This postpartum story was kindly shared by Georgia of Beyond Balance - this is written by Georgia
“After having my daughter, Raelyn, in 2015, my thyroid condition (which I then didn’t know was a thyroid condition) really flared up and I was depressed, anxious, stressed out and suffered from digestive issues such as constipation for the first time in my life. I blamed it on being a new Mother and I thought to myself, “stop being such a wimp”, it’s like this for everyone but in the back of my mind I knew it wasn’t right.
My friends with young babies and my NCT group were just not struggling to the same degree. Even taking my 5 month old Rae to 30 minute swimming lessons was a HUGE endeavour for me and I would get so stressed out and then always be the last Mommy to get Rae and myself dressed again, I just moved so slowly and everything was a huge effort. I was in such denial. I didn’t tell anyone I was struggling but my family suffered the consequences.
On a subconscious level, I am sure I could not accept that a PT and Nutritionist who is so much more health conscious than most people would have a serious health problem?!
But crucially, what I hadn’t yet accepted is this: the effects of allowing ourselves to be stressed out and anxious most of the time will Over ride a healthy lifestyle. This can happen in a number of ways.
For me, not being able to manage stress meant that my gut health was affected leading to a permeable gut lining and therefore an over active immune system which started to attack my own thyroid gland! This type of thyroid conditions is called Hashimoto’s disease.
I just kept struggling on, thinking this was just how life as a Mother was and I had to deal with it. My core relationships nearly fell apart so many times because of my anxiety, depression coupled with extreme tiredness and not being able to retain any information.
Finally in November 2018, I admitted I just wasn’t coping: I was suddenly intensely worried about what other people thought of me, exhausted all the time, very depressed, my hair was falling out and became very brittle, I was constipated, I had insomnia, my period stopped, my skin was leathery dry and I was freezing cold all the time. I lost the will to do anything and felt trapped in my body. I finally gave in and had some blood tests done at a Functional Medicine Clinic (which we actually use for our clients) on Harley Street. I did a Comprehensive Blood Chemistry test before leaving London to go home to Cape Town and get support from my family.
The results came in and I was surprisingly deficient in a few nutrients that are actually essential for thyroid function (and surprisingly that I was already taking, for example vit D, but the dose just wasn’t high enough for me), some of my immune markers were high indicating my immune system was over-active etc
When I got to South Africa, I was completely incapacitated, I basically lay on a bed for 3 weeks and my parents did everything for me. I found it very difficult at 31 years of age, and I felt so ashamed. I did drag myself to an endocrinologist and had a load more blood tests done.
The results came back and I was devastated to see that my body was producing roughly 15 times more TPO antibodies than it should i.e. my body was attacking my thyroid gland. This meant I had Hashimoto’s Disease, a low thyroid condition driven by the immune system, i.e. an autoimmune condition.
However, the endocrinologist I saw ignored my off the chart antibody Result and told me that because TSH was “within range” he believed I currently did not have a thyroid condition, I should wait 6 months until my results fell outside the range at which point he would put me on medication. The NHS in the UK were equally unhelpful and refused to test anything besides TSH which they told me was “within normal range”.
Luckily I have the expertise from my studies to know that high antibodies are not to be ignored and I dug a little deeper with a GI-Map stool test by Invivo, an immune markers test and a CBC test. I then went to a Functional Medicine Clinic where they confirmed that I did in fact have Hashimoto’s disease and I was able to link it back to gut permeability shown in my stool test, nutrient deficiencies, genetic predisposition and stress i.e. the perfect storm for a thyroid condition to take hold within.
Within 4 weeks of resting, taking the nutrients I was deficient in (in supplement and food form), managing stress and cutting out gluten and dairy, I was a normal functioning person again, no prescription medication involved.
I will continue working on these facets of my life for the rest of my life (especially the managing stress and resting side as I have not fully mastered these yet.)