My journey started in 2014. I remember the phone call from the doctor like it was yesterday. “Your thyroid labs came back. You have subclinical hypothyroid. You will have to be thyroid medication for the rest of your life.” A part of me felt relieved. I finally had an answer to why I was feeling so awful. Another part of me felt confused. What did they mean I’d have to be on medication my WHOLE life? This is where my journey began.
Immediately after my “subclinical hypothyroid” diagnosis, my conventional doctor prescribed me your standard Levothyroxine/synthroid medication. Upon taking this for a few months, I STILL felt awful. (Most people do NOT feel better on this medication as it only contains T4 and most likely has a lot of fillers that could be causing more problems).
I began doing my own research and came across a medication called Armour. I made an appointment with my conventional doctor and asked her about switching to this medication. The doctor laughed and said, “That one doesn’t work, but you can try it.” She was right. It was in fact, not right for my body. I began getting severe heart palpitations immediately after starting it.
I knew there had to be a better way. I told my doctor that I did not want to be on medication if it was going to make me feel THIS bad. She advised me that I could go off of it for 6 weeks to “reset” before getting on a new prescription. BIG MISTAKE! I was right back to square one. Severe fatigue, brain fog, cold hands and feet, anxiety, and just all around not well. (Bad move on the doctor’s part-I don’t EVER recommend doing this!)
I knew there had to be a better way. I decided to see a Naturopath as I was desperate for a different perspective. After seeing a Naturopath, I was finally diagnosed with Hashimotos Disease. I had a full thyroid panel ran prior to my diagnosis (free T3, T4, TSH, TPO antibodies, and TGAb anti-thyroglobulin antibodies). I was then given a compounded thyroid medication (made from scratch with no fillers). I struggled to find the right dosage at this time and did not stay on it long enough for my body to adjust (I believe it takes a good 6 weeks to adjust to any new dosage or new medication).
I then switched to Nature Thyroid and stayed on this medication for a year or so. (Many people do very well on it.) After a while, I started to have histamine symptoms (rashes, face flushing, etc.) Nature Thyroid is made from porcine which is extremely high histamine. I suddenly made the connection and asked to be put back onto the compounded thyroid medication (after looking closely at all my lab work of course). I allowed my body to adjust to the dosage of medication and have only had to increase once in 10 months. Compounded thyroid medication has been the best for MY body, but everyone is different. I am extremely sensitive to fillers and other components of medication and have found that having the right combination of both T4 and T3 seems to personally make me feel the best. There are other great thyroid medications out there that I personally have not tried that seem to work well for other people. It really is about finding what works best for your body.
I used to be under the impression that doing things “holistically” or “naturally” meant that you didn’t take any medication. That is very far from the truth. While we work on healing ourselves, we still NEED thyroid medication to function. This is the only medication that I know my body ABSOLUTELY NEEDS to function properly. I do know people who have been able to get completely off their medication and this is my ultimate goal. However, I will continue to take my medication for as long as my body needs to heal itself.
Throughout most of my journey, I worked with multiple functional medicine doctors. I had a FULL thyroid panel ran multiple times in order to accurately dose my medication. As always, please work with a functional medicine doctor to get proper labs ran, find the right dosage, and to find which medication is right for YOUR body.