Fatigue and Hypothyroidsim. It sucks, doesn't it?! You get sick and tired of being sick and tired. I get you. Why are we always so tired?
The struggle is real.
We all get tired from time to time but if you have hypothyroidsim or Hashimoto’s you understand dog tired fatigue that just won’t go away. I have spent the better part of the year trying to figure out why the heck I have been plagued with constant fatigue. It is depressing. Chronic illness in general is depressing. It stinks to be tired all the time. If you have kids then you have the guilt of not feeling well enough to take your kids anywhere or do anything fun with your family. I paid lots of money to a chiropractor to help me figure out why I was so tired all the time. Didn’t help much at all. I spent a good portion of the summer watching the entire series of Gilmore Girls with my ten year old because I didn’t have enough energy to do anything else. My house didn’t get cleaned much for a good 6 months. I finally figured out a few things, made some changes and now feel really pretty good and have had a bit of a pep in my step which has been a welcome change. Ask my family. They will tell you!
There are several things you can do when you have hypothyroidism to help get that pep back in your step as well.
First of all make sure your thyroid levels are optimal. That seems like a no brainer but you need to have more than just TSH tested. I feel like a broken record with this one but so many doctors don’t test anything but TSH and you really need to be an advocate for yourself and get T3 and T4 at a minimum tested and make sure they are in what would be considered a healthy range. Between .3 and 3.0 is what the American College of Clinical Endocrinologists suggests for TSH.
If your T3 is low and your reverse T3 is high, this will affect your energy levels as well. T3 is what your cells use for energy. Every cell in your body uses that hormone for energy. If your reverse T3 is high that means your body is possibly stressed in some way so that it is converting more T3 than it should into reverse T3 which your body cannot use, therefore you may have less energy. You can ask your doctor if they are wiling to try different medications on you and if you feel it is the meds and your doctor won’t work with you, find another doctor. Fire your doctor.
Have your iron (including ferritin) levels checked as well as your B12 levels. All of these have an effect on your energy levels.
Do you have any food allergies or sensitivities that are not being addressed? Often times having a sensitivity to a food can cause fatigue and those of us with Hashimoto’s usually have at least a gluten sensitivity and more often than not a dairy sensitivity as well. Trying an elimination diet is key to figuring out just what foods might be causing problems for you. We get a particular kind of sausage made from our deer every fall and I noticed the other day after having some that I felt particularly tired afterwards. Clue number one that there may be something in that sausage that is causing problems for me. Learn to listen to your body. Here what it is trying to tell you.
This next one is a biggie.
You absolutely must get your blood sugar under control. Not doing so will wreak havoc on your entire body. Your body makes balancing blood sugar a priority over most other things it does. Make sure you are eating protein and fat with every meal, including breakfast. Don’t starve yourself and make sure you are eating enough. Avoid starchy and refined carbohydrates. It should be okay for you to include squashes and sweet potatoes. I find I do better when I include those in my diet. Keep a food journal. You will be surprised that you just might not be eating enough food on a daily basis.
You also need to make sure that you are digesting your food. You cannot use the amino acids in the protein you consume if you are not breaking the protein down in your stomach. You need to chew your food well and slowly and even before you start eating you need to be relaxed (in parasympathetic mode).
Have your vitamin D checked. Optimal levels are somewhere around 60-80 ng/dl and most of us don’t get enough. You need to make sure you are getting D3 from your diet. Your vitamin D fortified orange juice and milk do not have D3 in them.
Take good care of your adrenal glands. They help manage blood sugar, sex hormones and your fight or flight response. Put a pinch of sea salt in your water when you drink it and stay away from coffee. Coffee is not the friend of your adrenal glands. They don’t get better over night either. They take some tender loving care to get them working well again. I have been working on mine for a couple of years.
If your liver is blocked up with all kinds of stuff it cannot do its job of eliminating toxins. This is called having a congested liver. A toxic liver can make us feel tired.
B vitamin deficiencies have a big effect on our energy. Taking a good B6 complex in general can be helpful.
Do you have a leaky gut?
How healthy are the bacteria in your gut? Both of these play a role in your energy levels and are important factors to consider when looking at your health.
Gentle exercise is your friend. Going for walks, yoga, tai chi are all great things to get your body moving and helping you feel better.
Of course, you can work with a practitioner to help you figure out exactly what is going on inside your body and get to the root of your fatigue and other symptoms of thyroid disease. You can feel better. Trust me. I live this disease and know its ups and downs.
Empower yourself to get better and to feel better.