A little story time today. I guess it was around 4 years ago, when, after completing the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis and an unfortunate mountain biking accident, something felt off.
At first, I blamed it all on the accident and my knee injury. And the heat in the peak of the summer didn’t help either. Deep within though, I knew it was different. I could feel that something has changed, but I just didn’t know what it was exactly.
Over the course of 3 months, while I slowly gained back my mobility and could start walking without crutches again, I could also see the pounds creeping back up. I was so terrified to gain it all back, I was mortified. I cut out everything and quite literally lived from salads and veggies and water, but know now that wasn’t the best decision either. Still, nothing helped and over the course of several months, I gained a whopping 20kg (around 40lbs).
I went to see all the doctors and specialists, even Austria’s so-called hormone expert. He didn’t even look at my blood work. He just looked at me and said that I should stop eating so much if the weight gain bothers me. Oh, really? So, I did the research myself. At this time, I suffered from extreme hair loss, my skin looked puffy and abnormally sweaty and my joints ached so much. I couldn’t sleep and if I did, it never felt enough. My anxiety hit an all-time high and I was close to and did cry a lot. I felt depressed and everything scared me. Needless to say that I didn’t go out and didn’t want to see anyone. I felt like going crazy.
A simple blood test my gynecologist suggested, showed the real problem. My thyroid antibodies went rogue and already did cause damage to one part of that butterfly-shaped gland. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I am now on medication and more aware of my hormonal health and I know that everyone, especially women have to be aware of those early off-signs.
So here’s what you should know:
What are the thyroid’s functions in your body?
The thyroid is a small gland sitting in yor neck and it’s job is to produce hormones that regulate various processes in your body, including your heart rate and your metabolism. It works with a messenger sent from your brain’s pituitary gland, called thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH. Problems occur when the thyroid gets too much or not enough TSH. That’s when you feel something is off.
What is Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is a form of hypothyroidism, which means that your thyroid is underactive and isn’t responding to the TSH because your body has created antibodies that are now attacking the thyroid. It’s like your body thinks the thyroid is an intruder and wants to fight it. Fun, I know.
What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s?
The symptoms vary from person to person which makes it so hard to diagnose. Not every doctor thinks of a simple TSH blood test right away. Be aware of common symptoms like massive weight gain, fatigue, depression, joint pain, hair loss, constipation or diarrhea, heavy periods or no periods, for instance. Also, Hashimoto’s is more common in women than men. We’ve really lucked out here, ladies!
What is the best treatment?
That’s where the real fun begins. The ideal treatment plan varies from doctor to doctor. There are many thyroid medications outthere which basically means you have to take a pill every morning for the rest of your life to give your body the thyroid hormone it cannot produce itself anymore and keep the antibodies at bay. To me that was never the long-term approach though. I am Thyrex right now, which is a very well-known thyroid medication. It works thanks to its substance called Levothyroxin. There are similar ones that basically all work the same way.
My life with Hashimoto’s so far
Right now, I feel balanced but after taking Thyrex for a few years, it was off again last year right around my move and I blamed all the symptoms on the stressful moving experience and didn’t think of my thyroid. I didn’t lose the weight I gained, yet, but I am on a good path.
Personally, I don’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life. There is a very realistic chance to be able to wean off Thyrex and regulate your thyroid and TSH levels through your diet and lifestyle. I read a lot about going Paleo, The Autoimmune Protocol and discovered Dr. Will Cole along the process. He’s a functional medicine practitioner who works with clients worldwide and also encourages people in knowing that there is a way beyond medication and a real chance for a healthy, happy, pain-free and therefore fuss-free life.
I guess, I am on a good way right now and just want to raise awareness! An early diagnose can save you really so much pain and problems down the road. Trust me on this! Also, I am happy that affected celebrities like Zoe Saldana and Gigi Hadid use their platform to inform other women as well. It’s such an important topic to address!
Many women are treated for depression and infertility, when in fact it’s only a thyroid problem. Go check your TSH levels now!
Feel free to sound off in the comments with any question you might have. I am not a doctor but I know may way around pretty anything and everything thyroid-related!
(Image by ezgipolat)