I live in the UK and am intolerant of synthetic levothyroxine. If I take what the doctor gives me for say two-to-four weeks, I gain a stone in weight, (from 10.5 stones to 11.5 stones in three weeks with no change in diet or alcohol intake or any other measurable factor), have no energy, feel sick all the time, want to sleep continuously, headaches, dizzy spells (sometimes even passing out), feel cold regardless of room temperature/time of year, muscle spasms and deep low back pain; I don't feel like I'm getting any benefit from my food and I suffer constipation both urinary and bowel.
I initially was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about three years ago and with a T4 I think of 17, (not sure about that). I responded to synthetic levothyroxine initially and over about a year this came down to 5 but then relapsed and shot back to 12 with all accompanying symptoms of pre-diagnosis. They kept increasing the dose, (up to 150ug), but to no avail. When taking synthetic levothyroxine, 15 minutes later, I feel sick and as if my body is trying to fight a poison, almost like fever or food poisoning, that's the closest I can approximate the feeling.
So I stopped taking the synthetic levothyroxine as I knew my body was rejecting it and it wasn't doing anything for the symptoms. I felt dreadful. The doctors either yawned, laughed in my face or became aggressive when it became apparent that I'd spent a great deal of time reading medical journals and doing my own research from around the world. Oddly, the NHS's approach to Hypothyroidism and Hypoadrenia (Hypoadrenalism) is peculiar to the UK. Many countries around the world, (including North America), take a very different approach and have a much greater technical knowledge of the endocrinal system and its huge importance in the health of human beings.
I eventually found a product made by Forest called Armour Thyroid. It's available from **** in San Mateo, California. They will ship world-wide. It is a pig-extract and therefore totally natural and not synthetic. It contains both T4 levothyroxine and T3 liothyronine and it's been like a miracle for me. I calculated my equivalency and now have my level worked out. I take it every morning without fail and for the first time in three years I feel relatively healthy again. I have taken it now for getting on for a year. I ran out in Nov 2008 and went back onto synthetic levothyroxine for two months, just to see... I went through hell, with all the symptoms as above.
A month ago I ordered some more natural thyroid and within a few weeks I feel normal again; I can't tell you the difference it has made to my life. I'm not a doctor and I've had to do a lot of reading before self-medicating, you need to arm yourself with information as doctors generally are useless with hypothyroidism and hypoadrenia. The latter in the UK is not even a recognised condition generally speaking. And if you manage to get them to even test for it they only do a basic, snap-shot, wholly incomplete test and don't take into account any of the factors that will hugely affect the adrenals; sleep, recent diet, very recent activity, (i.e. did you walk two miles to the blood clinic or were you driven?), pain, infection, minor illness, fear, excitement, anger, hydration levels, salt/potassium levels - etc. Neither do they take into account the divesity of functions the adrenals are responsible for, they test for one thing and one thing only.
Doctors in the NHS, (especially GP's - the gatekeepers), are often very ignorant of the complexities of the endocrinal system and the interdependency of its various components. They basically follow a wipe-clean, laminated flow-chart of diagnosis similar to phoning someone in India when your broad-band is down. You know that they have no underlying knowledge of the technology and that they're just reading from a sheet in front of them.
I am 37 years old and I have lived in many different major towns in England, including London, and have visited many clinics and doctors and the prevailing impression I get is that Hypothyroidism and Hypoadrenia are enigmas to the NHS and they need a complete re-think both in terms of diagnosis, treatment and patient liaison. I strongly suspect that they are shepherded into ignorance and recalcitrance by the invisible hand of big pharma. It's no coincidence that someone with an unhealthy endocrinal component will needs lots and lots of supplementary medication for all their symptoms. It's also no coincidence that steroid-based treatments are common for many ailments and in many medical areas and it is my lay opinion that under-active adrenals could easily be a contributory factor to asthma for example - the treatment of which is often long-standing prednosolone, ventalin, becotide and other steroid-based products.
The NHS will invariably treat the symptom and not the cause, because then you're a kebab for big pharma to keep taking slices out of and keep selling their multiple drugs to you via the NHS.
I am more than willing to talk a great deal more about my experiences, please contact me if you want to drill-down on anything I've said or to expand on Hypothyroidism and/or Hypoadrenalism.
Good luck, I wish you all well, you'll need it.
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