What are symptoms of hypothyroidism? How do I diagnose hypothyroidism?

Experiencing and diagnosing hypothyroidism

Today I’m going to share everything I wish I knew about symptoms of hypothyroidism as well as the how to diagnose hypothyroidism. Since I knew so little about this disease, I didn’t know the right questions to ask, the right people to see, and the right protocol to follow. Had I known some of this, it would have led to less stress and a quicker healing process. I don’t want you to experience any unnecessary stress or delays in your healing journey, like I did!

As you may have read in my last blog, after being told I was a specimen of health by my PCP and corporate health coach, but knowing deep down something else was wrong, I had my acupuncturist run some blood work. Sure enough it came back as hypothyroidism. From that point it was exactly a year and a day until I got a full diagnosis, including Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis (more coming on that soon), started working with the right doctor, and started making progress healing my hypothyroidism.

First, let me start with sharing…what are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

The symptoms of hypothyroidism that I experienced included: fatigue, constantly feeling cold, weight gain, swollen face, weakness, high cholesterol, dry skin, loss of ambition, menstrual irregularities, depression, changes in my hair and issues with my memory.

Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include: constipation, hoarseness, muscle aches, joint pain, loss of outer third of your eyebrow, infertility, thinning hair, slowed heart rate.

I didn’t realize some of what I was experiencing were symptoms of hypothyroidism…until after the fact.

I feel silly even admitting that. I’m a smart gal, but I had never been through anything like this in my life. Hearing I had hypothyroidism was like being told I had a cold. I had no understanding of the magnitude of the situation. My history with doctors was going for annual exams or for sinus infections. And when I was told that there was nothing wrong with me by my PCP, I figured that I’d be fine after a bottle of supplements. My past gave me no reason to question any of this, despite the blood work.

As things got progressively worse, I started researching and reading more on my own. It was overwhelming. Even with friends in the health care industry – nutritionists – making recommendations, I still felt confused. The amount of information, and the conflicting nature of it was paralyzing. What I eventually realized is that this is a gray area of healing. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why I couldn’t seem to get a straightforward answer from anyone.

The struggle….

I’ve never been depressed in my life, so I literally was in denial that I was depressed or that it was related to my thyroid. I was in so deep, and felt like such crap, that I was unable to connect the dots. My journal from those days is filled with these words and phrases:

  • Sick yet again
  • Run down
  • Feel dead inside, depressed, sad, frustrated, disappointed, upset, lonely, tired, hellish
  • Have no energy
  • Have no creativity
  • Keep crying uncontrollably
  • My health has gone to shit
  • I want to give up
  • Wake up every morning feeling depressed and unmotivated

I felt like a stranger in my own body, and I felt like a fake. I’m usually an outgoing, positive person, with a lot of ideas and motivation to succeed. I couldn’t think straight and struggled to create anything. Plus, I was being extremely judgmental with myself. How could I be acting this way when I’m a life coach, and I teach people the opposite of how I’m behaving right now? What a phony!

I wasn’t enjoying my friends, and I had no desire to socialize (not normal for this extrovert). Everybody annoyed me. I had patience for nothing and no one because I had no energy. Everything in my life felt like a burden, which is completely opposite to how I normally feel. When I did meet with people, I was going through the motions, faking it and not enjoying myself, which made me feel worse than not going.

In the journal I wrote constantly about feeling tired and exhausted by life. I wanted an out from the situation, but I couldn’t see what it was because I didn’t understand what was going on. I was never suicidal, but I felt dead inside. (I used some amazing tools to help me survive the dark days before getting the right treatment. Click here to receive them via email plus hear some of the more intimate details of my journey.)  

Things started to shift when I got properly diagnosed and then treated.

I had complications and other symptoms because of my adrenal fatigue and leaky gut, which I’ll share more about over the next week. But right now I want to share the exact test I took that helped me really begin to heal my thyroid. Because the overwhelming amount of conflicting information became irrelevant when I got accurate and detailed testing done.

If you look online, you’ll pretty quickly see that diagnosing thyroid disease is not straightforward. To get an accurate diagnosis, you need a full panel with these six markers:

  • TSH
  • T4
  • T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Anti-Thyroglobulin
  • Anti-thyroid Peroxidase Antibody

From what I understand, and in my own experience, not all conventional doctors test all six markers. My PCP didn’t include the last four markers listed above, which is why my numbers appeared OK. It was in fact some of the markers not tested that were affecting my overall health.

NaturoWHAT???

The doctor who finally gave me the full panel is a Naturopath. Before this journey I had no idea what a Naturopath was. Within weeks of first meeting with him I felt the first signs of feeling like myself again. Even though I wasn’t close to being my old self, I definitely was no longer that stranger I had been living with for the last year, which was a pretty amazing feeling. 🙂

The doctor that I went to in San Diego is a part of the Centers for Health and Wellbeing. Their approach is integrative, blending conventional medicine and alternative therapies. Basically this means they focus on more than the disease and take a holistic approach to healing, while using lab work and some of the other traditional aspects of medicine.

In my opinion, you have to take that kind of approach to these kinds of diseases. As I’ll talk more about in the coming weeks, my recovery took a lot more than some lab work and supplements. It took making changes in my mindset, behavioral patterns and more.

But before I finish up, a couple of important points to remember:

  1. If you believe you may have an issue with your thyroid, ask your doctor if he/she runs a full panel including all six markers. Keep asking until you find someone who will, otherwise you’re not getting an accurate answer!
  2. Ask for referrals, keep talking, and keep searching until you find a doctor who feels good in your gut and treats you and your illness seriously. Not all Doctors are trained the same and specialize in this area of diagnosis and treatment. And you never know where you will find yours. (The doctor who changed my life was referred by the {awesome} lady who does my waxing!)

Finally, I’ll be hosting a FREE webinar, Naturally Heal Your Thyroid, on Wednesday, July 27th at 6:00 PM PDT/9:00 PM EDT. During it, me and my very own Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist, Jenn Malecha, will be sharing:

  • What is hypothyroidism? Hashimoto’s?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • How to naturally heal your thyroid (hint: mindset, food choices and much more!)

If you’re interested, please join us by registering for sixty-minutes of free, awesome content. (Replay will be sent to you immediately after if you can’t attend live.)

Happy to Heal (Everything Your Doctor’s Not Telling You About Healing Your Thyroid, Adrenals and Leaky Gut) is starting this September! Get on the waitlist today for discounted pricing! 🙂

About Molly

Molly Hamill, MAMolly Hamill, MA, is a certified life coach, Kundalini yogini and mediation enthusiast. She works with people around the country helping them lose their stress and feel their best. After recovering from her own health journey (Hashimoto's Hypothyroiditis, Adrenal Fatigue, and Leaky Gut), she is especially passionate about helping others establish mindsets and habits that support their health and happiness. For more information about Molly, get her weekly emails (sign up in green bar below), follow her on her Instagram and Facebook page, or chat with her in her private Facebook group, where she posts daily to help keep you connected with truth, dreams and desires. Prior to breaking free of the 9-5 life, she was an award-winning human resources executive for a national healthcare company.

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