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Hyperthyroidism and swollen legs

Hello everybody. I hope someone can help. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism three weeks ago. My feet, ankles and legs were slightly swollen, but since then the swelling has got worse and worse. My calves feel hard, and my feet and ankles are really swollen. I can only wear slippers. I am taking Carbimozole 40 mgms. a day and Propranolol 20 mgms three times a day. I don't feel as jumpy as I did before. I've been to see an endocrinologist today, and he said the leg swelling would go once my throid levels fell. My potassium level is raised, as is my liver function. Can these be affected by my thyroid? I'm also having a lot of migraines. Has anyone had a similar experience?

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26 Replies

  • elaine 1

    Hi, I have never had swollen legs but, have suffered with aches & pains. Every endo i have seen have all said that it is down to the thyroid. As you know the thyroid controls every single thing in your body so what your gp says makes sense. 3 weeks is still early days it takes around 6 weeks for carbimazole to take effect as your body has to get rid of excess hormones carbimazole cannot do this. Usually you are on carb for around 18 months but, this all depends on your thyroids response. I was on carb for around 14 months then had rai in feb as my thyroid couldnt be controlled. As for propanalol you wean yourself off once heart rate & anxiety have stabilised. Hope this all helps a little remeber we are all different & what may work for 1 may not for another. There are some great people on this forum all with their own experiences & who are all willing to give advice. Take care & stay in touch with your progress. Elaine.

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  • marigold

    Hi Elaine. Thanks for your reply. I had hyperthyroidism about forty years ago. It got better very quickly with Carbimazole, and I certainly don't remember feeling as ill as I do now. It's probably just because I'm a lot older. The endocrinologist I saw earlier this week found a heart murmur so I have to have an ECG and echocardiogram, but I believe murmurs can be caused by the thyroid causing the blood to flow through the heart quicker.

    He's suggested that I have treatment with radioactive iodine or removal of the thyroid. I hope I can have the iodine rather than have an operation. Apparently it depends whether my eyes have been affected this time or not.

    You've solved the mystery of the migraines. I'm getting a bit sick of the flashing lights and the zig zag lines. smile

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  • elaine 1

    Hi, Sorry to hear that you also have a heart murmur what a nightmare bloody thyroid!!!! 40 yrs is a big gap & very unfortunate that you became hyper again. I had rai in feb as my thyroid couldnt be controlled 1 day i was over the next under. I am now permanantly under & must say rai was the best thing i did. I still get palpitations, leg pains etc but, not as bad. I have also found that i have not had a migraine since sept so, am wondering if being hyper also has something to do with it. I didnt get headache just flashing lights & aura which as you know is horrid. I was told by endo that as i have graves there was a risk that the rai may affect my eyes but, fingers crossed nothing major just a bit dry & need reading glasses but, this might be down to my age lol. Well take care & keep in touch. Elaine.

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  • Guest

    Hello, sorry to hear you are having such a horrible time. When my grand daughter had an over active thyroid, her liver function tests were also raised. This returned to normal when the thyroid problem was sorted out. I have had aura migraine for about 7 years. I suppose I am lucky not to have any headache, just the flashing zigzag lines but I hate it and still get scared every time it starts. When my thyroid became overactive the episodes increased, now 1 or 2 episodes about every three weeks. Not sure how often you have this at the moment ? I am sure the thyroid problem makes this worse but hopefully it will also get better soon !Hope you feeling better very soon, I think the first 8 weeks or so are the worst then things start to quieten down. I was only diagnosed about 12 weeks ago so have a way to go yet. Bess.

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  • marigold

    Hi Elaine. You've made me feel better about the rai. The endo says I can't stay on tablets, so I'll have to face up to it. Were your eyes affected by graves before you had the rai? One of my eyes protrudes slightly, but it doesn't seem to have got worse. The leg swelling is definitely improving. I even managed to get some shoes on today, but the migraines are just as bad - three today up to now. No headache, just the aura.

    Take care.

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  • marigold

    Hi Bess. Thanks for the info about liver function tests. I think the thyroid problem does make the migraines worse, and the beta blockers make them worse too. I'm having three or four migraines a day at the moment, flashing lights and zig zag lines, but thankfully just a very slight headache. I've only been on treatment for two weeks, but I definitely feel better. The endocrinologist says I need radio active iodine or a thyroidectomy, as he doesn't want me to stay on tablets for long. I can't sleep so that doesn't help, and I've felt weepy today. I'll have to pull myself together. smile

    Hope you feel better soon.


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  • elaine 1

    Hi, Marigold, Yes my eyes were slightly affected dryness, flashing lights etc my eyesight has also got worse but, this was all before rai. Like i said best thing i ever did as you cant stay on carbimazole forever & under is easier to control than over. Hope you are enjoying this lovely sunshine. Elaine.

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  • raven 90721 marigold

    Hello, Marigold smile I'm kind of desperate right now. My sister has hyperthyroidism and her legs, ankles, and feet are swollen. We don't have much money right now but she's young still and is unaware of what this means. I don't know either.

    Though this is a little you know what the swelling means?

    Thank you for reading if you got this--PLEASE give us some advice. I'm terribly worried

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    • laurasb raven 90721

      I just read that it could be caused by low potassium levels. Have your potassium checked, that is what I am going to do. I live in the US and have the same issue.  The Endo or ENT has no clue what is causing it. I am going to start taking potassium to see if it helps. I will let you know.

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  • kim19435 marigold

    Hi I was on carbimozole for 18 months and also had aches in legs and my calfs were hard. I had a total thyroidectomy feb 2oth this year and am on 100mg levothyroxine but still have aches and hard calfs. My vit d levels were in my boots and am on vit d for 6 months.  

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  • tammy68610 marigold

    i was just diagnosed with hyperthyroidism im taking propranolol and tapazole i had a thyroid storm and was hospitalized in april now my ankles are starting to swell, what else can i expect?

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  • tammy68610 marigold

    i was diagnosed in april ,i had a thyroid storm at work ( a hospital) they admitted me with rapid heart , high blood pressure im on propranolol and tapazole my feet are starting to swell now, im still having small tremors in my hands and am always tired

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  • lisa2662 marigold

    Hi,  I too had the extreme swollen feet, ankles and legs.  I went to the emergency room it was so bad. Endo. Doc. Told me because I was so hyper I was dehydrated despite drinking tons of water. It made sense to me. He said my body was going into survival mode so it was storing everything. He took me off the 40mg of tapiizole and put me on triamterene water slash BP pill.  It worked!  He said I needed to reset my body. Put me back on the tapiizole in 5 days.  Good luck!  

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  • juliemc marigold

    hi marigold. i havent been offically diagnosed yet as im just over normal and have to wait till the end of september. but swelling ankles and horrible lower body pain seems to be conected.

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  • sam30215 marigold


    i had  the same problem swollen calves and feet  tried many medications until i saw a new gp at my surgery she priscribed me FLUCLOXACILLIN 500MG CAPS miy sweeling has gone 100% take 1 cap every 6 hours for one week...

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  • togi50480 marigold

    I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid 5 years ago. I am hypo now. Since started getting treatment my feet have been swollen and it is worse and worse every year. It is hard to find shoes to fit now and I am frustrated. Doctors can't say much about this. Please someone advice me what should I do now. I have very dry eyes too and tears come out all day. please let me know if someone had same issues and what you have done. Thanks, 

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    • evon84144 togi50480

      Hello togi50480 I hope you are feeling much better. I also have get swollen feet and terrible burning in my feet and legs, I also get dry eyes as I have thyroid eye disease slight bulging of the eyes. I go to MOREFIELD EYE HOSPITAL they gave me eye drops HYLO-TEAR & VITA-POS EYE OINTMEN. I hope this helps

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  • evon84144 marigold

    Hello Marigold I hope you are feeling much better. I have also had swelling of the feet it is not all the time and the skin on my feet have changed in texture and colour also my liver function has changed I do think it is the thyroid as it regulates everything in our bodies

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