Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weight loss after Thyroidectomy

Last night I did a stupid thing. I had a vague recollection of hearing/reading that people had trouble with weight loss after having their thyroid removed so I decided to do some research to see if I could determine how successful people are at losing weight after having a thyroidectomy.

The news is not good my friends, not good at all. In the hundreds of various forum posts I trawled through, the many thyroid support websites I visited I could not find one person who said they had successfully lost weight after a thyroidectomy. Many many people had posted their tales of woe in desperation, asking if others had managed to do what it seemed they could not, only to have dozens of responses from others in the same boat. Nobody said "yes, I've done it, and you can too". All I found were story upon story of people who either hover around the same weight or continue to put on weight, despite good healthy diet and exercise. It was all pretty discouraging really, in fact it was downright depressing.

I found an interesting website called "Stop the Thyroid Madness" which goes into great detail about how the majority of Thyroid patients are being incorrectly medicated. In a short simplified version, we have two major thyroid hormones our body naturally produces, T3 and T4, in the old days they used to medicate this condition with natural thyroid hormone. Then in the 1970's a new "wonder" synthetic T4 arrived, theoretically our bodies are supposed to be able to convert a percentage of this T4 to T3 but it seems for a very large amount of patients this simply does not happen and they continue to suffer the symptoms of an underactive thyroid.

In the old days a patient was medicated according to their symptoms, if you were still having hypothyroid symptoms your medication was increased/changed. Nowadays it's all about numbers, if your lab work is within the "right range" they consider you correctly medicated, they don't care how you feel.

Despite being "correctly medicated" I still have the following symptoms:

Hair Loss
Brittle Nails
Dry Skin
Weight Gain
Foggy thinking
Tiredness, major tiredness, exhaustion
Lump in the throat like a wad of phlegm is always stuck there (not a listed symptom but others have described the same thing)

In short I am miserable, I've been miserable for years and nobody can fix it.

Since having my thyroidectomy I have had my blood done at least twice a year (by 3 different doctors) and every time I am told I am correctly medicated and nothing else can be done.

I have been told I have Depression, possibly PCOS and/or IBS, nobody will treat these as thyroid symptoms because the numbers say my medication is right.

Combination T3/T4 therapy is still available, T3 is also available on it's own as a supplement to the synthetic T4, but the overwhelming majority of Doctors will not prescribe them, they favour the new synthetic, "proven" drug, they favour the numbers.

Probably the saddest, most enraging thing I read on that website was the story of a woman that was very overweight and on complaining to her Doctor he told her to get up at 5am, exercise like mad, only eat a few small portions of nuts through the day and a salad at night. When she told him she couldn't possibly live like that he responded that she apparently didn't want to lose weight too badly then.

I cried last night, I had a good long cry. I am wondering what hope I have in getting to 60kgs when I have a chemical in my body that is fighting me every step of the way. How long can I stay motivated to exercise every day? How long can I maintain a diet that doesn't allow me to eat all the things I love like rice, pasta, potatoes, and bread without result? How long can I continue like this if I don't lose weight? Or if the weight loss is so small, so insignificant that I feel like I am going to explode out of frustration?

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine what that is like Belinda. Keep at it, I know you can do it - I will be here to support you ♥

    Also I have tagged you