Hello! I have recently been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, the most common form of hyperthyroidism. I will answer your questions as best as I can!
1) What were your symptoms before diagnosis?
Extremely high heart rate, goiter, unexplained weight loss (not a lot of weight, but like 20lbs in a couple of months), anxiety, insomnia.
2) What medication are you on for it and does it cause side affects?
There are only 2 medications to treat hyperthyroidism. Other options are surgery and radioactive ablation. I was originally put on Methimazole, but I got a pretty nasty case of hives from it so I was switched to PTU. I have experienced no side effects from PTU except slight nausea.
3) Did the medication affect your weight? Did you lose or gain?
Yes, the medication affected my weight. Not a lot, I just gained that 20 lbs I lost so unexpectedly back. The doctor warned me to expect this. He said that the hyperthyroidism was artificially increasing my metabolism and the medication will lower my metabolism to normal levels, which will of course make me gain weight. He told me to expect 20-30 lbs, and I gained 20. I am controlling my diet right now to avoid gaining more because I was not exactly underweight to begin with and now I am bordering overweight.
4) Can you still take birth control pills while on hyperthyroid meds?
Yes, as far as I know. My doctor asks me every time I see him how my menstrual cycle is doing and I tell him that I don’t know because I am on birth control. He has never said anything regarding my birth control usage at all.
5) Does hyperthyroidism affect future fertility?
Yes, as far as I know. The anti-thyroid medication can be cause birth defects in the fetus and uncontrolled hyperthyroidism can cause miscarriage. The doctor cautioned me to talk to him before my husband and I ever decide to try to conceive. He said we would have to come up with a plan for that, which led me to believe that my condition could cause problems. My husband and I are CBC, though, so that is not a problem for us.
6) Do you need to be on medication for your whole life?
Not for sure, but possibly. There are instances of remission from hyperthyroidism/graves disease, but if you do go into remission, the issue will likely come back. As long as you are hyperthyroid, you will need to take medication. You can choose to have your thyroid removed via surgery or radioactive ablation, but then you will have to take thyroid hormone replacement medication for the rest of your life since you will no longer have a thyroid. Thankfully, the medication is inexpensive. I take a pretty high dosage right now because my doctor and I are still working on getting my levels down. The walmart discounted prescriptions are an absolute life-saver though. I only pay $8 a month for my anti-thyroid drugs and $4 a month for the beta-blockers I’m taking to decrease my heart rate. Since my dosage will eventually go down, I foresee that my prescription costs will as well.
I hope that helped! Please let me know if you have any more questions.