Tag Archives: hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Health Matters: Dosing Modifications

18 Oct

It has been a month since my last doctor’s appointment. I’ve been so busy with life that I’m just now updating. A month ago I still wasn’t feeling great. I’ve made a lot of changes with supplements and getting off synthetic prescription drugs. Repairing 10 years of damage to my system is not a quick process and I didn’t expect it to be.

As always, Dr. Alexander spent all the time I needed going over my concerns, digging deep into how I was feeling and explaining my recent test results so I understood them.

Here is what we discussed:

Thyroid: I do have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (Incidentally, there was a great article on MSN today about modern wheat’s connection to Hashimoto’s.) We decided to increase my Iodoral 2% to 4-5 drops per day and continue Armour med at the 1.5 dose (up from 1). Nutritionally, she said the best for me is to start trying to cut out wheat and corn as well as any processed foods (processed contains the bromine that is blocking iodine). My TSH level was an insane 15.9 in July, but is now at 1.32 (less than 2 is good). My T4 and T3 are continuing to improve as well.

Adrenal: A new item we discussed this time was Adrenal Fatigue. Because I was still so tired and lacking energy, Dr. Alexander thought this might be what’s going on. She said I wasn’t fatigued yet, but she was concerned I was headed there. I started adrenal support that contains Ashwaganda, which also helps the thyroid. We’ll check the progress in labs in a month. We also discussed the importance of meditation and getting away from work when I can. This is hard for me because I work two jobs: one for a national magazine and one publishing my own magazine. I am having to make conscious efforts to disconnect with work and connect with myself and my family. Stress is the biggest cause of adrenal fatigue. This makes so much sense to me.

Hormones: Hormonally I have been feeling up and down. While I was on birth control, as I have discussed before, I had no libido, and I’m only 32 years old. I lived the first 10 years of my marriage being crippled by a rocky physical relationship with my husband. It was the single biggest struggle in my marriage. And while the kinks are still being worked out hormonally, I am happy to report I feel somewhat normal again in that department. As much as I know of “normal” anyway. I am continuing on a progesterone supplement nightly on days 14-25 of my cycle.

Vitamin D deficiency: My vitamin D level was 65 at my last labs, which is a huge improvement from the 31 it was in May. We will continue to replace to goal of around 80.

I’m still very hopeful we will get all of this figured out. Dr. Alexander said I wasn’t making this easy. 😉 But it’s still so wonderful to know someone is on my side and committed to digging into these problems with me.

I’ll be back next week with an update on how my organic produce delivery is going. (Spoiler: We love it!)

Here’s to our health friends.


Health Matters: First Test Results

13 Aug

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my blood drawn.

After almost two weeks I went back to see Dr. Alexander for the results of my labs taken there. Here’s what she found:

1. She saw nothing in my more specific Lipid Panel to warrant being on meds for cholesterol. She asked me to stop taking the Statin. She didn’t like the risk/benefit analysis, understanding that the levels are including the fact that I was on a drug to help my levels. And since we discussed before, cholesterol is the father of all our sex and adrenal hormones and statins inhibit our body from making appropriate levels. No wonder my hormones felt so dead. We will test my levels again in a few months and she recommended a lab called Berkeley, which is a cardiovascular set of labs that look in depth at your genetics and risk for cardiovascular disease. I am interested in the labs and hope they will put my mind at ease in the future. She also recommended a book called “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart disease and the Statin Free Plan.” Sounds interesting. My levels were:

Total Cholesterol: 152 (normal 100-199)

Triglycerides: 101 (normal 0-149)

HDL Cholesterol: 57 (normal >39, and >59 is considered a negative risk factor for chronic heart disease)

VLDL Cholesterol Cal: 20 (normal 5-40)

LDL Cholesterol Calc: 75 (normal 0-99)

Lipoprotein: 3 (desirable <20, value above 30 may indicate independent risk factor for chronic heart disease)

2. Hypothyroid: She diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. She wants to optimize my thyroid health first with iodine, the Armour med I started recently and also Selenium at about 200mg for several months. Read more about the benefits of Selenium <a href=”http://thyroid.about.com/library/weekly/aa072000a.htm&#8221; target=”_blank”>here</a>, but one study found Selenium can reduce the risk of thyroid problems, pregnancy and fertility problems, heart disease and progression of HIV to AIDS, among other findings. Pretty interesting stuff. We will check my thyroid again in five weeks.

My levels were:

TSH: 15.9 (normal is .450-4.5) and she commented that she didn’t know how I was functioning. In all actuality I felt OK, not like a walking zombie, but that could just be because I’m used to being tired and feel like that’s normal.

Triiodothyronine, free, serum: 2.6 (normal 3.6-4.5)

T4, free: .83 (normal 1.2-1.8)

3. Irregular periods: Due to an imbalance in hormones. She ordered progesterone for me and I’m to take it nightly  on days 14-25 (roughly) in my cycle. Off birth control, my cycle is usually six weeks as opposed to four.

My hormone levels were:

DHEA-Sulfate: 99.8 (normal 200-350)

Estradiol: 33.4 (normal varies on where you are in your cycle, but mine was low)

Progesterone: .7 (normal also depends on cycle stage, but again mine was low)

I am continuing to take Vitamin D supplements in prescription strength, to a goal of around 80, iodine, fish oil, B complex, and CoQ10.

This appointment again lasted a couple of hours and Dr. Alexander thoroughly explained the results to me. She also took some time to recommend natural remedies for problems my husband has like acid reflux and allergies (OTC acid blockers are awful for you and a shot of vinegar surprisingly should help!) I don’t know another doctor who would offer free advice when it is so valuable. And I can email her any time with questions. It’s kind of like having a really good friend who knows you inside and out and is really smart about your insides. 😉

Here’s to our health friends.

Health Matters: First Appointment

31 Jul

First of all, since my last post sharing my back story on starting this new natural health quest, I’ve received a lot of new followers and I want to say welcome and how excited I am that people are into figuring out this whole health thing along with me. It’s fascinating and overwhelming and empowering all at the same time. And although I will share what my doctor has told me in my case, please do the research for yourself and get a professional opinion before doing anything.

So, on to my first official appointment with Osteopathic Dr. Alexander…
After an initial consultation that lasted about 45 minutes (it’s usually about 30 minutes, but you know me and all my issues now…) I was sold. Dr. Alexander’s knowledge and compassion won me over, despite the fact that insurance does not cover this form of treatment, which of course I find ridiculous.

The particular program I am under involved a $500 payment for the first month and subsequent $150 payments for every month I continue to need guidance and testing.

It was a hard pill to swallow at first, but I tell you that the first in-depth consultation I had with Dr. Alexander was worth the $500 alone. It lasted two hours. I’ve never spent so much time talking to a doctor. We got so into the discussion that we went after closing time and not one person complained about having to stay and draw my labs and set up my next appointment.

I never feel like a burden here and I never have to wait.

Dr. Shelley talked to me all about my history, asked me a ton of questions about what I’m experiencing currently and patiently answered all of my questions. The experience was nothing less than eye opening. Dr. Alexander would say things like, “We’ve known birth control is terrible for our bodies for a long time…” and my eyes would bug out and I would shake my head and think to myself, “We” know no such thing! (Here’s more on that.) I was shocked and amazed at all the things I didn’t know. Because no one ever told me. No doctor ever shared with me the side effects of all the drugs I was on. I could have looked them up myself, sure, but I assumed there was nothing I could do because I had to be on these meds and there was no alternative. I was just a good little girl who took her pills and didn’t ask questions for something like nine years. All the while not feeling like myself and becoming less and less connected with who I am, mind, body and soul.

Here is a breakdown on what came out of our first meeting:
1. Dyslipidemia (cholesterol problems): I am on a statin, which depletes CoQ10 in our bodies, so I am now on a 100mg/day CoQ10 supplement. According to WebMD, CoQ10 is “used by cells to produce energy our bodies need for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. Coenzymes help enzymes work to digest food and perform other body processes, and they help protect the heart and skeletal muscles.” So yeah, we kinda need it.

I learned that cholesterol is the father of all of our sex and adrenal hormones (it looks something like this) and statins inhibit the body from making appropriate levels. My main hormones were checked in labs to follow up next time. A more thorough panel of my cholesterol was also checked. The goal is to get me off the statin and on a more natural way to treat cholesterol.

2. Hypothyroid: When I stopped taking birth control (and also when I was pregnant) my thyroid level changed and my regular doctor decreased my dose synthetic thyroid supplement. When they drew my blood last May, my antibodies were also high, which they did not tell me. When I brought a copy of my labs (which I had to ask for because they were never sent to me) to my new doctor, she immediately noticed the connection between my thyroid and my high antibodies and suggested the idea that I may have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (Here’s more on that). It is very common in women of childbearing years and the most common form of hypothyroidism. She checked a more in depth panel of my thyroid in labs and started me on a more natural thyroid supplement called Armour. It is bio identical instead of synthetic. I also ordered Lugol’s Iodine Solution at 2% from Amazon. Iodine is essential in thyroid function.  

3. Irregular periods: This is probably due to a hormonal imbalance. Hormones are being checked in the lab.

4. Vitamin D deficiency: A Vitamin D deficiency was noticed in my labs that were drawn in May. Dr. Alexander says we are all essentially low in Vitamin D and she wants the level at around 80. She called in a prescription strength supplement for me at 50,000IUs a week.

5. Healthy Aging:  Dr. Alexander asked me to start taking fish oil twice a day with meals. She said, the higher the dose the better the health where fish oil is concerned. She also suggested using sea salt because it is a wonderful safe source of minerals, including iodine. (More on that here). Because my body has been depleted of vitamins due to oral contraceptives, she asked me to take a B Complex vitamin daily.

So basically, it was a great, long conversation on what she suspects is going on with my body (without seeing new, more in-depth labs) and how it all works together. I left feeling very hopeful and much more knowledgeable and equipped to research more things on my own instead of feeling so lost and alone.

I had my second visit with my lab results on Monday and I’ll write about that later this week. Here’s to our health!