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Thread: Hypothyroidism and nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Northeast Pennsylvania
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    102

    Unhappy Hypothyroidism and nursing

    Hello!

    As suspected from one of my prior posts...I had my blood work done and I have hypothyroidism. I am so depressed by this...even though I know that I should be relieved that I may actually start feeling better soon.

    My TSH was 8.978 on a .550-4.780 scale and my FT4 was .87 on a .89-1.76 scale.

    I was just prescribed Levothyroxine (25mcg) today and I was panicked that I would no longer be able to nurse since the pharmacist said that it does pass through breast milk. I am still nursing my 3 1/2 year-old and would like to have another baby.

    I was just wondering if anyone else on here has had to deal with hypothyroidism while nursing and/or trying to have another baby. Does it affect milk supply?

    Also, if you have it...did the doctor ever test to see why? I have read that you can get it after having a baby. I have read about Hashimotos, I have read about growths on the thyroid gland, problems with the adrenals. I do not see my doctor to talk about any of this for another two weeks...even though I am supposed to start my meds tomorrow.

    I don't know if the meds need to be taken at the exact same time every day...it just says 30 minutes to 1 hour before breakfast. And, I don't know if any supplements can interfere with this medication. I take a pre-natal, vitamin D3, B complex and fish oil.

    I am not anti-drug by any means but I hardly ever take anything...not even Tylenol. I even tried to go without pain meds after my c-section (bad mistake). I guess I am just having a really hard time with all of this.

    Thanks so much for any input.
    Jaime
    Jaime
    First time mommy to Lucy Madison, born 8/25/2010.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
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    240

    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    I would be remiss if I didn't encourage you to call your doctor's office or talk more to your pharmacist, as what you are looking for here amounts to medical advice, and the internet is really not the best place to get that. That being said, her is some more information for you to add to what your doctor tells you:

    According to lactmed levothyroxine is safe when nursing. If your body had normal levels of thyroid hormone your baby would be getting that in your breastmilk anyway. Here is some more info
    http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/si...temp/~7Ao4WO:1
    I don't know of any supplements that interfere but I do know you should take it on an empty stomach. You could check out drugs.com for more information on that.
    As far as the "what caused this" question - both hashimoto's and postpartum thyroiditis have to do with your immune system attacking your thyroid. There isn't a good answer to why this happens to some people. Women are more susceptible than men to autoimmune problems to begin with, and pregnancy does funny things to your immune system. You may have a family history hat makes you more susceptible as well.

    Hope that helps some. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,236

    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    If you're concerned about the safety of a medication, contact Infant Risk: http://www.infantrisk.com. My understanding is that it is absolutely fine to take levothyroxine or other thyroid hormone replacement (e.g. Synthroid) while nursing, as it is only replacing what your body should be making anyway. My understanding is that for women with hypothyroidism, thyroid replacement hormone is important for achieving pregnancy, as hypothyroidism can cause subfertility, and that it is vital during during pregnancy, because low thyroid function can impact the health and development of the fetus. If you have another baby, it's going to be very important to monitor your thyroid function frequently throughout pregnancy, and you can expect to need higher doses of levothyroxine during pregnancy than you take when not pregnant.

    Taking thyroid hormone replacement should only have a positive effect on your milk supply. Hypothyroidism can cause problems with supply, as can hyperthyroidism.

    In my experience, if you want to know the root cause of a thyroid issue, you have to push. For example, my family doc did not do any testing to identify the root cause. He just felt my thyroid for nodules- that's what your doc is doing when he feels your throat and asks you to swallow- and when he didn't find any, went with a diagnosis of Hashimoto's. I personally was satisfied with this- it seemed a good match given my personal and family history- but you don't have to be. If you want to get more specific, tell your doc that you want an explanation. My understanding is that there is bloodwork that can be done to identify anti-thyroid antibodies which would indicate Hashimoto's. Your family doc may not be interested in doing this, so I would go see an endocrinologist if you feel like the family doc isn't giving you the answers you want.

    The levothyroxine should be taken at approximately the same time every day. I would try not to err by more than a couple of hours either way. Drink a big glass of water along with the medication, and avoid products containing calcium (e.g. antacids) for a few hours afterwards. AFAIK, you can continue to take your vitamins and the fish oil. You probably want to avoid eating a lot of grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice, as consumption of grapefruit can decrease the effectiveness of many medications, including levothyroxine.

    Given that your TSH is so high, it's probably going to take a few months for you to get back to a normal level. Most docs will start you off on a low dose of levothyroxine- say 25-50 mcg- and gradually move you up to the effective level. During this time, your whole body is going to be readjusting, so be alert for side-effects. I experienced heart palpitations and severe anxiety when I first started taking the thyroid replacement. If you find that the side-effects are too intense, speak to your doctor. Mine recommended going a bit slower as I moved up to the effective dose, e.g. alternating 25 mcg doses with 50 mcg doses, or 12.5 doses with 25 mcg doses if I was still having problems.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    46

    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    I agree with mommal.
    I have hypothyroidism and take Synthroid 25 MCG alt every other day with a 12.5 MCG dose. I found out about my thyroid issues while trying to get pregnant for a year and not ovulating. Once I started meds I started ovulating. My TSH was 5 point something when I found out. I had to increase my dose throughout my pregnancy. But went back to my previous dose the day after delivery. My Dr told me not to take my prenatal at the same time as my synthroid. I think the iron may affect the it. I take my synthroid as soon as I get up...and prenatal vitamins. Before bed. So you would want to check with your doctor about that.
    First time momma to one amazing baby girl 2/28/2013
    Natural non medicated hospital birth

    We also practice EC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    Thank you for the posts!

    I did find out that the meds were safe for nursing. I do not see my doctor for another week yet so I will see what he says.

    I started the meds on Sunday and the one main difference I have seen is that I am very, very tired. A lot more tired than I was before I started taking the meds.

    I have been taking the meds as soon as I get up in the morning...and then waiting an hour for breakfast. The sheet that came with the pills said 30 minutes to an hour...but, I have read that an hour is much more effective. I also love grapefruits so that may need to be an adjustment for me. I have not had any this past week though.

    I am still nursing my daughter and I am very thankful for that. I wonder how long I have had this though. I have had a bad sensitivity to cold for quite a while now (I believe I had it before my daughter was born too and she is 3 1/2yo). But, over the past few weeks (granted we were experiencing a polar vortex here in PA)... my hands and feet were always frozen. I could never warm up!

    I feel like I still have quite a bit of discomfort in my calf muscles still and sensitivity. This started around the same time as the cold hands and feet but it is still here.

    I am hoping to feel better soon! I normally have anxiety and have had a bit of depression but I have always attributed it to being overwhelmed all the time with many things going on in our lives.

    One other goofy symptom I had for a while now...before starting the meds... is that I feel like I hear my heart beating in my left ear. It is really weird. If turn my head to the left it stops. If I turn it back...it starts again. I went to the doctor's office months ago and told them about this and after checking my ears and blood pressure said that this "happens" to certain people. But, on my bloodwork order (I asked to be tested for thyroid and diabetes)...I saw in the diagnosis... Heart palpitations.

    I am hoping for more answers in the near future. I am also curious to find out if my TSH number is really that high since I saw folks posting numbers in the 100s online. I just need to educate myself more. Thank you everyone. I am still really bummed about taking meds for the rest of my life...I actually started crying when I was told I would need to since I have always used alternative methods for treatment on other things to avoid meds as much as I can. Believe me, I understand fully that I probably sound terrible for saying that since it really is "no big deal" and I should be thankful that I am healthy otherwise. But, it still truly depresses me.

    Thanks again!
    Jaime
    Jaime
    First time mommy to Lucy Madison, born 8/25/2010.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    Your TSH isn't very high - I've seen patients with TSH in the 70s, 80s, 90s (and I'm sure there are people out there who are into the 100s as you saw online). Nevertheless thyroid hormone affects so many different bodily functions, I'm not surprised you haven't been feeling well. Anyway, I don't want to veer into the realm of medical advice but just wanted to reassure you about the number.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    Thank you bfwmomof3. I understand the concern for folks in the forum cautiously posting in regard to anything medical. I can assure everyone though that I am one of the most cautious people on the planet...almost to a fault. So, any input I receive from my fellow mommas I use to point me in different directions to do more research. Always trying to learn more... But, I do not do anything without speaking to my physician. Thank you so much for your posts! It is encouraging to hear from others who have the same problem. Again, I am hoping that feeling so depressed about this...is caused by this and that those feelings will soon fade. I am used to being very active. So, the last two days with taking my kiddo to two parks and the dog for a walk I was completely exhausted. I am hoping my energy level improves. I am also not sure if my daughter has seen any increase in milk since she is probably toward the end of our nursing relationship. It would be a pleasant surprise for her though. Thanks again
    Jaime
    First time mommy to Lucy Madison, born 8/25/2010.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    Oh, I didn't mean to imply that you were asking inappropriate questions, I just try to be careful about not giving medical advice since I'm a doctor and it can be easy to slip into medical mode. But really I'm on here as a fellow breastfeeding mom and anyway the forums specifically advise against medical advice. I do hope you start feeling better with treatment!

  9. #9
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    Thank you! I actually started having a reaction to the medicine yesterday. After dinner I started to get itchy all over my body and I felt like my heart was racing. I called my pharmacist first and she said it could be a reaction since I had started the meds on Sunday and I guess my body is still building a tolerance to it. When I read the medicine insert that came with the medication I did not realize that tiredness was a symptom of an allergic reaction too and I have been so tired that I practically fall asleep when I even sit on the couch. The itchy skin and the racing heart were also on there. My pharmacist told me to take Benadryl and to call the doctor on-call while taking my blood pressure at home. I called the on-call doctor who told me to skip my dose this morning and to follow up with my doc. He was very nasty on the phone and did not seem to even listen to me. He told me that

    I called my doctor this morning and the nurse told me to stop the medication until I meet with my doctor on March 26th. So... I think I am even more bummed now. I want to do what is right, I also would like to have another baby. I guess all I can do is wait to see what the doctor says. I may try to see if I can enlist the services of an endocrinologist. Right now, I am just very itchy.

    Thanks again for all the advice.
    Jaime
    Jaime
    First time mommy to Lucy Madison, born 8/25/2010.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Hypothyroidism and nursing

    Give yourself time, mama!!! There's a good chance that you've been hypothyroid for a couple of years. Your entire body has gotten used to being that way. It's going to take time to get back to where you should be. I personally found that it took me 6 months to get to the point where the medication wasn't causing side effects and where I felt pretty normal again.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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