Hypothyroidism and the Lap Band

Elizabeth J.
on 1/30/09 6:47 pm - Sterling, CO
Hi all. I'm wondering if anyone can tell me how their Hypothyroidism affected their weightloss after having Lap-Banding. Were you able to easily lose weight or was there still the struggle with weight coming off? I have not had the Banding surgery yet but DO have Hypothyroidism and am at my wits end with not being able to lose any weight on my own.
on 1/30/09 7:10 pm - Overland Park, KS
I have hypothyroid, had surgery 2 months ago, and have lost 39 pounds in the last 2 and a half months.  My weight loss is slowing down now, but I think that is normal of all people with lap band.  I am taking synthroid and my TSH levels have been under control this entire time.  My endochronologist told me to continually have my levels monitored during my weight loss.  As I lose weight, I may be able to decrease the dose.  My surgeon warned me that my weight loss may not be as fast as others because of my thyroid, but that has not been my experience yet.  I have noticed that some of the swelling in my legs is better.

My belief is that even with thyroid problems, you can still lose weight.  It may be more difficult and consistency will be essential.  That is where the lap band has helped me.

Good luck,
Progress....not perfection.    
Elizabeth J.
on 1/30/09 7:17 pm - Sterling, CO
 Thank you so much for your quick reply. I appreciate hearing from you since you have been there and truly understand. Its great to hear of your weightloss success thus far!

All the best,
Michelle N.
on 1/30/09 8:28 pm - Henderson, NV
Lap Band on 04/19/07 with
I didn't find out I was Hypo until almost a year after surgery. My, then doc, didn't feel it was high enough to be a concern at 6.0. Once I found out, it was like starting all over with the weight loss. My Naturopath said I had no chance to lose weight with a number that high. Since I started on Armour last Feb, I've lost 34 lbs, 14 of those just since Oct. Everyone thought the weight would start to drop off but I haven't seen it that way.  My TSH is now under 2.0 and my new PCP seems happy with that. Since Oct 20th, when I started 5 days a week at the gym, I've been losing about 4 lbs a month.
on 1/30/09 10:37 pm - Chino Hills, CA
I also have hypothyroidism.  I actually had my lap-band surgery because I had tried everything under the sun to lose weight and nothing worked.  I was literally eating 1,200 calories a day and working out with a personal trainer for an hour 4x a week, and I didn't lose weight!

But I am losing with my band!  I am still taking my synthroid, but my surgeon says that once I get my body at a better weight, I should be able to go off it.
Mandy- 6.5cc (10cc band) 
87 Pounds To Go!  304/257/170
Elizabeth J.
on 1/30/09 10:42 pm - Sterling, CO
  That is so encouraging to me. Thank you! I have gone to both extremes with the Hypothyroidism.. Eating less than 800 calories a day and eating as many as 2000. Nothing works.... So frustrating.

on 1/31/09 4:59 am
Hello Mandy
I too have Hypothyroidism and am being banded on Tues (3rd), my story is the same as these ladies I have tried everything, my body is very good in survival mode. I have been on a very strict pre-op diet and haven't lost anywhere near as much as others seem too, 5.5 lbs but for me this is good.
My decision to have the band was easy, in 10 years time I will be a walking heart attack case without the band or some kind of intenvention.

Good luck!
on 1/31/09 5:38 am - Norwich, CT
Thanks for posting about this because I just  found out this week that I am hypothyroid with a TSH of 5.47.  I actually posted this earlier.  I've just started taking Synthroid (2 days worth!) so I don't expect to have any noticable changes for a few weeks, BUT the news of a diagnosis of hypothyroid was elating for me!!  I know that sounds crazy, but for the longest time I struggled and struggled to lose.  I'd lose some and then gain and I can tell you that I felt like giving up and giving in.  I got up to 330 lbs before surgery.

My DH and I were just talking about this yesterday...he shared with me how it felt to him to see me struggle, eat so little and not lose.  I used to tell him that I felt that my body was resistant and working against me, and I was right.  Neither one of us could understand it and I would have times of determination and strength that yielded nothing and then go through depression and discouragement only to start the cycle all over again!

I'm looking forward to seeing how managing my hypothyroidism affects my weight loss journey!


 "The Joy of the Lord is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

START:  330         CURRENT:  274.5 lbs         GOAL:  190          TOTAL:  55.5 lbs


on 1/31/09 6:55 am - RI
Could someone please explain something to me?  Last time my TSH was checked (less than a year ago), it was 5.45.  The high range of normal is 5.6 according to the lab I had it done at.  My PCP told me that accepted practice is to not treat until it's closer to 10.  Should I be concerned?

Includes 47.5 lbs. lost during 7 month pre-op period
on 1/31/09 8:27 am - Columbus, OH
REALIZE Band on 04/15/08 with
5.45 isn't all that high.  The norm is .40-4.5.  Mine is 5.66 right now but is high enough to give me symptoms that my meds are off.  Every few years my meds need to be adjusted.  (I've actually been without a thyroid gland since 1990)

Are you having any of the other symptoms, like puffiness, dry skin and hair, trouble sleeping at night, or cold all the time?  And, of course, gaining weight?  If so, maybe you should find an endo guy and talk to him.

Good Luck.

Hugs,   Peggy 


on 1/31/09 10:18 am, edited 1/31/09 10:19 am - RI
Thanks, Peggy and Elizabeth.  My sister (the RN) just explained it to me.  It is possible to have a higher TSH level but still be normal.  It all depends upon what the T3 and T4 are doing.  I haven't had mine done in a long time.  My mom had thyroid disease, so I've been monitored for it the last 20 years or so.  I went through my records this morning that my endo dr. sent me in anticipation of surgery, and my TSH has always been in the 3.5 range.  At a minimum, I guess I owe it to myself to get a prescription from my PCP for all three to be redone.  Then, I can see what's going on and if I should see the endo dr. (who is now over an hour away from me -- which should be no big deal, but I'm from RI, where anything farther than 20 minutes away requires an overnight bag ).  I've always had dry skin and hair, and have always had severe weight issues, but I sleep well at night and am not typically cold.  It's definitely a point for follow up. 

Thanks again!

Includes 47.5 lbs. lost during 7 month pre-op period
Elizabeth J.
on 1/31/09 10:14 am - Sterling, CO
       My take on it is that it's quite easy for a doctor to say not to be concerned because the doctor isn't the one who has to live with the problems associated with Hypothyroidism. You have to remember that "you" are the one ultimately in charge of your health and you don't  have to sit idly back and agree with everything your doctor tells you. Argue the point, challenge his assessments and opinions. If you have been diagnosed with Hypo but aren't being treated simply because your TSH levels are below 10, I think you should address that. Also, the medications for Hypothyroidism are not a gaurantee that you will start losing weight. I didn't lose a pound and I have been on Levothyroxine for 2 years now. In fact I gained some. Sigh. But the meds do help with things.... they do help you to start feeling better, your skin starts looking better and your hair may stop falling out as much, etc.
      I'm thrilled that I found all of you through this post. I was really starting to feel like some kind of lone freak!

on 1/31/09 10:21 am - RI
See my response above yours -- you and Peg replied almost simultaneously!

Includes 47.5 lbs. lost during 7 month pre-op period
on 1/31/09 10:01 pm - Columbus, OH
REALIZE Band on 04/15/08 with
Another thing about thyroid medication. too much medication is just as bad as not enough.  About 20 yrs. or so back doctors were once prescribing thyroid medication to lose weight.  Yes, too much medication and you will lose weight.  But they were made to quit because too high a dosage for too long weakens the bones (I believe).  It's been so long since I read that article.

Also, it's amazing what control that little gland has in your body.  When it's off, it affects so many things and you can fix it with 1 little pill.

Hugs,   Peggy 


on 1/31/09 7:47 am - Ironton, OH
I have been treated for hypothyroidism for about 8 years.  Even with treatment I struggled to lose weight.  I had my band surgery 11/29/07 and have lost 82 lbs. I have bloodwork done about every 3 months and have had my Armour decreased from 180 mg. to 150 mg.  I have been told that I will never get off of treatment but that as I lose may go down in strength.  I only have 20 more lbs to lose and will be at 135 then so don't know if I will decrease any more but don't believe I will ever be off treatment.
on 1/31/09 8:12 am - deptford, NJ
Hi Everyone,
   I have found lots of great information regarding hypothyroidism from Mary Shomon's website about.thyroid.com.  I have even had to educate my pcp regarding hypothyroid disease.  My tsh was 13 when I was tested at 32 y/o.  I have been taking synthroid for about 3 years and have gained 30 pounds.  If your pcp won't help you go/run to an endocrinologist.  You have to know your numbers, get a hypothyroid education and be your own advocate.  Hypothyroidism has many more health ramifications besides weight gain.
   I am currently waiting for approval from my insurance company for the lap band.  I am so encouraged to see that people with hypothyroid are losing.  I really was not holding out much hope.  You know "I will be the only person the lap band doen't work for" lol. 
     Best of luck to everyone pre and post wls.
on 1/31/09 9:24 am - Columbus, OH
REALIZE Band on 04/15/08 with
I'm hypothyroid now but wasn't always.  I started out being hyperthyroid.  Back in 1990, I started losing weight without trying.  Talk about nice I could eat anything I wanted to and I was losing weight.  But I knew something was wrong,  I was hot all the time, and couldn't walk but a few steps without my legs hurting.  I'd climb the stairs to go to bed and I'd have to sit and catch my breath for at least 10 mins.  Not to mention that I shook all the time.  Well after 6 months of this and 60 lbs. (back then I didn't have that much to lose) gone (size 8) I decided to go to the doctor for this.  He couldn't figure it out.  Then one day I saw one of his partners for a sinus infection and he found my enlarged thyroid.

I was sent to a specialist.  Since I was done having children they zapped the thyroid with radiation and  let my numbers zero out.  I gained back those 60 lbs. I had lost plus in 3 months.  I looked like a walking balloon.  I was so full of fluid when I smiled I could feel my cheeks crinkle.  When my numbers finally hit zero they starated me on medication.  Once they got the thyroid regulated I was fine,  but I never could lose the weight I gained.

Now I can tell whenever my meds need adjustint.  I'll put on about 10-15 lbs. 

I got my band in April, 2008 and immediately lost 30 lbs.  Now I'm up and down 5 lbs., have 7.6cc/9cc in my band and haven't hit my sweet spot yet.  But my meds are off and I don't know how long they've been off.  I hate to blame it on my thyroid (it's so easy to do that) but I am having the other symptoms too, like cold all the time, and dry hair that's falling out, trouble sleeping, etc.  
Not to mention I've been on and off prednizone for my allergies. 

I guess by sharing all of this with you I'm saying that it all comes in to play when you're trying to lose weight whether you have a lap band or not.

Good Luck,

Hugs,   Peggy 


on 1/31/09 10:13 am - Norwich, CT
It is my understanding that 5.47 is High!!  The range is from like 1-3.  I would never go to a doctor who didn't treat you until TSH was 13!!!

I'm glad my doctor is proacitve...and I'm glad I have started Synthroid and sure hope that once my thyroid is regulated it will be earier for me to lose weight.
 "The Joy of the Lord is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

START:  330         CURRENT:  274.5 lbs         GOAL:  190          TOTAL:  55.5 lbs