hypochlorhydria test. Hope it helps

  • Thank you everyone who has taken time to respond to my question. I will look into all the suggestions.

  • Have you been tested for the H-Pylori bug in your tummy? That's what was causing all those sort of tummy problems for me. I was treated for the bug and am now on lanzaprazole and my endo said I was ok with my thyroid meds!

  • Thank yu x

  • Good idea get tested for Helicobacter pylori, a friend of mine had this problem due to this cause.... once that's done, DO NOT assume reflux is only due to HIGH stomach acid!

    I know that sounds mad.

    My partner who was otherwise perfectly healthy went through a time of hell, it was initially just with with reflux, then became underweight and actually malnourished due to taking proton pump inhibitors for well over 3 years, to the point of palpitations and heart beat irregularities. Doctor did nothing to help despite tests and ECG, the Cardiologist suggested it was anxiety! (Heard that one before!)

    Someone online suggested it might not be low stomach acid, but HIGH, and at first it took some convincing me, and I was easy to convince by comparison; but desperation makes people try things even when they sound barmy. Now it is about 3 years on, taking Betaine Hydorchloride supplements with all meals, that was quick to help, and after getting magnesium and vitamin B12 sorted with supplements, the reflux is gone, and the heart rate problems went soon after too!

    OK, it might not be everyone's problem, but worth testing - just have plenty of antacids handy.

    It seems it's well known everywhere but here... loads of info out there on it, someone else suggested cider vinegar, and I suspect it works in a similar way. This page seems to explain it pretty well, and suggests how to test:


  • Thank yu x

  • I've had reflux problems for years but find eliminating cakes, biscuits, pastries and sugars solves the problem. If I do have the occasional binge, treatment with 'A. Vogel's Centaurium' herbal tincture (centary drops), dissolved slowly under the tongue, works miraculously.

  • Thank yu x

  • Hi Lindi,

    I had my thyroid removed and was placed on thyroxine and within 5-6 days I really started to suffer with chronic reflux, I was almost convinced that it was the medication. I had not suffered with this complaint before the removal of thyroid or medication.

    I couldnt even drink water and it would come back up. I did go and see GP who tried me on different medications which never worked, I was sent for a gastroscopy and they found that I had inflamation in three parts, still convinced thats were the medication rested before being dissolved. I was given nexium 40mg a day, as the reflux was so bad I also had to see a ENT as my throat became hoarse on and off, I had to have the telescopic tube up the nose and down to the throat consultant said that my throat was red and had an irritation/inflamation of the oesapaghus (not sure spelt that right) I was also put on gaviscon advance taken after every meal and before bed...I was on the highest dose for reflux.

    Anyways 3yrs later I have been able to ween myself off all reflux meds and only on odd occasions I may have to take them meds for a very short period. It has been a long journey and can sympathise with anyone going through this dreadful condition.

    I still think it was to do with the meds because at one time I had to crush my thyroxine and doing that I used to get a sore tongue, so what can it be doing to our stomachs?


  • I didn't have reflux, but had old-fashioned indigestion most days for *decades*, used antacids, always had them with me - I used to blame NSAIDs (Ibuprofen and others over many years for Osteoarthritis) but Reactive Hypoglycaemia and Insulin resistance meant I had to eat low-carb to control it, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have had indigestion in the 3.5years since & I still take NSAIDs every day.

    I wish I had discovered it years ago, and there have been other vast benefits dropping the carbs too, although there are still *very* rare occasions (like birthday and Xmas!) when I will indulge a little, as I still love them (but I use carb-blocker tablets and cinnamon capsules to stop the worst effects on my blood glucose!)

  • Many thanks for this. I actually notice I feel a lot better without Carbs so could be similar x

  • I too wish I'd realised years ago that simply dropping carbs would solve the problem. It would have saved the cost of private endoscopy, which I resorted to in desperation, as well as treatment for H. Pylori, which was the only thing they could suggest, (apart from gall bladder removal, which fortunately I resisted.)

    RichardReade's comments above made me think about the connection with the candida fungus, which is said to thrive on sugar.

  • I have a hiatus hernia and acid reflux and have taken esamaprazole for a number of years however since becoming hypothyroid and discovering this site decided to stop taking it.I had acid and heartburn nearly all the time but found eating half a piece of stem ginger in syrup eased it considerably now only get symptoms occasionally usually after eating something spicy. I think my stomach acid must have sorted itself out . Can't see any possible side effects of ginger so think it is more beneficial than the esamaprazole. hope you find this information useful.

  • I think mayby you should ask for a scope to have a proper look down your throat, as I had the same symptoms and feeling if good stuck in my throat and it was a hiatus hernia with me so I'm now on lansaprazole, I was on omeorazole but feeling of lump in throat was still there so changed over. if hiatus hernia get strangulated it can be very dangerous so I would get checked out properly to eliminate other things first.

    my hubby also had the helibactor pylori which is related to thyroid (he is also hypo) he was on strong antibiotics for a long time to get rid of it he used to feel nausea with it too

    Hope this helps


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