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Readers Respond: Thyroid Patients and Cigarette Smoking

Responses: 44

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Updated May 05, 2011

17 Years of Smoking and Thyroid

I have smoked for 17 years and was diagnosed as having Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism) in 2008 because I had a goiter. I didn't stop smoking and still have severe issues of thyroid problems. When I started to quit (down from a pack to 2 packs a day to 2 to 5 cigarettes a day) the doctors diagnosed me with Hashitomo's Thyroiditis, which is similar to hypothyroidism. I still have a goiter, but now I have a 10mm nodule as well on my thyroid. I am determined to stop smoking so I feel better. I don't wish this onto anyone. It was committing suicide slowly over the past 17 years with every cigarette I smoked. I really wished I wouldn't have smoked, but the past is the past. All I can do is now fully stop. I just hope that I don't go fully hypothyroid after quitting.
—Guest Nichole H.

40 Pounds in 5 Months

I quit smoking in July and gained 40 pounds by December. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I knew there was a correlation between the two and your stories confirm my hunch! After being on a low carbohydrate diet and failing to lose one pound, I went to the doctor with list of symptoms in hand. I had to convince the laughing man to order the test. Yes, all of my fat was in the middle. Sorry to say, after 3 years and 75 pounds I went back to smoking. Still on thyroid medication, and I have lost 50 pounds of the weight I gained. I so believe that when I stopped smoking my metabolism was no longer stimulated. I don't advocate smoking, but don't want to die of complications of obesity either.
—Guest Janice

Guners

I tried to quit once. I gained too much weight. So I went to a dietician who asked me for blood tests only to discover my TSH was high (4.5) and anti TPAO was abnormal. I started smoking again and everything went back to normal. I quit again 9 months ago and got myself tested. My TSH and anti TPAO was even higher so I started taking 25 mg Euthyrox. My TSH went down to 2.5. My doctor says I shouldn't take medicine, so I cut my intake to 1/2. Then, my TSH went up to 5. Now my doctor says I should put myself back on medicine and it is "coincidence" that my TSH goes up when I don't smoke. There are 5 siblings in the family, 2 of us never smoked and they both have Hashimoto's thyroid disease. Both of them display cognitive problems. The other 3 of us did not have thyroid problems until now that I quit. Please investigate! I almost believe smoking is good for you and cannot decide which is better, nicotine vs. thyroid medications. That is just not right!
—Guest guney akdora

Update - Blood Tests And Ultrasound

I posted above earlier about and enlarged thyroid appearing after quitting smoking cold turkey. Well, the ultra-sound showed a 15 mm nodule on my thyroid and blood tests came back with a TSH of 92.35!
—adorescats

Thyroid Cancer and Quitting Smoking

On February 13, 2005 I found out I had thyroid cancer and quit smoking the same day. I don't believe the cigarettes caused my cancer but I surely didn't want another type of cancer after having my neck dissected!
—Guest Snowangel81

Quitting Smoking and Thyroid Problems

I'm thinking Ms. Shomon has nailed it with her theory that smoking masks the symptoms of thyroid disease! I quit smoking six weeks ago (tomorrow) and have gained between 10 and 15 pounds. I went to the doctor today for a regular exam and he said my thyroid is enlarged. I am scheduled for a thyroid ultra-sound and blood tests on Friday. I did some research on it myself and I have every symptom listed for Hashimoto's disease. I believe, although it seems counter-intuitive, that the smoking was masking the thyroid issues. I will wait to find out what the thyroid tests will show and hope that mine is an issue treatable with a daily pill instead of being thyroid cancer, like my uncle had.
—adorescats

Thyroid Went Crazy after I Quit Smoking

I quit smoking three months ago today. 4 weeks after I quit, my thyroid sky-rocketed (I am hyper with hashi and graves antibodies). I HAD just switched from tapazole to PTU because I am trying to get pregnant, however I really don't think that a medication change would have such a great affect on my levels in such a short period of time (less than 4 weeks). For example, the highest my FT3 had ever been recorded was 7.5. This time it was 14.5! My TSH went back to being undetectable. I've been doing a lot of research and have found a lot of information that points to how the chemicals in cigarettes supress thyroid function. If that is the case, it makes perfect sense that mine went ballistic after 20 years of smoking.... I would love some feedback on this!
—Guest wesley anne

Hyperthyroid with Eye Problems

I was finally diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in April 11 and was prescribed Carbimazole. My thyroid has been unusual as it has the ability to react very quickly to the anti thyroid drugs. I was hospitalised at the beginning of July with severe hypothyroidism. I also had eye symptoms, grittyness watery eyes and am light sensitive. I was a 40+ a day smoker & was told to quit immediately, so I did on 4th July. It is early days yet, but I feel ok & reading your expereinces has really helped me to stay focussed. Thank-you XXX
—Guest Suzanne

Mary, Personally I Think You Nailed It!

In your book, Living Well with Hypothyroidism you stated that you wrote about your theory concerning smoking, quitting smoking, and thyroid problems. You said you didn't think that quitting smoking caused your thyroid problem. Your theory is that you already had a thyroid problem but that smoking was masking it to some degree. So that when you quit smoking you felt pretty awful. At first you wondered if quitting actually caused your thyroid problem. I already wrote an article that you recently posted (JanetJane Peoria). I can honestly say that I do believe that smoking masked my thyroid problem for many years. I cannot believe that quitting smoking caused my Hashimoto's. The more I read about smoking dangers the more I think maybe my smoking brought out my disease. My doctor says there is no way of knowing it that is true or not, but quitting smoking would only be a positive thing for one's thyroid gland. We are all learning here so I read and ponder
—Guest About.com

May 25, 2011 = 11 Months Off Cigarettes!

I smoked for over 30 years. Five years ago I started losing weight without trying and didn't feel right. I waited too long to go to Dr. By the time I did my TSH was in normal range. Jan. 2009 I was awakened from sleep about 3:00 a.m. due to a choking or gagging sensation. I am making a long story short, I went to my internal medicine physician and he diagnosed me as hypothyroid. I started on 100 mcg. of Levo. After a Ct scan and more blood work test indicated very high antibody level. At the time I continued to smoke. I suffered from pressure in my neck due to my very enlarged thyroid (goiter). I was lined up with a surgeon who said I would have to have a total thyroidectomy. He suggested that I quit smoking 3 wks. prior to surgery. So I quit last June 25th, 2010. By my August appointment, my miracle had happened. My goiter had shrunk down so much that no surgery was needed!!!! Thank You, God!!
—Guest Janet Jane, Peoria

Quit Smoking Big Weight Gain

I was diagnosed with a hyper active thyroid. I used medication Neomercazol. After that I was given a radioactive capsule to destroy part thyroid to be under active. I then used Euthyrox. I also stopped smoking shortly after that. I have had heavy weight gain all over especially stomach. I have never had a stomach before. I have been wondering if the weight gain is in correlation to the mdeication I am taking.
—lhtelkom

quit smoking

I didn't know about the smoking and thyroid connection. I quit smoking Jan. 1st, 2005. I was so sick with bronchitis that I could barely breathe. I quit cold turkey. I asked God to get me off cigarettes and keep me off daily. I also applied the 12 steps to quitting. I had a cycle of smoking and quitting since I was 20 yrs. old. I'd smoke, then quit. One time it was 8 years before I started again. It's an addiction that is so hard to break. The last time I started, I was in the psychiatric hospital and they gave free cigarettes to the smokers & they got to go outside on the patio and smoke. It looked like a party that I wanted to go to and so I began again. I have been sober for 15 years from alcohol and I still get dreams that I began smoking and drinking again. It's very disturbing. I'm grateful for God's Grace in my life. I also realized that my sister died from breast cancer. I was smoking and giving myself cancer by choice. She didn't have a choice and she never smoked.
—Guest Susie

Glad to be a non smoker

I always thought there was a link between my giving up smoking and my thyroid problem. After giving up smoking, I waited for the new energy to kick in and to feel like a non smoker..it never happened. I felt extremely tired, my hair was thinning and brittle, my skin was dry, I put on weight., and so many other things. I thought it was my age, I was 35. I went to the doctor, who did a thyroid blood test., the test came back at 150 and the doctor asked if I was alright? I was put on levothyroxin and I have felt pretty good since. I feel knowledge is power and once I had researched my condition and read Mary's brilliant books and forum, I knew what I was dealing with. Now I feel pretty good at 41 and will never smoke again.
—Guest Hayley

Quit Smoking, Then Two Weeks Later

I smoked for over 30 years then quit. But, two weeks later the hypothyroid symptoms began: fatigue was first, the mood issues to the point I really thought I was heading to the mental institution, weight gain (over 30 lbs), joint pain sleep apnea and many others. It took my doctor 5 months to finally give me a TSH test which showed I was hypothyroid. I asked my Endocrinologist about the connection and he said it was very common in his 40 years of practicing, to see it in ex-smokers. He said it was one of those medical secrets we never hear about.
—Guest Elvis Presley

Smoking and Hypothroid

I quite smoking about the time I found out I was pregnant. I had smoked for about 17 years, but I was not diagnosed as hypothyroid until I was in my late 40s/early 50's. If I was hypothyroid during that earlier period, I would guess that it was borderline. I did have issues with being tired and lacking energy, but whenever I asked doctors my thyroid, I was told it was fine, even though I don't ever remember anyone doing any bloodwork to check it. I do wish I had pushed the point or looked for a new doctor and maybe I would have been diagnosed much earlier. I did pick up smoking again during the past year and when I had my blood work done several months ago, it came back abnormal and my meds had to be increased. I don't know if this had anything to do with it or not, but I have quit smoking again, and have no intentions of starting ever again. I have had other issues that could very well have come from the smoking.
—Guest islandlady91

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