I hate my thyroid. I'm sure that's not a sentence you hear very often. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't know what the thyroid is.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck and is a part of the endocrine system. This gland creates hormones that help regulate body temperature and metabolism, among other things. Believe it or not, this small gland is crucial in normal body function. However, many don't realize just how important the thyroid is until it theirs isn't working properly.
I have a condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis. According to the American Thyroid Association website, Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that leads to chronic inflammation of the thyroid because the body makes antibodies that attack your thyroid. Hashimoto's is also the most common cause of hypothyroidism, a condition in which your body does not make enough thyroid hormone for your body to function.
Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism are typically treated with a drug called Synthroid or levothyroxine. There is some evidence however that eliminating gluten from your diet can help as well, but there is not much scientific proof for this theory (yet). Additionally, there is no proven cure for Hashimoto's disease, so I will likely be on medication for the rest of my life.
There are so many symptoms associated with Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism it isn't even funny.
Just off of the top of my head, I have experienced fatigue (to the point that I can't stay awake in class as an honors student), weight gain, dry skin, and feeling cold when everyone else is just fine. Since I was diagnosed, my symptoms have fluctuated, so even when I think I'm improving, I sometimes I actually end up feeling worse. No matter how hard I try, I can't get my symptoms to completely go away.
Thyroid conditions are not debilitating though, so as painful as it can be sometimes, both physically and mentally, I have to keep going without much assistance. Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism come with symptoms that sound like things people whine about for no good reason. Plus, it's a nightmare trying to get the medication adjusted to the specific dose I require, as anyone with thyroid problems is aware. I think I'm getting there, but since my body is fighting itself, there's really no way to tell. Pretty much, having Hashimoto's disease sucks.
For me, the worst part has been feeling like I am crazy for my symptoms. They seem so unrelated, even though they are all caused by the same issue, and they make me feel like I have zero control over my body. It's a very frustrating feeling.
Recently though, I've started connecting with people I know and bloggers I have found online that also struggle with Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism. I am so relieved to have been reassured that I'm not crazy, that I really do just have an illness, and that others are battling the same struggle every day and winning.
So, for anyone out there struggling with a thyroid condition, please know that you aren't alone and you aren't making things up. And if you suspect you may have a thyroid condition, please go get checked out. As much as it sucks dealing with this condition, I know that with a diagnosis I'm on my way to feeling better.