I realize that it is a majority of Females that suffer with Hypo-Thyroidism. It is difficult to find much information in regard to Males that suffer this disease. The different body chemistry would seem to make a difference in treatment strategies. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis when I was 18. At the time, I was extremely Hyperthyroid. I eventually had a Partial thyroidectomy when medications failed to control the disease. I was 19 at the time. Now, at 48, I have been very Hypothhyroid for the past 10 years. Convential medicine has once again failed to control the disease. I have been taking 300Mcg Synthroid for the past 18 months and have seen little to no improvement in my symptoms.
I have been trying some alternative treatments for the past 4 months or so, and some have really seemed to help, but not tothe degree that they seem they should. I am wondering if it is the different physiology between the sexes that makes these things work better for Females. Are there any Males that have found some things that work to releive some of the more serious Hypo symptoms?
Last edited by Administrator; 10-07-2004 at 12:27 PM.
There are a few males who contribute to this board on a regular basis, I believe. You're right, hypoT effects women more often than men but I am not aware that men are treated any differently (then again I'm new to this).
Have you tried natural thyroid meds (Armour)? Many people who do not get relief from synthetic hormone replacement find the natural works a lot better - it's a mix of T4 and T3 wherease synthroid is only T4. Armour also contains the other Ts' the body creates - the medical profession isn't sure what they do, but they seem to do something and they are similar to the ones your own thyroid would make if it were healthy. There is also the option of using synthetic T3 (cytomel) along with the synthroid.
Have you had any blood work done lately? Do you know the numbers (and ranges)? If you wanted some advice you could post them - there are some very knowledgeable and helpful people here.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
Hi and welcome to the boards.
Thyroid problems do affect men a bit differently than women.
What bloodwork are you having done? Are you basing treatment on the FREE T3 and FREE T4? It is most important that you base treatment on these blood results and for men the numbers generally need to be about mid range, for women they need to be higher, more in the upper 1/3, there is one difference between men and women. But, basically you need to find the area that you feel the best, low in the range causes symptoms for both men and women.
I agree with Gopherhead, you may want to consider trying a natural med instead of the synthetic, the natural meds tend to alliviate symtpoms moreso than the synthetics. The only thing you really need to consider when switching is the T3, if you have any heart related problems you may not be able to take a T3 med. Also, the natural is high in T3 and many of us have to suppliment with a synthetic T4 to keep the T4 level up.
I am female and have Hashis, but my son was also diagnosed when he was about 16. He is going to be 20 on Monday. He just had recent bloodwork and had to raise his dosage to .75 of generic synthroid. The doctor that saw him didn't mention anything about treating males or females differently. I haven't heard anything like that from any doctors. Sounds like your meds are not working for you. May you might want to switch to a combo med.
Thanks for the replies. I didn't want my first post to get too lnog, so I will continue with more here.
I have tired self treating with varied results, but I think I might finally be on to something. As I had said, I have been on .3Mg Synthroid for about 18 months with declining results. Several months ago, I got onto Armour Thyroid, and Cytomel. I had quit the Synthroid and slowly increased the dosage of the Armour & Cytomel until I reached my current levels of 5 grains Armour and 50 Mcg Cytomel daily. I will probably be pushing the Armour to 6 grains in the near future to try to clear up the last of the nagging symptoms. I take half of the daily dose at a time, 1st at around 7AM and the 2nd around 3PM. This seems to really work in keeping me from dragging in the afternoon and evening and being able to really concentrate on my work. I guess I just feel much sharper mentally than I used to be.
Part of the problem I am facing in all of this, is the Doctors. Allow me to explain. When I was initially diagnosed with Hashi's, I was in the Air Force. I was basically discharged so that the VA would take over the treatment. So now, some 30 years later, I am still dealing with the VA in treatment for this condition. It was determined to be Service Connected and I am considered 30% disabled through the VA. So there is a cost factor involved. The VA will cover at 100% any treatment and medications necessary to treat the problems. What I am up against is that there is reluctance to treat anything other than the Hashi's and not much inclination to treat any of the associated problems. Seems like the VA Dr's are a bit behind the learning curve on these matters, but I really expect that. Anyway, enough history for now.
I have a visit with the Dr today, 9/20. I have been switched to a new Dr a couple of visit's ago, so I will see what he has to say about my switch to Armour & Cytomel. The previous Dr simply looked at the TSH number and when it got high, increased the Synthroid. The old Dr even went so far as to state that he really didn't know what else to do with "an old Hashimoto's burnout". I felt really insulted and let down with that statement. I guess this guy was just arrogant enough to not really admit that I needed to see someone else with a bit more expertise. At least the new Dr referred me to an Endo on my first visit with him.
I could certainly tell when there was a problem, simply by my weight creeping up. I had gained around 50 pounds in the past 10 years. Even though I am 6'3", 265 lbs was far too much to carry around. Since starting on the Armour, Cytomel, and some other supplements(not diet pill related), some strict dieting and better eating choices, I have managed to get down to about 245, but I still need to get rid of another 25.
I have quite a bit of information that I am armed with this time. Hopefully, he will take the info in the spirit that I will present it. Not that I am saying, "I know more than you" thing, but rather, "I know that you can't know everything, and I offer this info in the spirit of working for effective treatment".
We'll see how it goes. Thanks for listening.
Last edited by Administrator; 10-07-2004 at 12:21 PM.
Keep us posted on how things go.
Many of us here have had to fight to get the treatment needed.
The average dr has about 1 hour training in thyroid disorders and don't generally update what they learned. Endo's know a bit more, but there are also those that are still in the "dark ages" when it comes to the thyroid. Many have found that DO's or naturopath type drs know more about the thyroid and different treatment methods.
If the endo doesn't work out, maybe you can look into seeing one of those type drs.
Here's an option you may want to consider if you cannot get your dr to test your FREE levels. You can get your own bloodwork done on your FREE levels by going through Healthcheck USA, its an online service where you order bloodwork through them and then go to a participating lab near you. It costs about $85 to get the Thyroid Panel 2, thats the one that tests the Free levels.
Another man chiming in, here. There shouldn't any real difference in treatment for a man vs a woman on thyroid disorders. Despite the different effects because of different body chemistry, the treatment still involves replacing with optimal amounts of thyroid hormone to restore health for each individual. The problem that most doctors have is that they try to use a cookie-cutter approach, assuming that all people will respond the same to the meds, and that simply isn't the case.
Now, in all of this, you haven't mentioned what your lab work looks like. Post lab results along with what you were taking at the time the blood was drawn and a list of symptoms so there is a point of reference. The labs that would tell us the most at this point in time are Free T3, Free T4 and, least importantly, TSH.
I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV...
I think you may get more from your doctor with a better attitude. I sense all too often this poor attitude that theyre wrong or they don't listen. Well if you don't like the physician then find another. I am a male with hypothyroidism and it was probably burned out hashimoto's but who knows since we didn't run all the lab tests. The labs worth tracking are your TSH and your symptoms. It seems all the rest is academic discussion and of little clinical relevance. I wish you the best with your situation and hope all goes well but when people say they're armed with all this info do they honestly think that makes their specialist treat them any differently?
Please don't take this as inflammatory, becasue it isn't meant that way, but I have something to say about treatment of thyroid disorders that you, and a large number of doctors, may have missed somewhere.
Originally Posted by dogfisher
I think you may get more from your doctor with a better attitude. I sense all too often this poor attitude that theyre wrong or they don't listen. Well if you don't like the physician then find another.
I must agree with you here on the attitudes and all, but all too often, the attitudes are grown over a period of time and apparent apathy on the doctor's part and a patient with a bad attitude is to be expected.
I am a male with hypothyroidism and it was probably burned out hashimoto's but who knows since we didn't run all the lab tests. The labs worth tracking are your TSH and your symptoms. It seems all the rest is academic discussion and of little clinical relevance.
I am a suspected Hashimoto's burnout, too, and there is no way to verify that other than to biopsy thyroid tissue, which is a moot point, anyways, since it won't change the direction of my treatment.
I agree that symptoms are a very important part of the mix whan it comes to treatment. I must thoroughly disagree with you on the relevant lab tests. TSH, it has been proven, has NO direct correlation with symptoms (Indirectly, yes, but that is due to the fact that TSH reflects what the hypothalamus and then the pituitary think is the proper level of Free T3 and Free T4. Other factors can make TSH be way off the mark.
Free T3 and Free T4, DO have relevance to symptoms, even within their lab ranges. For example, most people feel their best when Free T3 and Free T4 are at or just above the middle of the lab ranges.
Points to ponder on the relevance of lab results and their interpretation:
Experts agree that about 20% of the population in the US has a thyroid disorder. So 80% of the population will be "normal" in that respect.
However, the "normal" lab ranges include 95% of the population. This means that 15% will be undiagnosed by labs.
Since doctors are prone to ignore the possibility of thyroid disorders if the labs are in range, those 15% will have antidepressants, antiinflammatories and Statins (among other things) given to them to treat the symptoms of their undiscovered thyroid disorder
TSH can vary by 3 points over the cours of 24 hours in a normal person and possibly even more in a person who has a thyroid disorder. Therefore, if my TSH was 4 on a prticular tiem when blood was drawn, it is possible that within HOURS it could be as high as 7 or as low as 1. TSH is not a hormone that is released steadily throughout the day, but is released in a pulsatile fashion in several spurts, usually late at night before you go to sleep, stopping when you fall asleep.
Sleep deprivation, among other things can cause TSH to rise, since falling asleep signals the pituitary to stop releasing its daily pulse TSH for the night.
The higher accuracy of today's TSH tests is only really relevant on the low end for screening possible hypERthyroid patients and does nothing for hypOthyroid patients. When TSH can vary by up to 3 over the course of a day, there is not really a statistical difference between a TSH of 3 and a TSH of 5, so there is DEFINITELY no relevance in the difference between 3.1 and 3.001, or a 2 and a 2.6 for that matter.
Keeping just the last few points in mind, how can you say that TSH is the only relevant thing to test for, knowing how inconsistent it can be?
If my diagnosis were guaged by TSH and symptoms alone, I would have never been diagnosed (my TSH has never been above 2.6 that I know of), and I would still be 80% disabled by the fatigue and other symptoms of hypothyroidism. Though I would be on antidepressants and other meds that might mask part of my problems (been there/done that), I would still be miserable.
If my treatment following my diagnosis were guaged on TSH and symptoms, my TSH would still be in range, which leave me STILL disabled by fatigue and other symptoms which would STILL have me on antidepressants and other meds that might mask part of my problems (again--been there/done that). Do you see the cycle here?
Therefore, in my case (and there are MANY others that have the same problem I do whether they have been treated properly for it or not), TSH has NO relevance, and I am treated by Free T3 and Free T4 levels. The prescription insert for Synthroid and other thyroid meds has information on treating this way in special circumstances, so it is not an unknown approach, though there are agressive and cutting-edge thyroid doctors that believe that the circumstances should be broadened.
I wish you the best with your situation and hope all goes well but when people say they're armed with all this info do they honestly think that makes their specialist treat them any differently?
Yes and no. Good doctors actually WELCOME a well-informed patient. A well-informed patient can help make decisions on what might be best for them as an individual, and can actually make the doctor aware of things that potentially benefit other patients. An open-minded doctor will learn and grow and be a better and better doctor over time.
Doctors who dont' wecome well-informed patients, and are insulted that a patient might actually know more about treating their disorder then they do, have ego problems and are not truly interested in what the patient feels. These doctors will not likely grow better over time. These egocentric docs will continue to plod along on their "tried and true" cookie-cutter approach to treatment that simply doesn't work for everyone. Admittedly, there are a number of people for which the "normal" treatment protocol that dates back three decades works, but what about the rest of us?
I do not consider myself an expert, but I have easily spent almost a thousand hours reading and researching on thyroid problems and their treatment over the last three or four years. I do this so that I can keep up-to-date on what works and what doesn't for me and pass along informatiion that might help others who are struggling. I continue to do this on an ongoing basis. How many hours has your doctor spent doing the same and how up-to-date is your doc on thyroid treatment?
Based on what you are telling me ("The labs worth tracking are your TSH and your symptoms..."), you are saying that the best approach is a protocol that dates back to the 1970's, and hasn't been updated, since, other than the fact that the TSH test now more accurately measures the (wildly fluctuating) amount of TSH than it did when it was introduced.
I am finding that symptoms, along with an intelligent approach to interpreting Free T3, Free T4, and TSH lab results (sometimes antibody testing and other labs may have relevance) should be used to diagnose and treat thyroid disorders. Labs should be interpreted in a narrower range so that interpretation more properly reflects the real world in which what is "normal" for one person could be disabling to another. Some general lab guidelines that, according to many doctors, have been found more likely to diagnose and treat a patient that needs help:
In the presence of symptoms of hypothyroidism, if Free T3 and or Free T4 are low-normal, then there is likely hypothyroidism that could benefit from treatment, despite what TSH says.
In the presence of symptoms of hypothyroidism, if TSH is above 2, then this could indicate hypothyroidism that would benefit from treatment, despite Free T3 and Free T4 levels.
In the presence of hyperthyroid related symptoms, if Free T3 and or Free T4 are high-normal, this is suspect and needs to be investigated, possibly indicative of hyperthyroidism.
Sorry if I have offended you with my tirade. I'll get off of my soapbox--for now...
I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV...
Thank you, Danny, for all the reading and posting and help. I have spent no where near a thousand hours reading and researching but I have spent hours reading posts on this board by you, and others, and it has helped me more than I can tell you.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
dogfisher raises a valid point about attitude. But I will add that the attitude thing goes both ways. I consider that I am fortunate that the new Dr that I see now is quite open minded about things. When I approached him with my information, I was very sure to not do it in a way that may raise his defense attitude. I merely started by talking about the wide variety of problems that he sees in a day in dealing with Veterans. Then I went into the researching I had done, and what I had learned about treatment of Hypothyroidism. Anyway, I think that I put him at ease, as I talked about many different things related to treatment methods practiced in other institutions. Not that he would actually do it, but he did write down the websites that I had used. Perhaps he will take a look at them, or maybe not. He also mentioned that his knowledge is limited simply by the necessity of knowing a little bit about everything, rather than specializing in one thing. He also related that he doesn't mind an informed patient. So it went very, very well. Fortunately for me, this Dr is younger than me, so I guess I will get to keep seeing him until I die, or at least for as long as he sticks with the VA Health Care System.
Thank you all for your input and suggestions. I hope to continue to learn more and to keep up with anything new that comes along as far as treatments. I think that I was lucky enough to get a Dr that isn't so arrogant and is receptive to gaining knowledge from the patient.
Lady50, I wholeheartedly agree. Thing is, this sort of doctor is quite uncommon it seems. Of all the Dr's I have dealt with over the years, there were only 3 in the VA Health System that really seemed to listen. @ of them were actually VA Dr's and the other, that I still see, is something like a Contract Specialist. All the others seemed to treat the patient flow like something of an assembly line. The VA Healthcare System has such a bad reputation, but, I have seen many, many inprovements over the past 30 years. I have far more confidence in getting adequate and timely treatment from my VA providors than I ever had in the past.
Yes I am sure a doctor like that is like one in a million. That is why I have not searched too far. Afraid of another disappointment and the reaction I might have.
If I had the money I would just treat myself. You can go through the internet and order a kit to take to the hospital. They draw the blood and send it to the company. You get your results(without even going to a doctor). Order your Armour from south of the border or Canada. I don't think I can actually say the names of the places here.You may already know about it. It is costly though. I would not want to get just my tsh tested. My tsh is okay but my frt4 is low.