Issue # 233 September 1, 2014
Thyroid and your life!
I know, I know, I’ve seen it hundreds of times on here. Those that are in total denial that thyroid related disease can have any effect on weight gain (or loss for that matter), but here it is.
I had a thyroidectomy in 1994. I developed Graves Disease (an auto immune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland) in 1992 during my pregnancy with my now 21 year old son. They ignored my symptoms and then treated me for PND (post natal depression) for over a year after he was born when I knew damn well I wasn’t depressed (I was murderous! Hyperthyroidism is an over production of thyroid hormones that has a symptom list the length of my hallway). The ONLY benefit of Graves/Hyperthyroidism is that I lost heaps of weight whilst plotting who to kill next. Nothing is without it’s benefits 😉
Right…so fast forward 20 odd years later. In that time I gained 25 kilos in the first 6 months of having the thyroidectomy. I no longer had anything to metabolise what I was eating. After that I got on the diet merry-go-round and would lose some, and gain a whole lot more. We all know the story or we wouldn’t be here…In the end I was close to 50 kilos overweight!
I was treated for anxiety, depression, a myriad of mental health disorders that I somehow kind of just knew I didn’t have, but definitely had the symptoms for. I was never right. In the end I was put on disability because I can’t work. My life has pretty much fallen apart and been to hell and back.
18 months ago I found a doctor who treats symptoms rather than blood work. I also joined a patient support group where I learnt all I needed to know, and was justified in my thinking about a lot of things I’ve had to put up with for 20+ years.
Listen to me. This is really important!!!
If you have had thyroid related problems in the past….hell even if you haven’t! GO GET YOUR THYROID CHECKED/RECHECKED! But don’t just assume the doctor knows what they are talking about. You have to be proactive here. Do your research first. Join the patient support groups who KNOW this stuff, and demand the RIGHT tests…
Those who are still having just TSH levels checked need to slap their doctors silly. At the very minimum, demand you have your Free T3 and Free T4 tested, and if you can afford it, get your reverse T3 done as well. And then get them to run Adrenal function tests. If you have been hypo OR hyper thyroid for years there’s a good chance you will have Adrenal Fatigue. And get a printout of your blood work. Do not just accept if they say you are ‘within range’.
If you have been taking a T4 medication since diagnosis, demand to be trialled on a T3 medication. It is so important! We do NOT all convert T4 to T3 and T3 is the hormone we need. T4 medications are:
and here in Australia Oroxine, Thyroxine, and Eutroxsig or even L-thyroxine.
These do NOT always convert to the necessary T3 that our bodies need.
T3 medication comes in several forms. The original thyroid medication before Endos and doctors were being paid to push the synthetic T4 drugs came from pigs. Porcine. Dessicated pig/porcine thyroid is all natural, and it is the closest thing to human thyroid there is. Also known as NDT (Natural Dessicated Thyroid). If you can afford it, this is the best option as it replaces both T3 AND T4 in the right amounts.
Other T3 options include:
Liothyronine (this can also come in slow release formula)
Compounded T3/T4 from a compounding pharmacy to your specific requirements
The reason I am writing this is because a couple of months ago I started Tertroxin. Here in Australia, Tertroxin is the only PBS T3 available, so instead of paying hundreds, I pay $6. I have lost so much weight since being on it…but that really isn’t even the best thing. I feel like I am finally starting to get my life back. The anxiety, depression, constant need for sleep….all easing. The body tremors, and air hunger not nearly so bad.
I know T3 is not for everyone and I know synthetic T4 has worked for some. I also know that a lot of people assume ‘this is the best I will ever be’ on T4 when it can be so much better.
My advice is simple. Educate yourself. Join patient support groups and find people who KNOW about this. Find a doctor/Endo in your area who is receptive to treating you symptomatically and chucking the TSH test out the window (it’s not even a thyroid test, it’s a pituitary test!). Read, read, read! And empower yourself to get the answers you need.
The thyroid gland affects every single cell in your body. It’s important that it’s optimally treated.
For those who have suffered forever like I have, you have my heart and I hope you find your answers soon