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  • Could I have hypothyroidism?

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    Old 10-03-2005, 04:52 AM   #1
    ChelseaMomof2
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    Could I have hypothyroidism?

    Hello, I need some help here. My story is kind of a confusing one, but I'll try my best to quickly explain it. I am a 34 year old female. I have been having symptoms of hypothyroidism for quite a while now. The tricky part is that I started taking an anti-seizure medicine a year ago (Topamax) for simple-partial seizures and migraine control. I know that anti-seizure medicines can sometimes cause your thyroid to go haywire, so that has concerned me. The reason that I say that that's the tricky part is because a lot of my thyroid symptoms are also symptoms that could be caused from taking the Topamax.

    I started taking Topamax in November 2004. Last winter was the COLDEST winter of my life. I have always enjoyed the fall and winter. Last year I never once went outside with my family to play in the snow. I simply cannot tolerate the cold. I wear layers and layers of clothes and I'm still cold. The summer felt wonderful (here in Michigan), but now that fall is here, I am back to layering my clothes, and I still have an internal chill. It's awful. My hair just recently started falling out in large amounts about 3 months ago. This side effect could also be caused from taking Topamax (see why it's tricky?). I have pain that comes and goes in both wrists. I have read that hypothyroidism causes carpel tunnel syndrome. I am extremely tired a lot of the time (again, could be caused from Topamax). I feel depressed a lot of the time. I have lost all interest in sex (poor hubby!). And the biggest symptom of all (at least I think so), is over the last year, I have been trying to figure out why the outer third of my eyebrows have thinned so much and one eyebrow is almost completely gone! I couldn't believe it when I read that hypothyroidism can cause that!! The one symptom that I don't have is weight gain. I know that it's common, but I don't have it at all. I think it's because the Topamax causes weight loss.

    Anyhow, I had my thyroid tested in May of 2005 because I was so cold (my hair was not falling out yet). My results came back normal, so I assumed it must just be me feeling cold or maybe even the Topamax making me feel that way, even though my neurologist says it should not do that and I can't find any literature anywhere that says it does that. Well, this fall, I started getting so cold again, I knew I could not go through another winter of feeling this cold - plus my hair is falling out like crazy, so I decided to go back to my doctor and be re-tested. This time, she re-tested me and referred me to an endocrinologist.

    Here are my test results (they were basically the same both in May and this time):

    TSH: 1.20, Normal 0.35 - 4.94

    FREE T4: 0.84, Normal 0.70 - 1.48

    T3, TOTAL: 90, Normal 60 - 181

    Syphilis Antibody (What is this one??) 0.23 (There is no range for this one - it just says INDEX).

    I don't know what to make of them, other than they are in normal range. They look on the low side, but normal. I have read that there are quite a few other blood tests that they can take. Plus, when I made the appt. with the endo, she asked if I had ever had a scan taken of my thyroid.

    Is it possible I have a thyroid problem? I don't know what to think. If it weren't for the fact that I am so very cold all the time, I would be able to ignore the other symptoms (except the hair loss). I cannot take this cold feeling all the time. I wear so much clothes and I'm still chilled to the bone. I take my temperature quite often with a new digital thermometer and it is usually around 97.0, but sometimes it is as low as 96.2. I am so tired of feeling cold and tired.

    I'm very sorry this got so long. I am just at my wits end about this. I am hoping someone here can shed some light on this.

    Thanks for listening,

    Cathy

    Last edited by ChelseaMomof2; 10-03-2005 at 04:54 AM.

     
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    Old 10-03-2005, 06:32 AM   #2
    midwest1
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    To answer your first question in a nutshell, yes. You could have hypothyroidism.

    About 20 years ago, I spent two winters as cold as you describe. Bone-numbingly cold. So cold, I had to sit in a tub of hot water to get the blood circulating again. I now believe that was the start of the autoimmune cause of my thyroid's failure.

    Syphilis antibodies, eh? I can only surmise that someone checked the wrong box on the lab requisition. It would have made infinitely more sense to test for thyroid antibodies, don't you think? Those would be TPO and Tg antibodies. Insist on having them tested. If they're present, you deserve a trial of thyroid hormone, no matter how "normal" your TSH looks. It may be a struggle to find an MD to agree to that, but the more enlightened ones will.

    Your thyroid hormone levels are low enough to be causing trouble. Most doctors want to believe that any level within the range is good enough, but it isn't. Healthy people have levels that are at least mid-range, and most feel best when they're above that.

    Keep investigating this. You may well have a thyroid issue.

     
    Old 10-03-2005, 06:59 AM   #3
    kpdg
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    Just wanted to let you know that I also started taking Topomax for migraine prevention last year about the same time as you, and I am now experiencing a lot of hypothyroid symptoms, even though my labs are "within normal range." My results were:

    TSH 1.45 (range .34-4.82)
    Free T4 .9 (range .58-1.64)
    Free T3 3.22 (range 2.5-3.9)

    I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but I think it is interesting that there may be a link between the Topomax and the thyroid issues. I have not been diagnosed yet, but have my first appointment with an endo on the 14th of this month. Hopefully, she'll run more tests and we'll get some answers.

    Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in your frustration. Please keep me posted on what you find out.

    Thanks.

     
    Old 10-03-2005, 10:27 AM   #4
    ChelseaMomof2
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    midwest1,

    Wasn't feeling cold like that the worst? Thank you for your feedback. I do believe that the syphillis antibody test must have been a mistake as well. How aggrivating. I will be seeing an endo on Nov. 1st unless there is a cancellation before then.

    Kpdg,

    How interesting that we both started Topamax at the same time and we're both experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism. What types of symptoms do you have? My neurologist was the one who recommended that I see an endocrinologist. Please let me know what happens at your appt. this month.

    Good luck,
    Cathy

     
    Old 10-03-2005, 12:25 PM   #5
    kpdg
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    Some of my many symptoms have included:
    -weight gain
    -difficulty losing weight - when I try to lose weight via diet and exercise I can only lose about 5 lbs, then it comes right back on
    -constipation
    -Basal temperature ranging from 96.-97.2
    -extreme fatigue and exhaustion
    -feeling run down
    -coarse & dry hair
    -skin very dry
    -very irregular periods (sometimes I go 4 or 5 months without a period
    -moody
    -forgetful
    -little to no sex drive
    -shortness of breath and chest discomfort and tightness (heart problems have been ruled out via heart cath)
    -dry eyes
    -migraines
    -severe menstrual cramps when I do have a period
    -muscle aches and pains
    -strange feeling in my neck area (like flegm, but without sinus drainage)

    My husband is in the Air Force, so I see a military doctor as my primary care manager. She is the one who I finally convinced to put in a referral for me to see an endo. She has tested me several different things because she didn't think my thyroid was the problem since my tests came back "within normal range." She also didn't want to let me take a trial of thyroid medication. I started taking Thyrin ATC over the counter about a week ago and can tell a huge difference in my symptoms. I feel more rested, not as moody, don't fatigue as easily, tightness of chest has also ceased. That tells me my problem is most likely thyroid related.

    I'll keep you posted.

     
    Old 10-03-2005, 12:27 PM   #6
    kpdg
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    I meant to ask you also, how much Topomax were you on? I was up to 100mg per day. After all of these symptoms started bothering me so bad, I quit taking it. I was also taking Maxalt when I would have a migraine.

     
    Old 10-04-2005, 07:01 AM   #7
    ChelseaMomof2
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    Some of our symptoms are the same. I definitely have the fatigue and it's awful. (I sometimes wonder if a lot of my symptoms are caused by Topamax, though. But then again, I wonder if Topamax is causing my thyroid to act up. Afterall, Topamax should not make me freezing cold or make me depressed or uninterested in life or sex, etc.) You definitely sound like you should be seeing an endo. I'm glad that you conviced your Dr. to let you see one. Your blood test results are similar to mine so I'll be very interested to see what they say. I've never heard of Thyrin ATC. What exactly is that? I sure hope you get some more relief soon. I am hoping that we both get a GOOD endo that gets to the bottom of the problem.

    Cathy

     
    Old 10-04-2005, 09:32 AM   #8
    kpdg
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    I found Thyrin ATC at Walmart and Walgreens. It's a dietary supplement and says "Thyroid support for weight control." It has lots of stuff in it. I figured why not try it and see how I feel. Like I said before, I can definitely tell a difference in how I feel, although I haven't lost any weight yet. We'll see how it goes.

     
    Old 10-04-2005, 05:49 PM   #9
    ChelseaMomof2
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    Re: Could I have hypothyroidism?

    I was taking 200 mg of Topamax for a while, then I went up to 300 mg daily (my neuro wanted me on a higher dose for seizure control). I never had any seizures while I was on the lower doses and couldn't tolerate the higher dose, so she lowered me over the summer back to 200 mg. So, now I'm back to 200 mg again. That's what's complicating my situation - whether or not it's the Topamax causing my problems or my thyroid - or maybe both?? We'll have to wait and see.

    Good luck to you,
    Cathy

     
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