T Nation

Weight Gain/Bloating with Increase of T & Cytomel (Thyroid Med T3)


T update: I reduced my dose of 1mg back down to starting dose of .05mg & I am no longer experiencing edema.

I started Optimox brand iodine 12.5mg with no ill side effects. If anything, I think I feel a little boost in energy.

I am still waiting to receive results from my estradiol tests. Will post again soon.


I received my thyroid results. I’m not sure how to read them beyond looking at my numbers & comparing them to the “ranges” which we all know are too wide to be very accurate. I think my thyroid number looks high at 2.7 but I’m not sure. Any input from those with experience is appreciated.


Were you on the high dose iodine for that lab work? If so, we cannot really use TSH as it would be shifted high, harmlessly, by the iodine. Otherwise TSH=2.7 is high and should be near 1.0

fT3 should be near mid-range, 3.2 and 2.7 will reduce energy, mood and body temperatures.

Ft3 is the only active thyroid hormone

fT4 is low, should be near mid-range=~1.3
T4 is a reservoir for T

Low fT4 fits a lack of iodine

In a situation like this, when iodine is added, some feel increased clarity or thought - reduced brain fog.

Most TRT symptoms are E2 related, something that you can appreciate.

While rT3 is in ranges, some labs have ranges where 17.8 would be high end of range. Some of the things that you are doing may be helpful, but you need to also examine how you can change external stress factors or how you cope with them.


Forgetting I needed to test, I took 1, 12.5mg dose of iodine Monday then nothing else until Thursday after I tested.

If it will be helpful, I started taking 50mg of iodine today & per your directions, will continue at that level for 2 weeks, at which point I will maintain my new found level by taking a multivitamin which contains both iodine & selenium. I am taking selenium w/iodine now.

As far as stress is concerned, I wonder if the car accident I was in that I believe triggered adrenal fatigue (in addition to being an over achiever in college, full time mom, w/a part time job), could have indeed been the cause & could getting my adrenals back in good condition in conjunction with my current lifestyle (no school, I work from home, kids are grown & gone, all to say I really have very little stress compared to most), make a lasting difference?

Could managing my hormones be as simple as continued TRT & taking a good multivitamin?

Since TRT is E2 related, how do I manage maintaining the fine balance?


Are there any signs of excess estrogen levels now? Certainly very low progesterone could cause estrogen dominance. Increasing T will help balance things, there will be some T–>E2 as expected.

We know from guys that when thyroid function is low, as seen with low body temperatures, natural energy is low, then pushing their bodies [fitness] often involve adrenalin which affects the adrenals and can promote rT3.

I cannot see where you have posted your waking and mid-afternoon body temperatures. - see below

Please read the stickies found here: About the T Replacement Category

  • advice for new guys - need more info about you
  • things that damage your hormones
  • protocol for injections
  • finding a TRT doc

Evaluate your overall thyroid function by checking oral body temperatures as per the thyroid basics sticky. Thyroid hormone fT3 is what gets the job done and it regulates mitochondrial activity, the source of ATP which is the universal currency of cellular energy. This is part of the body’s temperature control loop. This can get messed up if you are iodine deficient. In many countries, you need to be using iodized salt. Other countries add iodine to dairy or bread.

KSman is simply a regular member on this site. Nothing more other than highly active.

I can be a bit abrupt in my replies and recommendations. I have a lot of ground to cover as this forum has become much more active in the last two years. I can’t follow threads that go deep over time. You need to respond to all of my points and requests as soon as possible before you fall off of my radar. The worse problems are guys who ignore issues re thyroid, body temperatures, history of iodized salt. Please do not piss people off saying that lab results are normal, we need lab number and ranges.

The value that you get out of this process and forum depends on your effort and performance. The bulk of your learning is reading/studying the suggested stickies.


Regarding signs of low estrogen, I don’t think my initial blood test results showed them low. If anything, I thought they seemed to be at the high end of the range but I am not familiar enough yet with ranges so they still frustrate me because they aren’t accurate in that what doctors deem high is often too high to return to normal. For example, when a person’s thyroid levels reach a very high level, doctors too often say the problem is irreversible. Had the ranges been lower, people like me with a thyroid level of 2.7 can more easily receive treatment via simple iodine intake to correct the problem. I have a hard time with ranges now that I know how little they help. I am learning what new ranges to be aware of & what new levels I should fall within. My progesterone level is incredibly high at 13 given the initial test was done during the follicular phase. Defy mentioned “levels that should come up will over time just as levels that should be lower will decrease”. Monday marks 1 month of TRT.

I was taking 12.5mg iodine but have increased to 50mg with no ill side effects. I was concerned about them as I’d read they can be uncomfortable. So far, all is well. I will continue this treatment for two weeks then begin a multivitamin. I did not post my temperature because I didn’t log it. I can do that for the next two weeks. It would be interesting to see the results & it’s easy enough to do. The US used to add iodine to bread. I wonder why we no longer do that? Cost perhaps?

Thank you for the links. I have read the advice for new guys, protocol for injections. & finding a TRT doctor. Most of the info seems geared toward men but it’s easy enough to sort though & find relevant information that applies to women as well. Thank you for your help. Not everyone has been so willing to reach out & guide a woman. I am eager to learn & very interested in research. I like learning about the science of how & why things work. I will continue reading in an effort to avoid asking questions that have likely already been asked, but I have a feeling with so many forum posts, I will end up doing just that so please forgive me if I seem ignorant. At this point, I am but again, I am learning.


Keep an eye on your thyroid. Your fT3 is not optimal. With rT3 at 17.8, you would want to have fT3 at 3.6, or better. Reverse T3 is blocking free T3.


Thanks for the information! I am really trying to learn as much as I can so I appreciate input from those who know. Besides taking iodine (and selenium), how would free my FT3?

T Replacement Info for Women?

Get your reverse T3 under control, if possible. Eat enough. Deal with any emotional stress. Any chronic infections or inflammation? Any digestive issues? Some meds can cause elevated rT3.


How do I get RT3 under control? Iodine? The chronic inflammation might have come from a car accident I was in a couple years ago. I think I have finally found tx for that & the pain seems to be pretty much gone. I’m not taking any meds. Digestive issues have been an ongoing issue for years. Family practitioner says he doesn’t know why. My diet is on point. I consume very minimal processed sugar. a slice of cake @ grandma’s bday is necessary for quality of life (haahha!) but obviously not for daily consumption. I work out lifting weights 5 days a week, working different parts of the body each day, weekends off. My life is overall pretty stress free. I’m not sure specifically how to address thyroid. Feel free to elaborate. I have been taking high dose iodine for 5 days. I’ll stop after 14 days & take a multivitamin. Thanks again for your help.


Those are things that can cause elevated rT3. Other than digestion, none seem to apply to you. I’d wait a while and see if the iodine helps, re-check labs. If fT4 and fT3 do not move up, I’d go with a T3/T4 combo, with the goal getting your fT3 up to 4.0.


I’m hoping KSman will chime in on this as he seems to know quite a bit about thyroid. I’ve been taking 50mg iodine for 3 days shy of 2 weeks. The results shown are in order of waking temp/afternoon temp:
Sat: 97/97.3
Sun: 97.3/97.2
Mon: 97.8/98
Tue: 97.2/98.4
Wed: 97.8/97.8
Thur: 97.2/97.3
Fri: 97.4/97.2
Sat: 97.4/97.2
Sun: 97.4/ I haven’t taken pm temp yet

I have an appointment w/Defy Weds regarding my thyroid & I’m very hesitant to take Western world medication due to the large amount of side effects. Granted, I am taking TRT, but that decision was not made lightly or without ample research. The science says TRT for those who need it, in proper doses, typically causes positive effects in both sexes. I don’t get the same feeling with regard to thyroid medication.

After much research of thyroid medications, I see some are made with lactose (I’m intolerant), others are made with GM corn (I don’t tolerate corn at all), & others are made with ingredients I’m simply not comfortable ingesting. The only option in the category I can see myself taking is Tirosint, which appears to be very expensive.

At a loss as far as what direction to take, I’m looking for advice. Initially, I felt a bit of energy boost with the iodine but the last 2 days, I’ve begun to feel tired again & I’m waking up again @ 4:30am. Could that be attributed to TRT & should I try increasing the dose just slightly?

On another note, I ordered SHBG blood work for Monday. Knowing that is largely a male hormone, I believe it should have been tested at my initial intake because just as T is thought to largely be a male hormone, women also need that.

Feeling frustrated & I don’t know what to ask the doctor (I’ve scheduled w/Dr. Caulkins) beyond these questions:

proper magnesium dose, Vit D to lower SHBG (some research points to this as a natural way to lower as Vit D isn’t really a vitamin but a hormone), SHBG levels, & the obvious reason he’s calling, thyroid levels & possible solutions to lower them.


Medical community thought that it would be dangerous and they did not at the time have any awareness of the related issue of low selenium. So now bread is made with bromines as the dough conditioner and bromines interfere with iodine. Great result!

IR not working. That can be rT3 at work. To understand rT3 and stress, see what the thyroid basics sticky has to say. Much of what you want/need to know is there.


Thank you. I read that along with several other stickies before posting this. From those I learned the “why” but not the “how”. I know why the problem exists but I still don’t know how to fix it. To say, “reduce stress” I understand but I don’t really have any to reduce so I can’t believe that is the the “how” factor. There is something more & I’m not sure what it is.


Quick question:
I started testosterone therapy & have increased my dose up to .08units. My prescription is for 1.0 full unit dose but in the past when I’ve increased the dose, I have severe breast tenderness which I understand to be a sign of increased estrogen. As a woman, I am already estrogen dominant.
Less than a month ago I was put on Cytomel for low thyroid. I tried iodine, all to absolutely no avail. Tests revealed my T3 levels were very low thus the current prescription. I’m currently taking 100mcg & still not feeling any better. What I notice are 1) I can increase the testosterone w/o breast pain & 2) I’m gaining weight at an incredibly fast rate & I am retaining water. I’ve tried DIM @ 200mg per day, dandelion root capsules, & Weightless tea. Nothing is working. Any suggestions?


Maybe KSman can chime in.


I know it does not make any sense, and it’s probably rare, but weight gain is listed as a side effect of Cytomel. So is weight loss. Have you considered a bioidentical T3/T4 combo?

Follow-up labs may be helpful.


I read that both weight gain & loss are possible side effects but the puffiness started before starting Cytomel. I’m at a loss & agree with you about follow up labs.