Since I’ve been taking you on my health and fitness journey I thought it would be a good idea to talk to you about my struggle with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (this could turn out to be a long post, so bear with me). It started back in 2009…
The hubs and I had talked about starting a family for a little while. We had been married for close to 2 years and I caught baby fever big time. I had always dreamed of being a mom. We decided that I would stop taking my birth control. I figured I would get pregnant right away… with the way “unintended” teenage pregnancies happened and how so many of my friends were getting pregnant without any problems. So, when the next month passed I was devastated to find out that I wasn’t pregnant. The hubs reminded me that after taking birth control for so long it would probably be a few months before my system was running normal. I was still overly emotional about it though. I had crazy mood swings, uncontrollable crying for no reason and I was ALWAYS tired. I fell asleep on the couch around 8pm every night. I thought maybe it was because I was overweight. I joined weight watchers and followed the program to the T… I couldn’t lose more than 5 pounds! This cycle continued for several months… 6 months to be exact. I remember hearing from friends and reading that you should give yourself 6 solid months of trying to conceive before talking to your doctor, so when month 6 came and went with no baby I called my doctor. I explained all my symptoms to her, telling her I thought I might have insulin resistance or PCOS. She did a whole round of blood work checking all my levels of everything. I just wanted an answer. I wanted to stop feeling like I was crazy.
She called the next day… she said that I had a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Man, that didn’t sound very good. Turns out it is a pretty common diagnosis of women who are trying to conceive. It is also the leading cause of Hypothyroidism. Basically… Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that effects the thyroid. According to Womenshealth.gov: “With Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system makes antibodies that damage thyroid cells and interfere with their ability to make thyroid hormone. Over time, thyroid damage can cause thyroid hormone levels to be too low. This is called an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid causes every function of the body to slow down, such as heart rate, brain function, and the rate your body turns food into energy.”
As I read the symptoms I felt like it all started to make sense….
- Weight gain
- Pale, puffy face
- Feeling cold
- Joint and muscle pain
- Dry, thinning hair
- Heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods
- A slowed heart rate
- Problems getting pregnant
Uhhhh…. Helllllo!!!! Did you see that last one?! It also accounts for my constant fatigue, weight gain/problems losing weight, and it turns out I had a few other symptoms I didn’t even connect (I thought I was always cold because I grew up in Florida!)
My doctor called in a small dose of synthyroid to help regulate the Thyroid Hormone in my body. I started taking it early May of 2009 (right around the time of my period)… and the next month I found out I was pregnant!!
I had to have my levels monitored regularly throughout my pregnancy and they did change several times causing changes in dosage. I didn’t really have enough time before getting pregnant to see how the dosage affected me, so we were very careful in watching it.
After having Payton in February 2010 I went back to get my levels checked again and had them adjusted. I always feel great for about 6-8 weeks after starting a new dose of medicine, but then feel like some of the symptoms come back. I found a new doctor at the end of last year and have been working with her to figure out other ways to try to keep my Hashimoto’s in check. She mentioned that the hormones in the regular meat that I consume could affect my hormone levels, which can cause the symptoms to fluctuate. That made me wonder if there were links to other eating habits that could make my symptoms better/worse. Turns out that Hashimoto’s is often linked to gluten intolerance and that if you have one autoimmune disease your chances of having another, like Celiac Disease, are higher. Many people are recommending a Paleo diet to help with Hashimoto’s but I’m not sure about that yet… I’ve still got some more research to do!
So, there is my story this far… and I’ll keep you updated as I search for new ways to try to control my Hashimoto’s.
Have you struggled with a health problem? Have you used dietary changes to control it? Any advice on the Paleo diet? I want to hear from you!