Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
I was about twelve or thirteen when I found out I had a thyroid disease. I was having trouble gaining weight and was teased a lot for being “too skinny”. I would eat so much; a triple cheeseburger, a large fry and large drink in one sitting and I’d be hungry again shortly after finishing. I ate a lot and I ate all the time, people would joke “where does it go” because I wouldn’t gain weight. I figured it was because I was a teenager and I had a fast metabolism. Then I started feeling tired all the time and I would feel like I was going to faint if I didn’t eat something as soon as I woke up. There were a couple of mornings I woke up and got in the shower, I felt really hot and everything started to fade out of my vision. I started to faint so I turned off the water, sat on the floor of the tub and opened the curtain and let the feeling pass. I also had constipation, I had trouble swallowing (especially pills) and I was often cold.
I told my parents about the near fainting spells and they decided to take me to the doctor to see what was going on. We all figured maybe hypoglycemia or low iron, something like that. At the doctor’s office they did an exam and blood work. I don’t remember why the doctor decided to do it, but he did an ultrasound on my thyroid. After all the test results were in the doctor informed my parents and I that I had an enlarged thyroid as well as Hyperthyroidism (an over active thyroid), which explained why I could keep eating so much and not gain any weight. The doctor also explained to us a little bit about how the thyroid can affect many things and could cause tremendous harm if I didn’t treat it. I began taking medicine right away, but I don’t remember what it was. I went back for a follow up shortly after and they changed my prescription.
I continued taking my medicine and following up with blood work throughout the following years, still thinking I had Hyperthyroidism. When I was 23 I stopped taking my thyroid pills for about 3 months because I couldn’t afford the doctor visit to get them refilled. At this point I found out I was pregnant with my first child, so I went to the doctor. We talked about my medical history and when I told her I was Hyperthyroid and had been off of my Levothyroxine (the only thyroid medication I had ever known I’d taken), she gave me a strange look and said that Levothyroxine was for Hypothyroidism. Blood work confirmed I was Hypothyroid. I had been gaining weight, I was constantly tired, I had dry skin and I felt short of breath, but it never crossed my mind that it would be my thyroid, when I found out I was pregnant I figured that was why.
I am 27 now and only about one or two years ago I found out I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was pretty sure I did when I researched more about Hypothyroidism and found that Hashimoto’s is a common cause of hypothyroid disease. An antibodies blood test confirmed I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid. During one of my visits the doctor felt nodules on my thyroid so we did ultrasounds to monitor them for growth and eventually did a biopsy as a precaution. The biopsy was normal and the ultrasounds showed the nodules were shrinking.
I follow up pretty regularly with my doctor regarding my thyroid levels, usually about every 6-12 months, more often if I feel there might be a problem. I can tell when I don’t feel 100% and if I feel something is wrong I go to the doctor to check my thyroid levels and we adjust my medication of needed. There was no history of thyroid disease in my family. I was the first one to find out I had a problem and recently we found out my younger sister has hypothyroidism as well and my aunt on my mother’s side recently found out she has Grave’s disease (hyperthyroidism). It is very important to get checked for thyroid disease, it can lead to many serious issues if left untreated. If you have a family history of thyroid disease get your levels checked often, especially if you’re having symptoms of thyroid disease and if you have already been diagnosed, monitor your levels regularly.