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Readers Respond: Thyroid Patients and Cigarette Smoking

Responses: 44

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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. Share Your Stories

Quitting Smoking Made Me Feel Worse

I quit smoking at age 34 because my daughter was allergic to the smoke. Soon after, I gained a ton of weight, I was tired all the time, my body hurt, my heart would start pounding for no reason, I would lose my breath from walking short distances. I was an insurance sales rep in a call Center, but I lost my job within 9 months of quitting smoking because of my short temper and inability to maintain a thought. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I went to the doctor, who put me on antidepressants and told me to see a therapist, which I did. It controlled my mood, but I slept more and hurt more. What's worse I couldn't get up long enough to clean or cook. It hurt so bad to stand for more then 10 minutes and I was so out of breath. I quit smoking to be a better mom and it made me a worse one. I was finally diagnosed with thyroid problems.
—Guest mom in michihan

We're Self-Medicating

I too was diagnosed with Hashi's a couple of years after quitting smoking. I don't believe that quitting smoking causes hypothyroidism, nor do I believe having smoked is what caused our hypothyroidism. Instead, I believe we were drawn to the addiction to nicotine because we were borderline hypo-T for years and our bodies needed the boost to our metabolism/energy levels. Then when we took away the nicotine, the hypo symptoms came out (in line with what the author here is saying). I vape now and I do feel more energized and less depressed. Meanwhile I struggle constantly with my doctor who believes "my numbers are fine" now (based on TSH only) on the dose of Levothyroxin I am currently on. I am being re-tested this week. I believe my next step will be natural/porcine thyroid extract, if my doctor will let me try it.
—Guest Melanie

This Explains A Lot

I have been smoking for 18 years, and have smoked about a pack a day for years. I have only had thyroid symptoms since 2011. I have tried smoking only twice since then, using chantix to try to quit. I had to stop taking it because I became like a zombie and couldn't do anything all day. I would just sit on the couch, completely fatigued and with extreme brain fog. Had no weight gain, although I had horrible nausea too. I attributed it to the Chantix and picked up smoking again. I'm wondering if this was just my thyroid and not the Meds? I seriously can't handle feeling like that, and now I'm scared to quit smoking. I get occasional fatigue days, usually worse in winter, but I never had brain fog like that. I didn't feel like a human. I think I will have to ask my endocrinologist what he thinks.
—Guest Debbi

Vaping Could Help

I gave up smoking in December and put on weight shortly after. I felt like crap and experienced aches and pains, stiff joints, tiredness, etc. I stopped going out and socializing. I stopped doing my hobbies and had difficulty in finishing a day's work. I nearly lost my job and felt really, really low. I started vaping on e-cigs and immediately seemed to have more energy. I lost half a stone in weight without trying! I am on levothyroxine but had been on that for a year and my symptoms didnt get better, probably worse until I started vaping. I guess the nicotine speeds up your thyroid and it can also make your heart beat faster. I've noticed my circulation seems to be better and I don't feel as cold as before so this could be down to the extremities getting more blood due to improved circulation. I thought I'd post my experiences as it may very well help if you are like me. If you've had problems getting through the day and had pain getting up in the morning then it is well worth a try.
—Guest Now vaping

Quitting

I quit smoking ciegarttes by constantly sucking on blow pops, which is good for the oral fixation and when you're done you don't want a cigarette because now you are chewing on gum. Also, you need someone to quit with you. It has to be one of the people you smoke often with. It's extremely difficult to do alone. Also, never buy the lie. Know that you can't have just one cigarette. Thats what addiction is. Take hold and know that you are master of your own domain.
—Guest aUxJzumHJ

I Was Feeling Crazy

I have been hypothyroid since 2000 and had been doing ok. I quit smoking in January and my new pharmacy switched my brand of thyroid medications around the same time. I have been up and down hyper crazy then so fatigued and sad and I had no idea why. I was ready at one point to check my self into someplace for help. I was awful to my new husband and my teenage daughter. I read up on over medicating and found I had almost every symptom! Now I need to find out if it was the brand change or quitting smoking. I have not taken any medication for one week and scared to take anything right now. I feel much better, calm and happy except still either anxiety or palpitations still occurring but not as often. I know the brain fog and fatigue will set in soon if I don't get to taking something soon, any suggestions or anyone else ever feel this?
—Guest Jessica

Thyroid Problems After Quitting

My husband and I quit smoking 5 years ago. Within that first year, we were both diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism and put on Synthroid. Now, my 25 year old son who quit smoking 6 months ago was just diagnosed with sever hypothyroidism just yesterday. We have all had thyroid bloodwork done in the past, so this definitely happened after quitting smoking. I'm glad to see this has happened to others.
—Guest wendy maietta

Recently Quit - Diagnosed Hypothroid

Just a quick thought, if it is nicotine that helps, what about using nicotine replacment therapy? Patches, vapor machines, gum, e-cigs, etc rather than actually going back to smoking again. Not ideal but at least you don't get the thousands of other chemicals in a ciggy.
—Guest Neil

Quit Smoking 10 weeks ago and WOW!!

I was diagnosed as severely hyper two years ago when an incident of Thyroid Storm hit (that was FUN). I've been controlled naturally since but have smoked for almost 20 years. They rag you and rag you to quit, so I did (two months ago+). Now I am SO GROGGY all the time... I have gained a substantial amount of weight and my thyroid seems to be doing NOTHING these days. I have come off my natural supplements all together in hopes of it 'waking' back up at least a little, but nothing. I can handle some weight, that's not near as hard to address is the smoking habits were. I just can't believe that stopping the nicotine has tipped the scales on this thyroid thing so quickly. For those of you wanting to try a natural approach, Google the impact of iodine deficiency on BOTH hyper and hypothyroidisms. The science is there if you'll do the reading. Iodoral is the best so far and most affordable. You can buy it through Amazon. Good luck to you all!! Happy quitting!
—Guest Hyper in Texas

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

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Thyroid Patients and Cigarette Smoking

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