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Help! Hypochondriac Hypothyroid

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Old 04-22-2002, 04:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Québec, Canada
Posts: 8
Berri HB User
Help! Hypochondriac Hypothyroid

Hi, everyone! I'm a newbie and also recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I hope you people are patient because I feel the need to tell a bit about myself before getting to the advice I want. I don't know if this happened to many of you, but I had been feeling lousy for more than 12 years before this diagnoses. Couldn't tolerate heat, couldn't tolerate cold, couldn't lose weight on a typical low-cal diet(this drove me to bulemia, though, luckily, I have been over this problem for at least 9 years), even as a kid-I'm now 35-I always had dry sandpapery hands, lost lots of hair, weird periods, depression and very bad bloating and water retention. More recently -about 2 years ago- I was sent to a rheumatologist(is that how you call arthritis specialists?) only to be told that my intermittent shoulder bursitis, knee pain, hip arthritic-like flare, and fatigue were all due to some vague arthritic problem that does not show in blood tests-I was rh factor negative. I mentioned about the fatigue and weight gain in the hopes that this might help the Rheumy guide me towards a solution and answer to my problems but to no avail. What finally pushed me over the edge to go back to my GP to get a complete blood evaluation again (I had tested "normal" for thyroid all those past years and doctor said I might be borderline but did nothing about it..) was that I had been short of breath and was worried about heart disease(runs in my family)I have since learned that this too is a symptom of ypothyroidism. Needless to say that all these years of feeling horrible and knowing that something was wrong with me has turned me into a hypochondriac. This is sad because many times I felt I was crazy and just making up these symptoms. I learned to doubt myself. Anyways, now that I have been diagnosed I am relieved but have many unanswered questions;

Does anyone have localised muscle pain? My left thight started hurting recently...

Does any one have a swollen gland or tonsil? I occasionally get one tonsil or the other that becomes hard as rock and eventually returns to normal.

I heard that Mary Shomon's book - Living Well With Hypothyroidism is good, but after having bought 3 other unhelpful books on thyroid (they focused only on how to tell if you're hypo and how to convince you doc & such) I'm recluctant to buy yet another letdown. I'm looking for info(in book or on the net)on nutritional therapy or diet. I want to know what is the best way to eat when you have hypo since I need to lose about 40lbs. Does anyone know if she (Mary Shomon) talks of nutrition therapy in her book?

Finally, if/when the dosage is corrected will I lose the weight? And how fast? I would like to hear of success stories please!

Thanks to those who took the time to read this awfully long message. I guess I'm venting out all those years of frustration. I'll appreciate ANY help. Thanks


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Old 04-22-2002, 09:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 190
ArtfulD HB UserArtfulD HB User
Re: Help! Hypochondriac Hypothyroid

Welcome, Berry. A long message deserves a long answer. Fortunately, I have a personal inability to be succinct. <IMG SRC="">

First, let me tell you that you are NOT a hypochondriac, nor are you alone in thinking that you are. Unfortunately, the symptoms of thyroid disease are things that are not often considered "serious enough" to discuss with a doctor. And, when the symptoms are considered individually, many of us (and our doctors) have a tendency to downplay them as "typical female issues" that come and go intermittently. Kudos to you for listening to your body and being persistent in finding the care you deserve!

Mary Shomon has an excellent article about why we shouldn't minimize our symptoms on <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

We also have some excellent resources in our Information Archive thread, including symptoms lists, supplements, weight loss ideas, what to eat, etc.:
<A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

Other excellent resources include and EndocrineWeb:
<A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

When you get a chance, select the text of your first message, copy it (EDIT-COPY from the menus), and then paste it as an addition to our Stories thread. I'm sure it would be useful to others, as it is a very familiar scenario:
<A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

Now, on to your questions:

Sounds like you've already recognized some of your symptoms as potential thyroid disease (heat/cold tolerance, inability to lose weight, dry skin, hair loss, menstrual changes, bloating, water retention, depression, fatigue).

1) Localized pain (muscle and joint pain) is also a symptom, as is neck tenderness/swelling/difficulty swallowing.

2) Tonsils and lymph nodes sometimes swell as if fighting an infection, particularly if you have thyroid antibodies.

3) Many people have reported that, once their thyroid levels were balanced, they were able to lose the extra weight. A variety of diets have been discussed on this Board, and has a section about weight loss. I don't know how long it takes for this to occur, as I've not tried any of the diets: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

I've not personally read Living Well With Hypothyroidism, but that book along with Dr. Rita Arem's "The Thyroid Solution" are quite popular on this Board. has a list of Top Ten Books on thyroid disease: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

It sounds like it's time for you to see a caring Endocrinologist who treats symptoms, not blood levels. Our Info Archive has some posts about interviewing new docs and a link to a Top Docs thread recommended by patients. At a minimum, your blood tests should include Free T3, Free T4, TSH and Thyroid Antibodies.

Since you've been diagnosed as hypothyroid, you will probably be put on medication soon (if not already). It takes about 4-6 weeks for a new or changed dosage to assimilate in your body, and your symptoms will probably fluctuate a bit during this time. Your doctor should re-test your bloods every 2-3 months and alter your medication until your symptoms are relieved.

It's a long process, but worth it. Hang in there, and let us know what happens.

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