My First Clue (Hypothyroidism Part 3)
In May of 2009 I discovered I was pregnant with my third child. With two little ones at the time, 1 & 3, I thought being extra tired was just part of the deal. During my initial pregnancy check up the midwife ran the normal blood work. The results showed only one abnormality – my TSH.
My TSH was at 6.5 – not extremely high – but too high for someone to feel their best. My midwife, Elaine, also had hypothyroidism and had been on Synthroid for years. While she is into totally natural births – she basically told me I might have to be on thyroid medication for the rest of my life just to function. I resisted going on medication for a while, until I read a study about how children born to mothers with untreated mild hypothyroidism have significantly lower IQs. I HAD mild untreated hypothyroidism (real word is subclinical hypothyroidism), and I wasn’t going to let my baby suffer….. I HAD to do something and get on some sort of medication.
I researched a bit more and discovered Armour Thyroid. Armour is a natural thyroid hormone replacement made of pig’s thyroid gland. I read about other people in the same situation, and almost everyone agreed that Armour made them feel MUCH better than the synthetic hormone prescription, Synthroid. Sythroid is the #2 most commonly prescribed drug in America! That is not including the generic brands, or Armour – so you can imagine how many people in this country have under active thyroid glands (for whatever reason).
I began taking Armour in the summer of 2009. I took a very small amount, about 1/2 grain to start with. At the same time I tried natural treatments like lots of iodine, lots of green foods, and extra Vitamin D. My TSH was checked 3 times during my pregnancy and always ranged between 4.5 and 5.5. The ideal range is between .50 – 2.0. My birth was fabulous and I anxiously awaited my 6 week checkup where I could test my TSH again. I was SURE it would be back to normal and the cause for my hypothyroidism would be established – PREGNANCY!
I was SO excited, my TSH was .005 at my 6 week checkup- waaay too low. The physician said, “Well, you got your wish, it must have been pregnancy induced. But, to make sure come back in 6-8 weeks and have it retested.” I agreed but then the flood hit. During the summer of 2010 we had to live in South Carolina for a few months with my wonderful family. During the time I could NOT lose weight! I weighed the exact same thing at 5 months postpartum as I did at 6 weeks postpartum. I am 5’9 and weighed 172lbs. My normal nursing weight is around 160 and my normal “get pregnant” weight is at 150. So, I was about 15-20lbs over my feel good weight. By the way, I weighed about 145/150lbs at my wedding. I had a bunch more muscle than I do now though! haha!
Those six months after having my son was like a blur. I could just sit in a rocker for hours at a time, and I never felt like I could focus. I was hungry, constipated, cold, tired, confused, and easily frustrated. My veins even felt funny and my skin seemed transparent! My parents kept telling me to go to the doctor, but I didn’t want to go in South Carolina. I didn’t know any of the doctors, how much it would cost, and didn’t have the energy (or brains) to try to figure it out.
When I finally came back to Tennessee (to the farm we had bought/not the flooded rental house). I went to my doctor and they checked my TSH along with a complete blood work panel. The lab doing the testing ran my TSH twice and didn’t even attempt to check why how high it actually was – the reading was +100. They immediately referred me to an endocrinologist in Nashville, TN. She wanted to see my right away…… and what I learned in that visit will the the topic of my next post
I should tell you also that everything I did during this time was counterproductive to my healing. The Armour, iodine, and my continued normal American diet did NO favors to my Hashimoto’s (the autoimmune component of hypothyroidism…..the real cause). If you suspect you are hypothyroid you must get to the root cause – and it is usually autoimmune. Read this book.