Weird thyroid values - iodine deficiency?

Asked on June 25, 2017
Created June 25, 2017 at 6:38 AM

Hi, guys,

I was hoping you might lend me a hand in interpreting the results of my thyroid blood tests. Here they are:

TSH: 15.69 (reference range: 0.5 - 5)
FT4: 7 (ref. range: 7.8 - 15)
FT3: 6.27 (ref. range: 3.5 - 6.5)
Anti-TPO: 0.6 (ref. range: < 34)
Anti-Tg: 0.1 (ref. range: <115)

Actually, I did the tests because I have been having worsening symptoms of hypothyroidism over the past couple of years. The most bothersome thing is I tend to retain water (and gain 1 kg this way) a couple of days before ovulation - this may seem normal, but it only started a couple of years ago and during the winter months this retained water simply turns into 1 kg of weight gain. In the summer months I still retain, but after the ovulation my weight normalizes.

Besides, my sleep has been getting worse and worse for the past 5 years (during which time I have mostly been low or very low carb) - the duration has been shortening more and more and now I am lucky, if I get 6 hrs of sleep.

And two more things that are not typical for me at all: I have developed constipation and my skin has become gotten very dry.

I must mention that I am 40 and have PCOS, although I don't think this is a problem any more, at least not for the past couple of years. In 2009 I started decreasing my carbohydrate intake very gradually and this way I was able to lose 28 kgs in 2.5 years. My cycles got a lot better, I ovulate every time and things got almost normal. In But then these negative changes began to occur - that was in 2012, when I had been doing the low carb version of the Primal Blueprint for about a year. I started developing hypothyroid symptoms very gradually and they got steadily worse, but it took me very long to realize that my diet may have been the cause: I think I must have gone too far with the carbohydrate restriction and kept it up for too long. So I think this is one part of the problem. Another part is that I probably have been working too hard and have been too stressed, so I guess I may have developed "adrenal fatigue" (I know this is not an official condition, but I do have some symptoms).

I had blood tests done in December 2015 and the results looked like this:

TSH: 9.8 (ref. range as above)
FT4: 16.5 (ref. range: 9 - 20)
FT3: 6.5 (ref. range: 3.5 - 6.5)
Anti-TPO: 0.8 (ref. range as above)
Anti-Tg: 0.1 (ref. range as above)

When I went to the endocrinologist with these results, she questioned the TSH value, since the FT4 and FT3 looked really good. So she didn't prescribe anything, because I never did repeat the test. I had already made up my mind to try iodine (because of the article on iodine deficiency on Medscape which says that a high TSH combined with a high FT3 and a low FT4 points to iodine deficiency; back then my FT4 was good, but now it isn't).

I started iodine and things really improved: I lost 2 kgs (at that time I had gone up 5), my basal body temperature went up, my immune defense got better (I got over viruses very quickly and easily), my allergy improved, my intense breast pain a couple of days before my period was relieved about 90% - I have fibrocystic breast changes), my periods became even more regular and slightly less heavy, my sweating normalized (I had started sweating considerably less, which is not normal for me), my urine output increased too (it had decreased previously). I thought things were going great, though I didn't have any blood tests at the time. But then January came and my urine output decreased again and I started retaining water before the ovulations (and my constipation worsened) - this way I have gained 5 kgs since January).

My weight doesn't change between ovulations, but it goes abruptly up by 1 kg a couple of day before I ovulate.

In March things had begun to improve (my weight had normalized after the ovulation), when I got a viral infection and developed asthmatic bronchitis - that was treated with an inhaled corticosteroid (a low dose and for just 2 weeks). But a couple of days after that my sleep worsened abruptly and dramatically - I began waking up at 2 am (I go to bed at 10 pm). And the water retention started again.

Do you think the corticosteroid treatment may have worsened my hypothyroidism (as I think) and caused adrenal fatigue (the sleep issue)? And do you think my low-carb diet was the initial cause (as I do now)? I have increased my carbs since January and I include potatoes/rice and fruit on a daily basis, but the only improvement I have noticed so far is that my period cramps have been less intense in my past 3 cycles.

I have an appointment with an endocrinologist on Tuesday and I have accepted I need a hormone replacement (she's going to start me on synthetic T4, I suppose). But what do you think about my results? They do look odd. Do you think they could be due to worsened iodine deficiency?

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