Exhausted? Gaining Weight? Symptoms of Thyroid Disease
Taking Care of Your Health
Marie Myung-Ok Lee did exactly that: She kept pushing, and her doctors finally put her on a thyroid replacement hormone, Levothyroxine, a pill she takes once a day. In 2000, after being on the medication for a few months, she became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
Linda Thrasher's battle to get physicians to take her thyroid symptoms seriously lasted much longer. Now 38, the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, woman started trying to conceive shortly after she got married at 21. For the next four and a half years, her life was a revolving door of fertility treatments and new physicians. She and her husband, stationed overseas in the military, tried everything from Clomid (a drug that spurs ovulation) to in vitro fertilization, with no success.
At the same time, she was inexplicably gaining weight -- ballooning from 120 pounds to 215 in about eight months. "I kept telling my infertility specialist and other doctors that I didn't feel good. They'd say 'Try lifting a barbell instead of a doughnut,' and I was going to the gym every single day!"
When she returned home to Pennsylvania, she asked her new internist to test her thyroid. Her TSH levels were well above 12.0, so the doctor put her on a low dose of thyroid medication. But she still felt terrible, couldn't lose the weight, and couldn't get pregnant. "All the doctors had the same general attitude: If I was still having symptoms, it was because I was depressed. They told me that because my TSH was now below 5.0, everything was fine," Thrasher says. But she kept pushing, and finally the doctor agreed to up her thyroid dose. She started losing weight, felt more energetic, and got pregnant within months. Her first son, Nicholas, was born in 1998, and Timothy followed in 2000.
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