So many women are experiencing thyroid problems these days! When I found myself suffering from an enlarged thyroid gland I started looking in to thyroid disease. Here’s what I found about this tiny organ.
Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of thyroid problems. I don’t even think I knew where the thyroid is in our bodies. Perhaps I didn’t even know this little organ existed!
But over the course of the past several years, I’ve discovered what a powerful organ the thyroid is! The thyroid regulates hormones throughout the body. These hormones affect metabolism, growth, development and body temperature!
But, sadly, I’ve also found out that an alarming number of women–young women–are experiencing thyroid problems today.
And so I’ve begged the question:
Why are so many women suffering with thyroid problems?
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ that sits very low on your neck–along the windpipe. When the thyroid is normal in size, you should not be able to feel it.
What are problems associated with the thyroid?
There are actually quite a few problems that can be associated with the thyroid–ranging from a goiter (or enlarged thyroid) to various forms of thyroid disease to thyroid cancer. Graves Disease and Hashimotos’ are two diseases associated with the thyroid. Hashimotos’ is an autoimmune disease.
Symptoms of problems with the thyroid
There are a plethora of signs that may signal that something is wrong with your thyroid, including:
- You can feel your thyroid (indicating that you have a goiter–or enlarged thyroid).
- You have trouble losing–or trouble gaining–weight. (There are two extremes since the thyroid regulates the metabolism. If it is not properly functioning, it will be difficult for your body to regulate weight.)
- You have heart palpitations and/or excessive nervousness.
- You have brain fog or depression.
- You are extremely tired–or you have insomnia.
Many people shrug off these symptoms as being a part of menopause, aging or depression. In fact, I thought I had been experiencing postpartum depression.
My Thyroid Story
When my second baby was close to a year old, I developed a persistent cough. What left me dumbfounded, though, was the fact that my cough was not accompanied by any other viral-like symptoms. It was simply a cough that would not go away.
This cough seemed to get worse at night when I lay down. And, sometimes, I felt like my airways were restricted while lying down–so much so that I began sleeping with several pillows that helped elevate my head.
I finally scheduled an appointment to see a doctor about the cough. I was shocked to find out that the cough was a symptom of an enlarged thyroid gland–a goiter.
The doctor immediately noticed the goiter protruding from my neck. The goiter had been pressing on my windpipe and causing irritation–the cough and trouble breathing when I reclined.
I asked her what could have caused the goiter, and she told me that it could be thyroid disease or even thyroid cancer. After a very scary 24 hours, she confirmed that I did not have cancer, but my thyroid levels were low enough to suggest that I had an underactive thyroid–or hypothyroidism.
I told the doctor that I did not want to be on any synthetic medications, so she put me on Armour thyroid, which is derived from a pig’s thyroid.
I was on this medication for several months…during which time I became pregnant with my third baby–shortly after my second baby turned a year old.
After my first trimester, my midwife sent me to see an endocronologist to monitor my thyroid condition. However, the doctor looked at me like I was crazy: My levels were fine, she said. And I did not have a goiter.
To this day, I wonder if, perhaps, my levels were fine and I did not have a goiter because I was, after all, on the medicine.
After my third baby was born, my symptoms came back. My chiropractor diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue. Then, a month later, the cough started again, I felt the constriction in my throat, and I felt that a goiter had formed.
I went back to that same doctor. Apparently I do have a goiter, but my levels are “fine.” However, she went ahead and put me on Armour again to try to shrink the goiter–and to help my symptoms.
Sometimes I wonder if my iodine levels are low since iodine deficiency can cause goiters. The doctor told me there is no good test for this, though, and that most Americans are not low in iodine because it’s included in table salt and processed foods.
I don’t think she knew what to think when I told her I don’t eat processed foods and use real sea salt instead of table salt.
Could I be iodine deficient? It may be.
I want to get better. I don’t like being on medicine. In the past week, I have noticed that my hair is starting to fall out and that I feel jittery. But on days when I skip my pill, I feel like I can barely function–barely drag myself out of bed.
It’s like I’m going from one extreme to another–which I hear is common with thyroid conditions.
But, then again, I wonder if this all goes back to the adrenal fatigue. And I wonder if the thyroid condition caused the adrenals to stop working, or if the adrenals affected the thyroid.
I do not have answers, but I know some of you do.
Update: After writing this post, I continued to suffer from thyroid problems and adrenal fatigue burnout. I shared more of my journey in this post. I was desperate to get my health back on track, so I made a plan for adrenal fatigue recovery. Things are much better since then. I still have to actively seek healing in my life, but I have already begun to experience the benefits that come from a natural, grace-filled approach to wellness.
For help with healing adrenal issues, check out The Adrenal Fatigue Solution.
Why do you think so many women are suffering with thyroid problems today? Have you ever experienced thyroid problems? What advice do you have to share?
*Note: At a nurse’s suggestion, I started halving my pills. I have noticed that my symptoms are much, much better when I am taking half the dose!
- View a picture of a thyroid
- Understanding Thyroid Problems
- Stop the Thyroid Madness
- 5 Common Causes of Fatigue (if you’re tired all the time, but not necessarily suffering from a thyroid issue)
I had thyroid issues after having my first baby. It lasted for about a year as the doctor said it would and it reversed itself. I went to an endocrinologist and was diagnosed with postpartum hyperthyroidism. My symptoms was fatigue, hair loss, no appetite, foggy mindedness, and a slightly enlarged thyroid. I had my thyroid levels checked every 3 months for a year and each time they had gotten better and better. Finally after a year my levels were normal. The doctor said a lot if woman experience it after having babies and don’t realize what it is. They think it is postpartum depression and ignore it. During this process they also checked me for Graves Disease which was not the case. I could’ve been on medicine for a year until it reversed itself but was nursing my baby so I roughed out all of the horrible symptoms. But now, I’ve had no more trouble. The doctor also said if I had any more children that I was at risk again for the sane problem but thankfully that didn’t happen with my second baby. Hope this helps some.
I’m not ‘young-ish’, into my mid-50’s…….but have been having increasing thyroid issues. I would LOVE to know the “why”, but more importantly whether meds would do the trick as opposed to surgery. even then, will removing th thyroid end my issues???? (crazy emotions, crazy internal thermostat, memory losses, obvious thinning hair, etc., etc., etc.)
OR what could I do, w/o meds, surgery — are those the only options?
was it lifestyle, genetics, environment ……..???
There are essential oils that can help. I am in the process of ordering them from young living.
I have had hypothyroidism for 10 years. I’m 29. In August 2013, I had h full thyroidectomy, everything out. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that day. Till this day I am still fighting this cancer. But as a recommendation, if the thyroid doesn’t need to come out, leave it. And take your meds. Either way you need your meds to function. For some of my treatments I am pulled off my meds for a long period of time. And without my thyroid or meds, I eventually get really sick. My body aches terribly, no energy and major weakness sets in. Weight gain occurs, hands and legs go numb. Trust, take your meds, and unless it’s medically necessary, leave your thyroid in.
I definitely would NOT have my thyroid removed unless ALL other options had been exhausted. You would be dealing with a whole new set of complications from chronic hypothyroidism.
I’m 32 years old and just had my thyroid removed in January due to thyroid cancer. I was told that “thyroid cancer is very common in women in their 30’s” and that after surgery I’d just take the hormone replacement pill and everything would be “normal” again. However – it’s been 5 months and I’m still on an emotional rollercoaster, have days where I’m either freezing or dripping with sweat, I’ve been exercising and eating healthy but continue to gain weight no matter what I do. It’s nothing like what they told me it would be. I realize with cancer that I had no other choice but the surgery to keep it from spreading to my lymph nodes or other parts of my body but I feel like a walking disaster. I wish there was some answer to why this is happening to SO.MANY.WOMEN. I have at least 3 other friends my age with thyroid issues… early 30’s is much too young to be going through all of this!
I had thyroid problems for 5 or 6 years now it started when I was a freshman in high school! 15 years old is way too young to have all of these issues I also had two nodules and a goiter at times.I have been on medicine but still can not regulate it well after 6 years of trying. I also have an autoimmune disease to my thyroid..
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 8 years ago. My hair was falling out, I was losing my eyebrows, I had a horrible time regulating my body temperature, weight gain with a 1200 calorie diet, and memory loss. Before taking pharmaceuticals, I went to a compounding pharmacist who helped provide thorough lab tests to determine the source of my hormone and thyroid problems. My thyroid was found to have a large amount of bromine, which is a carcinogenic and blocks the function of the thyroid. Bromine is found in so many things. Google Bromine and your Thyroid! After learning to remove bromine from my diet and how iodine aids in cleansing the thyroid, I decided to take supplements called Iodoral and Thyroxin Free Thyroid Glandular. I am currently trying kelp in place of the Iodoral. Along with my hypothyroidism diagnosis, I was also diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Much rest and the right diet helped to correct my levels and symptoms! My thyroid labs now show a much healthier thyroid!
I did and here’s part of my story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgb11kq4TVw&list=UUNss4neoY6qBsbLC_MrteEg&feature=share
It was a long struggle and I’m so glad I found a non drug non surgical solution that saved my life and my family from having no mom 🙂
I live in Middletown, PA. Very near Three Mile Island. Thyroid issues are a big problem here due to the partial meltdown in 1979.
Leslie : I also live in Middletown,Pa and was here during the accident in 1979. I m experiencing hypothyroidism and noticed other women who work for local government having thyroid issues.
I am 26 years old and have been dealing with hypothyroidism for about 3 years now. I’m constantly tired and have gained about 20lbs in the last few years that I can’t seem to shake no matter how much i diet or exercise. Very discouraging.
Thyro-boost from Alma Naturals is a life saver. I had cancer so my thyroid has been removed. This lotion with essential oils strengthens my endocrine and adrenal systems to make up for that. So far everyone I’ve talked to that has used it for thyroid has been amazed. And much cheaper than prescription medications!
I am confused. Is this a supplement for better thyroid function. I have seen these types of natural remedies, but assumed that since there is no thyroid in me any longer, that there is no point in these types of meds.
I am 57 years old and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroid disease 3 years ago. I see my Endocrinologist annually and so far, in spite of a thyroid that is considerably “chewed up” (as my doctor describes it), I still have somewhat normal levels. I’m often very cold, tired but sleepless at night and I struggle trying to lose weight. We are trying to stay away from pharmaceuticals and surgery as long as possible. Right now, my doctor has me taking 2 Brazil nuts each day for the natural Selenium which she says is not regulated in selenium supplements. I would love to learn what (if possible) I can do to reverse this condition or at least slow it down. I am convinced it is our diets and the garbage in the foods we’ve unknowingly been eating for years! I am trying my best to change mine. I am currently in the process of researching healthier foods, juicing and foods that support the thyroid. If anyone has any other info that would be helpful, I’d love to see it.
see my post- from what you are describing it sounds like hypothyroidism or maybe even an auto immune disorder called hachimotos.
Check out tons of info at undergroundwellness.com
I am 35 and have dealt with symptoms for years but my regular Dr said my test were normal even though I felt horrible. Thankfully I finally found a Dr who figured out it’s my adrenal gland that’s not working! Your adrenal gland effects your thyroid. I have worked hard to change my diet, learn to how to breath more and take time to relax and it is making a huge difference! Check out the book “Is It Me or My Adrenals?” By Marcelle Pick. She is a Dr and explains so much about our adrenal and thyroid glands and gives a 30 day plan on how to feel better, she even includes menus and recipes! I also had trouble with loosing weight and learned it’s the wheat, it’s made different and has been modified from the wheat we used to eat 10 years ago! I have lost weight just by taking the wheat out of my diet and I haven’t started much excersice yet because I need to give my adrenals time to heal, so right now I’m just walking.
There is an amazing on-line summit going on right now ALL about the thyroid and the many symptoms and types of treatments (most natural from diet and lifestyle changes) as well as the tests to have done to find out the root cause of your symptoms. It is being put on by Underground Wellness at undergroundwellness.com and it is called The Thyroid Sessions. You can buy the whole series for $70 which comes with all the interviews with top specialists around the country as well as books and websites. It has given me soooo much information and it runs through Sunday.
Check it out!!
Erin, I was going to mention the same thing. I have watched some of the sessions, and I cannot recommend it enough! You know I have dealt with thyroid issues/chronic fatigue myself and these sessions are lining up perfectly with what I’ve been told by my holistic dr. who has helped me so much. Definitely watch and apply.
Well I am 43 years old and I have been fighting Thyroid problems since I was 12 year old it has been a very hard battle can’t seem to get the count down can’t loose weight memory lose and hair lose been on and off meds since 12 the dr that found out I had a guarder on my thyroid and said it would do more harm than good well since then I have had a life long roller coaster ride and now I’m still having problem with it and still can’t get the TSH down lower than 19 when your count is suppose to be 5 I have even tried home remedies and nothing works
God Bless you all
This is a more obvious link to the sessions I was mentioning earlier: http://thethyroidsessions.com/
I was diagnose with Hasimoto almost 20 years ago in germany there checked my tyroid level every 3 month and it changed all the time . i moved to the staates about 14 years ago over here when i get tested the results are allways the same , then about 2 years ago i changed docs and he took me off the meds . but i still feel like there is somehing wrong . but the docs are saying no. i would like to know what to do about it ? thank you
I read an article some time ago about how some contraceptives have negative effects and one of the things mentioned (amongst migraines, blood clotting and excessive weight gain) was that it has an effect on your thyroid.
I ran across your blog and I used to suffer from hashimotos, an autoimmune disorder that causes more than just low thyroid. I have a webinar with my functional medicine doctor on my website that goes into detail about it. anyone with a thyroid problem needs to see a functional medicine doctor. MD’s unfortunately do not do all the tests required to understand what the organ dysfunction in the body is. you can watch my webinar here called “autoimmunity thyroid and essential oils” its labeled that way because i use essential oils medicinal grade doTERRA in order to aid in balancing the hormones as well as killing pathogens such as candida and parasites that contribute towards autoimmunity. I think this webinar is highly educational and you will learn a LOT. this page has a lot of webinars on it so make sure you scroll down to the thyroid webinar on the bottom row, its easy to see . http://healthyfrugalandwise.com/how-to-use-your-oils/
Hi. I was reading through this page the other night and saw a link to a natural health page for Dr. Brown. There was a book called Natural Thyroid (or something close). Does anyone know that web address? Thanks! :).
Oh I found it!
I feel like thyroid problems can be linkesd to birth control:
Hi! I’ve just finished watching The Thyroid Sessions which has been crazy informative!!! They have a sale going on now for their digital access pass for $79 ends at midnight tonight. A few things that helped me:
I learned that Armour contains cornstarch so I switched to WP Thyriod.
I started the AIP Paleo diet and am feeling better only 6 days in.
Ordered Selinium and Magnisium from Pure Encapsulations
Learned that long cardio isn’t good for the Thyriod but burst training is better
Learned so much about leaky gut and how every cell in the body contains a receptor for Thyriod hormone so it makes sense that when something is wrong in the thyroid liver/gut/kidnies/brain/adrenals etc we are going to have symptoms. It’s alllll related!
While I was pregnant I noticed I had a large bump growing on my neck. The doctor suspected that it was just a cyst and after I had my baby we would have it removed. I delivered my son on July 29th and made my surgery for the removal on September 6th. Two weeks later when I went back in for a follow up I was told that it contained thyroid cancer cells and would need to have another surgery to remove my entire thyroid. (Luckily I have 1 of the 4 thyroid cancers that are treatable cause there is a thyroid can Eric that is fatal.) I was scared and emotional about both the children and having cancer. I scheduled the removal for 2 days later and needed to stay in the hospital for a few nights. After my surgery I opted not to take replacement drugs so I could do my radiation treatment at the end of October. Between September and October I was complete miserable and didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. All of my doctors wanted me to take more time off work but I couldn’t afford it with 2kids and medical bills from having a baby and now cancer. I was suffering from leg cramps, musical spasms, weakness, tiredness and mood swings.
I just had my 6 month follow up exam with testing and they didn’t say it gone but don’t want to retreat it at this time. Because I had to go through the same testing to check this I had to let my thyroid levels drop again and I’m feeling the same signs.
As bad as this all sounds, I just went to a friends funeral from a cancer that effects soft tissue organs. She was diagnosed in December and only survived a few months. I really hope I do t have to get retreated but it makes it a lot easier knowing that the type of thyroid cancer I have it just an inconvenience and it is treatable.
A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with Graves disease (hyperthyroidism), which is an autoimmune disease. I’ve been on medication since my diagnosis, and I’ve felt the best I’ve felt in ten years (I’m 30). Although I’ve been interested in healthy living for as long as I can remember, now I’m determined to learn more about are autoimmune disorders themselves, so I can support my whole system in more subtle ways that might have been missing before. My goal right now isn’t actually to get off medication–right now, my goal is to maintain well so that I can avoid radiation or surgery (which I think is very possible to do) while doing the research I need to do to continue maintaining and possibly gain some insight on natural treatments along the way. This isn’t something I think is safe to self treat without a doctor you trust, especially for me, because my thyroid levels were way off for many years. However, that said, I would always encourage people to get a second opinion if they’re not happy with the level of communication with their current doctors.
On another note, I just found your blog today via your podcast with Kat Lee on How They Blog. Thanks so much for sharing your blogging story there, and providing the rest of us with the encouragement!
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism seven years ago. I’m in my late 50’s. I was depressed, gaining weight, cold all the time, and just feeling pretty miserable. I can’t honestly say I feel that much better now. I’m taking levothyroxin, but I’m having problems sleeping, despite the fact that I’m tired all the time.
I don’t think its unusual for middle aged women to have thyroid issues, as opposed to younger women, though that does seem to be an issue.
Please look into endocrine disruptors. If the thyroid is not working, instead of throwing meds at the thyroid find out the CAUSE. Once you go on meds you’re throwing a monkey wrench into your entire endocrine system. Signals from the Hypothalamus aren’t getting through to the Thyroid, so the problem isn’t just your thyroid, it’s the head honcho of your whole hormone system. I’m suspecting it’s due to either endocrine disruptors (plastics, chemicals, household cleaners, etc), or iodine deficiency. Take a capsule of Kelp once a day. Get rid of plastics and household chemicals from your home. Ditch genetically modified and processed foods. Eat organic, whole foods. Don’t sleep next to your phone, and if it’s possible don’t use microwaves. I’m just telling you what I know, I’ve been there and I fixed my Thyroid issue naturally. Watch Dr. John Bergman on YouTube, the guy is brilliant. You can do a search for one of his Thyroid videos.