Hyperthyroidism and weight GAIN

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Hi all, I am new to this but thought it might be helpful to ask some questions people who are going through the same.. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism a couple days ago. I have a bunch of nodules and I was put on tapazole (15mg a day).

I understand the most common symptom of hyperthyroidism is weight loss, however, I gained weight. So my question is, does that mean that being on tapazole will make me lose weight especially since my body has been reacting to the disease the opposite of the expected way?

Any suggestions on how to control weight gaining while taking tapazole? 

Thank you so much!   

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi DMetev, studies show that on average hyperthyroid patients gain weight during treatment with antithyroid drugs. Antithyroid drugs are meant to reduce your thyroid level and thus your metabolic rate. 

    I have Graves' disease and had a relapse once. During both periods I gained some weight while taking antithyroid drugs. 

    It is true that many hyperthyroid patients lose weight prior to treatment but that only happens if the calorie intake was not substantial enough to compensate for the exaggerated basal metabolic rate. On the other hand, many hyperthyroid patients lose a substantial amount of lean body mass due to protein catabolism. In my case, this led to severe muscle pain and weakness. 

    My advice would be to expect some weight gain during treatment with antithyroid drugs and modify your food intake accordingly. I would suggest increasing your intake of vegetables a lot (especially those in the goitrogenic family) and also your intake of proteins while slightly reducing your intake of carbohydrates. 

    You can control your weight after becoming euthyroid (with normal thyroid levels) by increasing your level of activity again. I found swimming beneficial and I do play tennis. Note: While being hyperthyroid I would not recommend aerobic exercise and other strenuous forms of exercise. 

    If you fancy some more scientific perspective on things have a look at this article: Weight homeostasis & its modulators in hyperthyroidism before & after treatment with carbimazole

     

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    • Posted

      Hi danR,

      Thank you for your response. 

      So even though before treatment I was gaining weight, I should expect gain during the treatment?

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    • Posted

      Thank you danR for your most useful and detailed answer.I tried to open tje link to the article you posted, but it didn t work for me.

      Would you kindly resend it on pm ? Thanks again.☺

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    • Posted

      Hi tatiana12, links to other sites can't be posted on this forum. I just mentioned the title of the article above. I will send you the link via private message. 

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    • Posted

      Hi, just wanted to let you know that I have avoided gluten for approx. the last 3 months. I just substituted wheat and barley products with rice, potatoes, oats, corn (polenta), and pulses. In practice, this means no bread (since I dislike the gluten free breads I tried), no pasta (unless it's rice or mung bean vermicelli), no cakes and pastries.

      The interesting thing is that I have lost weight without restricting my overall food intake. In effect, I eat until I am full.

      I think it mostly has to do with reducing the intake of carbohydrates even though I don't focus on that. For example instead of bread and feta cheese and tomatoes I will now eat (a larger quantity) of just tomatoes and feta. Instead of cake I will now rather eat crepes made from sticky rice flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla, pinch of salt, and milk.

      Btw, I am physically active and currently I am taking 10 mg Carbimazole. I have lost about 5 kg and my BMI went from 21.5 to 19.9 according to the NHS BMI calculator.

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  • Posted

    If you maintain the same level of food intake then you will likely gain some additional weight during treatment.

    Keep in mind that just by stepping on the scales it is difficult to estimate if the weight gain is due to water retention, increase of lean body mass, or body fat.

    Btw, do you know your current thyroid levels?

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    • Posted

      Hi danR,

      I have them and can provide them later on if this is going to help.

      Thank you so much for thoroughly answering my questions. Really appreciate it!

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    • Posted

      Hi danR,

      I tested today and my hormone levels are 

      TSH  <0.01

      Free T4 17pmol/L

      Free T3 4.5pmol/L

      This is after a couple of days on tapazole - first 3 on 15mg/day then my endocrinologist asked to reduce it and tested me again. I can’t find the results from last month but the previous ones were way higher.

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    • Posted

      Hi DMeteva, it looks like you have responded very well to the medication. Your thyroid hormone levels (FT4 and FT3) are already within normal range (at least according to UK NHS guidelines).

      It is good that your endocrinologist keeps measuring your levels adjusting your medication if needed.

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    • Posted

      Hi danR,

      Yes, they’re looking better than my previous one but my THS has gone even lower. It was 0.02 and now is 0.01. From my research I know that it is supposed to be between 0.5 and 5.0. Do you have a suggestion of how I can help it on my end?

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    • Posted

      Hi DMeteva, at least in Graves' disease patients TSH can stay suppressed for some time even after T3 and T4 have normalised.

      I was found hyperthyroid in January and was prescribed 30mg Carbimazole. My thyroid hormone levels reduced and my dose was also reduced to 20mg. My TSH stayed low until my T3 was below the normal low limit and T4 was borderline low. At this point my TSH increased to 24 and my endo instructed me to stop medication for 5 days and then restart at 5mg per days.

      After 6 weeks I had another test and the endo instructed me the stop taking antithyroid medication. I will have anther test in 6 weeks time.

      Some posts on this forum discuss the effects of L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine on hyperthyroid patients. When I got hyper I ordered ALC powder and started taking 500mg per day. It might have helped, but you have to understand that this is anecdotal evidence.

      You wrote that you have thyroid nodules. Are some overactive? Is your hyperthyroidism of autoimmune nature? What is your long term treatment plan?

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  • Posted

    Geez, I thought people would lose weight having hyperthyroidism also, however I have gained about 6 months since diagnosed. The problem isi am trying to limit calories, and it is working, but slowly, since I cannot exercise. The body aches alone are devastating. 

    I suggest you start exercising like walking, going to a gym, but start out slowly.

    Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi arlea13920,

      I thought I would only lose as well but apparently gaining weight is possible as well.

      I excercise regularly. I started doing it way before I was diagnosed and I’m not planning on stopping it.

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  • Posted

    Exercise is good but you must start out slowly and gradually increase your activity. Too much stress is not healthy either.

    Take care.

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