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Old 06-26-2008, 12:14 AM   #1
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marilla HB User
Vitiligo and the thyroid

About two years ago, I suppose a little after my Hashimoto's had been activated, I got this depigmentation on my right leg. I did't worry too much at the time since I'm very fair-skinned and it wasn't terribly visible. But now there are white spots progressively appearing on my arms.

I suppose it's vitiligo. I've already scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist. I have one question though. Since vitiligo is related to hypothyroidism, is my current hypothyroid state making it worse? Would is progression slow down if my thyroid hormone levels were better? Or is the thyroid completely irrelevant in the progression of viiligo and only plays a part in its onset? Actually, I' not even sure what's more important for the vitiligo - that I'm hypo or that I have Hashi's?

Last edited by marilla; 06-26-2008 at 12:14 AM.

 
Old 06-26-2008, 03:46 AM   #2
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Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

I don't know the answer to your question as I was just dx'd, but I wanted to share that I'm having the opposite problem. I am also fair skinned and have huge pigmentation marks all over my face. Like a giant T-shaped freckle and a nice little mustache. Dr told me he didn't know what it was, but he's not an endo.

 
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:18 AM   #3
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Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

I have it much more now, 52yrs old. I've always had a big patch of white specks on my neck, near the thyroid! brushed it off as a birthmark. Well, now finally diagnosed and gee, that birthmark was a red flag! Doctors use to ask "what's that mark?" dah, if only they had run the tests many yrs ago! Not sure why I'm getting more vitiligo but I am, sides of neck, chest legs, etc. I'm still being watched for a "suspicious" noduel 1cm, solid and fna showed hurthle cells, benign. August that gets rechecked again. So maybe once our levels get corrected some of these other issues will resolve?
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:07 AM   #4
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Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

Hi Marilla, I have the exact same thing going on. I just spotted (pun) A tiny one on my hand. I was hoping they would stay on my legs. I hope someone knows. After all these thyroid tests I'm not sure I want to pay for a dermatologist as well.

 
Old 06-26-2008, 09:01 AM   #5
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Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

I have had a goiter pretty much my entire life. My mom used to take me in to get it checked every couple years and they always said it was fine. For some reason they never remembered that I had a goiter. Then, when I was about 12 years old the pigment on my right arm and leg got very blotchy, which I assume is vitiligo. Thankfully it never got any worse, but it never improved either. Until reading these posts I didn't realize there was a connection between vitiligo and thyroid problems. In my later 20s I went to an endocrinologist and found out that I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My younger brother has vitiligo pretty bad all over his body. I know he isn't on thyroid medication, but after reading this I am going to tell him he should definitely get his thyroid checked. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

 
Old 06-26-2008, 11:08 AM   #6
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Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

Gee now I'm wondering if I'm a brown cow with white spots! I didn't think of the possibility of losing pigmentation and my other skin staying the same. *light bulb* I've always been fair skinned so maybe I just didn't notice getting fairer. They whiter parts are darkening up with a little bit of sunshine.

Does this make sense to anyone?

 
Old 06-26-2008, 11:26 AM   #7
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Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

So I've been to the dermatologist, and it turns out there are two things wrong with me.

The depigmentation on my leg is livedo reticularis. It's a capilary disease in which there is a presence of antibodies. So I guess it's the autoimmune thing messing with my life again. I've tried to look up a definite connection between Hashimoto's and livedo, and haven't been successful, but I did find out that it is connected with Graves'. The doctor said it could spread on my entire lower leg, or even the whole body and that nothing can be done about it! Apparently, not even laser treatment would help! Anybody else has it or has any valuable info on it?

The depigmentation on my arm might be vitiligo. The doctor first said he suspected vitiligo but then changed his mind and said it's an "ordinary thyroid-related skin depigmentation".
I haven't been aware of this thyroid symptom. Does thyroid dysfunction really cause depigmentation not reated to vitiligo?

I've scheduled an appointment with another doc, I don't know how I'll pay for all this, but I'm desperate for a second opinion...

kayleighsmom, I might be way off, but are you on birth control? My friend had this problem, and it disappeared after quitting BC...

kindspirit, I really hope that righting thyroid levels will help. Does anybody know for sure?

faustj96, glad the thread helped you.

 
Old 06-26-2008, 01:00 PM   #8
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Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

Marilla~

I first noticed that I had vitiligo about 14 years ago when I was pregnant with our 2nd son. I had a few spots mainly on my chest and the back of my right arm. It actually improved about 6 years ago but got worse last summer. That was also when I was having other really bad thyroid symptoms (fatigue, itching,etc) I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism last Oct. with a TSH level of 22. My dr. didn't tell me about the connection, but I have been doing my research and have discovered that there is a definite connection. I sure wish that I would have known this years ago but I guess that it's better late than never. I am hoping that once I am at my optimal levels, that my pigmentation will also improve.

 
Old 06-26-2008, 04:46 PM   #9
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m. m. HB User
Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

kayleighsmom,

If what you are experiencing is skin darkening (vs. lightening) you may have melasma which is a hyperpigmentation disorder found mostly in women during their reproductive years. It can be caused by a handful of things but usually blamed on female hormones (pregnancy, birth control pills, hormonal imbalance). If this is what it is, strict sun avoidance and use of high spf sunscreen are the two mainstays in treating it. A dermatologist can diagnose it. Melasma is not fun to deal with and may not resolve until menopause (I've been dealing with it for last couple of years). Some research suggests there is a higher incidence of thyroid problems found in those with melasma but not everyone with melasma has thyroid problems. Hope this helps.

 
Old 06-27-2008, 03:44 AM   #10
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marilla HB User
Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

Can skin depigmenation be a thyroid symptom, without it being vitiligo?
Cos that's what my doctor said, but I've looked through a list of symptoms and haven't found it...

 
Old 06-27-2008, 05:08 AM   #11
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kayleighsmom HB User
Re: Vitiligo and the thyroid

Quote:
Originally Posted by m. m. View Post
kayleighsmom,

If what you are experiencing is skin darkening (vs. lightening) you may have melasma which is a hyperpigmentation disorder found mostly in women during their reproductive years. It can be caused by a handful of things but usually blamed on female hormones (pregnancy, birth control pills, hormonal imbalance). If this is what it is, strict sun avoidance and use of high spf sunscreen are the two mainstays in treating it. A dermatologist can diagnose it. Melasma is not fun to deal with and may not resolve until menopause (I've been dealing with it for last couple of years). Some research suggests there is a higher incidence of thyroid problems found in those with melasma but not everyone with melasma has thyroid problems. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the response M.M.

To be honest vanity is what finally sent me to the dr. I had a 90 lb weight gain in 2 years (couldn't possibly eat enough to gain THAT much weight) my face looks terrible and the fatigue is awful. Anyway, I am not on BC, not preggos, but there is a genetic hormone condition that runs in my family that I'm a carrier of... gave it to my daughter, poor thing. But there isn't much known about it and not sure if I could actually do anything about it. I feel stupid going to my geneticist just for my skin problems. BTW, my periods are normal for me, etc. We go to the pool 3-4 times a week and I always wear sunscreen and a hat, but can't completely avoid getting a little sun. My face does look better as the white parts are darkening a little to match the dark spots. It literally looks like I have a mustache and there is a giant T on my forehead with one cheek (not the other, looks stupid) darkened. No other spots anywhere.

Thanks a bunch!

 
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