- You have heart palpitations so you see the cardiologist.
- You have heavy periods and are having an impossible time losing weight so you see the endocrinologist.
- You’ve been depressed and exhausted so you make an appointment with a psychiatrist.
- You seem to be having a lot of knee pain so you see the rheumatologist.
- Pooping has been a major issue too. You definitely don’t go every day, and when you do, it’s difficult and never seems complete. So you make a trip to the internist.
And if you’re wondering if this could be your thyroid, well, you’re already on medication and your endocrinologist tells you your labs are fine.
So what do you do? Now you’re on a whole lot more medications and some of them don’t really seem to be solving the symptom for which they were prescribed. What is the solution?
Take this quiz. Put a check mark for each of the symptoms you have below and give yourself a point for each one. Add a point if you’re already taking something for one of the symptoms listed below.
- Anxiety/Panic Attacks
- Poor Memory
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Hoarse Voice
- Slow Heart Rate
- Ringing in the Ears
- Brittle Nails
- Painful Periods
- Joint/Muscle Pain
- Morning Stiffness
- Easy Bruising
- Fluid Retention
- Low Libido
- Poor Circulation
- Cold Hands and Feet
- Headaches/Migraine HA
- Weight Gain
- Excessive Fatigue
- Sleep Apnea
- Excessive Ear Wax
- Hair Loss
- Heart Palpitations
- Rough, Dry Skin
- Low/High Blood Pressure
If you’ve got three or more of these symptoms you may have something going on with your thyroid. Even if you’re experiencing only one, it’s still possible. But what if your labs are normal? And what if you’re already on medication?
This happens all the time. You may be “sub-clinically” hypothyroid. Or your medication may not be working for you.
It was at least 10 years ago. I had a patient who I’d been seeing for a while. One day we had a conversation about her weight. She just couldn’t shed the 10 pounds she’d put on. She’d lost over half her hair in the last 20 years. And there was fatigue and some other symptoms going on that I can’t recall right now. I asked about the thyroid medication she’d been on, she insisted that it had nothing to do with thyroid. I challenged her. We ordered a full thyroid panel, and it looked like she wasn’t converting the Synthroid she was taking to the active thyroid hormone. She agreed to switch medications.
The next time I saw her she said her hairdresser told her that her hair was getting thicker. She’d lost some of the weight without trying. And she had more energy. She was happy.
Fast forward 6 months. I received an email from her. She was apologizing for not coming in. She said shortly after she’d seen me, she went to check in with her endocrinologist. He was horrified that I had put her on something called Naturethroid. It had both the active and inactive forms of thyroid hormone. And it was working for her. He was also horrified that she was working with a naturopathic doctor. Someone he assumed had little education. He shamed her into switching back to her synthroid.
She was now asking me if she could come back. Her hair was falling out in buckets, she said. And she was miserable. I said of course she could come back. We switched her back to the Naturethroid and the symptoms resolved again. She was angry that she hadn’t listened to her body. She said she knew the change was right for her and she let the endocrinologist contradict what she knew.
And the lesson in this? You may think of another one, but I will say, if you know something is wrong, you are right. It is your body. No lab test can verify the contrary. Doctors are there to help guide you to support your body in a way to allow it to work better. It may be your thyroid or something else. Your body can work, when the root cause is identified with as little support necessary. You are the boss of your body. AND it also helps when you have someone who can connect the dots.