Archive for the ‘thinning hair’ Category

Three and a half years ago my symptoms started with an intense tightness in my back, along with weird swelling  and sweating symptoms, inflammation (ESR, CRP), and vitamin deficiencies, severe b12 and ferrtin anemia, and low albumin. I have since been able to tie the symptoms to eating, but could never narrow it down as to what food bothered me.

After 1.5 months of elimination diet, it seems that any carb causes instant bloating in my stomach and fingers, up to my upper arms and the right side of my face.  I have anti-TPO antibodies and have issues with my thyroid. My TSH is normal (1.o) but the free T4 was at the very bottom of the normal scale 9.7 pmol/L or 0.77 ng/L.

I’d like to think that all my issues are thyroid related. I know that wikipedia says:”The thyroid hormones are essential to proper development and differentiation of all cells of the human body. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, affecting how human cells use energetic compounds. They also stimulate vitamin metabolism. ”

The question is, is it central hypothyroidism, meaning my pituitary, given that my TSH is normal? My doctor tells me I’m stressed or have fibromyalgia. I’m at the point where I’ve almost stopped eating, but am not losing much weight. The carb reduction has definitely made me less swollen and my pants are baggy. My face is red all the time and I’m used to being ghost white.  My hair is disgustingly dry and frizzled and turning grey super fast (embarrassing, I’m mid 30s).

Just looking to see if anyone else has had similar problems…any hypothyroid people with this issue?



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Okay, so my weird symptoms started in January 2011. I seem to waver between highs and lows: highs, being tight muscles, feelings of anxiety, insomnia; and lows, no energy, fatigue, extreme bloating, pins and needles in extremities.  During the highs, it feels like my veins are super constricted, cutting off circulation to muscles.  During the lows, it feels like my veins are super bloated, I get light headed when I stand, and my skins looks purple on my legs (POTS?, Adrenal fatigue)? Also, my hair goes crazy dry, and my fingers and feet dry out. I also go from extreme nasal output (runny snot, dripping down my throat), to nasal stuffiness during my lows.

On Effexor, I have felt almost normal. The highs and lows are much more mild. However, I’ve been on it six months and am down from 4 to 3 pills a day.  But it’s very hard to decrease!  Grateful to be closer to normal. Frustrated and the slow recovery!

Update: March 2, 2012

So I successfully weaned off of Effexor only to have my symptoms return. Crushing fatigue, unexplained feelings of anger, vein pain (upper arm, neck, groin/thigh), crazy dry hair.  It feels like how things started two years ago. I thought I was getting better, but I think the SNRI (Effexor) just kep the symptoms at bay!  Frustrating thought. Only good news is that at least I have something to help combat it.  It’s not a cure, but I’ll take it over feeling angry all the time. It’s so weird, it’s like all of my coping mechanisms vanish and I’m left feeling really, really angry, and fearful of dying.  Bizarre, because logically I know that I’m not.  I’ve taken a pill and am feeling better already.

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The stats:

  • my hair isn’t falling out anymore (well, just a tiny bit).
  • exhaustion has leveled out
  • on 50-100 mg of PTU/day (vs. 100 mg +)
  • TSH was 1.1 on last visit
  • Eyes are puffier than last month but seem to be improving slightly this week

Basically, I feel pretty good right now.  The worst is definitely over (hair loss, exhaustion, heart palpitations). I still have a long way to go, but I’m grateful to have made it this far. 

I still think the veins in my legs and feet are more pronounced (and I noticed this before the pregnancy). I felt my best during week 6 of pregnancy, oddly enough. I felt normal then. I’m not too bad right now. I think week 13 was the worst.

I’m about 5-10 pounds heavier during this pregnancy so I’m trying not to dwell on that, but when maternity pants are tight, let me tell you, it’s not a pleasant feeling! 

I just really wish another pregnant woman with GD would comment on my blog so I’d have a comparable!  It would be especially nice if she was further along than me.  Hint, hint!

On a personal note, I’ve been dreaming of my dog lately. I don’t know if I can wait until next summer for a puppy. Decisions, decisions.  I have had two girlfriends give up their dogs after baby came along, but I always told my daughter, “I’m Pharlie’s mom too”. (Pharlie being my late dog, of course). Plus, he helped keep the floors clean.  I’m so torn!

NOTE: My eyes got better after 1 year of constant puffiness and flare-ups – it just stopped. I have some remaining puffiness, particularly under my left eye, but they don’t flare up the way they used to! Good luck to all!

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It has been an amazing shock to me to hear about all of the women I know who suffer from thyroid disorders after birth.  What’s even more interesting is that most go undiagnosed for years! 

Friend 1:  Justine

After “Justine’s” 3rd baby she lost 30 extra pounds. Doctor never ordered a thyroid test. Justine’s hair was falling out, eyes were dry, was constantly tired, and felt stressed. The doctor’s always hear the word “stress” and assume it’s the cause of all of the symptoms, including her insomnia. After I explained to her that her symptoms sounded similar to mine, she went to a walk-in clinic and got a TSH test done (since protocol in Canada requires that TSH level come back as irregular before testing T3 or T4). Her TSH levels were very low, but still in the “normal” range of 0.3-5.0.  Almost everyone in Justine’s family has a thyroid disorder of some sort. It’s been almost a year since I’ve known her, she’s dropped her family doctor and on the waiting list for a new doctor (mine, which comes highly recommended – by me) and has yet to have her free T3 or T4 levels tested yet. In comparison, her sister was diagnosed with Graves disease in her early 20s, but after 3 years of symptoms. Justine’s sister’s TSH levels were in the low-normal range. They thought she had mono before finally ordering a T3/T4 test which revealed a thyroid problem.  I gave Justine 1/3 of a 50mg PTU pill and she said she felt great for 10 hours afterwards. 

Friend 2: Carrie (more…)

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What a ride pregnancy is – top it off with Graves disease and it’s a bloody roller coaster.  So, I went to the doctor yesterday and got the results back from my latest blood test.  For some reason they have stopped looking at free  T3 and T4 levels and just ticked off “TSH”. However, the result of my TSH level was over 1.0!  Since my diagnosis with Graves disease in October 2009 (although my symptoms started in August), my TSH level has always been under 0.05. 

Here’s the interesting part. I had upped my medication on several evenings over the past 4 weeks due to extreme heart palpitations between 4:00 p.m. and bedtime.  So, I don’t know what’s going on there yet, but I am comforted to know that my thyroid levels are in the normal range for now – which explains the 6 lb weight gain in the last 4 weeks. Up until 4 weeks ago I hadn’t gained any weight. Well, I’m all caught up now. I’ll have to be extra careful what I eat from now on.  

My hair is still falling out, but not as badly as it was a little while ago.  It’s thinner but not embarrassingly so, yet.

My eyes are the same as always – a little puffy underneath.  I’m still upset about losing my beloved dog unexpectedly and cry from time to time, which doesn’t help. It was just such a shock and he was only 6. He slept in my bed every night and followed me around so I miss him constantly. Have decided to wait until after the baby to get another one, even though I desperately crave a doggy’s love in my home. 

Well, that’s all the news I have for now. I have a requisition for an ultrasound for 19 weeks, so maybe my next post will include my baby’s sex!  Or, I may keep it a secret until the birth. I haven’t decided yet…so exciting!

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It’s been a rough year for me. I hope it’s not about the get rougher. I am currently 14 weeks pregnant, and I have Graves disease. I was told that things get better in 2nd trimester, but for the last three weeks my thyroid levels have felt very high: I’ve been exhausted, my heart pounding and my hair falling out.  Week 14 has been the worst! Off to see the endocrinologist today to figure out why my thyroid is rebelling. I don’t want to put this baby at risk! I’ve had to take triple my regular PTU dosage yesterday, just to keep my heart from exploding.  Woke up at 3 am for the 5th night in a row to take extra PTU so I can get through a night. Brutal.

I had a terrible sinus cold in July and after in cleared up in a month I still have post-nasal phlegm. It’s disgusting.

I lost my beloved dog last week, which I’m sure is not helping things. I miss him dearly. 

I’m waiting to get officially hired by the school board (because I switched careers last year, around the time I got GD).

I’ll keep you posted!

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Last time I blogged my symptoms of Graves Disease (GD) were melting away. About week 8 they started to pick up again, culminating at week 13. This past weekend I had many symptoms: thinning hair, heart palpitations, exhaustion.  I started upping my PTU dosage, taking double my meds over the weekend just to control my symptoms, which didn’t allow me to sleep and made me feel awful because they seemed to exacerbate my pregnancy symptoms of exhaustion and nausea.  I went to bed a 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night and woke up at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning, with a brief awakening at 2:00 a.m. where I had to read a chapter of my book to fall back asleep (Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell – the 3rd book of his that I’ve read – all amazing!).

The good news: I had a “dating ultrasound” at 10.5 weeks and I actually saw the baby and its heart beat so I felt fairly comfortable that I wasn’t going to miscarry. We told our parents at 12 weeks. We haven’t told our friends yet, but I’m also starting a new career so I’m not broadcasting my pregnancy for that reason too. Although, I have started to show (a month earlier than my first pregnancy). I’m still a little heavier than the first time around – I lost all of the baby weight but gained 10 pounds after the miscarriage, for some mysterious reason, even though GD was in full effect. 

The bad news: I don’t know if GD has anything to do with it, but the exhaustion and the nausea are way worse with this pregnancy than with my first. After my epic sleep on Saturday, I feel a little better. I’m cruising into 2nd trimester so hopefully the worst is behind me. 

Graves Ophthamology update: my eyes got a little worse with the increase in GD symptoms, but haven’t fully relapsed (i.e., photosensitivity remained fairly constant).

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