I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism seven years ago after being ill for over a year and initially misdiagnosed. I remember being relieved to know what was wrong with me finally and thought that I had come to the end of my journey, but it was just the beginning.
The standard view of hypothyroidism is that you get a diagnosis, your doctor prescribes thyroid medicine, and you take it for the rest of your life. However, too many people accept this as their only option when there is a lot more help and guidance available in reality.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism vary from person to person, and the type of treatment will too. Many doctors still only do a basic blood test (TSH), but that doesn't tell the whole story. Your TSH test results can be one reason that your doctor thinks you're fine when you don't feel fine at all.
I didn't learn until later about the full thyroid tests you need to get a clearer picture of your thyroid function. Be sure to get a complete thyroid panel 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 medication, there are other factors to consider, as well. For instance, if you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, adrenal fatigue, or digestive issues, your overall treatment plan may vary.
My original doctor dismissed me when I told her the medicine that she prescribed made me feel worse. Many patients say that their doctor only looks at their test results and discounts symptoms. Unfortunately, the numbers don't always tell the whole story.
After educating myself and learning about autoimmune attacks on the thyroid, I requested a TPO antibodies test. My doctor didn't think the test was necessary but obliged. Her office called me a few weeks later to tell me I have elevated antibodies.
Seek a second (or third) opinion if needed. I eventually found a thyroid doctor who listens to my concerns and is willing to work with me on my medication brand and dosage until we found out what worked. Your health is worth finding someone 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 get to 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 symptoms to pinpoint possible causes, such as a nutritional imbalance.
Finding the right medicine is essential, 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! Some of my symptoms eased considerably.
Dietary changes made a world of difference, and 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 thyroid nutritionist early-on. Having their knowledge and support would have given me a lot of hope that I initially lacked.
When I got my diagnosis, I was sad and frustrated, thinking that my life and lifestyle would change 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 updated 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. 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.
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