Is It Difficult For Anyone To Acquire Weight If They Have A Thyroid Problem
Metabolism functioning is hampered in those who have an underactive thyroid.
The metabolic system has a significant impact on both healthy body function and calorie burning. As a result, if you have a sluggish metabolism or problems with your metabolism, you will have an easier time gaining weight and finding it more difficult to lose pounds.
A sluggish metabolism can also lead to other health concerns, including blood pressure and cholesterol flare-ups. As a result, it is critical to maintain an optimal diet and cure thyroid issues in order for one to live a healthy life.
A diagnosis is also essential. The longer it takes you to be diagnosed, the more weight you may gain as a result of your symptoms being misinterpreted.
Treating Hyperthyroidism To Help With Weight Loss
If you have your thyroid then you should focus on reducing thyroid antibodies that cause hyperthyroidism.
You can actually check for these antibodies with the TSI serum test.
This test evaluates thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins and it is these guys that basically sit on your thyroid hormone and cause it to pump out excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.
But the good news is that you might be able to reduce these antibodies with some targeted therapies.
This will go a long way to reducing the amount of thyroid hormone you are producing and may help you to reduce your medication.
If you can reduce your antithyroid medication down to half of what it was, or even go off of it completely, then you will dramatically improve your metabolism.
How to reduce TSI antibodies:
You can find a list of supplements below that can improve thyroid function and improve immune function in those with hyperthyroidism:
Weight loss after Thyroidectomy & RAI ablation therapy:
If youve already had your thyroid taken out or youve had radioactive iodine ablation, then you are going to be reliant upon thyroid medication.
And let me be clear:
If youve had your thyroid taken out you are no longer hyperthyroid, you are now HYPOthyroid.
Because your body can no longer produce thyroid hormone on its own you now need to supplement with thyroid hormone replacement.
Patients who have had their thyroid removed or who have undergone RAI almost ALWAYS gain weight but sometimes even more.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Contact your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing symptoms of too much levothyroxine. They can do tests to check your thyroid levels and figure out if youre being overmedicated.
If your provider determines that you are taking too much levothyroxine, they will reassess your treatment plan. They might advise you to change your diet if it’s contributing to thyroid overmedication. Your provider might also change your medication or adjust your dose.
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Why Does Methimazole Lead To Weight Gain
Its quite conceivable that taking Methimazole can interfere with thyroid function in the body, resulting in weight gain. And once you grasp the science, this makes perfect sense.
To treat hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland must be blocked. However, blocking thyroid production in a perfect manner is considerably more difficult.
According to research, after starting Methimazole, the typical weight gain was approximately 12 pounds in 42 individuals with Graves disease.
Is it true that Methimazole causes weight gain? It certainly is, and it does so by slowing down your metabolism and decreasing the amount of energy generated in the body at rest.
Does Everyone Gain Weight On Methimazole
So does methimazole lead to weight gain? It absolutely can, and it does this by slowing down your metabolism and reducing the amount of energy that the body produces at baseline. Its well known that weight gain is a negative side effect of hypothyroidism and it is something that Ive discussed in detail here.
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Are There Any Foods I Can Eat To Help My Hypothyroidism
Most foods in western diets contain iodine, so you do not have to worry about your diet. Iodine is a mineral that helps your thyroid produce hormones. One idea is that if you have low levels of thyroid hormone, eating foods rich in iodine could help increase your hormone levels. The most reliable way to increase your hormone levels is with a prescription medication from your healthcare provider. Do not try any new diets without talking to your provider first. Its important to always have a conversation before starting a new diet, especially if you have a medical condition like hypothyroidism.
Foods that are high in iodine include:
Sometimes Thyroid Isn’t To Blame
But, Lupo warns, women shouldn’t be too quick to blame their weight gain on thyroid problems rather than on unhealthy eating habits or lack of physical activity.
“I see this every day, people who tell me, ‘I’m overweight , I must have a thyroid problem,’ ” Lupo says. But people with thyroid problems may gain up to 10 to 20 pounds, he says. “Someone who comes to me weighing 300 pounds has other problems.”
Lupo agrees with Kruger, however, that there does need to be more awareness of thyroid problems on the part of both patients and doctors. He’s also convinced that older women particularly should be screened for thyroid function, which can be done with a simple blood test.
“I usually say that women should be screened before their first pregnancy and at age 35 and every five years after that, and every one to two years at age 50 and above,” Lupo says. Because thyroid conditions are less common in men, but can develop with age, he suggests “men get screened at age 65 or if they have symptoms or risk factors.”
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Tips For Managing Weight When Youre Taking Levothyroxine
Once your underactive thyroid is successfully treated with levothyroxine, you should have the same ability to gain or lose weight as those with normal thyroid function, according to the ATA. If all the other symptoms you were experiencing resolve with medication, minus the weight gain, its unlikely the excess weight was solely due to your thyroid.
Sustainable weight loss, which is losing 1 or 2 pounds a week, calls for a combination of exercise and for optimal thyroid function.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly. Start with activities you enjoy and look for ways to reduce sitting.
Aerobic activity has been shown to increase T4 concentrations in the blood. Workouts that get your heart pumping include swimming, cycling, brisk walking, or using an elliptical machine.
If fatigue is an issue, plan physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel most energetic. As you develop an exercise routine, youll likely see improvements in energy, mood, and confidence.
You can also build physical activity into your workday by walking during your lunch break and taking the stairs when possible.
If youve recently lost weight, youll have a better chance of maintaining it by monitoring activity and diet. You may need to do more than 150 minutes of exercise per week. People who maintain their weight loss typically exercise for 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week, according the CDC.
Dangers Of Mixing Levothyroxine With Other Prescription Or Illicit Medications
Since levothyroxine is a hormonal supplement, this medication will interact with many different prescriptions. It is important to be clear with the prescribing physician about any substances that are taken, including illicit drug abuse, potential alcohol abuse, and other prescription medications. It is also important to notify the doctor of any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Substances that may interfere or interact negatively with levothyroxine include:
- Amphetamines, including Adderall or illicit amphetamine drugs
- Insulin and other diabetes medications
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How To Manage Weight When Youre Being Treated For Hypothyroidism
Hormones produced by the thyroid gland help regulate metabolism, so if you have an underactive thyroida condition called you may gain excess weight and struggle to lose it.
The thyroid also affects energy levels, which can make physical activity a challenge if you feel fatigued. This can further contribute to difficulty losing or maintaining weight.
However, there are many other factors that can contribute to weight gain, and getting your thyroid hormones in balance is only one aspect of weight management. Its important to note that the majority of the time, weight changes are due to causes other than hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism And Weight Gain
Some people with a history of , or overactive thyroid, end up taking levothyroxine because their treatment induces hypothyroidism. For instance, or thyroid surgery can lower thyroid production too much, prompting the need for levothyroxine.
The largest weight changes associated with thyroid conditions actually occur in people being treated for hyperthyroidism, not hypothyroidism. People with overactive thyroid may go from losing weight without trying to gaining potentially too much.
One possible explanation is that people maintain the same eating habits they had when their metabolisms were abnormally high. In one study of 1,373 patients treated for an overactive thyroid, men gained nearly 18 pounds and women gained 12 pounds. Additionally, they were more likely to become obese than a control group.
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What To Do If You Think Levothyroxine Is Causing Weight Gain
If you have constantly gained weight there are several steps you can take to figure out if the dose of thyroid medication you are taking is working in your body.
You can find a guide on how to properly dose Levothyroxine here.
These next steps are designed to help you determine if your body is turning T4 into T3 or if your body is turning your levothyroxine right into Reverse T3.
Some of these can be performed at home and others will require a Doctor.
Its also worth pointing out that at the end of the day you will need to find a Doctor that is willing to work with you because if you are not getting enough thyroid hormone then you will either need MORE medication or a NEW medication to feel better.
Step #1: Check your Basal Body Temperature Each Morning
Checking your basal body temperature is a quick and easy way to estimate your basal metabolic rate.
Your basal metabolic rate is basically how many calories you are burning on a daily basis.
This number is really important when it comes to weight loss because it accounts for more than 90% of your total calories burned each day.
When you exercise you are only focusing on about 5-10% of your calories burned and it has little to no impact on your weight overall .
If you are not on a high enough dose of thyroid hormone then your body temperature will be lower .
This also means that as you start thyroid hormone medication your body temperature should increase as you increase your dose.
How to check your basal body temperature:
You Have High Cholesterol Levels
Even though your doctor doesn’t typically look for thyroid problems during your check-ups, he or she will often measure your cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol levels can put you at risk of getting heart disease, but they also might be indicative of a thyroid problem.
According to Dr. Srinath, “Hypothyroidism causes reduced clearance of cholesterol particles, so LDL and triglycerides may be elevated in a hypothyroid patient.” Looking to lower LDL levels? Try eating overnight oats. The fiber called beta-glucan in this cereal grain has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 5 to 10 percent.
See your doctor to get checked for high cholesterol levels, and when you’re looking to change your diet to lower these levels, consider these 17 Foods That Lower Cholesterol.
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Thyroid Medications And Weight Loss
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
It can be challenging to lose weight when you have hypothyroidism, and your thyroid medications may have something to do with it.
Getting the dose just right is critical, as is the timing of when you take it. In some cases, you may need to supplement with another medication.
For the sake of your overall health, as well as your weight-loss efforts, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to get the most out of thyroid hormone therapy.
Virojt Changyencham / Getty Images
How Your Thyroid And Weight Are Related
The relationship between and weight regulation is complex. The American Thyroid Association notes that weight gain develops over a long time and may have many causes other than the underactive thyroid. Generally, about 5 to 10 pounds of excess weight can likely be attributed to the lack of thyroid hormones that occurs in people diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The weight is mostly water retention, rather than fat.
Once hormone levels are regulated through medication, people typically experience a modest amount of weight loss, if anyusually less than 10% of body weight, the ATA says.
One study of 101 people with hypothyroidism found that 52% lost weight after starting treatment with , with an average loss of 8.4 pounds. Researchers concluded that contrary to popular belief, starting medication results in no significant weight change.
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How Is Hypothyroidism Treated
In most cases, hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the amount of hormone that your thyroid is no longer making. This is typically done with a medication. One medication that is commonly used is called levothyroxine. Taken orally, this medication increases the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces, evening out your levels.
Hypothyroidism is a manageable disease. However, you will need to continuously take medication to normalize the amount of hormones in your body for the rest of your life. With careful management, and follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to make sure your treatment is working properly, you can lead a normal and healthy life.
What You Can Expect When You Start Thyroid Medication
Most people cannot expect extreme weight loss once they start thyroid hormone replacement medication. Again, this is because weight gain is often caused by other factors aside from an underactive thyroid. Generally, people begin to notice weight loss about three to six months after hitting a therapeutic dose of their medication.
People lose about five to ten pounds on thyroid medication or less than 10% of their body weight. The weight loss is usually caused by the body getting rid of an excess accumulation of water and salt . Most research does not show that thyroid medications like Synthroid help you lose adipose tissue.
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Thyroid And Weight Gain: Setting The Record Straight
Though it weighs less than an ounce, your thyroid gland punches way above its weight, making hormones that help control many key bodily functions.
“The thyroid has its hand in a whole lot of different systems,” said Dr. Tracie Farmer, an endocrinologist at Novant Health Forsyth Endocrine Consultants in Winston-Salem. “Its more of a supporting member of the cast in everything that it does, but its necessary for everything that it does.”
Located in your neck, just in front of your trachea, this butterfly-shaped gland helps regulate your heart rate and metabolism, your brain function, how strong your muscles and bones are, and even whether your skin is oily or dry. While the American Thyroid Association estimates that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, many have no idea until a blood test, unrelated imaging or suspicious bump tips them off.
Farmer answers 10 common questions about this powerhouse of the human endocrine system:
Signs Your Thyroid Is Making You Gain Weight
Going up a couple of pant sizes could be caused by any of these ‘healthy’ habits secretly behind your weight gain, but it’s also one of the top symptoms of hypothyroidism. Also called an underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is a condition in which your metabolism-running thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs.
Hypothyroidism is more common than you would believe the metabolic disease affects 4.6 percent of the U.S. population and millions of people are currently hypothyroid and don’t know it.
There are over a dozen common symptoms of hypothyroidism, and weight gain is one of the most prevalent.
“Patients with hypothyroidism will have a generalized slowing of their metabolism and reduction in their basal metabolic rate ,” explains Dr. Reshmi Srinath, assistant professor of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Diseases at Mount Sinai.
“This can lead to changes in the way their body expends energy. With a lower metabolic rate, people may gain excess weight eating a similar diet. Some of this may be excess fat, but there may also be fluid retention.” So, even if you’re diligently dieting and working out, you may still gain weight if you have hypothyroidism.
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Managing Your Weight With Hypothyroidism
Theres a good chance youll gain weight if you indulge in a few too many comfort foods or stay away from the gym for too long. But if you have hypothyroidism, the numbers on the scale can creep up, even if youve stuck firmly to your diet and exercised religiously.
The hormones your thyroid gland releases help regulate your metabolism, or how efficiently your body burns food for energy. When your thyroid makes less of its hormones as it does in hypothyroidism your metabolism slows down. So you wont burn off calories as quickly and youll gain weight. The weight gain usually isnt extreme, maybe 5 or 10 pounds, but it can be enough to affect your self-esteem.
The more severe your hypothyroidism is, the more weight youll gain. Some of the weight gain is fat, but much of it is fluid buildup from the effects of an underactive thyroid on your kidney function.