Health related topics wouldn’t regularly be found here on my blog, but it’s the norm in my personal life. It’s three years since I was first diagnosed with underactive thyroid. You have most likely heard of your thyroid gland, and the words overactive and underactive too, but you might not know what it entails. That is why I like to call it the most uncommon, common illness and why I want to share my experience of having underactive thyroid.
Before I start, I would like to stress that I am obviously not a professional, and if you have any doubts about your health then you should seek medical advice. I can only write from experience, and having dealt with it for a few years now, I feel like I have enough experience to write about my own personal journey.
This post will be divided into three parts – The definition of underactive thyroid, symptoms and my personal experience.
Thyroid gland & Underactive Thyroid
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ located in the base of your neck. It makes two hormones that are necessary for all the cells to work normally in your body.
Underactive thyroid is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain crucial hormones.
Signs and symptoms may include.
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight issues
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness/aches
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
Other symptoms that could appear in children or teens with underactive thyroid
- Poor growth
- Delayed development of permanent teeth
- Delayed puberty
Throughout my childhood, I was very up and down. One minute I would be full of fun, the next, flat out on the couch. I suffered a lot from tummy troubles, I always got sore throats and was on more antibiotics than I would have cared for, but the amount of blood tests, scopes and scans could never pinpoint where my health issues stemmed from.
In my early to mid teens, I got some breaks in between feeling unwell and missing school, which I hated because I was that kid that loved school, especially secondary school. Then I hit the ages of 17 to 18 and it was as if all the health issues I had finally bubbled up into one and hit me like a tons of bricks. I was in my final years of school, my spark slowly dwindled and I was no longer my bubbly or social self. My friends would talk but I couldn’t hear what they were saying, my head was in such a fog that I couldn’t take in the information given to me in classes, and I could barely walk a flight of stairs due to sheer exhaustion. I thought I was going mad, and I was struggling, big time.
This went on for quite some time, school didn’t go as I had planned and I was constantly in doors with severe fatigue, growing more anxious, in the depth of depression.
In Spring of 2016, I finally got full blood tests taken and the results showed under active thyroid. The questions were finally answered and I cried for about 5 minutes due to a mix of relief, exhaustion and knowing I would probably be a little more ill before I got better. That was my one and only time to cry over it, I was determined to move on from that point, it’s something I would deal with and finally lead a healthy life with the help of medication.
From that time three years ago, up until March of this year, the dose of medication was changed month after month in order to get my thyroid levels to settle. Side effects disappeared and reappeared for three years straight, it was mentally and physically draining but I have finally made my way through to the other side and I am slowly building myself back up piece by piece. I lost a lot of time from 19 to 21 years old, but at 22 I’m still young and ready to get my life back on track.
If you have any concerns about your health, regardless of your age, then seek medical advice and get your blood tests taken. As with most things, the earlier you treat them, the easier it is to get on with.