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How I lowered my TSH levels

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.”

https://medlineplus.gov/

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:

  • Trust your doctor:

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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.

  • Take your medication:

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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.

  • Find your root cause:

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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.

  • Avoid gluten:

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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.

  • Educate yourself:

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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.

  • Get physical:

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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.

  • Stay motivated:

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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.

  • Find what feels good:

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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.

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#LetsGetReal

#LetsGetReal: Don’t be afraid of antidepressants (if prescribed).

Editors note: I am not a doctor, I’m just a thyriod/hashimotos patient.

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The world has progressed so much in so many ways, yet mental health is still a taboo for most people.
I think it’s only normal to be scared to talk about our mental struggles in our society nowadays, especially if we are surrounded by the wrong people.

It’s not a secret that thyroid diseases and immune conditions can wreck havoc on our mental health, we experience so many hormonal changes and stress, that normally most of us get eventually depressed, especially when the fatigue is high and incessant.

Last year in July I dealt salmonella and typhoid fever, shortly after I was also diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism, toxoplasmosis and liver issues. I cannot even explain how big the impact was for my mental health, between the awful symptoms: low energy, weight gain, constant nausea, weakness, hair loss, brittle nails, etc. I was always crying and paranoid, at some point I went completely nuts and starting hallucinating, I even saw my local priest because I didn’t fully comprehend what it was.

I had heard of antidepressants but never hadn’t really taken them despite having had chronic depressive episodes when I was 12 years old of which I’m not ashamed, I talked to a friend about asking my then doctor about it and she talked to me about how antidepressants are not a good option, how you can become dependant on them, etc. I was very scared, but I was not only mentally ill, I was also physically ill and I had unsuccessfully tried many relaxation techniques but none worked.

My doctor prescribed me something he said was to help me sleep and when I took the first one it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, I was finally able to sleep but I was sleepy all the time, so I googled the name of the medication and it turned out to be antidepressants, which is odd I hadn’t noticed as I hadn’t cried in a day and that was progressive. I took them for about 3 weeks and then I decided to try to quit them and go with yoga and exercise, it was a long shot because it was hard but I made it, since then I decided to have it as an “emergency pill” only, because like my friend said IT CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, PARANOIA (mine went away went I took them), SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, ETC. While I had no side effects, you may.

I know medication shouldn’t be the first option, but some cases deserve it, so if your doctor prescribes you antidepressants; don’t be afraid of them BUT KEEP TRACK of everything you feel since you started taking them, have a journal and write down your thoughts there and read them by the end of the week, if you notice bad and drastic changes in your behavior and thoughts, please inform your doctor because yes, I am telling you to not be afraid of them, but I’m also telling you to be aware that it could have side effects.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to seek help, we thyroid patients go through a lot and our mental health is largely affected by our thyroid malfunction, find yourself a loyal friend whom you can also talk to, someone who loves you and can understand you.

Uncategorized

The social butterfly /

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Versión en Español, abajo.

Before I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, I was a social butterfly. So I’m going to talk about how Hypothyroidism and thyroid diseases can change your social life.

I’ve always been quite emotional, but I usually managed to control my emotions, I was able to go out and enjoy everything like nothing else in the world mattered. 

I suspect my disease was slowly evolving into what it is now (despite having my TSH under control, the symptoms are still there). I used to be a positive person, I loved to hang out with my friends, take walks with them, even going to parties, but mostly I enjoyed going out to eat with them. I had healthy habits at home, my mom have always been a clean cook, I worked out regularly and most of all, I HAD THE ENERGY.

Suddenly, I started going out less and less, my temper was out of control, I would get mad o cry over things that didn’t really matter, I would get upset and/or defensive while having discussions with my friends that we always had in a healthy way. I also was in a very unhealthy relationship that had me under a lot of stress most of the time, I was panicked all the time, he took advantage of that and would tell me “you wasn’t like this when I met you, you don’t go out because of me, I am too important for you”, but that DIDN’T MAKE SENSE to me, he was not the reason for which I didn’t wanted to go out, it was me, for some reason I didn’t have enough energy anymore, I had enough stress with him. Eventually the relationship ended and I don’t blame my hypothyroidism, he didn’t love me, but my disease did contributed to being “unloveable”.

So, when I was diagnosed last July, it all started to make sense, Hypothyroidism takes most of your energy because your thyroid gland is either over active or under active, your body is not getting its enough share of hormones and your brain starts to notice too, suddenly you start having strange mood swings and then depression hits you like a wet rock, people start calling you HYPOCONDRIAC and DRAMATIC, they tell you “you talk too much about that and it’s not even that much of a big deal”, suddenly you don’t have anyone to talk to because people who were close to you think you’re making it all up for attention, then the weight gain (in my case) comes and it’s what people notice first and they start giving you all sort of rude comments “WOW, GIRL, YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN THE PIZZA”, “ARE YOU PREGNANT?”, “YOU NEED TO EAT HEALTHY AND EXERCISE MORE, GO TO THE GYM, LIFT HEAVY WEIGHT”… And you’re already depressed enough, you start wondering ‘Why do I let these people affect me? Oh no, I won’t let them’, you start building yourself a wall to protect yourself from all the mean stuff people tell you and because you’re too sensitive, you could lash out in public… And slowly the social butterfly becomes the bitter one.

The fact that you can no longer eat whatever you want, contributes big time to not be a social butterfly anymore too, because in order to get better you have to quit gluten and mostly processed meats, and let’s be honest, restaurants very rarely would serve grass-feed hormone-free meats. In countries like mine, there are no vegan restaurants and neither restaurants have gluten free options.

I always tell people, PLEASE DON’T JUDGE US SO HARD, WE ALREADY JUDGE OURSELVES HARD ENOUGH. We are fighting a battle with our minds, our psychique, our immune system. 

  • It’s not that we want to be over emotional, it’s that we have a hormonal imbalance and we cannot have much control of it.
  • It’s not that we don’t want to go out, it’s that people will make all sort of mean comments about us and it will hurt us, besides we don’t have the energy meaning we get exhausted very quickly,
  • It’s not that we don’t exercise enough, It’s that our metabolism has slowed down a lot and we cannot lose weight despite our healthy attemps, too much excercise can also damage us.
  • It’s not that we are weak and clingy, it’s that we sometimes develop mental changes and depression is the most common, if we reach out to you, we trust you and you are important.

This is why by the beggining of May I posted about Borderline Personality Disorder, because somehow we can relate to them at some level, because us HYPOTHYROID PATIENTS also deal with mental health battles.

I AM IN THE PROCESS OF ACCEPTING THAT THIS IS MY LIFE NOW, THAT I HAVE TO BATTLE THIS AND HAVE TO STOP FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF, THAT I HAVE TO HELP MYSELF AND TRY TO GO OUT, GROW MENTALLY AND DON’T LET PEOPLE HURT YOU. AND SO CAN YOU, WE SHOULD TRY TOGETHER.

Continue reading “The social butterfly /”