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Rosy asked...

I was told I had borderline low thyroid.

Hi, I was told I had borderline low thyroid about 9 months ago. I took 50mg Levothyroxine which normalised my TSH levels, BUT I experienced severe tummy pains, constipation etc. I was told to keep taking the tablets and my tummy would settle, but it did not. After 7 months or so I made a third visit to my GP about this, and I said I could not carry on as I was. We agreed I would stop taking the Levothyroxine for 2 weeks and see if the pain stopped. After one week the pain went entirely away, and on re-commencing the Levothyroxine the pain returned within a few days. The GP then put me onto Liothyronine Sodium (20 mcg), which has also caused severe tummy pains, although less constipation. I had felt worse on Levothyroxine, been very tired and put on weight. I have lost weight on the Liothyronine and felt more energetic and lively. I returned to the GP today and discussed the ongoing tummy problems so she said I was borderline anyway so just stop taking any medication. I am very concerned that these have been stopped when they seemed to help me, especially as I believe TSH is not always a precise indicator of thryoid health (as opposed to TS3/4/free). Can you please advise if I should seek further help, and if so, suggest where?

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The answer

It is common for doctors to simply monitor the thyroid gland when a borderline result is found (subclinical hypothyroidism). Often no treatment is needed until the TSH goes above a certain level (unless you are considering pregnancy). I cannot really advise further without seeing your full set of thyroid blood results. It would seem sensible to have a repeat blood test in 6 or 8 weeks after stopping all the medication to see how your thyroid gland is functioning (and to see if the stomach problems go away completely). If you wanted a second opinion you could see a different GP in the practice. Failing that you could always see a specialist privately. The best person to consult with would be an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a specialist in the field of medicine that deals with  hormones and glands, such as the thyroid.

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