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Disclaimer: I’m putting this out here in the hopes of helping others who may find themselves in a similar situation. I’m not a doctor. I can only speak from my own experience. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in August 2017 and, by March 2018, my thyroid levels were back in the normal range.
When none of the usual thyroid treatments worked…
“So I hear you’re our problem patient,” said my endocrinologist as she walked into the room. I shifted on the crinkly paper-covered doctor’s chair and laughed nervously. I was back in her office again after a battery of tests for my thyroid. She went on, “I don’t get many patients like you, but I have seen cases like this before – maybe once every year or two.”
She was talking about how none of her medical treatments for hyperthyroidism were compatible with my body.
It had been three months since my last appointment and I’d had issues with the treatments. Now I was back for another round of blood tests.
I told her I’d been feeling a bit better and less stressed, but she interrupted and quickly said that stress would not affect my thyroid levels. So I stopped talking because I had read that endocrinologists didn’t take natural treatments seriously for thyroid problems. But in my head, I was still hoping to see an improvement because of a few lifestyle changes I implemented in those three months.
And I wasn’t disappointed!
Let me start at the beginning so I can explain what drove me to even try natural treatments for my thyroid.
In August 2017, the same month that I put in my four-weeks notice at work, I went to the doctor for my yearly checkup. I knew I was having some health issues (which was why I was quitting my job), but I didn’t know that my issues could be thyroid-related. The prior year, my blood tests were all normal. This time, when the office did my blood tests, my thyroid levels were so far below normal that they did a second blood test the next week just to be sure. It was even lower.
So they referred me to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in the thyroid.
I did some research on thyroid issues at this point and discovered that many of my health problems were also symptoms of overactive thyroid. (I italicized the ones that I was experiencing):
Symptoms include unexpected weight loss, rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and irritability, although the elderly often experience no symptoms.
People may experience:
Whole body: excess sweating, excessive hunger, fatigue, or heat intolerance
Behavioral: hyperactivity, irritability, or restlessness
Mood: mood swings, nervousness, or panic attack
Heart: abnormal heart rhythm, fast heart rate, or palpitations
Sleep: difficulty falling asleep or insomnia
Menstrual: irregular menstruation or short and light menstruation
Eyes: abnormal protrusion of eyes or puffy eyes
Also common: weight loss, diarrhea, hair loss, muscle weakness, tremor, or warm skin
It was clear to me that I definitely had a thyroid problem.
The usual recommended hyperthyroidism treatments
Another month went by before I could get an appointment to see the endocrinologist. At this point, I had been unemployed for a month and a half. I was hoping my thyroid would have started to correct itself because I was already feeling much less stressed, sleeping better, and had implemented a daily exercise routine.
But they did more blood work and my thyroid levels were the lowest yet.
My endocrinologist diagnosed me with the Grave’s disease variety of hyperthyroidism and discussed my treatment options with me.
There were three main hyperthyroidism treatment options, listed in order of my doctor’s preference:
1. Radioactive iodine / thyroid oblation
This would entail swallowing a pill filled with radioactive iodine that my thyroid would soak up, effectively killing it. I would then have hypOthyroidism and take medicine to regulate it for the rest of my life.
2. Methimazole pills daily (temporary solution)
This was one of two available medicinal options for hyperthyroidism, but the results aren’t great for most people. It could cause liver failure and can only be used for a year. At that point, the patient will most likely get hyperthyroidism again. Then you’re back to either option one or this next option.
3. Surgery to remove the thyroid
This was discussed as a final resort treatment option. They could surgically remove the thyroid. As with the oblation, this option would give me hypothyroidism and require medicine for the rest of my life.
None of these options sounded great to me. I didn’t like the idea of replacing one problem with another. But I went along with my endocrinologist’s professional opinion.
We went forward with scheduling tests to find out if I was a candidate for option one, the radioactive iodine / thyroid oblation.
Why the usual hyperthyroidism treatments didn’t work for me
In another month, I got in for my appointment to test my thyroid’s iodine uptake. The results showed that my thyroid didn’t soak up enough of the iodine so I was not a viable candidate for oblation.
That brought us to option two – taking methimazole. I took the pills for three weeks and thought I was noticing some relief in my symptoms, but then I broke out in the itchiest red welts all over my body. I was severely allergic! That happened midway through December, about 4 months after my initial diagnosis.
My endocrinologist told me to immediately stop taking the meds. It took a few weeks to wear off.
With this failure, my thyroid treatment options were dwindling fast.
She concluded that we would just wait and rerun my blood work in three months in the hopes that I’d be a candidate for radioactive iodine / thyroid oblation then.
Natural thyroid treatments that I implemented in desperation
Well, I didn’t just want to do nothing for three months while my thyroid acted up. I wasn’t convinced that if I was not a candidate for oblation before that I would somehow be a good candidate in a few months.
So it was back to online research.
I found lots of articles with recommended lifestyle and diet changes to resolve thyroid issues, like:
- Stress Less
- Go Gluten-free
- Fruits and Veggies
- Minimize sugar, dairy, soy, corn
I also found a YouTube video about a woman who cured her hyperthyroidism by drinking Shakeology. This one stuck out to me because I used to drink Shakeology, but I had stopped in 2016- not long before my last normal blood tests.
What 2 lifestyle changes ultimately cured my hyperthyroidism
I was already doing:
- More Exercise
- Less Stress
- More fruits and vegetables
- More sleep
And I attempted but did a poor job implementing:
- More Meditation
- More Water
- Less sugar, dairy, soy, corn
So the main two changes that I started doing faithfully after my allergic reaction included:
- Gluten-free diet
- Shakeology daily
Normal thyroid levels achieved in three months
In March 2018, almost three months after stopping methimazole and beginning these two new lifestyle changes (Gluten-free diet and Shakeology), my thyroid levels jumped back to the normal range!
I don’t know what exact combination of these lifestyle changes and what I was already doing was the official magic combination cure. I can only say that in my experience, all these things together cured my hyperthyroidism naturally.
And to me, that was the best fourth option for treating my hyperthyroidism!
I’ll be going back to recheck my levels in four months (July 2018) and will report how things are going at that time. For now, I will be continuing my lifestyle changes with confidence!
6.5-Month Update: Latest Blood Work Results Still Normal
I am so happy to announce that my TSH levels have stayed in the normal range after another 3.5 months of gluten-free food and shakeology! (If you’re interested in learning more about shakeology and its benefits, read more here.)
At my yearly well woman exam on June 20th, my blood work results showed my TSH level at 0.87, which is slightly down from the last time (0.89), but I’ll take it!
1 Year Update: Latest Blood Work Results Still Normal!
My endocrinologist still doesn’t take me seriously, and she was unwilling to send a lab request to Quest Diagnostics for me so I could retest my thyroid levels another 5 months from my last exam. But I was able to get more lab work done despite that temporary roadblock by using Quest Diagnostics’ new QuestDirect online feature. QuestDirect allows anyone to request their own lab work without a doctor’s order. (But all that trouble is a whole other story for another time, and I want to get to the great news)!
Quest Diagnostics tested my TSH level on November 21 (a little over a year since my first bad test), and not only am I still in the normal range but my number is higher than it’s been as far back as I can see from 2014!
From October 2017 to November 2018, I’ve officially brought my TSH level up from 0.03 to 1.36!
At this point, my last three tests have been normal, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results I’ve gotten by sticking to a gluten-free diet and daily Shakeology!!!