In the last 3 months, I've made a slow and successful transition from Synthroid to Armour thyroid. My Dr. hasn't checked my estradiol level yet, but I've had to start using my compounded vaginal troches everyday instead of on occasion. I'm having no hot flashes whatsoever, mood is good, sleep quality has improved, and my anxieties have slowly disappeared. Most of the major improvements occurred after switching to the Armour. With the need for increased vaginal estradiol, I'm fairly certain my estradiol needs have increased at least some.
My concern this last 6 months to a year, is my serious joint pain. I tested negative for RA and there are no markers for inflammation. When doing any reading, it seems that joint pain can be a symptom of low thyroid function OR low estrogen. I'm guessing my SHBG is higher since beginning Armour. The pain in my joints is bad enough that it wakes me up. Could it be fluid retention from the estradiol or still somewhat undermedicated for thyroid? Anyone using both have any experience with this??
I have had this too... saw 2 different rheumatologists and they say I have fibromyalgia. I'd get labs drawn to see if anything is out of whack before making any changes on your own. I do test positive for RA, and ANA too...
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia back in 1992 by the orthopedic surgeon and confirmed with second opinion by a rheumatologist. This joint pain seems to come and go. It's definitely been hanging on for several months though.
I have Hishimotos and use Armour/Cytomel and Estradiol (bio-identical) pill. I finally feel great with a TSH of 1.4. I did however have bad joint pain, my Endocrinologist added in the Cytomel T3 to help and the joint pain went away, never to return. So, work with your doc. or get a new one that knows Thyroid Disorders!
Also, try going "gluten free" for the inflammation may subside. The other great site for Thryoid is Mary Shaloms on About.com goggle Thryoid disorder forms like this one, with monitors that are very knowledgeable like here, for your information.
Thanks Libragrl! How long did it take for the joint pain to go away? Did your Dr. go by the TSH even though you had added the T3 in? Did you have to increase your estrogen when you changed your thyroid meds? If so, did it take awhile?
The joint pain issue was seven years ago, when I first was diagnosed with Hishmotos after my Myomectomy, age 37. I did not know I had thyroid issues at the time, but after the surgery, apparently my TSH was sky high and I was super tired and had bad joint pain, like full body arthritis!!! It hurts and I will never forget the pain! I thought I was going to die! That started me on the path of thyroid therapy ASAP!!
It took me about four years and a couple of different Endocrinologist, I found an Endo who understands how to treat Thyroid. He goes by how I feel and what my full TSH levels are (side note, I was working with a Doctor of Osteopathic, who looked at T3 reversed and all the thyroid levels in depth, checked for Lyme Disease and all sorts of stuff, but he couldn't get me dialed in, so he referred me out to an expert in a bigger city). I am now taking 90mcg of Armour 5 1/2 days a week and 5mg of Cytomel 3 days a week, with TSH levels of 1.4 which seems like a good level for me.
But like hormones, we are all different for what helps us in the Thyroid department. Key is, like any healthcare, work with a doctor/team of experts who listen to your symptoms and treat accordingly.
Best of luck and I do hope you start to heal quickly.
The Dr. I'm seeing now has checked my rT3 a couple of times. As I look back at these tests, I can see that the rT3 was too high. I keep reading about the importance of T3 in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Initially, the Armour made me feel so speedy. Apparently that can happen while there are still higher levels of T4 from the Synthroid. That has pretty much subsided. I do split my Armour into 4 doses now.
Did you ever have trouble taking supplements? Anytime I took a supplement, I felt like I was toxic. Surprisingly, I've added some supplements back in and I seem to be tolerating them now.
Was your recovery a gradual process over the 4 years or did it take you 4 years to find a Dr. who was able to help and it came quickly? I live in Nebraska and I didn't have luck with the endocrinologist route. Unfortunately, they seem to feel that Synthroid is the only way to go. I've received the most help from a family practitioner with an open mind. I really do feel that there's an endocrine system issue causing Fibro. Dr.'s in this area look at it the same as they used to look at ulcers...inability to handle stress. So, unfortunately, their recommendation for help comes in the form of ADs, antianxiety meds, and sleeping pills. I just don't feel functional with those. In addition to that, they don't really help.
I can definitely relate to the the "all over body arthritis" feeling. Finding the solution to that would be more exciting than winning the lottery!
Some drs do not look at reverse T3. Those that do try to fix it by taking T3 only, which can be dangerous if you forget a dose. I agree, DOs are the ones who are more open minded about alternative treatments and feel fine with prescribing Armour.
I too believe FMS has a hormonal component. I hope more drs get better educated on the ways to help patients with widespread pain.
Having Hashi's, FMS, and a few other auto-immune issues, I find that I have gotten a lot of relief by cutting gluten from my diet... I am not perfect and there are days I slip up but I can feel a difference without it.
I take 180mg Armour daily split into 3 doses of 60mg. If I could just keep my estrogen level stable, things would improve!
Calypso, are the fluctuations in your estrogen due to the Hashi's and the fluctuations in your thyroid function? If not, what do you attribute them to? I remember reading recently (Stop The Thyroid Madness) that good solid thyroid function (at the cellular level) is critical in proper utilization of hormones. It mentioned that once thyroid function is restored, hormone panels improve. Did you find that to be true for you? Or did it just complicate things?
My thyroid is stable as far as I know... I always test LOW T4, normal T3, and TSH of 0.02 (LOW). I don't think it's related to my thyroid as that dose has been stable.
My estrogen however fluctuates wildly with no change in doses.... no explanation. Have been passed from gyn to endocrinologists to DOs, to now a bio-identical hormone specialist who says they're not familiar with this.. I remain a medical mystery.
I'm on Armour, my reverse T3 was high previously, cannot get my T4 up though, and cannot raise my TSH... I think there's another component not yet dx... perhaps adrenal or pituitary.. my dr is doing some research... My SHBG always tests high.