Amanda Hodgson, Thyroid Thriver
Diagnosed After Many Years Of Symptoms
After years of experiencing fatigue, inability to lose weight, and increasing issues with allergies, I was FINALLY diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2009. The doctor who diagnosed me told me that all I had to do was take this little pill and I would feel better within a few weeks. She said we may have to adjust the dosage, but my symptoms would clear up once we got the dose right. Boy was she WRONG! At first the medication did nothing.
But then, six weeks after my first increase, I started experiencing some odd new things (in addition to the original symptoms not improving). I began to experience pelvic and GI issues that I’d never experienced before – confused gut, heartburn, pelvic pain with intercourse or bowel movements. Basically I was in pain all the time with no energy.
Two Synthetic Hormones Can Cause Problems
Finally I got some answers from my gynecologist. She told me that sometimes taking two synthetic hormones can cause problems. She tried increasing my dose of birth control, but that made things worse. Since my husband was deployed at the time, she advised that I try stopping the birth control and see what happened. Ten days after stopping the pill I awoke one day and noticed that I didn’t feel foggy, depressed or sluggish. I hadn’t felt that way in years!
Since I did well off birth control, I was able to get the tubal ligation I had been begging for since I was 20 years old but no doctor would do (I guess they thought they knew what I wanted more than I knew myself). At that point I was on 75 mcg of Synthroid, and functioned well for the remainder of that year.
New Doctor, New Problems
Enter a new primary care provider who wanted to get me in “optimal range.” I thought it would only help, so I agreed to go from 75 mcg to 125 mcg. Six weeks after starting the new dose, my menstrual cycle went haywire, I started experiencing mid-cycle pain, intolerance to exercise (especially cardio), and was getting sick every few weeks. Within a 6 month period I’d experienced a cold, strep throat, ear infection, stomach bug, and two upper respiratory infections.
Because I was busy with work, school, and commuting, I didn’t pursue further treatment; I just dealt with it. Later in the year, when I experienced severe clotting two months in a row, I went back to the gynecologist. When she tested my thyroid and came back and said, “It’s not your thyroid, I’m not sure what’s going on,” I felt like giving up. She was the only doctor who’d listened and helped me during this whole ordeal, so if she didn’t know what to do I felt like I had hit another dead end.
Determined not to be defeated, I decided to research what lifestyle changes I could make to help myself. I started researching natural remedies for hypothyroidism and which environmental factors affected thyroid function. What I found was a wealth of information.
There are so many chemicals in products we use every day that are toxic to the thyroid and our bodies in general. Things that we assume are safe are not! Things like personal care, cosmetics, cheap supplements, cleaning products, plug ins, air freshener, and detergents all contain toxins. The first thing I did was to add vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B, C, D, E, selenium, fish oil, coq10, etc. Next we got rid of personal care and cosmetics products that contained endocrine disruptors like fragrance, parabens, petroleum distilattes, etc. (which was basically everything!). Next was to switch to safer cleaning products.
Cut Out Inflammatory Foods
Then I addressed my diet. Gluten was the first thing to go, and it helped a little. Dairy was next, and that helped me more than any other change I made. It was a tough one to give up, because cheese & yogurt had been dietary staples of mine my whole life and I loved them! But not having to deal with itchy watery eyes, post nasal drip, migraines, sore throat and runny nose year round was worth the change. The last things to go were soy, refined sugar, and anything artificial. No more canned food, heating food in plastic, or using nonstick cookware – all those things are toxic!
Changing my lifestyle improved my symptoms more than any medication. I’ve since stopped taking Synthroid and am now taking a very low dose of Armour.
While I was dealing with the worst of my symptoms, I was going to school to become an accountant. I really enjoyed that career for a few years. However, after all I had learned and how it changed my life, I felt called to start a blog and try to help people take control and change their lives too. Now I’m a health & fitness coach, and an office manager at a dance fitness studio where I also teach PiYo. I’m much happier, healthier and symptom-free most of the time.
About the Author
Amanda Hodgson‘s goal is to help you understand the importance of exercise, avoiding toxins and finding doable lifestyle modifications to improve your quality of life. She has spent years researching, trying tons of nontoxic products, experimenting with auto-immune friendly recipes, and working out through fatigue. She understands how overwhelming making changes seem be when you barely have enough energy to get through the day. But Amanda also know how much better she feels since implementing these changes, and that’s why she wants to share this information with you and be your guide to get fit. Check out her website, MyCrazyNonToxicLife, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.