Exhausted, achy, forgetful, depressed; I couldn’t seem to shake the feelings of always being cold. My skin was dry and itchy; my hair became brittle sometimes falling out. Countless complaints dismissed by the family doctor no matter how often I mentioned something seemed off. I was told that I was a new mom and probably just worn down. I increased my vitamins and forced myself to exercise hoping to uplift spirits and get my metabolism moving. Nothing worked. I felt more tired after a workout and just couldn’t keep up. Clueless to if this was normal; I accepted the suggestion of motherhood taking its toll.
Finally, months of trying to get pregnant again, I needed answers. I was napping at inappropriate times, too weak to stay awake for more than a few hours. I would fall asleep on my then 2 year old son. I was missing my menstrual cycles and getting horrible headaches. I couldn’t stand feeling so unaware of what my body was doing so I started researching. I looked up conditions to arm myself with questions I asked friends and family about anything they could input. Then I read about thyroid conditions and realized it was time to discuss this with someone knowledgeable. Fortunately for me, my OB/GYN was also a fertility doctor who I knew would listen.
I made my appointment immediately. I mentioned my concerns and he inquired about every detail of living. He explained that he handled multiple cases similar to mine. After taking the necessary blood tests, I received the call that changed everything. The doctor discovered my thyroid levels (TSH) were much higher than normal and diagnosed me with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. I was referred to an endocrinologist right away and told to start taking medication. Within two weeks I realized I wasn’t as tired. One month later I was on the right track and continued to find fewer symptoms.
After my diagnosis, I inquired why my family doctor did not test me for this condition. I was in my early 20s and considered low risk because of no family history. My doctors didn’t think I was old enough to be suffering from a thyroid problem and overlooked the possibilities. But many women childbearing age, after giving birth can become hypo- or hyperthyroid. It’s a misdiagnosed issue but with the proper treatment of daily medication you can feel normal again. Know your body, know the signs to look for, and do not be afraid to inquire. It’s just a blood test, but one that could change your life.