Hypothyroid Symptoms

Hypothyroid Symptoms

Hypothyroid Symptoms Overview

First of all, there are many hypothyroid symptoms which can go unrecognized by doctors and patients. It’s important to understand that just because a patient has a normal TSH level, they can still have hypothyroidism. Many patients, including myself, had hypothyroidism even with normal TSH levels. Since TSH can be an unreliable measure of hypothyroidism, its important to look at hypothyroid symptoms.

A good doctor will look at hypothyroid symptoms as well as certain lab tests to diagnose hypothyroidism. Once a patient is on the right treatment, their hypothyroid symptoms should improve considerably.

Here is a list of hypothyroid symptoms collected from patients and advocates 1 2. Hypothyroid symptoms can vary from person to person, therefore not all symptoms apply to everyone. If you have many of the symptoms, especially low body temperature, consult a good doctor.

Body Temperature and Metabolism

  • Low body temperature (below 98.2-98.4 at 3pm)
  • Easily gain weight
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Difficulty tolerating cold
  • Feeling cold when others are comfortable
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Raised body temperature

Energy, Motivation, and Exercise

  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling tired even after a full nights sleep
  • Sleeping more than average
  • Less stamina than others
  • Less energy than others
  • Nodding off easily
  • Requires naps in the afternoon
  • Exhaustion
  • Difficulty working a full-time job
  • Inability to stand on feet for long periods
  • Complete lack of motivation
  • Long recovery period after any activity
  • Inability to hold children for very long
  • Arms feeling like dead weights after activity
  • Bizarre and debilitating reaction to exercise
  • Slowing to a snail’s pace when walking up slight grade

Mood and Mental Focus

  • Depression
  • Feeling uninterested in life
  • Seasonal blues
  • Memory loss
  • Fuzzy-thinking
  • Difficulty following conversations
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Less ability to cope in relationships
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Intolerance of others

Digestion

  • Candida
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Inability to eat in the mornings
  • No appetite
  • Constipation
  • Colitis
  • Extreme hunger, especially at nighttime
  • Nausea

Hair, Skin and Nails

  • Irregular periods
  • Dry skin, brittle nails
  • Brittle hair, itchy scalp
  • Hair loss, thinning hair
  • Bumps on legs
  • Breakout on chest and arms
  • Hives
  • Thinning outer eyebrows, or no eyebrows
  • No hair growth, breaks faster than it grows
  • Broken/peeling fingernails

Hormones

  • PMS moodiness, bloating, heavy periods, and cramps
  • Irregular periods
  • Reduced sex drive or no sex drive
  • Fertility issues including lack of ovulation
  • Inability to get pregnant
  • Miscarriages

Endocrine

  • Puffy face, around eyes, neck, wrists and/or hands
  • Hoarse voice
  • Bruising or blood clotting problems
  • Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol
  • Heightened risk of heart disease
  • Swollen lymph glands

Other

  • Asthma or allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
  • Persistent cold sores
  • Sleep apnea which can be associated with low cortisol
  • Air hunger which feels like you can’t get enough air
  • Osteoporosis
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Handwriting nearly illegible
  • Internal itching in ears
  • Ringing in ears
  • Fluid retention
  • Swollen legs that prevent walking
  • Low blood pressure issues
  • High blood pressure issues
  • Varicose veins
  • Tightness in throat
  • Plantar fascitis
  • Cold gluteus maximus

 

Notes:

  1. http://www.womentowomen.com/thyroid-health/hypothyroid-symptoms-2/
  2. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/long-and-pathetic/
Miss LizzyHypothyroid Symptoms
Can I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?

Can I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?

Can I have Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH Lab Results?

Absolutely. Many patients report having hypothyroidism with normal TSH. It’s important to understand, TSH is actually a test of the pituitary gland, not the thyroid. 1 Even though many doctors have used TSH to measure thyroid function over the last 40 years, this does not mean it is accurate. Consequently, patients can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH. This was the case for me, and many others. As a result, I do not use TSH as the measure of thyroid function.

How Common is Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism?

In case you’re wondering just how common it is to have an undiagnosed thyroid condition here are some interesting statistics:

  • According to as many as 13 million Americans — or 10% of the population — have an undiagnosed or under-treated thyroid disorder due to the inaccuracy of the TSH test.   2
  • Another study says over 20 million (1 in 20) Americans have a thyroid disorder 3
  • Hypothyroidism affects women more than men.
  • 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder 4

You’ve probably seen friends who are hypothyroid and didn’t realize it. They are the ones who are tired all the time. They can’t lose weight no matter what they do. Perhaps you’ve heard them complain about being cold, especially cold hands and feet. Their face and neck may look puffy. When yu talk with them, they may seem foggy, slow or disconnected. If you know someone who fits this description, they might have undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Give your friend lots of love and compassion. Tell them there is help. If that friend sounds like you, be kind to yourself and know there is hope for getting treatment. First they must understand that even if their doctor told them they were fine, they can still have hypothyroidism with normal TSH.

Why is the TSH test unreliable?

For myself and many others, the TSH test was not reliable. Consequently, I was not treated properly for hypothyroidism and lived a miserable existence. Read my story. Before relying on the TSH test, consider the following:

  • Dr. Utiger, the creator of the TSH test said that body temperature is a better test of thyroid function than TSH.  5
  • During the day TSH levels can vary as much as 200%
  • Normal ranges of TSH are disputed
  • During pregnancy a woman’s pituitary gland can be damaged, a condition known as Sheehan’s Syndrome. When this damage happens the result is that the TSH looks normal even though the patient has hypothyroidism.
  • TSH measures hormone levels in the blood, rather than tissue levels 6
  • Some patients cannot convert inactive T4 to active T3. TSH does not measure this conversion issue. 7
  • TSH does not measure cellular receptor hormone resistance. 8
  • Adrenal fatigue is not measure by TSH. 9
  • Paradoxically, a low TSH may occur with a low thyroid function. 10

I have sadly come across very few doctors who can accept the fact that a normal or low TSH may still occur with a low thyroid… as a result of the (TSH) test, thousands are denied treatment.
– Barry Durrant Peatfield


What is the Consequences of Inaccurate TSH?

People are misdiagnosed for hypothyroidism based on what doctor’s believe to be normal TSH result. Consequently these patients go untreated, continuing to experience a myriad of life hindering hypothyroid symptoms. Patients like myself feel emotionally hopeless because we know something is wrong, yet we cannot get proper treatment. Some patients are told by doctors “it’s all in your head” and “you just need therapy” when in fact hypothyroidism with a normal TSH is real and treatable. Your health matters, you don’t have to suffer with symptoms of hypothyroidism.

How Can I Get Treatment for Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH?

If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism but your doctor says your TSH is fine, have hope! You could still have hypothyroidism with a normal TSH.

First, I would ask my doctor to run a wider range of thyroid tests including:

Next I would ask my doctor to treat me based on hypothyroid symptoms and body temperature. It’s important to note, if a doctor will not run these tests or won’t acknowledge symptoms, I would find another doctor immediately. I would not waste any emotions trying to educate a doctor who has a different viewpoint.

Why is Body Temperature Important for Hypothyroidism?

In addition to the above lab tests, body temperature has long been a helpful measure of thyroid function. According to Dr. Broda Barnes (1), measuring basal body temperature was the most accurate testing method. Dr. Barnes explains that a temperature below 97.8 indicates Hypothyroidism, a temperature above 98.6 indicates hyperthyroidism. In addition, body temperature test can be used to monitor the treatment of hypothyroidism. As low temperatures rise up to 98.2, hypothyroid symptoms will disappear.

According to Dr. Barnes, more information can often be brought to the physician with an ordinary thermometer than with all other thyroid test combined. Read more about how to measure and track body temperature. In my experience, tracking body temperature is essential for understanding thyroid health and medicine. Learn more about body temperature and what it can mean.

With all this information, its easy to see how patients can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH, and how to find treatment.

Miss LizzyCan I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?
Lab Tests for Hypothyroidism

Lab Tests for Hypothyroidism

It’s important patients order the right lab tests for hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, and related conditions, otherwise, patients may go untreated. While TSH test has been used as the main test for hypothyroidism over recent years, it is not a reliable measure of thyroid function. Below is a list of lab tests recommended by patients and doctors.  1 2 3 4.

PRIMARY LAB TESTS for HYPOTHYROIDISM

The following is a primary list of lab tests for hypothyroidism run by my doctor. These lab tests provided a baseline for diagnosing hypothyroidism and related conditions. In addition, these primary lab tests are the ones we run regularly to monitor my thyroid health. To help monitor and assess treatment, I find it helpful to track lab test results, body temperature and medicine doses.

FREE T3 Lab Test

Free T3 is the workhorse of all thyroid hormones, measuring the free, unbound levels of triiodothyronine in the bloodstream. It’s important to remember that Free T3 is considered more accurate than Total T3. In hyperthyroidism Free T3 is typically elevated. In hypothyroidism, Free T3 is typically low. 5

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness 6, at the optimal dose of natural desiccated thyroid, with no lingering hypothyroid symptoms and with healthy adrenals, patients tend to have a Free T3 at the top of the range.

On natural desiccated thyroid (lower than 3 grains), with the Free T3 high or above range, and continuing hypothyroid symptoms or even hyper-like symptoms, patient could have adrenal fatigue.

For patients who are not on thyroid medication, a lab test showing high Free T3 could mean they have Hashimoto’s disease or Graves disease. Whereas for patients who are not on thyroid medicine and have hypothyroid symptoms, a lab test showing Free T3 mid to lower range could mean hypothyroidism.

Free T3 Results by Miss Lizzy Hypothyroid Advocate

FREE T4 Lab Test

Free T4 measures the available and unbound T4 hormone. For patients on natural desiccated thyroid medicine with healthy adrenals, a normal lab test will show Free T4 at mid to high range, and Free T3 at the top end of the range. Hypothyroidism generally occurs with Free T4 in the low range, and Free T3 at mid-range or slightly high.

Reverse T3 (RT3) Test

The RT3 test must be done at the same time as the Free T3 in order to calculate the ratio with the results and measurements. According to Thyroid-Rt3.com, divide Free T3 by reverse T3. The amount should be 20 or greater. If it’s less then that you have a RT3 problem. If it’s vastly smaller or larger you may have to move the decimal point to get the units right.

FT3 should be twenty of more times higher than RT3.  (Stop the Thyroid Madness book  page 162-163 for more.)

24-Hour Cortisol Saliva Test for Adrenal Fatigue

This lab test is done at home to evaluate cortisol levels during a 24 hour period. This test helps patients determine if they have adrenal fatigue. In addition the lab test will show the times during the day when adrenal function is too high or too low. Patients with healthy adrenal function will have the follow results:

  • 8 am will be at the very top of the range
  • 11 am-noon in the upper quarter of the range
  • 4-5 pm will be mid-range
  • 11 pm to midnight at the very bottom of the range

It’s important to remember, the rise and fall pattern of cortisol reflects the a person’s energy throughout the day. In simple terms, we have more energy in the morning, yet as the day goes on our energy tappers down slowly until bedtime. When the cortisol pattern is off, it greatly affects our energy and sleep patterns in the following ways:

  • Low morning cortisol may make it hard to wake up, especially before 9 AM.
  • Low afternoon cortisol may cause patients to require a nap.
  • High bedtime cortisol may make it hard to fall asleep.

Two weeks prior to the 24 hour saliva test, make sure to stop all adrenal supplements.

Order the 24 Hour Saliva Test from TrueHealth Labs

Antithyroglobulin Test

According to About.com, testing for thyroglobulin antibodies (also called antithyroglobulin antibodies) is common. If you have already been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, having high levels of thyroglobulin antibodies means that you are more likely to eventually become hypothyroid. Thyroglobulin antibodies are positive in about 60 percent of Hashimoto’s patients and 30 percent of Graves’ patients.

B-12 Test

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness, B12 can can be low in hypothyroid patients due to low stomach acid. The normal range for B12 is 200-900 pg/ml. Though Stop the Thyroid Madnesss indicates a healthy range is on the high end.

Ferritin 

The ferritin test measures the level of ferritin, the major iron storage protein in the body 7. The results may vary slightly among laboratories, but in general, normal ferritin levels are 12-300 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) for males and 12-150 ng/mL for females.

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness, if your Ferritin result is less than 50, your levels are too low and can be causing problems…as well as leading you into anemia as you fall lower, which will give you symptoms similar to hypo, such as depression, achiness, fatigue. Optimally, females shoot for 70-90 at the minimum and men 100-130.

Elevated Ferritin, can indicate inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, adult Still’s disease, type 2 diabetes, leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, iron poisoning or frequent blood transfusions.

For at least 12 hours before testing and as much as 5 days  before testing, stop taking iron supplements for best accuracy.

Iodine Loading Test

While iodine is an important nutrient for thyroid and whole body health, iodine deficiency is a primary cause of Hypothyroidism. Learn more about iodine. In The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow, the 24 Hour Iodine Loading test is recommended for assessing iodine sufficiency.

People undergoing the test are deemed to be deficient in iodine if they excrete less than 90% of the iodine loading dose. 8

Sodium Test 

The sodium test is often part of the Basic Metabolic Panel. The right amount of sodium is important for health. Blood sodium can also be part of an electrolyte panel.

Normal results for this test are 135-145 mEq/L 9, however Stop the Thyroid Madness noted that healthy folks report 142 and even slightly higher.

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO) Test

The TPA antibodies work against thyroid peroxidase and the enzyme that plays a part on the conversion of T4 to T3. TPO antibodies can indicate Hashimoto’s disease. In 95% of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis TPO antibodies are detectable. While in 50-80% of patients with Graves disease TPO antibodies are detectable. 10

TSH Lab Test

TSH is a measure of the pituitary function, therefore it is not an accurate measure of thyroid function. Learn more about why TSH can be unreliable. Here is how TSH can be used in thyroid treatment to:

  • Help determine hypothyroidism only if it’s in the high range.
  • Understand the relative range for you.
  • Diagnose a pituitary problem, not a thyroid problem. Especially if low TSH is accompanied by low Free T3.

Vitamin D test

As explained by Dr. Mercola 11, there are two vitamin D test. The 1,25(OH)D and the 25(OH)D. The correct test is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The lab test ranges for 25-hydroxyvitamin D are:

  • Deficient > 50 ng/ml
  • Optimal 50-70 ng/ml
  • Treating Cancer and Heart Disease 70-100 ng/ml
  • Excess > 100ng/ml

Low vitamin D can contribute to thyroid problems 12.

Serum Iron

According to Healthline 13, the serum iron test measures how much iron is in your serum. This test can help your doctor figure out if there is a problem with your iron levels (high or low) resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, and moodiness.  Though its a less common test.

Stop the Thyroid Madness suggests a value of about 110 for women, and the 130′s for men, based on what they’ve seen on hundreds of lab results. 14

TIBC (Total iron binding capacity) test: measures whether a protein called transferrin, produced by the liver, has the ability to carry iron in the blood. Used to determine anemia or low body iron. If your result is high, and in the absence of chronic disease, you may be anemic. With healthy amounts of iron, this test will be low in the range—about 1/4th above the bottom number.

SECONDARY LAB TESTS

Aldosterone

Aldosterone is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands to help maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes in our bodies through the kidneys. In addition, aldosterone affects blood pressure, as well as regulating salt (sodium) and potassium in the blood. If aldosterone production is not functioning properly, there can be serious consequences to the heart, kidneys and electrolyte balance. 15

According to GlobalRph.com 16, the normal range for Aldosterone is 4-31 ng/gl.  Low range results indicate adrenal insufficiency.

Stop the Thyroid Madness suggests for women to test aldosterone in the first week of the menstrual cycle, or up until the beginning of the second week. This phase of the menstrual cycle is when progesterone is at its lowest. By the end of the second week in the menstrual cycle progesterone begins to rise. Progesterone can falsely drive up aldosterone.

DHEA test

DHEA is a natural steroid and precursor hormone produced by the adrenals. The truth is that — for the women who need it — adrenal support with DHEA supplementation can make a big difference. I’ve seen it help patients get going again when they feel like they’ve hit rock bottom. But it’s never as simple as just popping a pill. For me personally, supplementing with DHEA was not the right fit but for others it can be effective. On WomentoWomen they like to see estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA in the upper quadrant of normal.

Folate Test 

Folate or Folic acid, is a b-vitamin which can be low in hypothyroid patients. The normal reference range of folic acid in the blood is 2.7 to 17.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Low levels of folic acid may indicate anemia, malabsorption, or malnutrition. 17

RBC Magnesium Test

While a lack of magnesium in normal diets can cause low thyroid function, it can be solved with proper diet and supplements. Magnesium deficiencies are common, especially in well-developed countries where processed foods are a part of the diet. Seven out of every ten Americans is likely to have a magnesium deficiency, causing many problems including underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). 18

Signs of magnesium deficiency include weakness, extreme thirst, muscle cramps, muscle twitching, poor memory, confusion, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety and more. 19

For RBC Magnesium results, Stop the Thyroid Mandess suggests a good range is mid to high. 20

Renin Lab Test

Aldosterone and renin tests are used to evaluate if adrenal glands are producing appropriate amounts of aldosterone. The test is also used to distinguish between the potential causes of excess or deficiency. Aldosterone may be measured in the blood or in a 24-hour urine sample, which measures the amount of aldosterone removed in the urine in a day. Renin is always measured in blood.

Low renin can mean primary aldosteronism (Conn syndrome) or Cushing Syndrome. While high renin can mean Secondary aldosteronism, or Adrenal insufficiency.  21

Zinc

The plasma zinc test can establish zing deficiency. While the plasma zinc test is good at detecting major zinc deficiency, it is not as good at catching minor zinc deficiency. When this happens, a patient can have “normal” zinc results but still be zinc deficient. The optimal range for plasma zinc is 3.8 – 22.9µmol/L ( 90-150µg/dl).

ACTH STIM

The ACTH Stimulation test assesses the function of adrenal glands stress response to ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). This test is used to diagnose primary or second adrenal sufficiency, Addison’s disease, and related conditions. 22

For details about range, see the simple diagnostic chart.

T7, Total T3, Total T4, Uptake, or any other thyroid labs

These tests are unnecessary 23

When talking with a good doctor, it’s important to know which lab tests for hypothyroidism and track the results over time!

Notes:

  1. StoptheThyroidMadness.com
  2. The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow
  3. Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James L. Wilson
  4. Mary Shomom at About.com
  5. http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/bloodtests.htm
  6. StoptheThyroidMadness.com
  7. http://www.medicinenet.com/ferritin_blood_test/article.htm
  8. http://www.townsendletter.com/Jan2013/iodine0113.html
  9. http://www.healthline.com/health/sodium-blood#Results
  10. http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/bloodtests.htm
  11. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/02/23/vitamin-d-deficiency-part-one.aspx
  12. http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/low_vitamin_d_contributes_to_thyroid_problems/
  13. http://www.healthline.com/health/serum-iron#Overview
  14. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
  15. http://pcos.about.com/od/normalmenstrualcycle/f/aldosterone.htm
  16.  http://www.healthline.com/health/aldosterone#Overview
  17. http://www.healthline.com/health/folic-acid-test#UnderstandingtheResults
  18. http://www.progressivehealth.com/thyroid-magnesium.htm
  19. http://naturalsociety.com/16-magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-signs-low-levels/
  20. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
  21. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/aldosterone/tab/test/
  22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTH_stimulation_test
  23. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
Miss LizzyLab Tests for Hypothyroidism
Before and After Hypothyroidism Treatment

Before and After Hypothyroidism Treatment

Do you ever wonder what patients look like before and after hypothyroidism treatment? Here are historic photos of patients who were treated for hypothyroidism with natural desiccated thyroid medicine (NDT). 1 In the before photos, notice the typical hypothyroid symptoms including puffy face and eyes, swollen neck area, dull complexion, dullness in the eyes, hooded eyelids, thinning eyebrows, under eye bags. In addition, notice the dry, dull and thinning hair which is common with hypothyroidism.

14 Year Old Girl, Before and After Hypothyroidism Treatment

Before and After Hypothyroidism Treatment with NDT - Miss Lizzy Hypothyroid Advocate

This historical before photo shows a 14-year-old  girl with hypothyroid. Her symptoms appear to be puffiness around the eyes, thickened lips, depressed root of the nose (saddle nose), as well as straight, dry, coarse hair. The second photo was taken after only 6 months of treatment with natural desiccated thyroid. Notice the improvements in her appearance and hypothyroid symptoms after treatment with natural desiccated thyroid:

  • Elevated bridge of the nose
  • Brighter eyes
  • Normal looking lips
  • Glossy, curly hair
  • In addition, her constipation had resolved and her appetite improved

Adult Woman, Before and After Treatment

Before and After Hypothyroidism Treatment with NDT - Miss Lizzy Hypothyroid Advocate

This photo shows before and after hypothyroidism treatment of an adult woman. She has the characteristic puffiness that often accompanies hypothyroidism, as well as dull looking complexion, dry looking her, under eye bags. Notice the improvements in her appearance and hypothyroid symptoms after treatment with natural desiccated thyroid:

  • The bags under her eyes have diminished
  • Her hair texture has markedly improved, becoming shiny
  • The swelling around her neck and face have reduced
  • Her skin appears more vibrant and youthful


Adult Male, Before and After Treatment

This historical photo shows an adult man before and after hypothyroidism treatment. He is described to have the obese form of hypothyroidism. In the before photo he has the characteristic symptoms of hypothyroidism including swollen neck and face. In the before photo his eyelids appear hooded and closed. His hair appear thinning and dry. In addition his eyes appear to have a dull, foggy look, which patients describe as brain fog. Notice the improvements in his appearance and hypothyroid symptoms after treatment with natural desiccated thyroid:

  • The neck and face swelling have greatly diminished
  • His hair texture appears more full and healthier
  • His skin appears more firm and youthful


Adult Male, Before and After Treatment

Finally, the last historical photo of an adult man before and after hypothyroidism treatment. He appears to have the puffiness (myxedema) which is characteristic of hypothyroidism. Notice the improvements in his appearance and hypothyroid symptoms after treatment with natural desiccated thyroid:

  • The swelling around his neck, jowls and face have greatly reduced
  • Even the swelling on the back of his neck appears greatly improved
  • The swelling in his cheek area appears greatly reduced
  • His skin seems more youthful, especially around his eyes and forehead
  • His hair appears to be growing in thicker and fuller

Clearly these photos of before and after hypothyroidism treatment show how patients can experience significant improvements when they are on the right medicine. In this case, the medicine was natural desiccated thyroid. However each person is different, therefore treatment may vary.

Notes:

  1. http://www.jcrows.com
Miss LizzyBefore and After Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hypothyroidism Ruined My Hair

Hypothyroidism Ruined My Hair


It’s been over a year since my last hair update and I am so happy to report that my hair is doing much better. During the Hair Disaster of 2010, I was taking Hydrocortisone and DHEA which I believe ruined my hair. Within six months I had lost half my hair volume and what remained broke almost to the root. I was devastated, I had no idea how important hair was to me until this experience. Turns out, lots of us hypothyroid people have hair problems.

hair_saga
It’s taken a long time to see my hair length and volume return because hair grows about 1/2″ a month. The hair volume and thickness is coming back, and the damage and breakage from the DHEA has grow out and been trimmed off. It was a scary journey, as I am sure you can imagine. Heartbreaking, in fact.

From 2012 to 2015 my hair grew in healthy but it was still thin, fine and wouldn’t grow past my shoulders. The big change came in 2015 when I switch thyroid medicine. Up until the winter of 2015 I had been taking natural desiccated thyroid medicine but over time I had noticed my hypothyroid symptoms creeping back in. This lead me to make a big change, switching to T3 only medicine.

Within a week of switching to T3 medicine I started to feel more energy and the hypothyroid symptoms improve. Two months after switching to T3 medicine I noticed more hair growth at my scalp. When I ran my fingers through my hair I could feel the increasing hair volume.

Two years later in 2017, my hair is once again long, thick and full. It isn’t dry, brittle and thin like it had been when taking the other medicines from 2010-2012.

Whether the issue was not converting the T4  to T3 in the natural desiccated thyroid medicine, low iron, or lingering adrenal issues, I can so for certain that T3 medicine works far better for me natural desiccated thyroid medicine.

 

Miss LizzyHypothyroidism Ruined My Hair
Conditioner instead of Shampoo for Fragile Hair

Conditioner instead of Shampoo for Fragile Hair

After the Great Hair Disaster of 2010, I learned a great tip to care for fragile hair. The method is “Conditioner Only” or CO, which means instead of shampoo just use conditioner!

Shampoos can make hair more dry and brittle because it prevents the hair’s natural sebum from doing its job.

Conditioners have a cleansing agent like shampoo but they can be gentler on hair. Dry brittle hair is common with hypothyroidism so we need gently methods for our hair.

Choosing the Right Hair Conditioner 

Its important to use a Silicone-free conditioner because silicone flattens the hair and will end up greasy. Look for conditioners free of Parabens, Silicone, Dimethicone. Read the label to make sure they aren’t hidden in the ingredients.

Inexpensive conditioners can work just as well as expensive ones. My favorites are Garnier Pure Clean because I can get a huge bottle at Target for about $6, Nature’s Gate line from Whole Foods, and Suave and Alberto VO5.

How to Wash Hair with the Conditioner Only Method 

This method is so simple, it saves time and money, and for me the results were great.

  • Shower as usual, wet hair thoroughly using warm or hot water.
  • Use a good amount of condition (like 1/4 cup) and condition the roots liberally.
  • Massage your scalp like you would with shampoo. There will be no lather which might takes some adjusting but trust me it works.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • For added shine and silkiness use a tiny tiny bit of Moroccan Oil on damp hair ends.
  • Style as usual.

Tips:

  • It can take 3-4 washes before the natural hair oil start to work on their own again.
  • Every few months, using a gentle shampoo is okay.
  • If hair starts to get a little dull, use a silicone-free clarifying conditioner like Suave every so often.

Several friends have converted to conditioning only and really like it. If you try it, I would love to hear what you think and what conditioner works for you.

During the time that my hair was damaged, dry, brittle and fragile due to thyroid treatment, the conditioner only method helped my hair to feel soft, get stronger and eventually grow out again.

Miss LizzyConditioner instead of Shampoo for Fragile Hair
Supplements to Strengthen Dry, Brittle, Thin Hair

Supplements to Strengthen Dry, Brittle, Thin Hair

In May 2010, using myself as the usual experiment-test-dummy, I took DHEA to see if it would help with my thyroid and adrenal issues. Within three weeks I lost over half my hair volume, and what hair I had left broke almost to the root. Devastating? Yes!

At the time I had been taking Natural Desiccated Thyroid medicine, Hydrocortisone for adrenal fatigue which was going pretty well. But then added DHEA. The combination was a hair disaster.

Until it was gone, I had no idea how much I loved and identified with my long hair. For a year now I’ve been sulking and depressed, enviously watching women with long hair.

For a while I wore hair extensions which was great and helped me through the early trauma of losing almost 8 inches of hair. Finally I’ve recovered, and now embracing the short hair while it grows out.

That’s the backstory, now the goods news! I’ve done tons of research on how to grow and maintain healthy hair, which I am excited to share. Even if you have strong hair, you might know someone who has gone through a similar tragedy. If you have hair care tips, please share! In my research, it seems that growing strong and healthy hair has four key parts:

Hair Growth: Iron Supplements

My first concern was speed of hair growth. Every morning in the mirror, I desperately willed my hair to grow. Apparently healthy hair grows about 1/2 inch a month. So 6 inches a year! But for us hypothyroid people, I read we often have low iron which means hair grows slower! My iron was very low, so I made sure to take my iron (25 mg/day). From what I’ve read it takes about 3-4 months to get iron levels up so it was important for me to be diligent.

Hair Strength: Zinc

My hair had inches of terrible split ends. So I had to work on strengthening my hair. I read that Zinc was good for hair strength (also supposedly good for thyroid) so I added Zinc 10mg a day. My hair is no longer splitting, and the new growth is getting stronger. Thumbs up for the zinc. Plus I noticed an added bonus of less acne, woot!

Hair Shine: Omega 6

I read that Evening Primrose Oil Omega-6 was good for strength and shine, so I’ve been taking Evening Primrose Oil 1350mg 2/day for a year. It’s a little hard to tell if this made a difference with my hair, but it seems like it hasn’t hurt. And the Evening Primrose Oil definitely helped with PMS and mood swings! That was a huge bonus.

Stress: Vitamin C

When the body is in stress it draws from nutrients from the hair, skin and nails first. My hair tragedy was a clue that my body was not happy with me last year, and very stressed. In Adrenal Fatigue, James Wilson writes about the importance of Vitamin C to help the adrenals deal with stress.

Recently on Janie’s Blog on Stop the Thyroid Madness, she feels she never had adrenal fatigue because she has always taken lots of Vitamin C. This was great info! For the past year, I upped my dose of Vitamin C to 2k units a day with 1k units of bioflavinoid (for absorption). Spread into four doses a day of 500mg. When I take my Vitamin C, I feel really solid all around. The bonus for taking higher doses of Vitamin C, I wasn’t sick at all this year.

PS – Thanks to the ladies at the Yahoo Grow Hair Forum who saved me many times.

 

Miss LizzySupplements to Strengthen Dry, Brittle, Thin Hair

Latest Update on My Medicine for Hypothyroid and Adrenal Fatigue

Hi my friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my medicine, and it’s been an interesting year! So I wanted to share what I’ve learned. First, I want to say wow – it’s all a big experiment! And that’s tough sometimes because I want the answer right now. But the only way to learn is try, test, observe and somehow be patient along the way. So my dear friends, keep at it and you will find answers too. Here is my medicine and general update…

Update on Thyroid Medicine

For a year I have been on the Thyroid compound prescription I special order from Collier’s Pharmacy (details below) in Arkansas. I continue to love it. On the new compound medicine, I take 180mgs day which seems like the right dose for me. On Naturthroid, when I raised above 130mgs I had super freaky hyper and hypo symtpoms. Yet on the compound I can take 180mg beautifully. Weird, isn’t it? So I am super happy to report feeling great now though on the compound. We affectionality call it “The Miss Lizzy Compound” — you can ask for it by name at Colliers. Neat.

Update on Hydrocortisone

The other super big change…I weaned off Hydrocortisone! This was a huge step. I started Hydrocortisone three years ago to help with low cortisol and adrenal fatigue. And Hydrocortisone definitely helped me. But I was always a little worried that the Hydrocortisone was causing some weight gain, and perhaps had something to do with hair loss, though I wasn’t totally sure. This summer I decided it was time to try weaning off Hydrocortisone. Here is what I did:

  1. On STTM Janie felt she had avoided adrenal fatigue because of the high doses of Vitamin C she took daily. So I increased my Vitamin C to 2k mgs a day along with 1k mg Bioflavonoid (per Dr. Wilson’s suggestion). And btw — chewable vitamins really make it much more fun!
  2. I started the process of decreasing my Hydrocortisone by 2.5mgs a week.
  3. If I was stressed during the process, I would hold the dose, and then continue when I felt ready. The idea was to take care of my body and not cause shock.
  4. If had I felt any adrenal fatigue symptoms, I would have stayed on the Hydrocortisone but luckily it seems my adrenals are really well healed now! YAY!!!

It took about 3 months to fully wean off the Hydrocortisone (long time, I know!). And I happy to report, I feel great. It was definitely worth it for me to be on the Hydrocortisone but it was time to try without. It’s been two full months, and so far I seem to be keeping my weight down with greater easily. Over the coming months I will be observing weight gain/loss and hair volume/regrowth to see if the Hydrocortisone might have be related. And of course I will share what I learn!

xxoo

Lizzy

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Here is the info for Collier’s. The pharmacist Rodney at Colliers is SO awesome. He gave us his direct phone extension for ordering the compound (479) 935-4336. Ask for “The Miss Lizzy Compound” and he will hook you up. (A doctor’s prescription is of course needed and he can explain what to do.)

Miss LizzyLatest Update on My Medicine for Hypothyroid and Adrenal Fatigue

Get a Buddy!

Hi friends,

I have an idea to share. I think it’s big.

Here is what I’ve noticed… all this hypothyroid stuff is overwhelming! There is so much to learn. We have low energy, difficulty coping with everyday tasks and have foggy thinking. So simple things for other people, like calling a doctor, ordering labs, learning about medicine, etc… is totally overwhelming for us hypothyroid peeps. How can we possibly find our way to treatment alone?

That’s when I realized: We need to Get a Buddy to help us through! It’s one small thing that will hopefully change everything.

Here’s what to do. Find someone you trust (who won’t nag or judge) and ask them to be your support buddy. You might fear it’s an imposition but it’s really not. Helping you on the road to good health helps everyone in your world. So a good friend, mom, sister or coworker may be happy to step up.

Ask your buddy to read about hypothyroidism (like my worksheet and symptoms list, or Stop the Thyroid Madness). Send them this blog post. They can do the simple tasks that may be overwhelming for you like:

 

 

Do you like this idea? Are you feeling a huge sigh of relief? I hope so! So find a buddy today and be okay with asking for help. Trust me, we all need it! And when you feel better you can help someone else.

xxxo

Lizzy

 

Miss LizzyGet a Buddy!

Losing Hope with Naturthroid, Venturing into Compounds and Canada

Hi Friends!

It’s been ages since my last post. While I’ve been a totally bad blogger, to my credit I’ve collected lots of good info to share. The big news: I’ve been experimenting with desiccated thyroid medicine! After the Armour reformulation fiasco two years ago, and then the Naturthroid reformulation about six months ago I’ve gone renegade and decided I needed to find stable medicine.

I took the advice of many of the great ladies on the Stop the Thyroid Madness and the Yahoo Thyroid Group and decided to try having my medicine made by a compound pharmacy. Why go with a compound? Well, it’s all in the filler.  When Armour and Naturthroid reformulated, people claim the new cellulose filler was the root of all evil. I don’t really understand why but I definitely found my thyroid symptoms got worse after both reformulations. Whatever the drug companies did, it was Bad (and not in a Michael Jackson way). The lesson learned: no more cellulose for me.

 

A Journey into Compound Pharmacies

Thyroid medicine is my life line, it has to work, and I have to know it’s reliable. So that’s when I decided to venture out on my own into the mysterious world of compound pharmacies. For those of you who don’t know, compound pharmacies are super cool. Basically, they will custom make your medicine using the filler you want. Kind of like “Build-a-Bear” of the medicine world.

A visitor here on the site, Kama (Hi Kama!), recommended a great compound pharmacy called Colliers Drug in Arkansas. I got on the phone with Rodney at Colliers and he was fantastic (and has a super cute southernish accent!). See contact info below. I explained that I wanted a thyroid medicine that could dissolve under my tongue (rather than capsule form which has to be swallowed). Rodney offered to make my medicine in a form called a “Troche” (or lozenge). They even sweetened it to cover the awful desiccated thyroid smell. Also I explained I wanted Vitamin C or Acidophilus as a filler (suggested by STTM) instead of cellulose, which Rodney was totally happy to accommodate.  It’s a great little pill. I’m very proud.

Progress

Anyway, back to the important details. It’s been a month on the compound thyroid medicine and, so far, my hypothyroid symptoms seem to be improving. Most importantly to all us ladies, I am finally losing the 6-7 lbs I freakishly gained for no reason after the Naturthroid reformulation. Yay! Now you would think that I would feel better right away on the compound but it took about three weeks before my body decided to like the new medicine. So a big thumbs up for the effectiveness of Colliers thyroid compound!

That’s all the good stuff. Now, the downside…  the compound is waaaaaay more expensive than the Naturthroid prescription. It costs $50 for a one month supply with partial insurance coverage, zoinks! I know *sigh*. It’s a lot of money.

It’s unlikely I can afford to stay on the compound, but at least I know where to get reliable medicine. Instead I’ve decided to try another medicine called Erfa, out of Canada, which was highly recommended by the Yahoo Thyroid group. The ladies say Erfa is “like the old Armour” and it costs about $50 for a three month supply. Now, its worth noting that switching medicine too quickly can really upset my body. My plan is to stay on the compound for another month just to make sure it works well. And then try Erfa by adding it into the daily medicine mix slowly.

Once I have more info on Erfa I will share what I’ve learned. Meanwhile, if you want to try my compound give Colliers a call and ask for Rodney.

xxoo

Lizzy

 

ORDERING DETAILS!

Rodney at Colliers is SO awesome. He gave us his direct phone extension for ordering the compound (479) 935-4336. Ask for the “Miss Lizzy Compound” and he will hook you up. (A doctor’s prescription is of course needed.)

 

 

Miss LizzyLosing Hope with Naturthroid, Venturing into Compounds and Canada