If you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you might have read that I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I am no expert in the area and still learning more about the condition but the more I read, the more I have begun to wonder how many have gone un-diagnosed like I did for such a long time. Some of my family members and friends have some of the exact same symptoms I have struggled with for a while and it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism have I felt my direction has been pointed towards the right path.
Diets, exercise programs, and more diets
For years, I have struggled with weight loss. I have tried and tried to lose weight. It didn’t matter how much I worked out, how much I ate, how little I ate, what I ate, it all really didn’t matter. This should have been my first clue but I had been tested and the doc said my thyroid was fine. I mean, I gained weight during my 2 pregnancies when I threw up constantly through the first trimester and kept throwing up all the way until the end of the pregnancy. I don’t even know how its possible to gain weight when every time you eat, you hug the “porcelain throne.” But I did (I wasn’t trying to lose weight while pregnant, just to be clear but just stating I gained even when throwing up all the time). So I always contributed it different things. Maybe I was too lazy. Maybe I was eating too much. Maybe too little. Or maybe just the wrong foods. Maybe I needed to lift weights to build more muscle to burn more fat. Maybe circuit training was the answer or “Body Revolution” by Jillian Michaels. I mean, she could make all those people from The Biggest Loser lose quite a few pounds. Diligent calorie counting , diet pills, making sure I ate breakfast, eating 3 meals a day, eating 3 meals with 2-3 snacks, juicing, running, walking, cutting out processed foods, eating organic, protein shakes, low carb diet, eliminating toxins from household products…. That’s enough to make your head spin. At least it does for me. The frustration, the tears, the dedication, and it left me no closer to my goals, it was usually further away. But despite my overwhelming weight loss issues there were other signs and symptoms that I completely ignored. I mean, I had looked at the sign/symptoms but always wrote it off because I was told I didn’t have hypothyroidism.
I don’t feel good because……
A little over a year ago I came down with bronchitis. I was sick for a month with bronchitis and then the family got the flu, and then we got food poisoning. It was a rough month and a half. Everyone recovered but I seemed to lag. I was always the person who seemed to be sickest the longest any time we all got ill but this time, I just plain tired. I also had noticed in the past few years, I seemed to be prone to sinus infections. My husband assured me, “you have kids, you are with them 24/7, you have a toddler, you homeschool, you’re getting older (I was 26/27) you keep a very clean home, and you cook the majority of the time” But then something else began to happen that I couldn’t ignore or write off….
After the birth of my last child, I breastfed for a year so my periods were few and far between which I had read was completely normal during breast feeding but after weaning, they were sporadic. I had always had a menstrual cycle like clockwork. It first started off a period one month, next month spotting. Then it began skipping 2 months. Then 3 months. 4,5,6 months. I’m still not sure I haven’t had a menstrual cycle in over half a year…..Oh and my libido. It was almost non-existent after the birth of our last child. This was something I had NEVER experienced. So I began to realize that this was not something that was all in my head. This was NOT normal. I was too young to feel so tired, to be missing periods, and to have no libido. That’s not including all the symptoms I had written off. After talking to some friends they told me, “It’s your thyroid! We were tested before and they always said it wasn’t our thyroid but they were running the wrong tests. We went through the same thing and we’re older than you! It’s not normal! Go see our doc!”
At this point in life, it was no longer about the weight loss. I wanted to have energy again. I wanted my libido back. So I went and the doc came back and told me that I have hypothyroidism, my hormones are out of whack, I am Vitamin D, an Vitamin B12 deficient and that this is what is making me feel so lousy. Part of me was relieved because it confirmed my suspicions of having something wrong and part of me didn’t believe it. I guess a part of me always felt that saying, “My hypothyroidism is why I can’t lose weight,” seemed like an excuse when one couldn’t lose weight. Only after the diagnosis did I look seriously at the symptoms. I look back now and wonder how long did I have hypothyroidism?? I mean, I have had many of the symptoms for some time now. There has been some in my family who had hypothyroidism and others who I think have simply not been diagnosed.
So let’s look at some of the symptoms. Now I say some. These are some of the most common symptoms but the list of symptoms is extremely long. If you would like a longer list, check out Hypothyroid Mom’s post 300+ Hypothyroidism Symptoms
- chronic fatigue
- less stamina when compared to others
- difficulty losing weight
- gaining weight while still maintaining the same lifestyle
- low body temperature
- cold hands and feet
- frequent infections
- irregular menstrual cycles
- loss of libido
- hair loss in females
- dry skin
- decline in mental sharpess i.e. brain fog
- mood swings
- frequent headaches
- decreased sweating
- low blood pressure
- fluid retention
- coarse, dry hair
- sensitivity to cold
- muscle cramps and aches
- Cold rump roast. Yes I’m serious
- Air hunger
- Fibromyalgia ( many sources think fibromyalgia might be a misdiagnosed hypothyroidism)
- Snake skin aka dry, scaly skin resembling a snake’s skin
Labs tests to run and where you can order tests yourself
If you have a majority or even some of these symptoms, you owe it to yourself to have a blood test done. The longer it goes without treatment, the worse the symptoms can get. If you have already done a blood test and they said your thyroid is fine but you still suspect you have hypothyroidism or you match a few of these symptoms have it checked again. Make sure your doctor is checking more than just your TSH. You need to check your TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Thyroid antibodies. For more information on why the TSH testing is generally useless, check out Stop the Thyroid Madness- TSH-Why it’s Useless. Here is a video where Suzy Cohen explains the TSH test, T4, Free T3, etc.
If your doctor is only willing to test your TSH, find another doctor. STTM has a link on how to find a good doc. You can also join YAHOO NATURAL THYROID HORMONES (NTH) GROUP which contains a list of good thyroid doctors.
You can also order your own testing. For places to order from, visit Stop the Thyroid Madness -Recommended Blood Work. Under the recommended blood work, it will give you a few places to order from. My Med Lab which is recommended by STTM has a SSTM Thyroid Basline blood test. It is $125 and it tests your TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO), Thyroid Antibody. You can order the test at My Med Lab. This lab will require to visit a local lab to have blood drawn. You can check lab locations by going to My Med Lab Locations. But remember, you will want the blood work to test your thyroid. The saliva tests are not as accurate when testing for hypothyroidism. Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled book also has a list of places to order from.
You can visit Dr. Holtze web site and order this book and his Hormones Health & Happiness for FREE. All you pay is shipping. I ordered mine from Amazon so I can’t tell you if there are any stipulations on the free book. Just be sure to read everything if you request a free copy.
“We are experiencing a silent, unrecognized global epidemic, which is especially prevalent in the United States. According to recent students, based upon blood tests alone, there are nearly 30 million Americans suffering from undiagnosd hypothyroisdism.” (Hypothyroidism Health & Happiness, Steven F. Holtze, MD, pg 46)