I'm new to this board but have found it already very helpful. I'll give a short version of my story and end with my questions.
I've always had problems with my periods. I'd get UTI's with every one and ended up in the hospital in '97 with a full blown kidney infection. I was in the hospital for 7 days and they could never find the cause. After that my periods became steadily worse, lots of bleeding, pain, etc. During this time I had dropped about 20 lbs without really trying. Then, BAM, 25 lbs up in a matter of 3 months! I had all sorts of blood tests done, etc. etc. I'm sure many have been through this. Gyn found cysts and fibroids and decided I needed a full hyst. So, 12/03 had TAH. Three days after surgery, I started with chronic diarrhea, up to 15 times a day. Finally went to a Dr. that did thyroid testing and I was diagnosed with Hashi. Levels were off the charts. She put me on Levoxyl 75 mcg and Cytomel 5 mcg. Started doing lots and lots of research and learned about Armour. I've asked every doctor since If I could switch and have been turned down flat. I still am very tired, have brain fog, diarrhea (I know this is a hyper symptom), hair falling out in clumps, dry skin, cold intolerant and exercize intolerance, can't loose weight even though I watch everything I eat (I'm also limited to what I can eat because of the diarrhea). I'm on HRT, estrogen (bioidentical Vivelle Dot .1 patch) and testosterone gel. I eventually quit my job because of the diarrhea and the extreme fatigue.
We recently moved to Orlando, FL and I'm looking for a new doctor that will give me the Armour but I want to go in fully educated and be ready with what dosage I should start on. I have been to Mayo in Jacksonville (4 months now) and I was EXTREMELY disappointed in the Endo. department. Wouldn't listen to my symptoms, just looked at the results. Wanted to take my Cytomel away (I said NO WAY). After almost $20,000 spent up there, still no answers to why I feel this way.
So here are my questions:
Anyone have a good doc in the Orlando area?
What dosage of Armour should I start on?
Has anyone made the switch from Levoxyl/Cytomel to Armour and done well?
Is there any information I should take with my to the doc about Armour?
What has been your experience with the HRT/Thyroid balance?
Has anyone had chronic diarrhea but diagnosed Hashi/HypO?
Sorry this post is so long. I'm just so sick of feeling sick and feel like I've found a place where people can relate to what I've been going through.
I live in Orlando also. I am hypothyroid and have been for many years. I've never had any real luck with Endos in the past. However, I've just started going to a new doctor and I'm currently having my meds adjusted. I've always been on the Levoxyl, but now my new Endo has added 5mg of Cytomel. It's only been a couple of weeks and I have to be rechecked in 6 weeks, but so far so good. I feel better and I think it's because of the Cytomel. The levox was doing well for years and then BAM! it just stopped. Maybe my body no longer converts T4 to T3 as well. I'm seeing a doctor at the Diabetes and Endocrin Center of Orlando - His name is Dr. Constant. Supposedly he's a "thyroid specialist" - in other words, he doesn't treat diabetics like the other docs...only thryroid patients. I was excited about that until he told me that he DIDN'T KNOW WHY MY BODY IS NO LONGER CONVERTING T4 TO T3 SUCCESSFULLY! Heck, if he's a specialist in thyroid, I expected an answer. But...this isn't a perfect world and I suppose medicine isn't a perfect science but stilllllll..... anyway, I'll stick with him for now...at least until after my next labs..but to be honest, I've had as much luck, if not better luck, having my primary care doc manage my thyroid all these years. I just thought that maybe since now I was having "problems", I'd try an Endo...but like I said before...me and Endos never really "connected"....don't know why...it just doesn't seem to work for me. Anyway...my insurance covers his visits so we'll see. Hope this helps some. Good luck.
The synthetic combination of drugs and Armour are like apples and oranges, so there is no real equality between them.
Your 75 mcgs of Levoxyl and 5 mcgs Cytomel equal about 95 mcgs of T4. That's because T3 has 4 times the 'power' of an equal amount of T4. So, 75 + (5 x 4) = 95.
One grain (60 mgs) of Armour contains 38 mcgs T4 and 9 mcgs T3, equaling 74 mcgs T4-only. But because there are variances between people in the way the med is absorbed, the way each body reacts to T3, and the way T4 is converted within the cells, one grain of Armour might have the effect of up to 100 mcgs of T4 for a few people.
You're already used to some T3, so you shouldn't have any trouble with the T3 in Armour. But the higher ratio of T4:T3 that Armour contains could be troublesome. There's no way to know for sure until you make the switch.
There really isn't any info you can take to a doctor about Armour. The ones who don't prescribe it won't be interested in having the info, and the ones willing to prescribe it know everything they need to know. Few doctors are open-minded enough to prescribe such a controversial drug unless they truly believe in the benefits. In other words, it's very unlikely you'll change any minds that are dead set against it, no matter how much info you bring them. It's better to know up front if they'll Rx it before you even make the first appt.
I understand Dr. Woliner is now in Boca which is a bit over 4 hours from where I am.
Mimi45, thanks for the recommendation. I'll give them a call.
Has anyone heard of a Dr. Jack Young or Dr. Joya Shoen?
Midwest1, so if I understand correctly, I would take 1 grain of Armour and that would equal what I am currently on? If I'm still not feeling well on what I'm on, should I be on more...say 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 grain?
I made the switch from Levoxyl and Cytomel to Armour a few months ago. I felt good on both drugs but the Levoxyl had started to make my ankles swell, so I asked my GYN to switch to Armour.
I had no problems switching over from 125 mg Levoxyl and 17.5 mcg of Cytomel to 2 grains of Armour and 50 mg of Levoxyl. I just switched one day. No symptoms, and n about a week was feeling better. After another week I crashed and had to raise the Armour. After several months I am up to 3 grains of Armour and about 75 mg of Levoxyl. I say about because I am still not at optimum doses.
I had hoped to have just Armour take care of all my symptoms, but I needed the extra T4. So I guess it is a toss up for me whether I take two pills of Levoxyl and Armour or Levoxyl and Cytomel. I end up paying for the co-pay for two different drugs every month instead of just one. Either combination can be adjusted individually to get me to the "sweet spot" where all my symptoms disappear and I feel great--and my lab results show Free T3 and Free T4 in range.
I still have IBS (diarrhea and constipation) more often than I like, but it is so much better than before I was close to having optimum medications.
Thanks Diatron. I'm still confused about the Armour/Levoxyl. Why would they combine the two if Armour has T1, T2, T3 and T4? Is it to get more T4 into your system with less T3? Do you feel better on this protocol?
I'm thinking about starting on the Armour I have tomorrow. 1 grain to start, taken in the morning. What do you all think? I need to get into a new Gyn and she is supposed to treat with bioidentical hormones and naturals. I'm going to ask her if she would script the Armour for me.
Here's a little more information. Blood tests and levels.
Tested on 4/5/05:
TSH 0.3 (0.3-3)
FT4 1.18 (.8-1.8)
They refused to test my FT3
Thyroid Antibodies, AntiMicrosomal, AntiThyroglobulin - Undetectible
DHEA-S 313 (18-244) High
Testosterone 45 (8-60)
Free Testos 0.5 (0.3-1.9)
%Fr Testos 1.2% (0.9-3.8)
I started the Levoxyl/Cytomel about a year ago. They increased the Levoxyl from 50 to 75 mcg in February of this year. I went back to have my hormone levels checked on 5/17 and they also tested my thyroid (again, NO to Free T3). I'm still waiting for those results. I will post those as soon as they get here.
I take the Thyroid meds first thing in the morning with water. Nothing to eat or drink for an hour after. I take Prevacid (for GERD) and Allegra-D with breakfast, an hour after the Thyroid med. The HRT I'm on is a patch (Vivelle Dot .1) and a testosterone gel so nothing is ingested. I take my calcium and fiber at night with dinner.
Dear Pam, welcome to Orlando, Fl. I believe that you would be very happy with my Dr. - Orlando Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists, P.A. (My doctor is Kimberley A. Bourne, MD, FACE )- She is very thorough, she was recommended to me by several doctors. After researching I learned that she comes very highly recommended and credentialed. She also has a great personality. Who could ask for more? It is usually great doctor/bad attitude or bad doctor/great attitude. Anyway, I am on cytomel, of which she is "gradually" increasing, trying to control my TSH levels. I have been sickly as long as I can remember with, like you, lots of female problems including cancer x3 in the female organs with "complete" hysterectomy at the age of 26.
I am sharing all of this with you because I am trying to impress upon you that my having a very knowledgeable doctor is most important. I have lots of allergies and my immune system is imobile.
her phone number is 407-293-2150 -- Good Luck
Last edited by garlicgram; 09-09-2005 at 11:16 AM.