Help Hyperthyroidism and trying to conceive

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Hello,

I've been diagnosed with Hashimoto disease about 2 years ago and anti TPO antibodies. I've took exogenous T4 for a while and it seemed well controlled. Then I've got pregnant in November 2017, but, unfortunately I've lost the baby 2 months later (no clear cause...). About 2 months after this, my thyroid condition slowly start reversing, begging hyperthyroid (T4=1.7, normal 0.7-1.8; T3=4.5, normal 2.3-4.5 and TSH<0.01, normal 0.6-2.3). My doctor initially suspected a temporary thyroiditis and no medication was prescribed. Four months later, the labs were the same, but I've start having serious sleeping problems, feeling warm often and tired (also due to sleep depravation)... My doctor still refuses to prescribe any medication until I have a thyroid scan done. However this involved radiation and we are still trying to conceive... Radiation will not be of high risk for conception, but might actually impaired our chances of conceiving and postpone everything or even worst... I oppose strongly for this scanning, but without this, my doctor would not prescribe me the treatment I need on the base of the need of a complete investigation, although my symptoms are getting worst by day...! I've looked for natural remedies, but many of them cannot be taken as may impair ability to conceive...

I'm miserable and desperate! I do not know what to do.

Does anyone has any suggestion? Anyone went through this?

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Correction: Radiation will not only be of high risk for conception, but might actually impaired our chances of conceiving and postpone everything or even worst...
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    • Posted

      Hi alyson123, if at all possible I would recommend that you try to find a more supportive and understanding physician. You will need extra care and special management as a future expecting mother with a thyroid disorder. 

      I can only imagine that your doctor did not explain in great detail why he requested a thyroid scan and did not explain the benefits or risks involved.

      It is more the timing of this test, that interferes with your desire of becoming a mother than the actual radiation exposure. To put things into perspective I wanted to provide some numbers.

      The average background radiation exposure in the UK is approximately 3mSv/year, where mSv stands for millisievert.

      A thyroid scan using Technetium exposes a patient to a radiation dose of about 1mSv.

      Other examples: a chest CT would account for about 6.6mSv, a transatlantic flight for 0.08mSv, 100g of Brazil nuts for 0.01mSv.  These examples are taken from the article "Guidance Ionising radiation: dose comparisons" on the official gov uk site. 

       

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    • Posted

      Dan,

      Thank you so much for your response! Yes, it does put things in perspective and it does help me understand better things behind this scan test.

      My autoantibodies testing came positive, so clearly an immune issue, rather than nodules.

      I hope I'll meet with my doctor next week, with no need of further testing and stress and I will get the medication I need for this.

      If she will not be supportive, I do intend to consult another doctor... Why stress, why put money into this, other way...? Hopefully soon I will get the care I need and put this stress behind, sort of...

      Thank you again for your informative response.

       

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    • Posted

      Dan,

      Just to clarify things.... 

      When I/my doctor was talking about scanning, i/she was referring to using radioactive iodine, not ultrasound... 

      Is this what you were referring too?

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    • Posted

      Hi Alyson, yes I was talking about a thyroid uptake scan. This kind of scan can be used to distinguish between the different types of nodules. For example, autonomous thyroid nodules output thyroxine in an uncontrolled way and will show a concentration of radioactive marker which appears as a bright spot on the scan image. 

      An ultrasound scan does not involve any type of ionizing radiation and would be the preferred option in your situation. It does not show the functioning of the nodule but can provide information regarding location, size, vascularity, calcification, etc. 

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    • Posted

      All the best and hope you respond well to the medication. 
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    • Posted

      Dan,

      Thanks again for your response and information.

      Meantime the results for my antibodies tets came and showed elevated immunoglobulins, suggesting an autoimmune process. I've just discussed with the doctor and she stated that the diagnosis would be Grave's disease. She considered that iodine scan is not necessary, but an US will be helpful. As this is harmful, I will do it and hopefully I will start soon the therapy. I've requested the doctor to consider a "pregnancy-friendly" medication (PTU).

      I'm pretty sure I might switch back to Hashimoto eventually. I think I have actually primary Hashimoto, but pregnancy/miscarriage can lead to these kind of situations (immune thyroiditis/Graves). I will monitor things.

      I wish I find a way to calm down my immune system. Thoughts?

      And I hope things will go well with the treatment. Are there chances a patient not to respond to treatment, even when doses are adjusted?

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  • Posted

    Hi Alyson

    There was a patient on this Board who had Hashi's and she was bouncing from high to low on medication.  She was able to normalize all  her results, including TSH by taking 3,000 mg. of Regular L-Carnitine per day and she would take her temperature in the morning and adjust her dose if needed.  She also took Vitamin D3 which is essential for good thyroid functioning.  L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is normally found in the body and is obtained from food, especially meat.  You can check your levels by asking your doc to measure Total Carnitine and Free Carnitine.  The vitamin D level can also be checked.  Many people including myself were deficient in both carnitine levels and vitamin D levels..  Knowing you want to get pregnant, I would check with a Naturopath about this natural treatment.

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    • Posted

      Linda,

      Thank you for your response. I've checked with a herbalist. Most of the plants he would normally recommend for hyperthyroidism, such as  Bebleewood and Motherworth are contraindicated for pregnancy. Lemon Balm is the only one still acceptable. Apparently even carnitine is not really recommended for pregnancy.

      I feel lost, I know there is also medication which can help, but without my doctors support, I continue to be miserable!

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    • Posted

      Usually if a Hyperthyroid patient is on Methimazole, they switch them to propylthiouracil (PTU) which is safe to use in pregnancy.  If your doctor is not being supportive, get a second opinion or go for a visit to the nearest Emergency Department if you have symptoms because it is not something you can let go.
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  • Posted

    Alyson,

    I don’t have any advice unfortunately except to seek another opinion if possible, or maybe see an “integrative doctor” if possible. Also my integrative doctor put me on Selenium  not sure you can take that but it’s supposed to be good for supporting the thyroid.  For other medical reasons, I can not take the stuff that Linda suggested. 

    But mostly I just want to reach out and lend my support. I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto first. I was also trying to conceive - but couldn’t. I finally did, but like you lost the baby after two months for reasons unknown. I went very hyperthyroid immediately, I actually think I had been hyperthyroid before getting pregnant. In any case, my doctor didn’t want to treat it. But after a year of hovering in the hyperthyroid zone I asked to see an endo - I’m glad I did because it took 4 months and in the meantime my thyroid went bonkers. I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. It was a simple blood test and I was very angry that my regular doctor didn’t check that. I don’t think I’ll be having a kid, but that’s because of my age now. Lots of people have babies with Hashimoto and with Graves so don’t let my situation scare. The one thing I wish I had done sooner was advocate for my needs, switching doctors or demanding tests. Also, I was told that extreme stress (pregnancy, death of loved ones, being in a natural disaster etc. - I had all of those within a year) can trigger autoimmune disease and when you have one you are more susceptible to getting more. Take care of yourself, advocate for yourself, this is not the easiest road, but it is a well warn path that many of us have been on and have become stable on - you are not alone <3. 

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    • Posted

      Eileen,

      Thank you for your response.

      Did you have or considered having the thyroid scan?

      It is not very clear for me why this would be so absolutely important and I cannot be treated without going through this...

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    • Posted

      Hi Alyson,

      I had an ultra sound done when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto and then an updated one when I went hyperthyroid. I never did the radioactive one.  I had antibodies for both. My endo looked at the scans and said I had a small nodule (or two, I can’t remember), but that they were small and probably not impacting the thyroid function. He never suggested the iodine, except to say that in the future I might want to consider using it to kill the thyroid. Or whatever the medical terminology was. 

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    • Posted

      And just to be clear, although you are probably aware of this, there is the iodine they use for scans and then the stuff they use to stop the thyroid from working all together. Two different procedures. 
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