Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy
If you don't mind my asking... how are you treating thyroid yourself? I'm intrigued...
Over the last four years, my regimen has taken lots of twists and turns according to my healing process, because once something is healthier than before, continuing on as before can cause other problems. It would take a book to document my journey thus far, but I can share a bit of my experienced with others trying to do the same thing.
Start with diet and sleep- 10 hrs/night beginning no later than 10:30pm and try to sleep in until at least 8:30am. If that cannot happen, then at least make sure to go to bed early enough to have 10hrs. If you are very unwell, you may not see improvement if you have to be up before 8:30am. The time of day matters as much as the amount of hrs of sleep.
Add protein and at breakfast eat no or very few carbs- you can make up for those later. Animal fats help both with slow absorption of carbs and for balancing hormones. I eat a high-fat, high-protein traditional european diet (because that's my ancestry). Make sure to eat lots of veggies too, but don't eat thyroid lowering ones. Cruciferous veggies must be cooked, so no more spinach salad or raw broccoli at all. Also avoid melons because of their very high sugar content. Eat all carbs with fats. If you eat bread, slather with butter. Eat baked potatoes covered in sour cream and butter. No fat= fast sugar absorption=step backward in health for thyroid/adrenal fatigue.
Educate yourself on how the thyroid and adrenal glands work. This is a difficult process because it takes a lot of reading to begin to see the big picture and be able to weed out the erroneous materials. In this process you may find yourself completely bogged down by the reality that the leg bone is connected to the hip bone and it will take you the rest of your life to have to put together what nobody else seems to.
Experts all have an area of endocrinology that they specialise in and few link much of it together. Eventually you may give up on figuring out absolutely everything and the enormous amount of frustration that brings (oh, yes, you must also limit or remove stress from your life which is another monumental task on its own), and just stick with what you must know to help yourself get better. No arguing, fighting, no adrenaline-inducing activities such as roller coasters and thriller movies. Sex is fine. Very healthy.
At that point, you will know almost or as much as any endocrinologist, though your knowledge base will be broader whereas their's usually tends toward specificities. This is a long road. Hopefully you just need some thyroid/adrenal support and once you have it, you are well and can avoid spending countless hours learning stuff that seems to change as quickly as you learn it so that its like holding sand in a sieve.
You must completely quit all forms of 'pick-me-ups' in the form of sugar and caffeine- COMPLETELY! You absolutely cannot recover as long as you are taking these. Your education will inform you of why this is so critically important.
Add thyroid/adrenal supports- herbs, vitamins and supplements, incl. homoeopathics if they work for you. Ignore recommended dosages for vitamin C and D. Take vitamin C to bowel tolerance every day taking note of and changing dosage as required, and vitamin D to improved health. I take 7000 IU/day. It can take a year of vitamin D at that dose to start to see results. The vitamin C will start to improve health visibly almost or actually immediately. Vitamin C and D deficiencies alone can be the cause of fatigue amongst an enormously long list of unpleasant health problems.
The Vitamin C Foundation has a great site and very high quality powdered C that is relatively cheap on subscrition. They are very prompt in delivery, IME.
If you plateau after 2 months or more but have seen improvements and you are still having that long and pathetic list of symptoms (even if not so severely or some symptoms have left but you are still sure that thyroid and/or adrenals are not functioning optimally), then consider glandulars. I prefer natural glandulars and buy them from a company in California called NutriMeds. They are the purest source I have found that Ican buy and have shipped to Canada. I use porcine thyroid and bovine adrenal.
Make sure you read the section at Stop The Thyroid Madness
about beginning glandulars when adrenals are involved, if you think yours are. You cannot start thyroid right away in this situation. You must first strengthen and heal your adrenals to a point that they can function well enough to accept the thyroid. Don't rush the adrenal glandular therapy. Make sure you are ready to begin the thyroid before you do. Then once taking thyroid glandular, make sure you are not underdosing because that can make your symptoms even worse than before. This is a common mistake. The website addresses this well, imo.
If you are taking any hormones- bcp's, estrogen, progesterone, etc..., you are going to have an uphill battle trying to figure out how to treat your thyroid and/or adrenals. I don't take any, but did at one time for many years and no doubt they caused a lot of the fatigue that led to insufficiency and then to near failure. If you are taking bcp's for menstrual pain, it is my opinion that you should stop. That pain, which I know from years of experience, can be debilitating (lots of missed school and work, spent in bed rocking, even with painkillers). This is a tell-tale signal of thyroid fatigue. And it's a downward spiral from there with bcp's. Taking the bcp's to alleviate the pain adds another layer of hormonal upset that will have to be healed for you to be healthy.
If you can find a naturopath with lots of experience and who is highly skilled, then you may have someone to consult when you've hit a wall and have run out of ideas, or weird symptoms suddenly appear during your recovery. Hormones are in a way, everything, in terms of quality of life, and if you suddenly find yourself hearing music all the time when none is playing, then a naturopath may be able to help with some on-the-spot knowledge and one-time treatment to get you past that strange thing.
How ever you got to where you are, you are going to pass back through it on your way back, and it might seem like you're just dealing with old symptoms and going nowhere, but IME, I had an almost sequential onset of symptoms, but in reverse
, as I've been healing. Initially I was discouraged, wondering why I'd be now having symptoms from years ago, but then when I saw this pattern, it became obvious that I was passing back through to get to the side of health, where I want to be.
Of my four years of intensive healing, the first three were the most studious, most intense and most 'roller-coaster-y.' This past year has been much easier as I am healing and I need less documentation (taking temps, journalling progress/regress, etc...), less stuff piled in my basket of supplements, less $ spent, less research necessary and my body has resumed having some order and predictability in its responses. I feel better able to meet my health needs and more of what I do works because of experience. I can feel something and be cued, "Oh, I need such and such right now/today", take it and get on with things.
It doesn't consume my time and effort anymore, and I don't nap or need naps. I can fall asleep at night and wake in the morning, and even tend to night-waking dc without collapsing in the hall. I can dance and jump and run around for periods every day- even while being pg, which is unheard of for me. I don't feel faint all day like before and rarely do now. I am where I was about 7 years ago in my health, and I have a long way to go, but I'm going!
One more thing, if you have thyroid and/or especially adrenal fatigue, exercise may be completely out of the question, depending on the severity of your symptoms. I am only this last year able to begin light exercise. I used to play volleyball and badminton competitively (of course also practicing several times/wk), run 11kms 2x/week, ride my bicycle and walk everywhere from 3 to 15kms/day. I was very fit and I am a normal weight and have been even through years of not being able to exercise or remain active (although muscle mass is very diminished). I felt better when I was active, but when my kidneys failed and I became aware of this health crisis, I was fit and strong, or so I thought. This was an obstacle to obtaining help, btw. Nobody believed a young, visibly muscled, slender, fit woman in her 20s could also be so ill.
Until you can stay awake for normal amounts of time, to be safe, I would limit exercise to very light, and short intervals if any at all. There were years when standing up from a chair brought my heartrate up to 120 bpms and walking down the hall felt like my previous runs. Don't overdo, even if you want to be/stay fit. You can make up for it when you are well.
Well, that's a start. And that was a severe abbreviation.
ETA: I took St Johns Wort, 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine at different times to help with the emotional issues that came up during this process. The 5-HTP was essential for dealing with migraines related to thyroid function. This is not universal, but it can be hard to find that info, so if that's happening, this is at least a starting point. And yes, you will learn about brain chemistry too, unless you can heal before you must. I love learning this stuff under all normal circumstances, but not so much when under duress.