This month is Thyroid Awareness Month. It’s important for me to remember because 3 years ago this month, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. A year later I began digging into the connection between gluten and thyroid functioning.
After all the reading I did, I was convinced enough to go on a gluten-free trial. I should have been tested first, but hindsight is 20/20.
I have been gluten-free for nearly 2 years now. I have been medication free for 2 1/2 years. I have not used supplements to help support my thyroid for 1 1/2 years.
My hypothyroid diagnosis led me to make the following changes in order to rid my world of as many thyroid disruptors as possible:
- Go back to making my own personal care products
- Make my own all natural cleaners
- Switch to non-fluoride toothpaste
- Use a water filter (I use Zero)
- Go off the pill
- Change to a whole foods diet
Some of my hypothyroid symptoms that have resolved on a gluten-free diet:
- Migraines (daily at one point in my life)
- Heart palpitations/chest pains
- Brain fog/inability to concentrate and focus
- Difficulty remembering anything (former co-worker once told me my memory was like a filing cabinet)
- Wild and unpredictable mood swings (not to mention getting angry way too easily)
- Idiopathic neuropathy
- Fatigue (extreme fatigue and not just being tired after a long day)
- Low body temperature
- Low blood pressure
- Hair loss
- Weight gain/inability to lose weight even with lots of exercise
These are the big ones. There were others, too. The only symptom I still have is the intolerance to cold temperatures. My feet and hands get cold really fast and then the rest of me can’t tolerate the cold like I used to. To me, it always feels 10 to 20 degrees colder than it really is, especially in the Winter.
When I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and started learning about the symptoms over the first few months, I realized that this was something I had my whole life. Migraines I chalked up to genetics because my dad has them, too. I always had stomach issues (I’m pretty sure my mother thought I was just playing sick) and when I moved to Kentucky the stomach issues grew to include my entire intestinal tract.
Now, that I know this is all thanks to gluten, I wonder what my life would have been like had it been discovered earlier. If you are reading this because you have hypothyroidism, too, but have never been tested or told it could be due to gluten sensitivity/Celiac, start talking to your doctor. 40 % of people with thyroid dysfunction have gluten sensitivity or Celiac. That’s almost HALF people!
Some other things that can lead you in the direction of being tested other than thyroid dysfunction (and the symptoms I’ve already mentioned):
- Other food allergies/sensitivities
- Diagnosis of Sjogren’s or other autoimmune disorders
- Family history of colon cancer
- Osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis
- Gall bladder issues
- Diagnosis of Autism, ADHD/ADD, Depression or Bipolar
- Eczema, Rosacea and other skin disorders
- Anemia/iron deficiency/B vitamins deficiency/vitamin D deficiency
I’m sure I missed some, but my awesome friend, Shirley, has a great tip sheet you can check out on her blog, gluten-free easily.
The sooner a proper diagnosis is made, the better the quality of life. In the case of children, the better their chances for developing without delays. I urge anyone who hasn’t gotten to the root of their problems and is still suffering needlessly to get tested if anything listed sounds like you. If you have thyroid dysfunction and medication isn’t working for you, I urge you to get tested. I was one of you. If you went symptom by symptom while I was on Synthroid, some of them seemed resolved. However, I was feeling worse overall. The fatigue worsened and it was a struggle to get out of bed for work.
There is hope. There is life after a diagnosis. There is quality of life with the right diagnosis and following the right treatment. For gluten sensitivity and Celiac, the only treatment is a gluten-free diet. No pills required. Only enjoying the rest of your life one day at a time.