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July 08, 2023 8 min read

So, you've started taking levothyroxine for your hypothyroidism, and suddenly, you're experiencing episodes of vomiting? This is a side effect some people encounter while on this medication. It's essential for treating your condition, but dealing with nausea or vomiting is undoubtedly an unwelcome surprise. This article will help you understand why this might be happening and what you can do about it. Let's get to the bottom of it.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a common medical condition where the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of your neck, doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the body's needs. These hormones — thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) — play a crucial role in managing numerous bodily functions, including your metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate.

With hypothyroidism, the deficiency of these critical hormones disrupts the normal balance and function of these systems. This condition often progresses slowly and subtly. You might not notice any changes at first, or you may mistake the symptoms for the normal aging process. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, and cold intolerance.

Doctors typically diagnose hypothyroidism based on your symptoms, a physical exam, and blood tests (thyroid function tests) that measure the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and sometimes the level of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. A high TSH level indicates that your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones, a clear signal of hypothyroidism.

As this condition primarily impacts your thyroid hormone levels, it is essential to have regular medical check-ups, including blood tests, to monitor your health and ensure your thyroid gland is functioning optimally.

What is levothyroxine?

Levothyroxine is a medication widely used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce adequate thyroid hormones. This drug is a synthetic form of the hormone thyroxine, also known as T4, which your thyroid gland naturally produces. Levothyroxine is mostly known under the brand name Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Tirosint.

This synthetic thyroid hormone works by supplementing the thyroid hormones in your body. It aims to bring your thyroid hormone level back to the normal range. In doing so, this thyroid medication helps to restore the body's hormone balance and regulate your metabolism, energy, and mood — all functions that can be affected by low levels of thyroid hormones.

Not only is this thyroid medicine essential in managing hypothyroidism, but it also plays a crucial role in the treatment of thyroid cancer. After surgical removal of the thyroid gland due to cancer, the body is still in need of thyroid hormones. Levothyroxine sodium acts as a replacement, providing the needed T4 hormone and helping to maintain the body's normal metabolic functioning.

The drug also helps suppress the pituitary release of thyrotropin (TSH), a hormone that could potentially stimulate the growth of any remaining cancer cells.

The dose of Levothyroxine sodium is carefully selected by your doctor based on regular blood tests which monitor the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones in your system. This helps to ensure that your thyroid hormone levels remain in the optimal range, maximizing the medication's efficacy while minimizing potential side effects.

Can levothyroxine cause vomiting?

As explained above, levothyroxine is an essential medication for those with an underactive thyroid or for patients who have had their thyroid removed due to conditions such as thyroid cancer. However, like any medication, it's possible for patients to experience side effects.

One of those potential side effects, particularly when the medication is taken in excess (overtreatment), can be vomiting. But why does this happen? Let's dive a little deeper.

Levothyroxine works by replacing or supplementing the thyroid hormones naturally produced by the thyroid. However, when too much levothyroxine is taken, it can lead to an excessive amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream, a condition known as thyrotoxicosis or hyperthyroidism.

Now, why would this cause vomiting? Well, when your body senses high thyroid hormone levels, it might perceive this as a type of internal threat or imbalance. The body's natural response to any perceived threat can sometimes be to expel it, and one of the most immediate ways the body can do this is through vomiting.

Additionally, having too much thyroid hormone in your body can speed up your metabolism significantly, which can affect the digestive system's function, causing symptoms of hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid disease. This rapid change in digestive function can also result in symptoms such as nausea or vomiting.

Are there any other reasons why levothyroxine may cause vomiting?

While overtreatment is one reason why levothyroxine may cause vomiting, there are a few other potential explanations for this reaction.

1. Interactions with other medications or foods

Some medicines and foods can interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine tablets in the body, which could disturb the balance of thyroid hormones and lead to stomach upset or vomiting. This especially includes foods rich in iron or calcium and certain medications or supplements such as antacids (that contain calcium carbonate), blood thinners, birth control pills, cholesterol-lowering medicines, or estrogen hormones. That's why it's important to take levothyroxine on an empty stomach.

2. Individual sensitivity

Each individual's body is unique and may react differently to the same medication. Some individuals may have an acute sensitivity or intolerance to levothyroxine or to any of its non-active ingredients. This sensitivity could provoke an adverse reaction, such as vomiting, even though it's not a common side effect.

3. Suboptimal timing

The time at which you take levothyroxine can have an impact on its absorption and effectiveness. Ideally, it should be consumed with water at least half an hour to an hour before eating. Taking this drug too close to mealtime or with food or beverages other than water can lead to decreased absorption and the possibility of an upset stomach or vomiting.

4. Impaired T4 to T3 conversion

This is a little more intricate but vital to understand. Levothyroxine is a synthetic form of thyroxine (T4), one of the two main hormones the thyroid produces. For it to work effectively, the body needs to convert T4 into triiodothyronine (T3), the active thyroid hormone. However, in some cases, people may have difficulty converting T4 to T3 due to various factors such as stress, illness, certain medications, or nutritional deficiencies. This impairment could lead to an imbalance in the thyroid hormone levels and cause side effects like vomiting.

What can you do if you experience vomiting due to levothyroxine?

Experiencing side effects like vomiting due to levothyroxine can be quite distressing, but there are various steps that you can take to manage this issue effectively:

1. Talk to your doctor

This is your first and most crucial step. Your healthcare provider needs to know about any side effects you're experiencing. Vomiting could indicate an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, such as overtreatment or the interaction between levothyroxine and another medication or food. Your doctor can help identify the cause of your symptoms and provide the right course of action.

2. Adjust your dosage

If your body is receiving more thyroid hormone than it needs— a condition known as thyrotoxicosis or overtreatment— unwanted side effects like vomiting can occur. Too much thyroid hormone can accelerate the body's metabolism significantly, impacting various bodily systems, including your digestive processes, which can trigger vomiting.

The reason for an excessively high Levothyroxine dosage can be multifaceted - it could be due to an initial overestimation of the dose needed, a change in your body's requirement over time, or interactions with other medications or foods that unintentionally increase the drug's potency in your system.

In such cases, a doctor might recommend lowering your Levothyroxine dosage. This adjustment helps align the amount of thyroid hormone present in your bloodstream with what your body actually requires, thereby minimizing the adverse effects caused by its excess.

However, it's crucial to understand that any changes to your Levothyroxine dosage should always be made under the professional guidance of your healthcare provider. Every individual's thyroid hormone requirement can vary, and finding the right dosage is a careful balancing act that considers your symptoms, TSH levels, and overall health profile.

Adjusting the dosage without professional advice might lead to suboptimal or inconsistent levels of thyroid hormone in your body, potentially causing various health issues, including persistent vomiting or alternative symptoms of thyroid hormone imbalance. Therefore, it's always imperative to consult with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and follow their professional advice regarding any medication adjustments.

3. Consider switching to Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) treatment

If you continue to experience vomiting even after adjusting your Levothyroxine dosage, it might be time to consider a different treatment strategy. A popular alternative that many patients find quite effective is Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT), also known as Desiccated Thyroid Extract (DTE).

NDT is a type of thyroid hormone replacement therapy that contains both T4 and T3 hormones. Unlike synthetic forms like levothyroxine, which only provide T4, NDT offers a more holistic approach as it includes both types of hormones that a healthy thyroid would naturally produce. The hormones in NDT are derived from the thyroid glands of pigs, reflecting a closer match to our human hormonal makeup.

Because of this dual-hormone approach, some individuals find that NDT medication helps them feel more balanced compared to synthetic alternatives. It is often lauded for managing hypothyroid symptoms more effectively and providing an overall sense of wellbeing.

NDT therapies are indeed available in a variety of forms, both as prescribed medications and over-the-counter supplements.

When it comes to prescribed medications, Armour Thyroid and NP Thyroid are two popular options. In addition to prescribed medications, some over-the-counter supplements deliver NDT. One great option is VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online with no prescription.

VitaliThy is not just about accessibility—it's about quality too. The product is produced following the stringent guidelines set by the Good Manufacturing Practices of the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture, a testament to the manufacturer's dedication to safe and high-quality health solutions.

What sets VitaliThy apart is its unique combination of ingredients aimed at fostering healthy thyroid function. The first ingredient is Porcine Thyroid Powder (60mg, also known as 1 grain), derived from the thyroid glands of pigs. This natural thyroid hormone source acts as a supplement, aiming to fill in the gaps where one's own thyroid production might fall short.

However, VitaliThy is more than just a thyroid supplement. It also includes a dose of Spica Prunellae Siccus (Self-heal) extract at 30mg. Spica Prunellae has a history of use in traditional medicine and is believed by some to have various health benefits.

In addition, VitaliThy also contains an extract of Ashwagandha, a plant that has been used for centuries in Ayurveda, India's traditional healing system. Ashwagandha is believed to support the body's stress response, energy levels, and overall resilience. Furthermore, a small serving of selenium yeast is also included in each VitaliThy capsule. Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is vital for thyroid function.

4. Take levothyroxine the right way

Levothyroxine should ideally be taken on an empty stomach, at least 30 to 60 minutes before eating, with a glass of water. This optimal timing aids the absorption of the medication and decreases the likelihood of it upsetting your stomach, thus potentially reducing vomiting episodes.

Levothyroxine and vomiting: Getting to the bottom of it

Conclusion: Vomiting can be a side effect of levothyroxine

While levothyroxine is a proven and effective means of treating hypothyroidism, it is necessary to be vigilant of any side effects, such as vomiting, which could be a sign of overtreatment or improper medication intake. By keeping an open line of communication with your healthcare provider, you can ensure that your dosage is spot-on and navigate any possible side effects with ease.

But remember, if levothyroxine is not a perfect fit for you, there are other alternatives. VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online, could present an excellent alternative that works more harmoniously with your body's needs. This NDT supplement provides dual-hormone therapy, emulating closer to what a robust thyroid would naturally produce soundly.

With ingredients like Porcine Thyroid Powder, Spica Prunellae extract, Ashwagandha, and Selenium yeast, VitaliThy proves to be more than your average thyroid supplement—it's a comprehensive health solution tailored to enhance your overall wellbeing. An investment in VitaliThy can lead to a significant step forward along your health journey, supporting your thyroid health with each capsule.

As you navigate your hypothyroidism treatment, always remember to keep your doctors in the loop, take your medication as instructed, and explore all your treatment options. With informed decisions and the right care, managing your thyroid health can be a seamless part of your everyday life. It's all about discovering what works best for you, feeling well, and living your life to the fullest. Be it levothyroxine or a wholesome supplement like VitaliThy, the end goal remains the same - restoring balance and optimizing your health and wellness.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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