The Great Thyroid Debate - Personal experiences

From SB

 

I read about other people's thyroid dilemmas with interest.

The big problem is that, before blood tests were developed, GPs listened to the symptoms and treated them but now they just do blood tests and go by them. The ‘normal’ range was devised 50 years ago, but people and lifestyles have changed since then. Also, averages do not take account of the fact that people are different. Anyhow, here's my story.

I had pre-existing health problems and earlier this year acquired some new ones. Having already given up on the GP, I looked at alternative therapies. I got nowhere with acupuncture so moved onto reflexology.

On examining my feet the reflexologist (Lesley Jepps www.lesleyjepps.co.uk) said immediately that I had a thyroid problem. I denied this.
Yet every week when she touched that area of my foot I said ‘ouch’. She maintained that my pre-existing and recently acquired symptoms could be thyroid related.

I gave in, went to the GP and told him about the symptoms. He agreed - ‘thyroid’ - and did the TSH test, which came back normal. So I was dismissed, as being depressed and anxious, given a mild anti-depressant and advised counselling.

Not happy, I internet searched and discovered that GPs are quick to dismiss patients as depressed - which is a thyroid symptom - and to offer no more than the one TSH test because of cost. But although the TSH test may be normal, until the other tests are done you do not have a complete picture of the workings of the
thyroid. So I paid for the T4, T3, thyroid antibodies and, again, the TSH tests to be done. These tests also came back normal.

Frustrated, because the reflexologist was still insisting my thyroid foot was bad - I researched and discovered that different labs around the country use different ‘normal range values’. My T4 at another lab was under the normal range.

Even more frustrating - I discovered an associate living in another part of the country whose T4 was in the ‘normal’ range (two points above mine), but because she was on the low side her GP prescribed a trial dose of thyroxine to see if it would help.

I decided to leave the medical side and concentrate on the reflexology and some mineral supplements that the reflexologist suggested to boost my flagging thyroid. It seems that I am borderline, and if it hadn't been picked up now I would have deteriorated and then in a few years the test would probably have been accepted by my GP. I do seem to be improving and my thyroid foot is no longer the ‘ouch’ it was. I am also booked to see a kinesiologist. She can also test the thyroid strength and advise on supplements if still needed.

PS Re: soya
I have not done any research on this but I do know that the thyroid is affected by our hormones and soy is an oestrogen - so if too much is eaten this would upset the balance of the thyroid. I had been
prescribed progesterone to dampen down my oestrogen
levels and I believe it had depressed my thyroid too far.

Websites that have helped me:
www.thyroid-info.com
http://tpa-uk.technocool.net/TPAUK/drspress.htm
www.thyroiduk.org - this site advises on other tests that can be done and private doctors who think ‘outside the box’ - a good place to start.
www.btf-thyroid.org

Supplements that have helped me:
Vit C 500mg twice a day for both over and under
Vit E 250mg once a day - unless on anticoagulants
Vit B complex - 1 tab each morning for both under or over - must contain B-50 complex with 50mcg Vit B12, Biotin, 400 mcg folic acid, 50mg other B Vits.
Zinc, selenium and kelp but you really need advice as to whether they are suitable for your thyroid type.

 

From CH:
Further to your request in the August edition of Foods Matter I also had a problem getting a thyroid problem diagnosed.

For about three years I had the following symptoms.
• Excessive catarrh resulting in snoring and sounding as though I had a permanent cold
• Overwhelming tiredness
• Lump in my throat
• Watery eyes
• Weight gain despite dieting
• Very puffy blown up face as if I was on steroids
• Difficulty in speaking - sounded as if tongue was swollen

I was referred to ear, nose and throat specialists both on the NHS and also privately at great expense, and was prescribed various nasal drops that achieved nothing. I was referred to a speech therapist who could find nothing wrong and also at my request to a neurologist as I felt the symptoms were similar to that of motorneurone disease, again to no avail.

All this time I was also consulting a Chinese herbalist, who having tried several alternatives, eventually asked me if I had had my thyroid checked. I went to my GP and asked for the TSH test. When the results came back the blood count was 114. The normal is below 5 and 30 is considered to be high! I am now taking 125 micrograms of thyroxin to counteract my underactive thyroid .
When I asked my GP why this was not picked up sooner I was told that sometimes it is missed or one doctor assumes that another has checked it!

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