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Readers Respond: Thyroid Patients and Cigarette Smoking

Responses: 35

By

Updated May 05, 2011

From the article: How I Quit Smoking
Did you seemingly develop a thyroid problem when you quit smoking? Do you feel that smoking contributed to your thyroid condition, or made treatment difficult? Are you a thyroid patient who successfully quit smoking? Share your personal experiences as a thyroid patient and smoker -- or ex-smoker.

Hypothyroid

12 years non-smoker and I just found out I'm borderline hypoactive thyroid.
—Guest Kathy M

Not The Cause, But The Effect.

I have a very different experience. I have had hypothyroidsim long before I started smoking. I quit for 2 years and could not belive how "easy" it was. It turned our that the cheap non-branded thyroxine was no longer working. Now I am back smoking again and my thyroid is back to normal. Long story short. You quit because your thyroid is low. Your thyroid is not low because you quit.
—Guest Neil

Skinny B*tch!

Today I had my second dose of RAI in the last 12 months. I look ano. Since I'm tall and beautiful I guess it "works" for me. I am always tired, absent minded and my heart beats a mike a minute. Meds like Tapozole gave me excema. I've been an on and off smoker for about 20 yrs: 1-5 cigs/ day. I stopped cold turkey yesterday. Hyperthyroid/Graves diagnosis. I think quitting is the best thing we can do. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Drink bottled not fluoridated tap water. Decrease fried foods and sea fish intake. God Bless.
—Guest Skinny Hyper Heart

Quitting smoking and Going Hypothyroid

I smoked for 41 years until I couldn't breathe properly. I quit when my nurse said if i didn't I would be on oxygen. I put on 2 stone in the first month, then within six weeks of quitting my neck felt as if I was being strangled. Test showed under active thyroid. I had put on another two stone and have not lost any since taking levothyroxine for ten years. I read for an underactive person wanting to lose weight is like a healthy man expecting to drag a boulder up a mountain. So, no chance. I put on weight but cannot lose it. Look like an ball with legs or at least that's how I feel. I think underactive also causes depression definitely tiredness and lack of motivation and energy.
—Guest Chris Davies

I am a Chainsmoker 60-80 Per Day!

I am an ex chainsmoker, 60 to 80 a day! I smoked from age 13 to 34. I stopped because of cost and other health reasons. I have a thyroid problem but that's genetic thing that runs in my family. I have quit now for 3 years, saved plenty of money as here in Australia the habit is not cheap! My pack of 40's are now $20, I'm glad I stopped! It wasn't easy. It took me 5 attempts, but i did it and I feel better for it. You know if you say, "I can't quit!" It's just nonsense, believe me. You just don't want to, so you do what you do. Forget patches and gum. Just stop! After 3 times it gets easier. Then as you keep convincing yourself, you will do it! Just be positive. Avoid caffeine drinks! I just drink water and two teas a day. You'll save money and your life! its why i have false teeth, i got gum disease from smoking, its cool not to smoke :) your family loves you is enother reason, anyway all the best.
—nath_36

Smoking???? ACK!

I am hypo, which I discovered in '95 after 1 year being in menopause. I gained 40 pounds in 3 months (125-165 =5'1" -"as wide as I was tall lol)! I have taken Levo, but had heart palpitations. So, I tried Synthroid but experienced no weight loss and high cholesterol. I found cytomel. Finally I found open minded endocrinologist who gave me armour, but then the FDA took it off market. I went to Porcine that was compounded at a pharmacy for me, which was out of pocket (medicare cover it ?? hahaha) and $63 per month BUT WELL WORTH IT! Having one primary and also a Homeopathic Physician who helps with me with weight gain, eating, moods, etc has really helped me. I like think it's a nice balance of traditional/complimentary care. Smoking? STOP NOW! Forget thyroid!! Just for your heart, lungs and gums alone! Try hypnosis, acupuncture, homeopathy, alternative or complementary medicine. I am currently 145 pounds at age 64. I still can not lose but with exercise I noticed I tend to reshape my body and build muscle (muscle weighs more then fat). I found natural thyroid medications work best for me. Thyroid medication IS only medication I take besides prescribed homeopathic remedies and supplements almost exclusively. Now, just to find sex drive and motivation to work out!
—Guest Elle

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
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