Thyroid Troubles: Signs You Need to Change Your Medication
The thyroid produces two hormones, T3 and T4, that regulate metabolism throughout the body, affecting everything from your heart rate and body temperature to food digestion. Many patients with an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism, struggle to find the right medication dosage. The trial and error involved in adjusting medications can leave a patient bouncing between two extremes: fatigue and sluggishness, or a shaky nervousness that leaves them wide awake at night.
Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid
If you have an underactive thyroid, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Trouble sleeping
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry skin and hair
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Weight gain
- Frequent, heavy periods
- Joint and muscle pain
An underactive thyroid is usually treated by taking daily hormone replacement tablets called levothyroxine. Levothyroxine replaces the thyroxine hormone, which the underactive thyroid doesn’t make enough of.
The Medication Dosage That’s Just Right
Your initial dose of thyroid medication is carefully selected based on your weight, your age, and whether you have any other medical conditions. Your doctor will perform regular blood tests to help determine if the levothyroxine dosage prescribed is helping your thyroid hormone levels.
Your symptoms are another way to determine if the medication dosage is effective. Some people feel better after a few days of medication, while others may take several weeks to notice the effects.
A doctor may need to increase your dosage if symptoms do not improve. In some patients, your hormone levels may rise, but you may continue to feel fatigue or experience weight gain. In these situations, your doctor may also consider a different type of thyroid medication.
If your medication dosage is too high, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Weight loss
Need Help Managing Your Thyroid?
If you have symptoms of thyroid disease or still experience problems despite being on medication, it’s time to see a doctor. LeBauer primary care doctors are experienced in diagnosing and treating underactive thyroid. Endocrinologists are also available for more complex thyroid cases. Schedule an appointment online today.