Hypothyroidism, Insulin resistance and Metformin: read this brilliant information!

This interesting page has been updated to the present day and time. Enjoy!

The following insightful post was written by UK hypothyroid patient Sarah Wilson. 

My daughter (25) has epilepsy. What’s that got to do with being hypothyroid and Natural Thyroid Hormones (NTH. also known as Natural Desiccated Thyroid or NDT)? Quite a lot, by the look of things.

My daughter’s epilepsy is triggered by unstable blood sugars. And since taking Metformin (medication to improve blood sugar control), she has significantly reduced the number of seizures. Being a good hypothyroid Tiger-mother, I have been doing mega amounts of research and we got to the Metformin approach through reading hundreds of academic medical journals. What I found along the way got me thinking about NTH and Hypothyroidism.

I have a strong hunch, backed up by some meaty academic evidence, that when patients develop hypothyroid symptoms, they are actually becoming insulin resistant. There are many symptoms in common between women with PCOS and hypothyroidism–the hair loss, the weight gain, et al. http://insulinhub.hubpages.com/hub/PCOS-and-Hypothyroidism A hypothyroid person’s body thinks it is going into starvation mode and so, to preserve resources and prolong life, the metabolism changes. If hypothyroid is prolonged or pronounced, then it is entirely feasible that even with the reintroduction of thyroid hormones, that chemical preservation mode becomes permanent. To get back to normal, they need a super “jump-start” to kick the metabolism back into action. The super-kick start is effected through something called AMPK, which is known as the “master metabolic regulating enzyme.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMP-activated_protein_kinase

Guess what? This is exactly what happens to Diabetes patients when Metformin is introduced. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metformin

If you are technically minded then you might want to read these articles. http://www.springerlink.com/content/r81606gl3r603167/ and http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2265.2011.04029.x/pdf

They are a bit tough-going on the science but worth ploughing through. Why?  Note the following comments/partial statements:  “Hypothyroidism is characterized by decreased insulin responsiveness”; “the pivotal regulatory role of T3 in major metabolic pathways”; “The effect of thyroid hormone on basal metabolic rate was recognized more than a century ago”

The community knows that T3/NTH makes hypothyroid patients feel better – but the medical establishment is scared of T3/NTH – probably because they don’t understand how it really works. The medical establishment might find an alternative line of argument about impaired metabolism more palatable if we can show them this real proof that the old desiccated thryoid treatment **was/is** having the right result – the i.e. the T3 is jump-starting the metabolism by re-activating AMPK. If Metformin (or one of the other anti-diabetic meds) could actually also do the same thing for hypothyroidism without the “dangers” of NTH, they they should be jumping at the opportunity.

The great news is that Metformin is very cheap, stable and has very few serious side effects (and certainly none on the heart). To use the car engine metaphor, if glucose is our petrol, AMPK is the spark plug and both T3 and Metformin are both ignition switches. Sometimes if you have flat batteries in the car, it doesn’t matter how much you turn the ignition switch or pump the petrol pedal, all it does is flatten the battery and flood the engine. Dr. Skinner in the UK has been treating “pre-hypothyroidism” the way that some doctors treat “pre-diabetes”. Those hypothyroid patients who get treated early (before the wretched blood numbers get into the magical range) probably haven’t had their AMPK pathways altered and the T4-T3 conversion still works. The use of drugs as prophylactics is well understood by the medical establishment (e.g. baby aspirin for hearts), so there is no reason therefore why thyroid hormone replacement therapy shouldn’t logically be given to ward off a greater problem down the line.

It’s my belief that there is clear and abundant academic evidence that the AMPK/Metformin research should branch out to also look at thyroid disease.

As a supplementary on the history. I have PCOS; my female relatives have PCOS; my mother has just developed breast cancer which we are certain is related to the oestrogen dominance/insulin resistance. My daughter also has had Coeliac Disease since weaning (and oh boy, that was a fight to get a diagnosis but we got there). My daughter was showing lots of PCOS symptoms (some of which are of course hypothyroid symptoms) alongside the Estrogen, but because there were no cysts…no diagnosis, which is not correct by the Amsterdam criteria, but there we have it. So we moved “off topic” in PCOS terms, did a 9 month experiment of adding and subtracting one thing at a time to get to a (more) stable outcome. We never got the PCOS diagnosis but we did end up with T2DM Type 2 Diabetes) by the backdoor and the Metformin. We had two stupid consultants who reduced her to tears – their logic was unbelievably crass and at odds with long standing proof: “there isn’t a tap in your neck which stops the sugar getting to your brain you know” grrrrr. I have since found the links between people with T1DM (Type 1 Diabetes) who inject insulin and hypothyroidism too.

So my idea is that we need to talk to the medical profession in a language they relate to. They think Natural Desiccated Thyroid is voodoo, so they switch off. YET the NDT is doing something very, very scientific: the direct T3 is kicking the closed -own metabolic process back into life, just like Metformin does for insulin resistance. Who says there isn’t more widespread T4 resistance? There is serotonin resistance!  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17250776

http://web.archive.org/web/20130426233947/http://www.hotthyroidology.com/editorial_79.html Take a look at page 63.

Disclaimer: I, Sarah, am not medically trained and I haven’t even got a University degree. My business, however, is researching complex financial data and since leaving school, I have probably graduated with a PhD in the University of Life. My daughter has two degrees and my husband is in IT so I’ve learned a lot about logic over the past 30 years. I think that to take this debate forward, we need someone with the credibility to do a piece of academic research and get it put into one of the highly ranked journals – even doing a relatively straightforward meta-analysis of all the published works on AMPK/T3 /metabolism would be a start. I know everyone feels desperately miserable about not being treated properly, and it is probably very sexist that us bunch of moaning women are not taken seriously. BUT perception is reality and we have to deal with that reality as best we can. And I think that our sisters in the chronic fatigue/ME camp should have reason to join us on our quest too. I wouldn’t know where to start to find out how to sponsor a university researcher but maybe we should think about that as our “big thing”.

Let’s talk.

101 Responses to “Hypothyroidism, Insulin resistance and Metformin: read this brilliant information!”

  1. Burcidi

    You implied that starvation (or the body thinking that it’s starving) will lead to insulin resistance. But why?

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and type two diabetes at the same time last year. I had the symptoms of diabetes for a year before diagnosis. I was put on metformin and synthethic thyroid hormones at the same time. I lost some weight in the few days following this, but then it leveled off. I took thyroid hormones for a year, after which my thyroid started working again and I have been off of them for more than six months now. I continue to take my metformin.

    The ultrasound technician had said that my hypothyroidism is due to an infection that I suffered some time ago (she could tell it was not new). I’ve always wondered if there was a connection between my hypothyroidism and diabetes. Type 2 diabetes runs in my family, but I’m the youngest member to have developed it. Everyone else developed post their fourties. I developed it around age 24.

  2. Burcidi

    I’m actually surprised by how many people mentioned diabetes, hypothyroidism and some type of issue with gluten in the comments.

    I stopped eating gluten four days ago after an elimination test I did. Gluten gives me terrible stomach bloating. It’s so bad that I can’t breathe, I get cramps and I’m tired and moody. I quit the gluten (I was mostly eating bread) and the bloating is just gone.

    Ive been wondering if metformin was causing this because I’ve noticed that it causes an increased sensitivity to some foods. Or maybe I was always sensitive to gluten and metformin just highlighted it to me.

    I’m starting to think that this is all related to the immune system dysfunction. I think this is the reason why many of us are developing all of these issues around the same time. Maybe a virus that we don’t know about? Who knows.

  3. Samantha

    I have type 1 diabetes. My doctor prescribed Metformin to me for hormone related issues. I haven’t decided if I want to start taking it yet. I’m also on NDT and just swapped over to Cytomel. Will taking metformin help me in regards to still having hypo symptoms along with type 1 diabetes?

    I’m just confused if I should add this medicine because of the side effects.

  4. Andrea

    I was diagonsied with Hashimotos two years ago and synthroid has given me no relief. Over the last few months I noticed numbness, tingling, burning, and deep pain in my arms, hands, and feet. Five Doctors later I have one blood test (out of many) that revealed a high insulin level. I fear I have type 2…I have low blood sugar, cry, heart feels out of control, brain fog is huge!, no concentration. After this discovery of high insulin I am told no one can see me for MONTHS. I feel helpless, depressed, and need advise.. Self help says eat no carbs, no sugar, and excercise… but I feel like I can’t even fold laundry I am SO floppy!

    • Janie

      Andrea, so sorry to read what you are going through. This is exactly why STTM exists—to explain why Synthroid or any other T4-only med is not the way to go and why you need to fight to be put on Natural Desiccated Thyroid…or add T3 to the Synthroid at the very least. The former is the best way according to a great deal of patient experiences before you. Google ThyroGold–a stopgap until you can find a doctor to give you a prescription for NDT. Note that you need good iron and cortisol to do well on NDT. Also check your B12–your symptoms also go with inadequate levels–needs to be in the upper part of the range. Here is where you can get more feedback: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/talk-to-others

    • Wendy

      My recommendation is try armour. That changed my life. I felt like you. Now I don’t. The first two days I literally felt something in my brain…it was a kind of numbness kind a weird to explain.but is a miracle in my life

    • Susie

      Hi Andrea, I have been on levothyroxine ever since I was diagnosed with Hashimoto (around 2007). I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes around 2002. Pretty much felt like garage all this time. I came across doctors who like to test your blood and state “Numbers are good.” and nothing else. They didn’t even tell me how to properly take my meds.
      I finally got tired of waiting for them to ‘help’ me and started helping myself. After SEVERAL doctors later, lots of crying, pain, tiredness, and MORE pain.. I finally found a doctor that would listen and not just look at numbers.
      I have been taking Armour for a month, I read somewhere else that a thyroid patient doctor recommended Selenium (200 mcg) with her Armour dose, so I started that with my Armour. I learned the proper time to eat and take my other meds around my Armour.
      Then more research, MOST Hashi people are Gluten Intolerant. I am avid baker and cook. This was a blow to me. But I thought lets give it a try. First week I thought I was going to starve to death because it is a learning process.. BUT I woke up one morning, rolled over in bed, my hand touch my hip and IT DIDN’T HURT. My joints didnt hurt, my skin didn’t hurt and that day i did Laundry, Cooked dinner, Cleaned the frontroom floor and washed the bathroom down! This was amazing as the week before i was so crippled that I couldn’t hardly make coffee, let alone a bowl of cereal was really pushing it!

      My Hypothyroid or diabetes wasn’t killing me…. it was my Hashi’s! And all the wheat products I ate ‘trying to eat good and lose weight’.

      4 weeks ago I couldn’t hardly make a bowl of cereal and just went on a trip to Michigan to visit family! Hashi’s will always be a part of your life and mine. I have come to the conclusion I will have my good days and bad days. I will embrace the good days as I have more of them now than the bad.

      Try eating Gluten Free for a couple weeks and see how it works for you. If you are near a Krogers grocery store you are in luck they have put Gluten Free labels on all the GF products through their store now! I just found this last week, totally amazing and so Helpful! So you are not just having to shop around the expensive Organic and Health food sections. Also if your near a Whole Foods I went to their site online and they have a 29 page list of all their gluten free products.
      I can never thank these people who were before us who had to pioneer and push for Gluten Free people with labeling the products..
      Wish you the best ((hugs))

    • lori herman

      I was wondering if you are feeling any better? I was just diagnosed with high insulin and feel terrible on t4 only but cant tolerate t3 right now. I would love to speak with you. Lori

    • Carla

      Hey Andrea,
      You need to be taking NDT (natural desicated thyroid) sick as Armour. You’re brain is foggy because your thyroid is sick and not producing enough hormone.
      Hey your adrenals checked by the saliva method only. Go gluten free. There are plenty of delicious substitutes. Usually is only a DO (naturepath ) that will help you feel better. You need to treat the symptoms till they go away. DO NOT GO BY LAB WORK ALONE! Best wishes. Post how your doing street treatment!

  5. Jenna

    Wikipedia is not a credible scholarly resource. I would suggest looking into peer-reviewed primary articles to back up your thoughts especially since they conduct clinical trials that have undergone rigorous protocols to ensure the data is unbiased and accurate.

  6. Tami

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism three years ago, the T-4/T-3? test came back slightly elevated, but they gave me thyroid medicine anyway and told me that I would have to take it for the rest of my life. I had the test because I had no energy, was getting a lot of facial hair, dry skin, etc. Just last month I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, with a A1c of 8.5. I started taking the metformin, and I felt great. I stopped taking the thyroid medicine several weeks before the metformin because of the increase in the cost of the medicine and it didn’t seem to be doing anything for me. Since the first day of taking metformin, I feel great and am working towards getting my blood sugar back on track. I think too that I was probably pre-diabetic several years ago instead of having hypothyroidism. Interesting article, would be great if it could be studied more in depth!

  7. Wendy

    I have hypothyroidism and pre diabetes but I was on synthyroid for 3 years I felt miserable then I changed to armour it changed my life. I’m happier and more energetic.
    but I still don’t know what to do about pre diabetes 🙁

    • Sue

      Armour is great. Metformin is wonderful as well. Take the regular and not er if stomach issues. Walk, and watch the carbs. When eating carbs, in moderation, pair with a protein or peanut butter. Dairy counts as a carb not a protein unless Greek nonfat yogurt with minimal carbs. Not a doctor, just going through the same issues.

    • Kellie

      Does metformin counteract or interact with Armour in any way? When and how do you take it?

      • Janie Bowthorpe

        Kellie, there doesn’t seem to be a problem with the two. As far as when and how…do you mean for Metformin? Diabetic patients tend to take it twice a day.

  8. Dana

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about twenty years ago. I was placed on synthroid at that time by my family doctor. I spent years telling him I felt worse on the med than I did off. Him and other drs acted like I was crazy. My husband use to joke me when he would come home from work n the house would be spotless and he’d say “you forgot to take your synthroid today didn’t you”. And sure enough… I struggled for such a long time. Time I can never get back. Then one day I bought the thyroid diet book and they suggested armour thyroid so I took a dif approach n asked my gyno if he could help with my thyroid n he did. He placed me on armour like I asked and suggested I referred me to an endo dr. Within days I felt like a new person!!! My house is usually clean now and I have energy! However my endo dr has all my levels under controle but I can not loose weight to save my life. 1200 calories a day and working with a personal trainer three days a week n I’m gaining weight!! My endo said I have insulin resistance and he is placing me on metformin in April! I’m praying this works!! From all the research I’ve been doing I’ve heard that it only HELPS you loose weight. Its not a magic pill! Exercise n nutrition are still a must. Ill post my results when I get started.

  9. katherine

    Type 2 diabetic and thyroid surgery’s partial removal of both thyroid glands and what a nightmare.Using insulin and doing armour and feeling hypothyroid and no answers.Feel the insulin is interfering with armour and not helping not to be low thyroid on both am taking them.Few hours after break out of a rash checking blood work see if its thyroid or diabetes or both.Would like drs to take better care of there patience by listening and if don’t have the answer ask another dr or do referrals and let the patient get some relief and answers to there health.Thank you

  10. Debbie

    I have used Synthroid for 20 years. Just the last 5 years, Dr switched me to Armour. 180 mg day. My TSH was 9.8. I think it gives me terrible headaches but not sure it’s the culprit. The Dr just diagnosed me with Type 2 and prescribed Metformin twice a day. Can I take this at same time as Armour? I also suffer terribly with IBS. Any complaints or side effects that are going to increase that issue?

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Debbie!! Are you saying you are just now starting on 180 mg? Patients have found that to be a big mistake to start on such a high dose of NDT!! Our bodies are not used to the direct T3 when we’ve been on T4-only that long. Instead, we start at one grain and build up by 1/2 grain every two weeks or so. Read http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/natural-thyroid-101

      Yes, patients take Metformin with NDT if they need the former.

    • Gillian

      go gluten free if you arent already, it cured all my aches and pains and IBS symptoms i three days!!!!!!! I have Hashimoto and also keep to a low carb high, healthy fat, diet which is also helping me have more energy.

  11. Kim

    I just found this site. Here’s my story.

    When I was 20 years old, the right lobe of my thyroid was surgically removed due to a nodule on it. Way back then they couldn’t just remove the nodules. No, they had to remove the entire lobe. They didn’t even put me on a thyroid supplement at the time. I was so young that I didn’t even know I should take one.

    A few years later, I was feeling lethargic and weird and my doctor put me on Synthroid. For many years I felt fine, but then when I was pregnant with my 2nd son (at 32 years old), something., somewhere, happened to my metabolism. During my pregnancy my body literally swelled up all over, and I felt so weak. They suspected gestational diabetes, but a GTT didn’t find it. Well, of course it didn’t. What I was feeling was reactive hypoglycemia.

    Way back then (23 years ago), as far as the doctors were concerned reactive hypoglycemia was a myth and only existed in the minds of their patients. My blood sugar was always low, in the 70s normally, and a few hours after a meal it would drop even lower, to the 60s. It was never EVER stable, no matter what I tried, no matter how much I ate or no matter what combination of foods I ate. I was so frightened about it that I bought a blood sugar monitor and started monitoring my blood sugar myself. I complained about my condition for 23 solid years, gained 120 pounds and felt completely wiped all the time. The entire time I NEVER stopped watching what I ate and I never stopped doing whatever I could to “work out” regularly. (Although, working out is not what I would have called it, because I usually couldn’t even get through 30 minutes of cardio without feeling dead.)

    In August 2013, I looked for a new doctor and found one who was fresh out of med school. I literally broke down crying in her office the very first time I saw her, begging her to do something. Believe it or not, she was one of the first new doctors I’d ever seen that actually appeared to have read my medical history before my visit.

    After hearing my story personally…just my story and having read my history now…she hadn’t even seen my numbers yet, mind you…she said that she thought what I was dealing with all these years was insulin resistance, and at this point she said it sounded like my blood sugar was extremely unstable and had been for a long, long time, which she surmised was setting me up for diabetes very soon if I didn’t get that under control first.

    She ordered blood work and sent me home and told me she would call me. That afternoon, she called me and told me that my numbers definitely indicated that I was prediabetic and from my history, she also believed there was significant insulin resistance going on, based on my visits with an endicrinologist and the numbers from those tests. (My pancreas was making WAY too much insulin all the time. They even checked me for a pancreatic tumor, which I do not have). She said she had put in a prescription for a drug called Metformin and asked me to pick it up as soon as I could and begin taking it immediately. I was to take a very small dose, 500 mg every evening after dinner. And she wanted to see me again in three weeks.

    I was concerned about Metformin because my best friend is diabetic and she takes Metformin (3 times as much as I am, mind you), and at first she had horrific gastrointestinal reactions. So, I called her to ask about my new doctor and her experience with Metformin and she said that the side effects had eventually calmed down and she was now doing well on it. She’s been my friend for over 20 years, so she knew my history and she thought my doctor might be right. So, she encouraged me to try it.

    At this point I was willing to try anything. Literally anything. I picked up the prescription that day after work and took my first dose.

    I ate dinner and took the Metformin. Within 45 minutes my blood sugar felt absolutely “normal.” I mean normal as in the way I felt when I was 19 years old. I checked it and it was 85. That was three hours after I had eaten a healthy dinner. If I hadn’t taken the Metformin, it would have already dropped to at least 70 again and would have been on its way down even more if I didn’t eat something. (Yes, in three hours–after a full meal.)

    I wasn’t hungry either. So, I got some water and sat down at my desk to do my after work tasks and at bedtime, I checked my blood sugar again. 85. I was astonished.

    I went to bed. Got up the next morning. Checked my blood sugar again. 85. Checked it at work, three hours after breakfast. 85. You see where I’m going with this, right?

    Whatever Metformin does right for people, it was doing for me. I’m not a scientist or a doctor, and so I don’t know what that is, exactly, but all I can say is that for me, Metformin, is a miracle drug. Literally.

    The first week I lost 11 pounds. I was so startled that I went back to my doctor, alarmed. She said that my body was getting rid of the inflammation and water that it was holding due to imbalances, and not to worry about it. She made an appointment for me in two weeks. The next week, I felt pain in my kidneys. It alarmed me. She watched that closely and we did tests and she finally determined that this was also my system getting used to being back to normal, as no abnormalities with my kidneys was found.

    After that, I calmed down and tried really hard to do what I usually did–eat healthy and exercise. Except because my blood sugar was stable now I actually COULD exercise. I mean really work out. And exercise didn’t leave me wiped like it had in the past. Instead, I felt GOOD after exercise. That’s how you’re supposed to feel after you exercise. Good. Not like you are dying.

    Since then I’ve lost 66 pounds. My blood sugar is still stable. And my A1C has dropped from 5.8 to 5.1.

    I’m not saying all of this to “promote” anyone taking Metformin. I think that we all should do what we think is right for us. But clearly, for my system, Metformin was the answer. It may not be for you, though. I’ve heard a lot of people who say that Metformin didn’t work for them, or the side effects were too bad for them to continue. I was lucky.

    But I do know this. Issues with our endocrine system need to be taken much more seriously by the health industry. I now believe there are so many people out there suffering like I did for years simply because their doctors aren’t listening to them. If your doctor won’t listen to you, do what I did. Get a new doctor and make that one listen. And if that doesn’t work, get another one. And do that until someone listens to you.

    Obesity is a DISEASE. The problem is no one out there is “really” looking for a cure. It’s easier for the world to call us fat and lazy rather than help us figure out what’s wrong.

    Another thing that had to be adjusted months later was my thyroid medication. After I had lost all that weight it had to be adjusted down. My doctor is working hard to get that right too. She is amazing. 🙂

    Much luck to you all with your own journeys. ♥

    • Shanna

      Your symptoms sound similar to mine. Now that you have lost the weight have you stopped taking metformin?

    • Macy

      Hi there,

      I story looks so much like mine. I just wanted to knowone thing during this time were you taking synthroid with metformin?

      Thank you


    • Lydia

      This makes me so happy! I swapped to ndt and put on metformin back in October. I feel better then I have in years!!!! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 11 I am now 29 and finally feeling normal!

  12. dianne

    56 year old female.I have Thyroid nodules, with normal thyroid blood work. My endrocrinologist didn’t think that I needed to know that I’m insulin resistant. 5′ 130 lbs to 215 within 3 years. My skin just went awful, dry but oily thick small patches, tiny dry bee- bee size thick balls of skin. Skin tags.Shortness of breath.Muscle weakness. I’m on no medications for either issue, don’t know if that’s good or bad. Diabetes on fathers side and thyroid on mothers. Also High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol, being treated. Any thoughts or advise would be greatly appreciated, I feel awful all the time!

  13. Ruth Keeme

    I’m 28 years old diagnosed with hashimotos thyroiditis, and PCOS, suspecting I have IR as well. Here’s my story!
    I was a healthy 125 and 5’4 girl in 2013, after having my son who was 10.7 at birth I had 50lbs of baby weight to get rid of. I joined weight watchers, and did INSANITY, and lost the over 50lbs and was so happy! I kept on doing my workout and eating good until I noticed I was gaining weight with my extreme workouts, I thought I was going to start menstrating because it didn’t ,make any sense.
    After gaining more than 5 lbs I quit, and started to feel very tired, and again put a reason to it because I didnt know what was going on. I went to see my GP, told him I was feeling tired he gave me a test and said I had hypothroidism, and to take synthroid and sent me home.. After 3 weeks of synthroid I had enough, I constantly had migraines,and felt worse. I went back said i am not taking this any more and he gave me armour. I like it immediatly and felt better but in 3 weeks felt horrible again, he did another test said my levels are fine I should be fine. I said no I dont feel fine. He said exercise and eat better. I said how can I exercise if I can barely move?! He thought I was lying or wanted attention. I went to a specialist and told her what was going on and she said you need synthroid, I said no I tried that I felt horrible! I asked her if it could be something else and she said no I said are you sure its not pcos or adrenal disease ect..she said no, I said can you do some tests on me she said no. She told me I can give you synthroid or lower your armour. I was so angry,depressed and left discouraged, and hopeless agagin. After months went by, living day by day, I went to see a gyno since I had stopped menstrating. I told her what was going on, and she said I have PCOS, After all I had knew I had it just needed confirmation. She gave me birth control and sent me home. I have tried the birth control and I had horrible cramps and had a forced period it seemed. I stopped taking it, and have NOT lost a pound. Oh yeah by the way I have gained over 50 pounds in 7 months! My sister went to her doctor had all the tests on her since she had similar symptoms as me and she has PCOS and insulin resistance. I want to go back to my doctor but dont have any insurance. I havent had my armour and feel fat, and disgusting! This hashimotos and PCOS has ruined my life! I am desperate to get on metformin since thats what my sisters doctor perescribed her and heard wonderful things for people with IR and PCOS. I have cut down carbs, eat a paleo diet and cant lose a damn pound! I am so sick of this I hate it!!!!!!!!! – A MAD WOMAN WITH HASHIS AND PCOS!

    • Tiffany Verloop

      We have a lot of similarities. How are you doing now?

  14. Debbie T.

    I am reading these posts and it sounds like a mirror image of myself. In the 1990’s I was diagnoses with a thyroid nodule which ended up having to have the right lobe removed. After the removal I developed thyroiditis and eventually put on Synthroid. Throughout the years I have had problems with PCOS (used to be called Stein-Leventhal Syndrome), a thyroid nodule on the left side now, extremely dry skin, bloating to the point it is noticeable to other people, osteoporosis and today I get a call from my gastroenterologist and my HgAIC is slightly elevated at 5.7 and he thinks my insulin resistance is out of control. I asked for a referral to an endocrinologist a couple of years ago but all he wants to focus on is diabetes and nothing else. I feel all of my problems are connected but having trouble getting people to listen to me. It is of note that my weight has been a yo-yo and seem to be stuck in the upper 180’s. The endo I did see told me I needed to exercise more and eat better. I tried to tell him that I was a competitive powerlifter exercising 2 hours a day 5-6 days per week but he told me basically I was lying so I brought in my exercise journal but he still didn’t believe me. I have an appointment in a couple of day with the PA at my PCP office to discuss my insulin resistence should I push for a referral to another endo? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am on Metformin 500mg. twice a day but I can’t see that it did any good.

  15. Amy

    Just wondering if other patients have seen the recent articles posted on the net about metformin,tsh levels, hypo patients and for those of us who have had thyca? Looks like great studies have been done recently, that shows metformin helps suppress tsh levels to below subnormal ranges, without effecting the ft3,ft4 levels which is something else to look at for those of us on suppression therapy but a high thyroid dose, and to take note of when getting your thyroid blood tests done that if on metformin and your redults show a suppressed tsh that your Dr may mistakingly decrease your thyroid, not taking the metformin into account! I found a lot of info that relates diabetes and thyroid and pcos together too and of some patients not needing thyroid after taking metformin as they were wrongly diagnosed hypo to start with. Food for thought! Perhaps sttm can look into this further and write an updated article for us, thanks

  16. patriciabagwell

    I am type 2 diabetes and have an underactive thyroid. Was given metformin in 2013 and suffered major stomach problems with explosive diaphrag. Wasted to try it again this summer same result but worse no energy no enthusiasm for anything felt foggy and worn out stomach so bad. Stopped metformin a month now feel very good sleeping normally stomach almost normal. Have had tenure adrenals and add armour. Will NEVER EVER take metformin again. Sorry but it’s side effects are diabolical.

  17. Ren

    I’m 71 and have been treated for hypothyroidism for over 20 years, mostly on levo. I’ve been on NDT since Oct/13. I recently had an insulin resistance test which revealed (1.8) severe resistance. My “medico” doesn’t know about how to treat, so I’m asking… What do you need to know to offer advice? I’m on 3 gr Erfa, 25 mg Ithroid, B2/B3, selenium, and other supplements… I’m concerned as my medico has inferred that I may be prediabetic … Please advise, as there is a dearth of sympathetic docs in my area and the closest is over 100 miles away… I’ve read your articles, but am unsure as to where I go from here. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  18. Amy

    Hi! I had my thyroid removed 21 years ago at 19 and have been on Synthroid ever since. I had a baby a year ago and while pregnant and nursing eliminated all artificial sweeteners. Last fall, my endocrinologist said my A1C was high and suggested a low glycemic diet since I didn’t want to go straight to metformin. I also cut regular sugar way down and went to stevia wherever possible. I haven’t lost an ounce (and still have 15 pounds of baby weight to lose). Thyroid levels were allegedly fine but I definitely don’t feel fine. Having a baby over 9 lbs is literally the ONLY risk factor I have for insulin resistance so that seems odd to me that this is what it would be. Anyone have ANY ideas? I want to have some intelligent questions to ask my endocrinologist later this month.

  19. Amy A

    After dealing with “PCOS” side effects (irregular periods, adult acne, obesity-despite aggressive diet and exercise, hirsutism, and the final straw – excessive hair loss) for over 15 years, I finally decided to do more research and discuss a “treatment plan” with my OB/GYN. I told him that I read about Metformin being commonly used to alleviate some PCOS symptoms and he agreed to put me on it. It completely cleared my adult acne and helped me lose about 25 pounds in 6 months, but not much help with the hair loss, which is actually what troubled me the most.

    I did more research and presented the idea of adding Spironolactone to the regimen, and he agreed. After about a month of taking it, it seemed that less hair was falling out, but now it seems like it’s falling out again.

    No offense to my OB/GYN, but I got tired of being the one to have to do all the research and come up with ideas. I finally landed an appointment with an endocrinologist, and she seemed pretty cut and dry. She did order loads of blood tests, which is how I found out that my A1c is slightly elevated (as well as my good cholesterol slightly low). I’m not even sure how this is possible since I have been taking 2,000-2,250 milligrams of Metformin for almost the last year. Surprisingly, my fasting glucose was within normal range. I’m just dreading what my endocrinologist is going to say – “you’re pre-diabetic”. I hope she is going to take into consideration that my other levels may seem normal as a result of me taking the max doses of Metformin for the past year. I read another post indicating something similar where the provider didn’t take that into consideration. I’m just so tired (mentally and literally – I feel lethargic almost all of the time, regardless of how much I do/don’t sleep), I hope she has an idea of how to balance me out once and for all. Frankly, I have a lot of the symptoms listed in Hashimoto’s aside from the numbness/tingling, but everything else is spot on. I hope this endocrinologist scrapes more than just the surface, because I don’t know how much longer I can deal with this! I’m tired of popping so many pills, and still feeling like something is just not right with me.

    I’m trying to hang in there, just like everyone else I suppose

  20. Jackie

    Hello, all you brave souls out there. Here’s a little experiment I did, and maybe it will help someone else. I was tired of being terribly fatigued. I got to thinking, maybe my problem is thyroid, even though the doctor did the initial thyroid screening and it was normal. I had symptoms common to thyroid dysfunction: dry skin, fatigue, depression, overweight, hoarseness. Crazily, if I eat food with preservatives my neck swells up immensely. I know I’ve got 3 thyroid nodules but they don’t change and they tested out as benign. So I thought, What if I increase my iodine intake? I don’t use much salt and I rarely eat seafood. Perhaps the problem is a deficiency. So I went to the coop and bought some liquid algae. I took no more than what is found in mainstream daily vitamin/minerals. Overnight–my skin was smooth! I’d never seen anything like it. It was so leathery. I mentioned my little experiment to my sleep doctor, who is also a neurologist, in discussing sleepiness and fatigue. Now he’s sent me for a bunch more tests, so this should be interesting. I’ve suspected Hashimoto’s for years. I am also borderline diabetic (type 2) and started Metformin but stopped since I thought it made me sleepier and I was able to lower my numbers by exercise and diet. Now I think I should resume. Bottom line–maybe there’s something to this liquid algae. It comes in a small bottle and I just took 4 drops in a small glass of water. I sure wish we’d get more natural options from the docs. Keep up your research. We have to do it ourselves sometimes and wait till they’re “ready” to hear it. A bit exasperating.

  21. LLane

    Agreed to all of the connections between hypothyroid, metabolic syndrome, amenorrhea, weight gain, gluten intolerance, insulin resistance. My 17-year-daughter has it all since she was 15. The thing that is so frustrating is that doctors/people say it will get better if she loses weight . . . as if we didn’t know that. Well, 1 year and $1,500 dollars later–after seeing a nutritionist and fitness expert once a week, my daughter weighs the very same. Basically, the professionals couldn’t figure out how to get her to lose weight. And she tried SOOOO hard. It made me want to cry. The “expert” endocrinologist we drove several hours to see says there is nothing wrong with her metabolism/endocrine system. She is probably just depressed. What????? I took her to a home town endocrinologist who put her on metformin–even though her androgens clearly showed she didn’t have PCOS. Well, she had a period a week later. She then skipped a month but had a period the next month. This is after two years of never having a period. No real weight loss, but at least having some hormone activity is good. I wonder if she could go on some thyroid with the metformin if that might help. Her TSH is 3.02 (so “normal” but possibly subclinical.) She has had low T4 on several tests–but those have been late morning tests and the doctor said everyone’s T4’s go down in the afternoon. Not sure. She’s off gluten. Her stomach feels much better. But, still an uphill battle for her. She doesn’t eat like your normal teen–she is very health conscious. And she exercises every single day–mixing cardio with weight training. She does everything right but her body does not respond. It just makes me angry that some people are so flippant about “Well, lose some weight.” For people going through this endocrine crap, losing 5 pounds is like taking the earth off its axis. And no, she has no eating disorders. We have had all of that discussion/counseling/etc. In the end, her body is just working against her and it is not because she leads “a sedentary” lifestyle. That is another joke. The literature tries to blame having metabolic syndrome on living a sedentary lifestyle. My daughter was a conditioned athlete when things started going downhill. My guess is that often times this happens to people and they give up–and then the doctor says if you would just lose some weight you’d feel better. UGH! Yes to more studies finding a connection between all of this stuff. I think we know so very little about the endocrine system right now. The “expert” endocrinologists we have right now (who know how to treat blatant diabetes) will look like witch doctors in 25-30 years when we finally start to figure out how everything is connected within the endocrine system. Whew, sorry for the tirade. It was kind of cathartic.

  22. Anina

    Hi. Janie refers to the link http://www.hotthyroidology.com/editorial_79.html which no longer leads to this article. Instead please read it on Web.Archive.org: http://web.archive.org/web/20130426233947/http://www.hotthyroidology.com/editorial_79.html

    Please be aware that Hotthyroidology.com is now a fraud, an scam-site.

    As the European Thyroid Association moved to another site system (eurothyroid.com) at the same time ETA closed their other website Hotthyroidology.com during 2014 (?). Instead of keeping the domain Hotthyroidology.com with ETA to prevent possible future abuse, this domain became vacant and bought by an unknown person /organization that hides behind the company name United Privacy Corp. resident in Belize (eastern coast of Central America).

    This means that all scientific articles on the web, referring to sources on the past hotthyroidology.com are now leading to a scam site. The professionals can immediately see that Hotthyroidology.com is now a fraud, whereas thyroid patients who seek help on the Web will find a lot of bad information, possibly in the belief that Hotthyroidology.com is reliable, which is no longer the case.

    Best wishes from Norway and Denmark ♥


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