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HomeExclusiveCan Thyroid Medicine Make You Gain Weight

Can Thyroid Medicine Make You Gain Weight

Hyperthyroidism Weight Gain Statistics

How Thyroid Disfunction Can Cause You Weight Gain

For their study, Dr. Boelaert and colleagues used the Thyroid Clinic Database at the University Hospitals Birmingham National Health Service Foundation Trust. They examined data on all adults with hyperthyroidism who were treated with either antithyroid drugs radioiodine , also called radioactive iodine or both between 2000 and 2014.

The individuals were followed up for three years after treatment. None of them had a thyroidectomysurgical removal of the thyroidwhich is another treatment option.

In all, the study looked at 1,373 patients with hyperthyroidism, ages 18 to 90. During treatment, the men gained about 17.6 pounds on average, while the women gained an average of a little over 12 pounds. The researchers compared the patients weight gain with that of a matched comparison population of nearly 11,000 people who did not have an overactive thyroid.

At the start of drug treatment, those who were diagnosed as having an overactive thyroid weighed less on average than the comparison population, Dr. Boelaert says, which was expected. However, after treatment, the individuals with hyperthyroidism were more likely than the comparison group to have a body weight that qualified as obesespecifically, men were 1.7 times more likely and women, 1.3 times more likely.

In other words, the participants went from weighing less on average than the comparison group before treatment to, in many cases, gaining enough weight to put them in the obese range.

Thyroid And Your Weight

Your thyroid gland sends hormones into the bloodstream that help keep your metabolism in check. When you donĂ¢t make enough of these hormones, that process slows down.

That puts the brakes on body functions. You might feel cold, tired, or sluggish. Your body may also hang on to salt and water. That causes bloating.

You might put on a few pounds — a few. Only about 10% of your total weight gain is likely due to the water and salt that your body keeps because of hypothyroidism.

If extra weight is the only symptom left after thyroid medication brings your hormone levels back to normal, hypothyroidism probably isn’t directly to blame for it.

“People with hypothyroidism often have gained quite a bit of weight before their diagnosis,” says nutrition coach Cheryl Harris, RD. “They may experience fatigue, and that makes it harder to have the energy to eat well and exercise regularly.”

Precautions When Taking Methimazole

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, or have any other allergies. This product may include inactive components that might cause allergy symptoms or other issues.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if you have: blood disorders , liver disease, or pancreatitis.

This medicine is not suggested for usage throughout the first three months of pregnancy. During that time, your doctor may prescribe you to use another medicine instead. Although this drug is beneficial during childbirth, it should only be administered when absolutely needed during the final six monthsContact your doctor right away ifContact your doctor right away ifntact your doctor right away iff pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the risks and rewards of using it. re pregnant, or believe you may be pregnant, see your doctor right away.

Methimazole may be absorbed through your skin. It enters breast milk. Before breastfeeding, consult your doctor.

Read Also: Hypothyroidism Double Chin Caused By Thyroid

Side Effects Of Taking Too Much Synthroid

Side effects of taking too much Synthroid are similar to the side effects of hyperthyroidism . This is because Synthroid is a synthetic version of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone that your body makes naturally.

Side effects of taking too much Synthroid, which are also symptoms of hyperthyroidism, can include:

Remember to take Synthroid exactly as your doctor prescribes. You shouldnt take more than the dose recommended by your doctor. This can help you avoid side effects from taking too much Synthroid.

Synthroid may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drugs side effects and their answers.

What Are The Most Common Thyroid Diseases

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Hashimotos disease is the most common form of underactive thyroid disease. Its an autoimmune disease in which the body develops an antibody that essentially scars the thyroid, making it underactive.

Graves disease is an autoimmune form of hyperthyroidism that former First Lady Barbara Bush had. With this disease, people develop an antibody that revs up the thyroid and makes it overactive.

And sometimes, women who have recently given birth develop a brief period of overactive thyroid called postpartum thyroiditis. It usually happens one to five months after delivery.

Read Also: Thyroid Symptoms Mayo

How To Finally Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism

So what are you supposed to do if you still have hypothyroid symptoms with “normal lab tests”?

What are you supposed to do if you haven’t been able to lose weight despite increasing your dose of Levothyroxine or Synthroid?

You have 2 ways to go about this:

1. Change your thyroid medication to include T3 containing medications

2. Boost thyroid conversion by taking certain supplements and treating certain conditions which limit the conversion process

The easiest way to increase thyroid function and lose weight is by adding pure T3 to your dose of Levothyroxine or Synthroid.

This allows you to bypass the T4 to T3 conversion process.

Your body can only make Reverse T3 if T4 is present, so if you only provide T3 to the body then it simply doesn’t have the option to create Reverse T3 and your levels will naturally fall.

This is one of the ways to “flush” out high levels of Reverse T3 in the body.

You can accomplish this by either switching from Levothyroxine to NDT or by simply adding Liothyronine or Cytomel to your total dose.

This step will require that a Doctor is willing to work with you, however, which is why I always recommend seeking out a provider with advanced knowledge about thyroid function.

If your plan is to take this information to your current Doctor to get them to understand this information or to order the “right” tests it will most likely backfire.

If you don’t have anyone local to you, then you do have a few options:

As a primer remember this:

Have Your Thyroid Levels Checked Regularly

It’s very important to be closely monitored while you are under treatment, Dr. Srinath explains. Particularly in the first 18 months, patients should be in contact with their health care team every three months, for services such as lab testing, to keep an eye on thyroid function, which requires monitoring thyroid hormone levels. “We want to avoid extreme fluctuations in thyroid hormone levels, whichif out of rangecould accelerate the tendency to experience weight gain,” Dr. Srinath says.

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What You Can Expect When You Start Thyroid Medication

Most people cannot expect extreme weight loss once they start thyroid hormone replacement medication. Again, this is because weight gain is often caused by other factors aside from an underactive thyroid. Generally, people begin to notice weight loss about three to six months after hitting a therapeutic dose of their medication.

People lose about five to ten pounds on thyroid medication or less than 10% of their body weight. The weight loss is usually caused by the body getting rid of an excess accumulation of water and salt . Most research does not show that thyroid medications like Synthroid help you lose adipose tissue.

What Are Thyroid Medications

Levothyroxine and Weight gain (Why some people gain weight on levo and Synthroid)

Luckily, in the majority of cases, the symptoms of hypothyroidism, including weight gain, can be easily controlled with the regular use of thyroid medications. A weight loss is expected to happen with the bodyweight returning to the number, which it was before the case of hypothyroidism has first started developing.

The goal of using thyroid medications is to supplement the low thyroid hormone levels in individuals with hypothyroidism. All thyroid medications require a proper prescription to be used. There are multiple health risks to be expected in case of thyroid medication misuse and overdose. You and your doctor will decide on which thyroid medication is the best one for you, and you are to closely follow the provided instructions.

Although the thyroid gland produces two thyroid hormones, with those being T3 and T4, it is T4 that is most commonly used to treat hypothyroidism. These are generally safe to be used. However, they are meant to be used according to the provided instructions. The daily recommended dosage is not to be exceeded as a way to avoid side-effects from happening.

There are two basic thyroid hormone preparations available on the market today.

  • Natural preparations
  • Synthetic preparations.

Recommended Reading: What To Do If You Miss A Dose Of Levothyroxine

The Best Thyroid Medications That Can Help You Lose Weight

It is worth mentioning that no thyroid medication is meant to be used as a weight-loss aid. The thyroid medication is to be used only as a part of the hypothyroidism treatment, while weight loss is only one of the benefits that are happening due to the normalization of the thyroid hormone levels. Do not use these medications to treat obesity and/or achieve weight loss.

Thyroid Weight Gain Myths And Facts

Have you recently gained weight for seemingly no reason? Or perhaps youve recently found out you have hypothyroidism, and youre wondering if it could be responsible for your weight gain. After all, it is known that an overactive thyroid could cause you to lose weight is the opposite true?

Theres a lot to learn about problems with thyroid and weight gain, so lets get started!

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Why Does Hyperthyroidism Treatment Apparently Cause Weight Gain

Currently were not sure whether weight gain post treatment is tied into the progress of the disease or the treatment itself and more research is needed in this area.

However, we do know that having hyperthyroidism stimulates the appetite centre within the hypothalamus within the brain which may then stimulate over eating.

We also know that people who have had hyperthyroidism do become used to eating what they like and its possible that they continue to eat at their pre-treatment levels which results in weight gain due to them now having a normal rather than fast metabolic rate.

It could also be that having hyperthyroidism in effect masked lifestyles which predispose patients towards an increase in weight gain until it was treated.

The main thing is to be aware of the likelihood of weight gain and to be prepared to manage this with a better diet and increased exercise.

I hope this has been helpful.

There is further information about the above mentioned research here and here

Although every effort is made to ensure that all health advice on this website is accurate and up to date it is for information purposes and should not replace a visit to your doctor or health care professional.

As the advice is general in nature rather than specific to individuals, Dr Vanderpump cannot accept any liability for actions arising from its use nor can he be held responsible for the content of any pages referenced by an external link

Dosage Or Drug Quality Issues

How To Lose Weight With An Underactive Thyroid: Your 6 ...

Overmedication may occur when you are taking the wrong dose.

For example:

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe a dosage that is too high for you.
  • Your pharmacist may give you the wrong dosage or incorrect instructions for use.

It is also possible that the quality of your medication may change from one refill of your prescription to another. This is sometimes the case when your medication is produced by several different manufacturers.

If you are taking generic levothyroxine, you may receive a batch of medication that is more potent or less potent than your previous refill. Even a slight change of potency from one refill to the next can lead to over or under medication and symptoms of hyper or hypothyroidism.

Switching formulations of levothyroxinefor example, from tablet to gel-caps or liquidcan also cause overmedication. That’s because your body absorbs some formulations of levothyroxine better than others. Tirosint liquid gel-caps and Tirosint-SOL liquid levothyroxine absorb better than levothyroxine in tablet form. You may be prescribed gel-cap or liquid levothyroxine if you are allergic to dyes or fillers, but the switch may result in overmedication.

This is why close monitoring is important. You should get your TSH level checked within six weeks after beginning thyroid hormone replacement, or after changing the brand, formulation, or dose of your medication.

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When One Drug Isn’t Enough

Levothyroxine drugs like Synthroid are synthetic forms of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, also known as T4. When everything works perfectly, your body should convert the T4 into the second key thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine, known as T3. T3 is the active hormone that helps facilitate energy and helps oxygen reach your cells.

Research shows, however, that in a subset of thyroid patients, this conversion process is faulty. Whether due to genetic changes, stress, or nutritional deficiencies, these patients fail to effectively convert enough T4 into T3.

If you fall into this category, you may find that even after being treated with levothyroxine, you may have hypothyroidism symptoms, such as fatigue, hair loss, or brain fog. If this is the case, you might benefit from the addition of T3 to your levothyroxine.

Ask your healthcare provider to test your T3. If you have low or low-to-normal levels, you may be a candidate for supplementation with Cytomel or a compounded, time-released formulation of this medication.

Note that compounded medications can be difficult to accurately dose, however, as it is very hard to determine the exact quantities of T3 and T4 in each pill. Compounded formulas can be difficult to control and could lead to overly suppressed TSH levels and low free T4/high T3 levels in the blood.

It’s also worth noting that adding T3 to your regimen is still relatively experimental: There is not enough clinical evidence to support this practice in every patient.

Withdrawal And Overdose From Levothyroxine

Withdrawing from levothyroxine is not dangerous. In fact, if the drug is abused, quitting is safer than continuing, but it may include a resurgence of symptoms associated with the underlying thyroid problem. Symptoms include rapid weight gain, depression, low energy, and dry skin. People who abuse levothyroxine may develop insulin resistance during withdrawal, which can trigger diabetes.

When taken as prescribed, levothyroxine is a safe medication to treat thyroid-related disorders. However, when this drug is abused, or mixed with substances that increase the drugs potency, there is a risk of overdose. Call 911 immediately if someone displays the following signs of a levothyroxine overdose:

  • Intense headache
  • Physical tremors that are not controllable
  • Extreme nervousness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Very high fever, leading to hyperthermia

Other signs that too much levothyroxine has been taken include warm or feverish skin due to blood flow changes and increased metabolism gastrointestinal discomfort anxiety or restlessness trouble concentrating and memory loss.

Recommended Reading: Stopping Armour Thyroid

How Long After Starting Thyroid Medication Will I Lose Weight

Hypothyroidism and weight gain often go hand in hand. Indeed, weight gain is one of the more common symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid. Understandably, many people assume that taking thyroid medication will help them lose weight. Some doctors even prescribe it to help with weight loss Ahead, determine how much weight you can expect to lose once you start taking thyroid medication and if it is a sustainable solution.

Treating Hyperthyroidism To Help With Weight Loss

(TBS #6) The Thyroid Weight Gain Paradox & Why You Can’t Lose Weight

If you have your thyroid then you should focus on reducing thyroid antibodies that cause hyperthyroidism.

You can actually check for these antibodies with the TSI serum test.

This test evaluates for thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins and it is these guys that basically sit on your thyroid hormone and cause it to pump out excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.

But the good news is that you might be able to reduce these antibodies with some targeted therapies.

This will go a long way to reducing the amount of thyroid hormone you are producing naturally and may help you to reduce your medication.

If you can reduce your antithyroid medication down to half of what it was, or even go off of it completely, then you will dramatically improve your metabolism.

How to reduce TSI antibodies:

You can find a list of supplements below that can improve thyroid function and improve immune function in those with hyperthyroidism:

Weight loss after Thyroidectomy & RAI ablation therapy:

If you’ve already had your thyroid taken out or you’ve had radioactive iodine ablation, then you are going to be reliant upon thyroid medication.

And let me be clear:

If you’ve had your thyroid taken out you are no longer hyperthyroid, you are now HYPOthyroid.


Because your body can no longer produce thyroid hormone on its own – you now need to supplement with thyroid hormone replacement.

Patients who have had their thyroid removed or who have undergone RAI almost ALWAYS gain weight but sometimes even more.

Also Check: Thyroid Np Side Effects

The Link Between Hypothyroidism And Weight Gain

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front part of the throat, just below Adams apple in men.

Through the production of two very important hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine , the thyroid gland takes part in many essential body functions. From providing energy for everybody organ and controlling your heart, to maintaining your metabolism the thyroid gland has many important roles in the body.

Without the right amount of thyroid hormones, the thyroid gland is no longer able to maintain the previously mentioned body functions, and so, they naturally begin to slow down. This is where the first symptoms of a condition called hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid start to show up.

Affecting women, more frequently than men, hypothyroidism is a serious health issue and, as such requires immediate treatment. Although it can occur at any age, in most cases, we see people after the age of 60 being affected by hypothyroidism.

Here are the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Cold intolerance, etc.

Now, the symptom that interests us the most is weight gain. In people with hypothyroidism, we see a decline in their BMR happening. This is the main reason why these people tend to experience unintentional weight gain. As expected, the weight gain depends on the severity of the case itself. Massive weight gain is rarely seen in these individuals. In the majority of cases, we see a gain of 5-10 pounds of body weight.


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