Before we start, let’s define what TSH means:
“A TSH test measures the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland. It tells the thyroid gland to make and release thyroid hormones into the blood.”
And us (hypothyroid patients) with an underactive thyroid have elevated TSH levels, the normal ranges for these levels can vary depending on the age of the person.
For me, a twenty-four-year-old girl, my normal range should not be above 2, when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, my TSH levels were not very high but it was high enough to wreak havoc on me, my levels fluctuated for a year since I was diagnosed (I suspect I’ve had it since way long before) but they never went within the normal range, until a week ago that I had my regular follow up with my endocrinologist. I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock, a good kind of shock, sadly I was also diagnosed that day with reactive hypoglycemia but I will talk about that later.
Anywho, if you ask me how I did it and what can I advise you?, I’ll try to keep it short and precise:
This is crucial and for most of us, this is difficult because of the paranoia we often have about everything going bad in our lives as the result of depression and desperation.
I particularly don’t have that problem, I trust my doctors all the time and this is crucial because your doctor knows what he/she is doing. My endocrinologist is the kindest one you can ever meet, that makes it a lot easier, but even if yours is not very warm, try your hardest to trust him/she, it will make things easier for both of you.
I know it is REAAAAALLY frustrating, especially when you are on levothyroxine, having to wait 30 to 60 minutes to eat after taking your medication is very hard, but it is also crucial that you do it and on an empty stomach, that you’re giving time for it to digest.
Most of the cases of hypothyroidism come from immune issues, Dr. Izabella Wentz on her “Hashimoto’s Protocol” book encourages you to find the root cause of your hypothyroidism. It can take time, thankfully for me, my endocrinologist suggested that my immune system was affecting my thyroid due to having a strong case of streptococcus, I am now free of the previously mentioned bacteria and my thyroid is doing a lot better. There could be more than just one root cause, in my case there are many key factors, I also was infected with Toxoplasma Gondi when I was very young but was never tested and diagnosed until last year (at the same time my TSH levels got tested for the first time) and then there’s also the fact that my dad possibly also had an autoimmune disorder, genetics can also be part of the cause.
So, with the help of your doctor and your mom, dad, sister, etc, you can go through your medical record and do some thinking as to when you did start noticing bad changes in your health, what diseases you have had, when you started showing strong hypothyroid symptoms, etc.
Last year, when I was diagnosed, the doctor I had back then, suggested that I should go gluten free, he wasn’t very clear as to why he suggested it, so I did my research and found out that autoimmune and thyroid diseases are likely to be triggered by gluten, to quote Dr. Hedberg:
Gluten can also be an irritant to Hashimoto’s disease by creating inflammation in the thyroid gland. The process is known as “molecular mimicry” which basically means that your body’s immune system is attacking the gluten, infection or environmental toxin but also attacking it’s own tissue.
MD. Amy Myers:
1.Gluten causes leaky gut
2. Gluten causes inflammation
3. Gluten looks like your own tissues
I’ll go further with the gluten sensitivity later in another post, but basically, if you are hypothyroid you are most likely to have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
I personally still struggle with it, a lot, It’s a never ending battle, but once you go gluten free, you have to be careful, because I suspect (not proven) going gluten free for weeks and then eating it for a week every day and then going gluten free again might have caused me reactive hypoglycemia, your body becomes more intolerant after you go gluten free. So, if you ever eat it again, you must do in moderation.
I personally feel a lot better when I’m off gluten, no more joint pain, less seborrheic dermatitis, less bloating, etc.
This one is tricky because the internet is flooded with an overload of information, which most of it is not accurate, but there are many sites that can actually provide you with good information, youtube can also be very helpful.
For me, websites like hypothyroidmom, have been a great source of information, as well as Amy Myers MD, Izabella Went’s documentary The thyroid secret , subscribing Izabella Went’s mailing list and her book “Hashimoto’s protocol”.
Joining support groups for hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s patients.
But, always check this information with your doctor first.
I know exercise is one of the hardest things to do when you are hypothyroid/Hashimoto’s, getting out of bed in the morning is a big accomplishment for us as we lack energy and are always tired (random fact: that’s what this blog’s name is thyred), but engaging in physical activity is veeeeery important, it boosts your metabolism and it keeps depression away. During some months I would work out every day, during some others, I would barely do it twice a week, but it’s important that you do.
I regularly practice yoga, dance or engage in pop-pilates, these are the ones I use and are completely free, also this is not an ad, it is truly what I do and works for me. If you don’t feel like any of the ones I mentioned, try walking for at least 15 minutes every day.
It’s hard, really hard, I’m not even gonna argue about this one, having hypothyroidism and/or an autoimmune disease can make you feel completely hopeless and frustrated, but you gotta PUSH YOURSELF, take care of yourself, and find ways to stay motivated during dark times.
Your body knows when something is alright and when something isn’t, learn to know your body, learn which foods can trigger irritation, for example.
If today your body feels like it can’t work out, then rest and continue the next day, never stop searching for what feels good and does well to you.