In April of 2012, the secretary at my doctor’s office called and told me that my thyroid was low. I was caught off guard as I expected my blood work to come back as “normal” like every other time. I had just turned 28 years old, how could I have hypothyroid? I did some research on hypothyroidism and was SHOCKED as I had the majority of symptoms. I’ll name a few:

– constant fatigue
– unexplained weight gain
– dry skin problems
– below normal body temperature and low blood-pressure

Prior to being diagnosed, I used to be exhausted after work each day.  I felt as if I had been on my feet all day long when I had a desk job. I would come home at night and really push myself to make dinner and get a chore or two done before bed. I felt beat and needed to be in bed by 9pm. I REALLY paid for it the next day if I ever stayed up until 11pm. I thought I was just a low-energy person and not being able to ever stay up until 11pm was part of growing older. I’ve since been told that this is not normal for someone in their mid to late 20’s.

In the last 2 years, I was eating less calories than the years before, yet, I was gaining weight instead of loosing it. Now, I must address a major misconception in regards to a person taking medication for hypothyroidism – one will not experience rapid weight loss once started on medication. Being treated for hypothyroidism helps weight loss in the following ways: it assists in returning a person’s metabolism to a “normal” state and therefore,  allows the opportunity to loose weight like the average person by eating well and exercising. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me to loose the weight that I gained while hypo.

Since a year ago, I have shared with some  family, friends and co-workers what I’ve learned about hypothyroidism. After sharing my symptoms, many have said, “maybe I have it too!” I even had a co-worker decide to get tested because she was feeling a little sluggish and had put on some weight (5 pounds). She doesn’t have a hypothyroid and seemed disappointed not to. Having hypothyroidism isn’t something to be excited about. I will need to take a pill daily, on an empty stomach, for the rest of my life. It’s not fun to have to stop eating by a certain hour so that I can take my medication on an empty stomach. And if I eat something past dinner time, I have to take my medication first thing in the morning and wait at least an hour before having breakfast. It’s a pain in the butt.

When was the last time that you had your thyroid tested? A TSH of anything above 3 is hypo in the United States, and a TSH of 4.5 and up is considered hypo in Canada. I was a 5.3 when my doctor decided to tell me that something was up.  If you haven’t been tested for a while ask to be. This is especially important for women who are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant.  Hypothyroidism can cause infertility. Also, a mother’s low thyroid during early pregnancy has been linked to learning disabilities in the child. Pregnancy also can be a trigger for a mother’s thyroid to suddenly change. I just so happened to get blood work done for a different reason and learned that I was hypo. It’s scary to think that I could have gone many more years untreated. Thyroid conditions are rarely proactively addressed by family doctors. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with hypothyroid, ask for blood work to be done (TSH + Free 3 and Free 4 as well) and be sure to ask what your numbers are afterwards!

For more information, please visit: http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=59


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