I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism seven years ago after being ill for over a year and initially misdiagnosed. I remember being relieved to finally know what was wrong with me and thought that I had come to the end of my journey, but it was really just the beginning.
The common view of hypothyroidism is that you are diagnosed, your doctor prescribes medicine, and you take it for the rest of your life. In the process, your thyroid continues to slow down, and your dosage goes up to compensate. I think, sadly, too many people accept that is their only option, when in reality there is a lot more help and guidance available.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism vary from person to person and treatments will too. Many doctors still only do a basic blood test (TSH), but that doesn’t tell the whole story. That can be one reason that your doctor thinks you’re fine (based on the numbers of the test) when you don’t feel fine at all.
I didn’t learn until later about the full thyroid tests that need to be run to get a clearer picture on how your thyroid is functioning. Be sure to get the full panel of tests to know where you stand. It can help you get on track more quickly and spare you repeat doctor visits and medication issues.
In addition to medicine, there are other factors to consider as well. If you have the autoimmune version (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) your treatment may vary a bit. If you have other issues such as adrenal fatigue or digestive issues they will need to be addressed as well.
I was dismissed by my original doctor when I told her the medicine that she prescribed made me feel worse. Many doctors only look at the numbers of your tests and discount symptoms. The numbers don’t always tell the whole story.
I also had to request an antibodies test (after reading a book and learning about autoimmune attacks on the thyroid). My doctor didn’t think the test was necessary. But when her office called me a few weeks later to tell me I did have antibodies, I felt it had definitely been necessary.
Seek a second (or third) opinion if needed. I eventually found a doctor who listened to my concerns and was willing to work with me on my medicine until we found out what worked. Your health is worth finding someone who’s willing to listen and work with you to help you feel better.
Once you’ve found a medical professional who’s willing to work with you, it’s time to find the root cause of your hypothyroidism. I initially had no idea that something else inside of me was causing my body to attack my thyroid.
When your thyroid is under-functioning, it is a symptom that something else is going on inside your body. Finding that root cause is essential to getting the treatment that you need.
Work with your doctor to go over your medical history and your symptoms to pinpoint possible causes, such as a nutritional imbalance.
Finding the right medicine is important, but so is feeding your body the right foods. Once I found a doctor who was willing to work with me, she immediately recommended that I stop eating gluten and dairy. I wasn’t sure it would make a difference, but I gave it a try, and she was right.
I was amazed and some of my symptoms eased considerably. Learning how much a few dietary changes made, a whole new path to health opened up before me. I began to read and study and test certain foods to see if any other changes would help.
It’s been an on-going process for me, and I wish I had known about seeing a nutritionist early-on. Having their knowledge and support would have given me a lot of hope that I initially lacked.
When I was first diagnosed, I was sad and frustrated, thinking that my life and lifestyle would be changed forever. While that is true, it didn’t end up being the way I thought it would.
A lot of doors have opened up to me since I started on this journey. I’ve made friends with people online and in my daily life who are going through similar situations. I’ve learned a lot by reading and studying to stay informed and up to date on the latest health news.
My diagnosis turned into a new way of life and a path to health and wellness.
Having hypothyroidism can be discouraging at times. Especially early on. And it can be lonely if you don’t have someone to talk to or who knows what you’re going through.
But don’t give up! Reach out and find a friend locally or online who will listen to you and encourage you when you need it. There are a lot of us out there and we need to stick together.
Find inspiration for a healthy way to support your thyroid