Remembering How I Got Here

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)
  • IBS
  • 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
  • Diabetes
  • Gall bladder issues
  • Diagnosis of Autism, ADHD/ADD, Depression or Bipolar
  • Eczema, Rosacea and other skin disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • 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.

 

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10 comments

  1. What an inspiring and comprehensive post, Debi! And I was thinking that even before I saw your sweet reference to me and my listing, too. I don’t think any one list can cover all the connections (I know mine doesn’t), so I certainly appreciate your listing. Hopefully, someone will read your post today and see themselves and start down the path to healing. (Maybe even more than one person.) I’m so glad you are well now and that you are sharing your journey to health with others today and every day in some form here on your blog, FB, and Twitter. Powerful, important work!

    xo,
    Shirley

  2. Just wanted to say that I have been suffering with the same symptoms that you listed above. I have been seeing an endocrinologist who told me I didn’t have any kind of thyroid condition for almost a year. So I read up on paleo diets and read Wheat Belly and went gluten free about 2 months ago. (I did relapse over Christmas) But I have lost about 10 pounds and my mood seems to improved greatly. Still losing lots of hair and I am still freezing.

    But I am so glad to see these issues being covered by every day people.

    • Jessica, that is wonderful to hear! It is a shame that doctor’s forget the answer isn’t just in the test results. Glad you took matters into your own hands and are on the road to recovery. It may take a while for the hair loss to stop, but it will. I can’t say the freezing will, since I still have that problem, but I’d rather be cold and healthy than cold and miserable!

  3. Thank you for posting. Im having such a tough time right now and really needed to see this. Can you explain more about gluten sensitivity testing? I was aware of testing for celiac but not gluten intolerance. Thank you so much!!

    • Candice, not sure I can address all the testing myself, especially in just a few sentences. There are blood tests, stool tests, a DNA test and a biopsy. I suggest Danna Korn’s Living Gluten-free For Dummies. It is wonderfully written and she goes into detail on what tests can be run and what they look for. It is important to know that the tests can all yield false negatives. So, if you do get tested and everything your doctor orders is negative, but you feel going gluten-free is right for you, that will be your true test.

  4. I have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and always wondered about gluten insensitivity, especially since so many autoimmune disorders travel together. Thanks for posting about your experience so the rest of us don’t feel alone. I did not know that almost half of hypothyroid people also have an issue with gluten so I learned something here and it supports my suspicions. I am going to try going gluten free in the near future and am stocking up the pantry and testing new recipes in preparation. I hope it helps and I know it can’t hurt.

    • teeni, Until I started learning more about Celiac and gluten sensitivity before doing my trial, I didn’t know about autoimmune disorders running together. Food sensitivities do the same. Glad to know someone else likes to prepare like I do. If gluten is the root of your Hashimoto’s and you are fairly skilled in the kitchen, making substitutions in your favorite recipes will be a breeze. 😀

  5. Pingback: No One Knows You Better Than You « Hunter's Lyonesse

  6. Thank you for posting such an informative post about the relationship between Celiac and thyroid disorders. Did you know that Celiac disease is more common in those of Irish descent? You might be interested in following our blog: “Behavioral Medicine Digest” here on WordPress. http://tinyurl.com/7a8guwt. We are Behavioral Medicine R & T Foundation, we offer information on natural interventions, and classes.


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