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If you stopped taking thyroid meds... a WWYD?


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If you stopped taking thyroid meds on your own, for whatever reason, and a doc said your child needed to take thyroid meds...WWYD? Would you put him/her on them, or not?

 

Right now this is a hypothetical, but I may be in this position w/ dd. I'm curious as to what you would do. Help me think through this please. Thanks!

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Well, the reason I quit taking them would determine what I did. Do I think the diagnosis is a farce and a gluten free diet will fix it? Do I wholeheartedly believe in a naturopathic approach?

 

I'm on thyroid meds. I tried natural and went back to synthetic when there were supply problems. I can't tell a difference, so I kept on with synthetic.

 

So, if a doctor thought my dd should go on thyroid meds---I would do it. I would also try other things (gluten free), but I believe the medicine is fine. If I was against synthetic thyroid meds (or natural, I guess)..... that would have to factor into my decision.

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Yeah, I'd give them to my kid, in a heartbeat. The thyroid gland provides a lot of important functions to the body. If your body isn't producing the hormone in sufficient quantities, I'd provide the supplement.....especially if your body is also producing antibodies (as in Hashimoto's, which is commonly hereditary) as it can slow the autoimmune attack to some degree so that you feel less like you've been hit by a truck.

 

I don't think you can argue that the drug is too expensive.. Wal-Mart carries generic levothryoxine for $10/90 days and you can get it by mail order from them.

 

The only other reason I can think that people wouldn't take T4 or T4/T3 to is because they think there are better natural alternatives. Kelp or iodine supplementation isn't going to solve the fact that your autoimmune system is attacking your thyroid gland.... Maybe for those not on the autoimmune end of things cleaning up your diet, exercising, etc. can help you ease off of the drugs, but most kids aren't in the situation of having a toxic diet causing their disease...

 

So, yeah, I'd give the drug, and I wouldn't hesitate to do so at all.

 

ETA: I did try cleaning up my diet and going gluten-free for a while and it didn't help my TSH levels at all....

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If you stopped taking thyroid meds on your own, for whatever reason, and a doc said your child needed to take thyroid meds...WWYD? Would you put him/her on them, or not?

 

Right now this is a hypothetical, but I may be in this position w/ dd. I'm curious as to what you would do. Help me think through this please. Thanks!

I would educate my dd and ask her her opinion and help her regulate her condition in whatever manner she needed help.

 

I, too, lean toward a more naturopathic approach. I do not like how so often allopathic doctors will treat symptoms but not the condition.

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Ok, here's my problem, or part of it.

I went to see my doc several years ago because my knee was bothering me, like I had hyperextended it, but Ibuprofin wasn't helping. NO other symptoms of thyroid problems, at.all. She said she was giving me a prescription, and wanted to do some blood work. Ok, I thought she was giving me an Nsaid or something, she didn't mention what it was. (don't flame for me not asking, I had 3 kids in 2 yrs, was brain dead and very non-confrontational at the time.)

 

She put me on synthroid before testing. My numbers were slightly high, just above acceptable . I was on them for about a year and a half. Problem was, she started upping my dose after a year, and I started feeling really bad. I started doing research, and told her I had all the symptoms of too much medication. But my numbers weren't coming down to the acceptable levels. So her response was to increase the meds. I had bad headaches, was freezing all the time- even in 105 degree heat, ( I could literally cool off a glass of water if i put my hand into it. Could not get warm, ever!) tired all the time, etc. I wasn't like this before the meds.

 

I finally read that the reason people are on thyroid meds for a lifetime, is because the meds cause the body to stop producing thyroid. I weaned myself off, and felt so good, and so normal! All the awful symptoms went away. I had tons of energy, only got cold when the temps dropped below 40... you know..normal. I will never, ever, ever go back on them.

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If you stopped taking thyroid meds on your own, for whatever reason, and a doc said your child needed to take thyroid meds...WWYD? Would you put him/her on them, or not?

 

Right now this is a hypothetical, but I may be in this position w/ dd. I'm curious as to what you would do. Help me think through this please. Thanks!

 

what is her T3? (as opposed to just the TSH)

what symptoms of hypothyrodism does she have?

 

levothyroxin has been around a long time, and in general is safe.

 

If I miss too many doses (I've made changes so I won't), I have a return of symptoms. I had a number of "seperate" symptoms I had seen different docs for years, with nothing ever being found amiss. (no one ever tested my thyroid) they were all connected to my hypothyroid. Only when we were trying to find the cause of one potentially serious thing, were we left with a common cause (all the other common causes had been ruled out) being thyroid that it was finally tested.

 

I have read that some people may have low T3 thyroid due to a build up of metals in the system. so if you are so strongly opposed to using the Rx, you might want to look into that with a qualified naturopath. do know that the chelation therapy used to reduce those metals can be very dangerous and must be closely monitered.

 

eta: the fact your doc didn't test you BEFORE prescribing was seriously irresponsible and should be reported to your state medical board. My levels are tested every year before my Rx is renewed. (though I have had to push for the T3)

Edited by gardenmom5
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Well.....

Your previous doctor sounds like an idiot.

 

Has your dd had her levels checked?

 

I originally went in because I felt horrible. For MONTHS, I felt horrible. I had a , somewhat, newborn. And kept chalking my symptoms up to classic new baby issues. I get classic hypothyroid symptoms. Not being on medicine didn't make it better. I've tried gluten free and that didn't fix it, although I would try it again. I've tried kelp and that didn't fix it.

 

I would find a doctor you can trust, first of all. I would look at your dd's symptoms. And at your dd's levels. Then make a decision based on her situation.

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I finally read that the reason people are on thyroid meds for a lifetime, is because the meds cause the body to stop producing thyroid. I weaned myself off, and felt so good, and so normal! All the awful symptoms went away. I had tons of energy, only got cold when the temps dropped below 40... you know..normal. I will never, ever, ever go back on them.

 

I don't know where you read that, but sounds like BS to me. That's just not who the feedback loop works. Your pituitary (in your brain) produces TSH to tell your thyroid to make thyroxine (T4) which your body converts to T3 as needed. If your TSH is elevated it means your pituitary is pushing on the gas pedal but the thyroid can't (or won't) produce enough. At DX the Dr is incompetent if they don't do a full panel (TSH, T4, T3, and antibodies) to know for sure what is going on. Taking T4 (the pills) reduces the demand on the thyroid. They monitor the TSH to make sure that they are only replacing the part your thyroid cannot make. If they give you too much, your TSH would drop, since your pituitary would say, "hey, don't need more!" Taking T4 does NOT change your pituitary (which is controlling things) or your thyroid (which is doing the best it can).

 

Most people are on levothyroxine for a lifetime because 90% of people who are hypo have an autoimmune disease where their own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the thyroid that produce the T4 (Hashimoto's). Sometimes transient hypothyroidism occurs (esp postpartum), so they should test for antibodies (chemicals produced by the body to destroy the thyroid cells, if you have any, you have Hashimotos and will probably need pills for life). Especially in the first few years it can vary a lot (as the thyroid flared and fails), so most Drs will test every 3 to 6 months until you've been on a stable dosage for a while. Then they should test (at least TSH) every year, and I'd push for T4/T3 as well.

 

Another thing to note is any TSH>2.5 is considered an indication that the thyroid is failing even though the lab cutoffs are often 3.3-5.5 for normal and many Drs won't RX until TSH>10. However even having untreated subclinical hypothyroidism (no symptoms and a 2.5<TSH<12) is associated with increased risk of heart disease. In fact, one of the big endocrinologist associations recommends that no one be put on statins for high cholesterol without first testing the thyroid, since treating even mild hypothyroidism can drop your cholesterol 25% (better than any statin and a heck of a lot cheaper, plus treats the problem).

 

As to your dd, *if* she has hypothyroidism she NEEDS to be medicated. Those hormones have lots of affects and on a developing child they are crucial. This is one of the few times the drug they are giving is identical to the missing hormone so to me it is a no-brainer.

 

As to you, consider posting to a thyroid support board. Post your numbers and info and you'll probably get a ton of helpful advice, including finding a better Dr. ;)

Edited by ChandlerMom
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She hasn't been tested for thyroid yet, only a glucose test. She has some kind of rash on her neck, scalp, chest, and back. Saw a dermatologist today, who did a biopsy to rule out one of two problems. Doing research on today's info tells me our next step may be an endo. I'm kind of just running through scenarios, and what we might encounter while trying to figure out the cause of this thing. It could be as simple as an infection, or it could be glandular related, or worst case scenario- cancerous... Won't know for at least a week.

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I get the heart disease connection, but understand that I had NO life. I wasn't living while on medication, I was existing. I am not exaggerating when I say death would have been preferred. I. could. not. function. At all. I spent all my time huddled in layers of clothes and blankets trying to get warm. My TSH levels were in the 6.6-7 range. T-3's were never checked. According to some, my numbers were/are way high. According to some, they aren't that bad. I don't want dd to go on meds that will make her feel the way they made me feel. THIS is why I'm having a hard time with even thinking of dd and the possibility that they will tell me she needs thyroid meds.

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well, I was on thyroid meds (generic pig something?) about 5 years ago, after a hysterectomy...I had to go to the hospital for blood work every 30 days. it was a pain and we had insurance

we moved to california, no insurance, I weaned myself off the pills.

The ONLY symptom for being on was blood.

Yep, I know, may still have the symptom in my blood, but I am not taking pills from a pig and getting stuck like one every 30 days.

now my kid?

egads, I would have to have major talk with dr. and others before I went any route.

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I would educate my dd and ask her her opinion and help her regulate her condition in whatever manner she needed help.

 

I, too, lean toward a more naturopathic approach. I do not like how so often allopathic doctors will treat symptoms but not the condition.

 

Thanks, Chucki. I do feel this way.

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Unicorn,

I think what the pp is trying to say is that generally being hypothyroid (having a TSH over 3ish) is correlated with being chilly and feeling miserable whereas being hyper is correlated with feeling hot and jittery and losing weight.

 

I have had my thyroid self correct a few times after pregnancies....so I don't doubt that it's entirely possible that your thyroid levels were swinging all over the place and that's why you felt better going off of meds....

 

A good endo really does take into account how you FEEL on your meds.

 

All of that said, there are very legitimate concerns which pop up when you do not treat thyroid issues....heart disease, female issues--infertility, cysts, very heavy periods, birth defects, miscarriages, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure....

 

I think the thought of your child being subjected to those potential complications because their disease is untreated is what is making all of us freak out just a bit. :grouphug:

 

I *have* had complications from my thyroid disease...and I am *so grateful* for the drugs which have helped me.

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I get the heart disease connection, but understand that I had NO life. I wasn't living while on medication, I was existing. I am not exaggerating when I say death would have been preferred. I. could. not. function. At all. I spent all my time huddled in layers of clothes and blankets trying to get warm. My TSH levels were in the 6.6-7 range. T-3's were never checked. According to some, my numbers were/are way high. According to some, they aren't that bad. I don't want dd to go on meds that will make her feel the way they made me feel. THIS is why I'm having a hard time with even thinking of dd and the possibility that they will tell me she needs thyroid meds.

 

But if you need them, they don't make you feel that way. They make you feel "normal."

 

Off meds--I get extremely dry skin, hair that falls out, low energy, unable to sleep, panic attacks, and chronic constipation.

 

That's not normal either. On meds....I just feel normal. I'm not hyped up or cold or hot. My meds get me back to normal.

 

I think your doctor went about things the wrong way. I can't imagine a doctor who randomly starts you on thyroid meds before testing. It doesn't take long to get results. But that doesn't mean that everyone on thyroid meds goes through those symptoms when they are on meds.

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It has more than one cause. Some conditions cause an irreversible loss of thyroid function, and in people with those conditions, replacement (synthroid, which is not "medication" in the classic sense, but replacement of a normal substance that your own body produces) is lifelong. Other conditions cause a fluctuating release of thyroid hormone from the gland, so a person may not need lifelong replacement. It is not always possible to determine the cause of low thyroid when it is present, but when it is possible, it helps a great deal with managing the problem.

 

While it's true that taking synthroid will suppress normal thyroid production in a normally functioning thyroid gland, that is generally not the case if a person has been identified as hypothyroid.

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http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/

 

I can't help much b/c I do have autoimmune thyroid issues, but it's Graves/Hyper. (plus Lupus) and it's a brand new diagnosis. This site I linked above it full of excellent info. Worth a look...TSH levels aren't all that important in getting your thyroid meds and levels stable...your normal may be just over or under that range and a doc should judge by symptoms, not labs. Anyway, take a look at the site. It may prove very informative.

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It's very simple. Ask for a full thyroid panel (TSH, T3, Free T3, T4 and Free T4) as well as a thyroid antibodies test. This will determine the nature of your/your child's thyroid issues (or non-issues).

 

If the antibody test comes back positive you/your child most likely have autoimmune thyroid disease in which case, yes, you need to be on thyroid medication. You can't naturopath your way out of an autoimmune disease. It will get progressively worse and continue to attack your thyroid until it's utterly useless.

 

If it comes back no, then your thyroid may be just fine. Many things can send your thyroid temporarily out of whack, including stress, illness or pregnancy.

 

The thing about autoimmune diseases is that the stronger you try and make your immune system, the worse they get. This is why people with severe autoimmune diseases resort to immunosuppressants. While suppressing the immune system isn't ideal, it's often the only way to gain some relief from symptoms of the disease itself.

 

I have autoimmune hashimotos (was diagnosed 9 years ago after the birth of my son). During those 9 years, finding the right dose of medication has been a trial, but a necessity. I've tried Synthroid alone, natural thyroid products such as Armor and NatureThroid and have finally found a good balance with a Synthroid/Cytomel (synthetic T3) combo.

 

Your thyroid controls so many basic bodily functions from temperature control, to metabolism, to mood...to everything.

 

FWIW, autoimmune thyroid disease runs rampant on both sides of my family. My grandmother was old fashioned and decided she "didn't need" to take her thyroid medication either. I don't mean to scare you, but it was this decision that led directly to her death. It took a few years, but your body can only function at such a decreased speed and without thyroid hormone for so long before it gives out.

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