Jun 18, 2010

Could Your Fatigue, Muddled Brain and Extra Weight be a Thyroid Problem?

Since before I even knew I was pregnant with my second baby, I started to put on weight.  It was around Thanksgiving so I thought nothing of it.  Then I found out I was pregnant and so I still thought nothing of it.  I went to see my Nurse/Midwife.  I was telling her all about how I thought my blood sugar must be too high or too low because I felt weird all the time.  She checked my thyroid.  I'ts part of the standard blood tests they do when you first get pregnant.  My TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was very high.  When your brain think your thyroid isn't producing enough hormone, your pituitary makes TSH to tell the thyroid to work harder.  I started the medication and started to feel worse.  What I and my inexperienced midwife did not know at the time, was that  you have to be slowly introduced to the medication.  I couldn't get out of bed.  It made me feel like I was half dead!  I was not sleepy and I was not fatigued  I just had no life in me.  This is a common feeling for extreme hypo or hyper thyroid sufferers.  Eventually my body adjusted to the medication levels, but it took a long time, until my last trimester.  So,  I gained a lot of weight. I never went over the recommended weight gain but it was more then I had ever weighed before.  After the baby came I suffered from fatigue from previous months of inactivity.  My muscles were so weak I could barely do simple exercises like squats or push-ups.  Then I suffered months of postpartum depression.  My milk supply started to dry up around 5 months. My baby cried all the time with hunger and was not thriving.  So I put him on formula and within days I started to feel better. I was on an "appropriate" level of medication, according to the medical professionals.  The sugar detox diet I started probably didn't help.  (this was under the recommendation of my doctor)  Then I started to gain weight again!  It took me a few months to figure it out this time. I was counting calories, eating right and exercising and still slowly gaining.  Frustrated I went to my doctor and had my thyroid checked and sure enough my medication was too low.  Now I am the long road to loosing that weight again. But at least this time it is coming off and I'm not so tired anymore. Here are the symptoms of hypothyroid you may notice:

Difficulty in swallowing

Cool skin

Excessively dry skin

Low blood pressure

Significant fatigue not related exercise or lack of sleep

Chronic recurrent infections

Constipation

Brittle nails

Migraines

Mood swings of anxiety, panic or phobia

Weight gain

Acne and more

If you have some or all these symptoms (as many as 1 in 3 American adults have a thyroid condition) and your doctor has done a T4 or T3 test that is showing normal, you need to find a doctor that will run a full thyroid panel or at least a TSH test.  Sometimes it is more complicated then just having low T4 or T3.  There are many aspects to how your thyroid functions and effects your body.  It is important to have a full picture of what may be the problem. If you would like to read about thyroid conditions in more depth I would recommend the book, "Thyroid Power" by Richard L. Shames and Karilee Halo Shames.

-Val

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