Just another friendly warning that I am not a doctor or certified medical practitioner of any kind. This is a representation of my personal experience and should not be taken as medical advice. What worked for me might not work for you! But let me know in the comments if you have any ideas on that matter!
Thyroid disorders affects almost 5 percent of Americans each year. Of those, many suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the autoimmune version of the thyroid disorder.
All of this came up in the grocery line at Whole Foods last week, as the check out person shared a story about her sister’s thyroid removal.
Which got me thinking: if I met a stranger who just found out their thyroid is messed up, what would I say? There’s four things:
1. Know Your Medication Options
I wasted 3 years on Levothyroxine, the generic version of Synthroid. I was tired all the time, pretty darn depressed, and having near-constant problems in the bathroom. None of my doctors offered me any other solutions until I started Googling things and advocating for myself.
That’s when I found out about brand-name Synthroid (which has the same active ingredient but not the same inactive ingredients or quality), natural Armour thyroid, and food-based supplements.
After talking with healthcare professionals and reading a lot, I’m now on a combination of Synthroid and Armour (and lifestyle changes) and the difference was night and day. I have never felt better in my life than when I am eating a Paleo AIP diet and using this combination of medicine.
2. Look At Your Food
When you have an autoimmune problem, your body is not functioning properly. The food you eat is not digesting properly, your hormones are not balancing properly, and you may even have food sensitivities you don’t know about.
But what no one seems to tell you is how powerful food can be! It can reset and heal your body over time. And, when coupled with optimized sleep, getting more sun, and greenifying your health products, it can revolutionize how you think and how you feel.
Start reading. Start trying new things. Work up to the Paleo AIP to see if you feel better. If you don’t, it’s just a trial. If you do, you’ll get your life back.
With an autoimmune disorder, I can almost guarantee you’ll get a lot of relief from removing gluten, grains, dairy, and sugar for a few months. (ESPECIALLY if your complaints include achey feet and joints, weird and quick moods, or pooping problems).
3. Get Online and Find Your People
Community is so, so important when you start eating a restricted diet. Without The Paleo Mom and Chris Kresser’s website, I’m not sure I’d have made it this far. I’d be bloated, depressed, and trapped in my lifestyle. I truly think I would have aged to 50 at 30 and gone downhill from there.
If you are having thyroid problems, or just interested in this stuff, I’d be happy to be your people. Leave a message and we’ll get acquainted!
4. If A Family Member Has This Diagnosis…
Finally, it can be really hard to stick with a family member through this. Your thyroid regulates e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Moods, hormones, digestion, weight… even maintaining the right body temperature! So if you know someone struggling with this, they’re probably dealing with a lot of symptoms and fears and they’re not sure what to do.
Fear can change people. It can make you defensive when people offer suggestions, or quiet when you have a lot to say. If this is going on, I recommend saying something like the following, or saying it with your actions:
I know this has got to be scary for you. But the important thing is that we’re going to educate each other about thyroid problems and figure out what will make you feel better.
It doesn’t matter if you bloat 50 pounds or go crazy sometimes — you’ll still be you, and everyone will still love you. Of course, that’s not going to happen because we’re going to make these lifestyle changes together and feel awesome!
Corny, yes. But that’s pretty much what I wanted to hear from everyone when I got sick (and still do ;-)).
For me at least, the heart of a thyroid problem is fear: fear that your body is rebelling from what you’re used to (food, lifestyle, and stress-level wise), fear that you’ll lose control of your mind or thinking power, or fear that there’s nothing you can do to stop the thyroid-inspired deterioration of your body.
Saying nice things and learning along with your family member goes a long way in helping them control and eventually release that fear.
Thyroid problems or questions? I’m not a doctor, but I can link to awesome things BY doctors!