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Underactive Thyroid & irregular periods & fertility

(13 Posts)
moomin84 Sat 05-Oct-13 20:57:48

Hi there, I'm new to this and completely at my wits' end. Please help!

Here's my background... I'm a 29 year old female, relatively healthy, no other medical conditions. 5 months ago I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid; TSH at 18. I was put on levothyroxine 50mg to start with. Follow up meeting, this was increased to 75mg as TSH was 4.0. My latest reading showed TSH of 1.4 so no change to dosage.

Here comes the strange part. All my life my periods have been like clockwork, even when I was not receiving treatment. I'm 29 and desperately want to start a family, so much so my partner and I purchased a fertility clearblue fertility monitor 9 months ago. All the way through up until 3 months ago, my periods were regular and my fertility peaked and troughed as it should. But now, it's all over the place. My periods are complelty irregular, ranging from 18 days to 35+ if at all. My fertility doesn't peak, and this all started 2 months after starting Levo.

I double checked the patient leaflet, noticed it asked to call the specialist if menstrual cycle changed, did so and I really really feel like I've been fobbed off. Basically told "under no circumstances is it the tablets and there's nothing more i can do for you".

Given I want to try for a family so badly, not sure what I'm supposed do. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm 29 and based on what the specialist has said, I'm majorly concerned I'm now going through early menopause!! In my mind, there's no doubt it is the tablets, but if the specialist doesn't believe me / think so, what am I supposed to do?

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading! I'm so so worried we won't be able to have a family because of these stupid tablets. Feel very much rejected by the system - take the pills, original symptoms cured, not the specialists problem anymore.

Thank you for reading! X

foolonthehill Sat 05-Oct-13 21:09:22

This is a well documented side effect of both under and over active thyroid problems and the treatment levothyroxine.

Although your cycle is erratic it is very unusual to stop ovulating even with this side effect. Hypothyroidism is a relatively common cause of infertility so your treatment is important if you want to start a family.

it would be easy for your GP to check for early menopause with a simple blood test so it may be worth talking to them about your worries.

foolonthehill Sat 05-Oct-13 21:10:14

PS I'm sorry the specialist was so dismissive...I hope it was an off day and not his/her general standard of treatment.

Sarahlouiseis33 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:28:44

I'm really sorry you are having this trouble, I have an underactive thyroid and before I was treated I was having almost one long constant heavy period, now on the levothyroxine I have regular periods (still quite long).
Maybe your cycle needs time to settle down and will then become regular again, if it offers you some hope, I never had any trouble conceiving my DS.
Good luck, I hope it resolves itself for you x

moomin84 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:31:00

Thank you foolonthehill. I've got myself worked up into a right state over this! I'm going to book in at the doctor on Monday and ask for a test or a referral to a specialist (it's all my regular doc seems to do anyway!). I just can't make sense of it, but know that I'm jumping to the worst possible scenario. Worrying thing, I asked the specialist twice before starting treatment if there were any side effects. He said no, over and over again, even knowing that I wanted to start a family. Just feel very much backed into a corner!

Thank you for responding x

moomin84 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:37:21

Thank you! We're both maths people so have graphed my cycles (pre and post thyroxine), my fertility and when I started and increased the tablets. I'm preparing my case to put to the doctor so he can see it with his own eyes. Really difficult thing is that all my friends are getting pregnant and giving birth to beautiful little monsters, and I can't help but be wracked with envy!

Many thanks for replying. I've just got myself into a mild panic over this (which probably doesn't help the situation much!) xxx

Sarahlouiseis33 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:55:29

I'm sure your cycles will settle themselves down again, and a thyroid problem that is being treated has surely got to be better than one that has gone undiagnosed.

What symptoms did you have that lead to your diagnosis? My rotten period was one of my main symptoms.

foolonthehill Sat 05-Oct-13 22:03:53

anxiety is understandable but as you already know is tricky...it affects fertility too.

Is it possible for you to stop monitoring everything for a couple of months?...tell yourself that you are not going to do anything until you have been on the thyroxine for at least 4 months on a stable dose?

I am under the impression that you are not TTC yet...just "warming up? If that is so I would stop looking at/measuring your fertility and concentrate on your general health...good preparation for parenthood anyway.

terribly difficult if you are surrounded by cooing babies and blurry ultrasound scans....I know.

p.s. 75mg is quite a low maintenance dose...it may be that you are not yet at your optimal dosage.

moomin84 Sat 05-Oct-13 22:14:51

How strange! my periods were absolutely normal, that's the strange thing! it's only after treatment that they've changed! How long did you go for undiagnosed?

it was a longish road for me... Initially I was diagnosed with anaemia - I'm vegetarian and should have been on top of that one! Then a follow up blood to see if I could come off the iron showed a vit d deficiency. The next check up on that showed up the thyroid issue. I originally went to the doctor because my hair was falling out. It took several attempts for him to believe me (I am blessed with long frizzy hair that looks bigger than it is). I ended up bagging up my hair from the shower in just one week and taking it to him before he would believe me. A month or so later, I was very lethargic, gaining weight, couldn't really function at work in that I couldn't remember conversations from 5mins before and had terribly dry skin. No problems with periods or unusual fertility patterns.

I am definitely better with the tablets, no doubt. think ive just worked myself up into tizz over this because i want a little munchkin so bad. and if not, i definitely have the potential to end up as a crazy cat lady! when you were pregnant, were you closely monitored throughout? X

Sarahlouiseis33 Sat 05-Oct-13 22:37:26

I went on the pill at 14 for my bad periods and my skin and that kind of helped regulate them, it was not until I was in my early twenties that I was diagnosed with the hypothyroid, I was cold all the time, flaky dry skin and I fell asleep as soon as I got in from work until basically the morning again!! So much the same as you. I have a feeling at the moment I have gone slightly hyperthyroid though as I am warm and sweaty a lot of the time (nice), have a racing heartbeat, oily skin and spots and the shakes.
My doctors aren't great, they just say my TSH level is fine (it's 0.19 which for me is very low). I have adjusted my dose from 125mg to 100mg to see if I feel any better.

The good thing though is that when you do get pregnant (and you will!!) because of the hypothyroid they keep a much closer eye on you. My pregnancy was classed as a higher risk, I had extra midwife appointments that were at the hospital aswell as the normal ones at the doctors surgery and I had extra scans to check growth which meant I got to see more of my DS before he was born.

Try and relax, I'm sure it will happen for you xxx

moomin84 Sat 05-Oct-13 22:38:43

And I just want to say a big thank you to you both for calming me down! The poor fiancé has taken a bit of an ear bashing tonight (PMS blues hopefully!) I struggle to share this with friends as they have enough on their plates with their babies, wedding planning, etc.

Foolonthehill - agreed. I've put everything under the microscope which doesn't help! It's the control freak in me! I'm also a "bit" doughy which I do want to address before we start trying properly - need to cut down on the carbs and exercise more! The specialist was happy with my TSH level on 75mg but we'll see what it is next time round - on his suggestion, ive swapped to taking the tablets before bed x

foolonthehill Sun 06-Oct-13 22:24:44

the "doughy" is also part of hypothyroidism.....you will find it easier to sort out with some thyroxine in your system. (But don't get too controlling...a happy healthy person who is relatively relaxed and comfortable in their skin makes for better parenting!!)...also remember that you are used to being "sluggish" a little hyper and anxious may be your system setting back into normal.

best wishes to you

moomin84 Wed 09-Oct-13 22:23:32

Hi there, I went to the doctor yesterday and he's sending me for a bunch of blood tests. I have to get them done 21days after the start of my period... Which is nowhere in sight and 10 days late compared to my old norm! Mentioned menopause to him (I'm only 29) and he thought it unlikely but wants to check.

He was really supportive and said that whilst my TSH is fine, they might need to tweak the dosage to suit me, rather than taking the specialists view of 'it's in the normal range, so you must be okay'. He did not take the view that it is definitely not the tablets. He said i might need a higher TSH than the norm but thats something to consider as it can impact on our ability to conceive. He took the time to explain how the thyroid is responsible for all hormones and the speed at which they're secreted, and also noted how the problems started two months after starting the tablets which is strange as menstrual cycle is usually something that goes awry when thyroid problems are not treated!

I asked about an alternative tablet to Levothyroxine as i dont feel that this is an acceptable side effect (if that's what this is) and was told that there isn't one because the majority of users don't report any problems! Given the hours I've spent looking into this on the Internet, I disagree!!!!

Again, thank you for all your support - I never realised how many of us underactives there were!!

Hugs, xx

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