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Old 05-31-2003, 05:45 PM   #1
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Question Is my thyroid causing gallbladder trouble?

Ok...that's a wild stretch, I guess...but please hear me out because I know from reading and lurking that some of you are knowledgeable enough to qualify as professionals!

Various dx's:

1978.....severe gallbladder attack (hospitalized)
1991.....hypothyroidism
1992.....fibromyalgia (finally!)
2000.....severe ADHD (finally!)

I was dx'd hypo in 1991. Placed on .075 Synthroid. Had my bloodwork done annually...everything within "normal" range. Somehow though, I never lost any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism...for me those range from excessively dry skin to thinning hair and severe constipation.

Last year during a routine checkup for something else, I asked my DO what would happen if I just quit taking my Synthroid. I'm sure you can guess his reply...that I'd quit functioning. My response was that I wasn't functioning currently anyway, so just what would change, except having to pay for meds?

I researched for a while and presented him with Dr. John Lee's info about thyroid and fibro. He was willing to trial Cytomel (I already includ most of the rest of Lee's protocol in my lifestyle.) He gave me room to titrate up as far as 100mcg/day. Suddenly, I felt wonderful! I cut my Ritalin down to next to nothing because my brain worked. I cut my pain medication by 1/2 because I could. Within weeks I had energy, thickening hair, supple skin, and NO CONSTIPATION!

I am self-employed, and sometimes don't handle stress well. Right about the time I had to go back in for bloodwork, he happened to notice that my bp was quite high (normal for me is 120/70...it was 180/98. Oops.) He made a faulty assumption and decided the Cytomel was responsible, cut me back to 25mcg. I spun downhill. Several months later, bp under control, I'm back up at 50mcg now, he checks my blood again. TSH is suppressed (he's ok with that) T3 is pretty good, T4 is quite low.

He decides I ought to try Armour Thyroid. Long story short, I spend 6 weeks at 2 grains/day. My skin is dry, my weight ballooning, hair falling, CONSTIPATED again! He just did bloodwork last week (no results yet) but I'm sure the problem once again was lack of T3, as 2 grains of Armour only supplies 18mcg. So now I'm taking 1 grain and 50mcg Cytomel. Hoping this will effect a balance.

I eat pretty well. I grind wheat fresh and bake all my bread and muffins. I juice organic fruit and veggies (and I DO juice green as well as sweet...) Now, here's the problem. Last week I was juicing beets, carrots, and apples. I add lecithin, plain yogurt and flax oil to my morning smoothies. By seven that night, I was in the midst of a full blown gallbladder attack. This one was almost of the 'run for the ER' sort. When I finally vomitted, all that came up was shredded fresh fruit and veggies. Why didn't the exta cheese pizza I had the week before cause a problem? Why raw organic produce?

Since then, the pain has lessened, but continued all week. An ultrasound on Friday showed several sizeable stones and sludge.

Currently I'm taking Standard Process A-F Betafood before and between meals. I've added a full proteolytic enzyme tab 3-4 times/day as well. I'm starting to feel better but I'm still mostly constipated.

I've had a half dozen major attacks since first dx in 1978. No doctor has ever suggested surgery until this one. I'm not comfortable with this...mainly because I feel as if the connection between my thyroid and my gallbladder is shorter than it seems.

So...did the thyroid thing cause the constipation thing which caused the gallbladder thing?

I'm willing to try a cleanse/flush, but not until the pain/inflamation subsides. I'm willing to have surgery if it's the very best option. I'm willing to change lifestyles if that helps.

Any insight or experience anyone can offer would be so appreciated. I am posting this on another board about gallbladder stuff too, ok?

Thanks so much in advance,
Snooze

 
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Old 05-31-2003, 06:23 PM   #2
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Some thyroid and gallbladder issues are caused by autoimmune problems. Once you have one audioimmune disease you are prone to develope others. My mom has both hypothyroidism and has lots of gallblatter problems. She eventually had hers removed. Hope this helps

 
Old 06-01-2003, 10:37 AM   #3
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Hypothyroidism can be directly related to gallbladder disease in these ways:
1. It slows the transit time of food through the gut, which can be a direct cause of gallstones;
2. It causes inadequate stomach acid, also a known cause of gallstones because proper digestion is blunted;
3. It causes a buildup of blood cholesterol, of which gallstones are formed. [This is just my theory, and it may not be scientifically valid -- Even if you eat little meat, your liver still produces cholesterol. If the cholesterol isn't properly cleared from the body, gallstones still could be formed from it.]

Another thing to consider is what kinds of raw vegetables you juice. Raw carrots and cabbage family veggies contain large amounts of thiocyanate, which greatly inhibits thyroid function. Some fruits that contain considerable amounts of it are peaches, strawberries, and apricots. You may be unwittingly counteracting the effect of your meds if you consume large amounts of it. Also, I use fish oil instead of flax, because I had a terrible bout of poisoning from eating flaxseed before my hypo was diagnosed. The oil may not contain as much thiocyanate as the ground seed, but I don't want to risk it.

If I were you, I'd do more investigation into whether Cytomel really did cause your hypertension. Is that a proven side effect?

[This message has been edited by midwest1 (edited 06-01-2003).]
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Old 06-01-2003, 11:17 AM   #4
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I would think if you had stones, you would need your gallbladder out...I had mine out 6 yrs ago.

Midwest...I was curiuos about what you said that Hypos have less stomach acid...I have gastritis (redness and imflammation of the esophagus) and I am Hypo...maybe I am weird and produce more acid? LOL
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Old 06-01-2003, 04:06 PM   #5
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Midwest and others,

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. First, my personal belief is that surgery is not something to be undertaken lightly, therefore the presence of stones does not automatically equate to surgery in my mind. I am generally conservative healthwise, and I'd like to exhaust every alternative before the big "S".

Actually, my gallbladder is less a concern than the constipation. I feel like the attack is a signal that I need to consider making some changes. Midwest, your info appears to be righton...slow transit time, insufficient stomach acid...all add up to constipation, leading to potential for gallbladder attack.

You hit on something that a pharmacist friend of mine also told me yesterday...the reason that raw produce caused the gallbladder attack is probably because I lack sufficient stomach acid. She recommended simply taking a tablespoon of pure cider vinegar before meals as a way to aid digestion. So, last night we had pizza. Enzymes, A-F Betafood tablets and vinegar before two slices and no trouble. And I am feeling better...especially after the milk of magnesia took effect.

The Cytomel was NOT the cause of the hypertension. My DO simply latched onto that as a possible cause. He's such a wonderful guy that I can forgive a lapse of this sort, I guess. He lets me play around with my meds and adjust dosage as needed. As I mentioned in my original post (and it probably got lost in all the rest of my blathering...) I'm currently taking 1 grain Armour Thyroid and 50mcg Cytomel daily.

Here's another question...back when I was on .075 Synthroid, my basal temp was about 94.7. Daytime walking around temp averaged 96.0. Once I started on the Cytomel, basal rose to where it is today: 97.0 first thing, some days as high as 98.4 during the day. This is normal, I'd guess, given that things are starting to work properly. Do you suppose that this may someday help me to lose weight? Nothing has ever helped...not taking Ritalin (for my ADHD), not dieting, not exercise. I'm fit, but still fat (5'5", 208#.)

And because I'm a woman and almost 50, my temp seems to fluctuate to my hormones. I've always felt too warm, contrary to what most hypos say. I'm an ex-Floridian who hates the heat. These days I am putting clothes on and taking them off at the same time.

Monday I'll find out the results of the latest bloodwork and his take on the ultrasound. I appreciate you all and all the info I've received from reading here.

Thanks again,
Snooze

 
Old 06-01-2003, 11:24 PM   #6
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lovemythreeguys2002,
Of course it's possible to have excess acid with hypo, but much more often, too little acid is the real problem. I'm still learning about all this myself... I have the symptoms of low stomach acid, but I've read that it's next to impossible to get doctors to investigate the possibility. Here's what I've learned so far:
Gastritis can be caused by a decrease in the number of cells that produce essential digestive acids. The decrease is associated with autoimmune conditions and the presence of overly reactive T-cells.
Weirdly enough, heartburn from too little acid will respond to taking antacids. The antacids will make the stomach even more alkaline. Raising the pH of the stomach stimulates it to produce even more HCl to digest the food. When the food is digested, the heartburn stops. The problem of low acid is compounded by the habitual taking of antacids, because they will eventually exhaust the stomach’s ability to produce HCl.

MamaSnooze,
Bless that smart pharmacist... they (and nurses) so often have answers the docs don't have a clue about.

It seems the original combination of drugs you were on (was it Synthroid + Cytomel?) worked well for you. It's unclear to me why you just can't go back to that. The fact that you're again constipated and still can't lose weight seems to indicate that for some reason, you aren't getting the right dosage of hormones to get things moving the way they should. Sorry, I don't know much more about the weight loss angle, but do a search of this board. I've seen good advice about it in the past.

I agree wholeheartedly with you about elective surgery. It's always my last resort. I have an ovarian cyst that I believe was caused by my hypoT, and I've been waiting to have it excised until I see if hypo treatment will shrink it or not. It's getting to be more of a pain, and I don't know if I can wait much longer, but I'm going to try.

Heat has always been a problem for me too. Last summer I began to realize that I don't sweat the way I did in my younger days. Since the purpose of sweat is to keep the body cool, maybe that's part of the reason for our discomfort in hot weather... I don't know, just a thought.
Are you in menopause yet? Maybe your heat tolerance problem is due more to reproductive hormones than thyroid ones.

You need to remember that symptoms that are caused by hypo will resolve when appropriate hypo treatment takes effect. If the symptom or condition isn't caused by hypo, hypo treatment won't help at all. You have to always be alert to the possibility that a condition may be related to something other than the hypo.
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Old 06-02-2003, 08:46 AM   #7
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Midwest....I just had my endoscopy done a few months ago....do you think the dr would be able to tell if the redness/gastritis was from too little of acid? She never said either way and she has me taking Prevacid, which works well.

Interesting about the heat, I feel the same way....if it's chilly, my hands and feet are freezing, BUT...I also hate the heat.....I like it just right, at about 75 degrees....LOL
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Old 06-02-2003, 09:27 AM   #8
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MidWest,

I have had 'female' type problems since the first time I menstruated. I share your pain! I also have a suggestion, which if you haven't tried, may save you a lot of pain.

For over two years (2001, 2002) I was having one period, then 15 days later, another FULL period. Lack of time to get to the doctor led me through about 19 months of this. Finally, when I went in for my annual, the doctor informed me that (a) I had a 'huge' cyst on my right ovary (greater than 1.5") that would require surgery, and that I needed to be on something to regulate my cycles.

Against my better judgment, I started on some b/c (Alesse? ...something...) Within a day or so I had nausea, sore breasts, PMS, bloating, and the cyst was like it was on fire. The kicker was that at exactly 15 days, I started bleeding again...this time bright red, as if someone had sliced an artery.

I pitched the pills and began researching. I found Dr. John Lee (I referenced him above, when I actually meant John Lowe...ooops.) He wrote a wonderful book called, "What your doctor blah blah blah about perimenopause" (Can't remember the exact title.) I shot out to the healthfood store (where I live it's 26 miles away and it was blizzard conditions, but I was determined!)

Within 48 hours of using the USP progesterone cream, the bleeding had stopped. Within 6 months, the cyst had disappeared (this was a corpus luteal cyst, something that can happen during anovulatory months.) My last yearly was last month. No sign of ANYTHING out of the ordinary. The gyn was shocked.

I continue to use progesterone cream 21 days/month. My cycles are regular (28-29 days) and flow is normal...something I hadn't experienced in over 15 years.

End of infomercial!

Thanks for all the sound advice. My g/b is still 'warm/hot" and I'm waiting on the DO to read the ultrasound, give me the results of my blookwork. I hope to post good news here eventually...

Blessings,
Snooze

 
Old 06-02-2003, 10:12 AM   #9
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I'm really glad to hear of your success with progesterone cream, Snooze. My aunt swears by the stuff, and I've been wanting to try it, but have been waiting until I get the thyroid thing straightened out first... you know... one thing at a time. My cyst is also a corpus luteal type, which are often associated with hypoT. Thanks for sharing your experience.

lovemythreeguys2002,
I believe... but I'm not positive... that the cause of the inflammation can't be determined just by looking at it. There are several tests to determine the pH of the stomach and esophagus. Did they do any of those? If they did, yout diagnosis is probably correct.

I took Nexium for 8 months without having any diagnostic testing. It stopped my heartburn too, but after a while its side effects bothered me more than the heartburn did. When I learned my symptoms more closely matched those of low acid than did the symptoms of excess acid, and that taking PPIs without thorough diagnostic evaluation can be risky, I tapered off the Nexium. Don't do that yourself though, without discussing it with your doc first.
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:31 PM   #10
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Midwest....I understand the 'one thing at a time' thing, but when it comes to pain, I run, not walk to the source of help! (For me, it's Jesus first, then the progesterone cream... ) As far as my research and experience indicates, there are no negatives to using progesterone cream in moderation. I realize that it's a hormone, as is thyroid, but I've documented no thyroid change in response to using the cream.

In fact, when I first got it, the pain and bleeding was so bad that I was using 1/2 tsp 3-4 times/day for a week. Only one other time did I have cyst pain (other side...and I only think it was cyst...) I used the cream very liberally, and the pain abated within hours.

Consider it...I recognize that we have to view the body systems holistically, but any time you can free yourself from pain without causing side effects, you need to think fast about doing it!

Encouragingly,
Snooze

 
Old 06-02-2003, 03:58 PM   #11
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that the cause of the inflammation can't be determined just by looking at it. There are several tests to determine the pH of the stomach and esophagus. Did they do any of those? If they did, yout diagnosis is probably correct.

She took 2 biopsies...not sure if she ran tests with those or not.
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