I have Hashimoto’s and in this article, I will dive into:
- What is Hashimoto’s
- Potential symptoms
- How to find the right doctor
- Things that have helped me feel normal
This is in no way to be taken as medical advice, but information to be discussed with your doctor and see if they would be right for your specific situation. Always seek medical advice before trying something new for your thyroid health.
So no big deal my body is destroying my thyroid – come again! Well the doctors that first diagnosed me seemed not to care too much that my immune system was killing my thyroid.
How I found out I had Hasimoto’s
I thought I was suffering from depression. I lost my passion and watched twelve seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in a matter of months. I did not want to go out and slept months of my life away.
During this time I went to see a therapist and she recommended I see a psychiatrist. You can guess what is coming next. Well, I ended up on a bunch of drugs and I gained weight. This lead me to be more depressed because I was not happy at a higher weight.
I am not a doctor and you definitely need to discuss your medical history with a doctor before coming off any medications. Gaining weight was not helping me feel better and I decided to go off the meds.
My Weight Loss Journey
This led me to a weight loss program with my gynecologist. As part of their protocol, the doctor requested blood tests to ensure I was healthy before I joined their program. The tests came back that my thyroid was not producing enough hormone needed to work properly.
I started the medicine and wasn’t really sure how everything worked so I stopped because I started feeling like crap. Again, I was put on a medication that made me feel awful and I thought I was better off not taking it. I had a follow-up blood test six weeks later and my results were worse. I then learned that I may need to be on this medication for the rest of my life.
My Search For Answers
I did researching read the books I list below and discovered most people who have hypothyroidism, typically have Hashimoto’s. My next stop was to call an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor. After finding one that decided I needed an ultrasound and this was how I found out I had Hashimoto’s. It was verified with a blood test by testing my TPO antibodies (blood tests listed below). That doctor said he could not help me but it was good I know that I had this autoimmune disease. What was I supposed to do with this response.
I decided I needed to find a functional doctor. Read below on what to look for in a doctor.
What exactly is Hashimoto’s?
According to the Mayo Clinic, 95% of individuals with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is a scary word but it is just the last name of the doctor who discovered the autoimmune disease. To understand Hashimoto’s you have to understand what hypothyroidism is. At this time there is no known cure. However, there are ways you can put the disease into remission.
What is Hypothyroidism?
This is when your thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones for your body. I found out I had hypothyroidism when I went to my gynecologist and they tested my TSH. Once I received my test back my TSH was elevated so they told me to take a medication called Levothyroxine.
Why is our thyroid so important?
Your thyroid is located below your Adam’s apple and it plays a major role in your metabolism, development, body temp regulation, and growth of your body. This is because your body releases a steady stream of hormones into your bloodstream to keep it regulated.
Many believe there is a link between pregnancy and thyroid autoimmune diseases. Therefore, if you are pregnant, you should get your thyroid tested to ensure it is in the optimal range.
Why am I diving into the details?
When I was diagnosed, nobody sat down with me and explained what my thyroid was, why I needed my thyroid to produce enough hormones, or why I was taking medication and possibly for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I was left to do the research on my own. Without the proper hormones you can feel off, cold, depressed, lose your hair, and more symptoms I will discuss later.
You can also have the opposite effect and have your thyroid produce too much hormone and this is called hyperthyroidism. Like hypothyroid patients can have Hashimoto’s, hyperthyroid patients can have Grave’s disease. For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.
How can you find out if have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s?
You need to have a proper blood test. I also found out I have Hashimoto’s by having an ultrasound on my thyroid. The ultrasound showed the damage my immune system had already done on my thyroid and I probably had this for years and did not even know. I don’t have a specific statistic to reference but I have heard that most have it for 10+ years before being diagnosed.
Most doctors will only test your TSH and Free T4 or T3. No idea why but this is what conventional doctors have done for years. Therefore, this explains why after I had my test and they gave me Levothyroxine I still felt unwell. Always listen to your body!
The top thyroid tests are the following:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- TPO Antibodies
- TG Antibodies
Finding the right doctor
This is very important for your health. As I discussed above, I went to conventional doctors until I learned that what had really been the problem was my thyroid. Did you know that thyroid problems can also make it appear that you have symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts? Yup. I am fairly certain I was not suffering from depression but rather an improperly functioning thyroid.
That is why if you have post part depression, you should have your thyroid tested.
Conventional doctors are taught to look at the symptoms and then prescribe medication accordingly. Medicine is given to cover up the problem and not to take the underlying root cause away.
These doctors look at the whole picture. My functional doctor wanted to know what was happening to my body. She gave me the above blood tests and tested way more. The first time I had my blood drawn they took 25 vials of blood! The lab had to draw blood from both arms because it was too much. However, it was very insightful and I learned way more about my body than I had known previously.
So find a good functional doctor. You can go to www.stopthethyroidmadness.comto find a doctor on their list.
Here is a list of hypothyroidism symptoms and then I will tell you the ones that made bells go off in my head that something was not right.
- Dry hair
- Brittle nails
- Weight gain
- Cold all the time!
- Spacy forgetting things
- Muscle Aches
- Slow heart rate
- Puffy face
- Losing eyebrow hair! Yes for real!
- Dry skin
- Heavy menstrual periods
I will go into hyperthyroidism in my next article. In short, because when you are working with a doctor to stabilize your thyroid it is very easy to go from hypo to hyper. Different symptoms can accompany hyper. I have experienced both and I feel it is important to know the symptoms to inform your doctor.
The symptom that made me realize something was wrong was when I fell into a deep depression. Not to mention I also had all of the other symptoms listed above so I knew something was not right.
As soon as I realized how important my thyroid health was, I scheduled that appointment with the ENT doctor. I thought for sure an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor would lead me down the right path. Finally I thought I would get some answers and I went to the appointment where the doctor scheduled me to have an ultrasound. Prior to my antibodies being tested, an ultrasound is one of the ways I found out I had Hashimoto’s.
By now I knew this doctor was not going to work out because the ENT said there was nothing else he could do. This is crap and there are ways to improve your health!
Also, test your antibodies referenced in the thyroid test section.
In my opinion, I would also seek out obtaining an ultrasound too because doctors can see things like nodules, cancer, and changes in the growth of your thyroid.
How I began to feel normal
- I found a functional doctor
- I found the right thyroid medication for me.
- I exercise at least 5 times a week.
- I follow Weight Watchers to keep my eating in check. I find taking small steps has helped. My goal is to cut out certain foods that give me a negative reaction.
- Routine meditation
- Stress reduction
- Doing what makes me happy!
I love all these books and they have been very helpful in my journey.
To close I want to say, listen to your body. You know when something is not right. I looked for answers for 15 years before I found them all. Find a functional doctor and keep looking for answers. You will find them!
Do you have Hashimoto’s? Leave a tip to help out the thyroid community. I thank you for your comments.