My 26 Thyroid and Hashimoto’s Symptoms that Led to a Hashimoto’s Diagnosis
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After years of living with strange symptoms, especially as a child, I eventually found the reason why. Here’s a list of all my Hashimoto’s disease symptoms that eventually led to a Hashimoto’s diagnosis years later.
This is Part 1 of my Healing Hashimoto’s series which outlines my personal experience with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Disease. The other posts in this series include:
Part 2 – Why I Became My Own Advocate for My Hashimoto’s Disease Treatment
Part 3 – My Hashimoto’s Disease Treatment: 24 Interventions I’ve Tried So Far
Part 4 – 10 Steps I Would Take If I Was Diagnosed Today
Part 5 – How I Reduced My Thyroid Antibodies from Over 2000 to (Almost) Zero
Part 6 – How I Keep My Thyroid Antibodies Low: My Current Management Plan
Part 7 – How I Reversed Chronic Pain & Put My Hashimoto’s in Remission
Part 8 – How (& Why) I Weaned Off Thyroid Medication
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional. This site is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice.
“You have Hashimoto’s disease.”
THANK GOD! If there was ever a time in my life that I wished I had something wrong, this was it. The moment I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, I felt like a new door was opened. I finally had an answer.
I quickly learned that just because I had a name to pair with my symptoms didn’t make me better. In fact, it made me worse during my first year of “treatment,” until I decided to take my health into my own hands and start the process of actually healing my immune system and thyroid.
I was a bit overwhelmed with trying to figure it out on my own, so I decided to start right from the very beginning and a make a timeline of my symptoms.
After thinking it through, I realized I had warning signs all throughout my childhood that indicated something wasn’t quite right.
My Early Childhood Hashimoto’s and Autoimmune Disease Symptoms
I remember the earliest of symptoms starting around 6 or 7 years old – heartburn (yes, even as a child) and pain in my lower leg muscles and bones. At the time, the pain may have been passed off as growing pains, but they continued on until I was really able to pinpoint their cause during my early 20’s.
I also had a somewhat large neck for a young girl (later labeled as a goiter), which lasted well into my college years.
I experienced Livedo Reticularis quite often in the winter time. Throughout my elementary school years, I remember looking at everyone’s legs during gym class, thinking “Why are my legs so splotchy?” (This symptom can be found in Lupus patients which may have been a very early indicator of my autoimmune tendencies, especially given my most recent autoimmune disease situation.)
As I approached puberty, I developed major sinus congestion and allergies along with chronic headaches. My hair started to thin and noticed that I had Raynaud’s Disease during the colder months.
Then, I started my period in 8th grade – heavy and incredibly painful, exhausting periods that lasted for a week or longer. These continued through high school, then college and completely disrupted my education and social and athletic life.
I was sent home multiple times from basketball practice due to the pain and exhaustion. I remember throwing up from the pain during college and even contemplated buying diapers for night time because I bled through my sheets so often. Thankfully, I was still somewhat functional during the rest of the month though, until Junior year of high school.
I specifically remember how tired I was during class immediately after lunch…
So tired that I could barely keep my body upright or hold a conversation without slurring my speech.
After school, I usually had an hour or so before basketball or soccer practice so that I could take a nap, but the fatigue was so great upon waking and did not let up even after I started to move and run.
I had to wear ankle and knee braces from injuries that never seemed to heal despite working with our athletic trainer on a daily basis.
The brain fog was easily the worst and most embarrassing symptom out of them all, contributing to poor and inconsistent performance both in school and on the field.
And then there was college. The stress of my classes sent me over the edge.
I was SO. SICK.
Symptoms During My Young Adult and College Years
I developed painful cystic acne on my face, as well as Tinea Versicolor on my entire upper body. My skin became itchy, flaky, and dry. My hair was falling out in clumps.
I tutored students in my spare time to make extra money but had to quit because I couldn’t show up to my appointments. I was just too tired.
Aside from my painful periods, I began to experience Mittelschmerz during ovulation (later linked to multiple ovarian cysts).
From there, I just kept getting worse. And worse. And worse.
Finally, FINALLY, I decided something must be wrong and sought a diagnosis. With ®Synthroid in my hand, I felt my life would come back, but I was so wrong.
Overwhelming anxiety. Rapid heart rate. Palpitations. Hand tremors. Nystagmus. Insomnia. Anemia. And something called Irlen Syndrome that didn’t allow me to read very well (later to be paired with a Binocular Vision Dysfunction diagnosis). All stacked on top of every single other symptom listed here, even from my earliest of years. There was not one symptom that went away.
And that is what it took for me to finally say this wasn’t working and admit to myself that something had to change. We all have a breaking point. I had reached mine.
Continued in Part 2 – Why I Became My Own Advocate for My Hashimoto’s Disease Treatment.
Do you have Hashimoto’s disease? If so, what are your symptoms? Share in the comments below!
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits, so you can find the healing you deserve.
This is quite the list! Do you think all of these symptoms were directly related to your Hashimoto’s? Just curious if they have all been resolved since starting medication?
Hi Megan! I do think that the majority of these symptoms were either directly related to my Hashimoto’s disease, or directly related to the root causes of my disease (such as leaky gut, nutrient deficiencies, etc.). After experimenting with a variety of interventions and making some major lifestyle/diet changes, I have eliminated just about all of them with one or two creeping in every once in awhile when I am stressed. Some were resolved with Armour thyroid (which I have since switched to Westhroid Pure) right from the get go. I will be going into more detail when I publish Part 3 of this series which will outline exactly which interventions took care of which symptoms, so stay tuned! 🙂
Two of my kids were recently diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome. It is my understanding that it is something you are born with. Where did you see/hear that it is autoimmune related? We are in the process of looking into autoimmune possibilities for our 14 year old with IS. Any info would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Gina, that is a fantastic question! And interestingly, I just found out more information regarding this so I’ll do my best to summarize here and you can always e-mail me if you have any more questions. So first, I simply assumed Irlen Syndrome was autoimmune-related because I first started to notice it in high school and college, which were the worst years in terms of my symptoms for my Hashimoto’s disease. Once I started to heal and reverse those symptoms, the Irlen Syndrome went away… not 100%, all the time, but for the most part, it was gone. Then, last year, after experiencing an autoimmune flare and a bunch of new symptoms, the Irlen Syndrome popped up again. This time though, it didn’t go away even when I started to feel better. I could barely read anything that was black font on a white background. Unfortunately, even colored overlays (which worked before) didn’t seem to help anymore. On top of it, I felt dizzy all of the time and started to experience severe panic attacks and anxiety, which is very unusual for me. Long story short, I landed on a webpage describing a condition called Binocular Vision Dysfunction, in which one eye is slightly misaligned from the other eye, resulting in mismatched images and a whole host of symptoms. I scheduled an appointment to see an eye doctor that specializes in testing for this condition (most eye doctors do NOT) and was diagnosed with Binocular Vision Dysfunction, and prescribed glasses to help my eyes re-align with one another. After wearing my glasses for about a week, I noticed that reading black font on white paper was no longer difficult. My Irlen Syndrome improved dramatically! And I really believe that it was simply a symptom of this Binocular Vision Dysfunction. During my appointment, my eye doctor said that many people with autoimmune disorders, especially anything involving mixed connective tissues and/or the thyroid can result in damage to the eyes and eye muscles. She wasn’t surprised to see me there given my autoimmune history and thinks this is very common in people with autoimmune disease but rarely diagnosed due to the lack of awareness. So… I am obviously no expert here, but from my personal experience, my Irlen Syndrome is linked to my Binocular Vision Dysfunction, which is likely a result of my autoimmune issues since it seems to come and go depending on my symptoms. If you want to find out more information about Binocular Vision Dysfunction, here is the website: https://www.vision-specialists.com/binocular-vision-dysfunction/faqs/. And of course, you can e-mail me: email@example.com. I also want to give you props for searching for more answers regarding your family’s health. You are awesome, Gina!!
Thanks for all your wonderful information, it certainly is a long journey to try and regain your health, I have Hashimoto Disease and after using several different doctors for help, am now trying to find a good functional medical doctor in Sydney, could you let me know if you have heard from other readers if they can recommend anyone???
Hi Jane! Thanks for reading! I am so happy you are looking for a good functional medicine doctor!! While I am not familiar with doctors in Sydney, I can give you some resources and tips to help you find one. First, if you haven’t already, take a look at our post on How to Find a Good Functional Medicine Doctor. You can also check out Dr. Izabella Wentz’s list of Hashimoto’s specific practitioners listed by country. If no luck there, then try the Find a Practitioner tool on the Institute of Functional Medicine Website. Be sure to check back and let me know how it goes! If these ideas fail, I do have a couple of other ones in mind but they take a lot more time so that’s why I suggest starting with these options first. I hope you find a GREAT doctor to work with, Jane! ?
Oh my gosh! I could have written this post. Same symptoms even through childhood. I still get sores on my toes in the winter. Thanks for sharing your story. Do you have any content on desiccated thyroid?
Hi Amanda, I know… it is crazy to think just how early we start showing signs that something isn’t right within our bodies. And yes, I do have some content on desiccated thyroid. I touch on it in this post, but I go into more detail about how it worked for me in this post. Thanks for reading!
I can really relate to your story. On synthroid now and it didn’t help. I am in despair, I wish I can have my life back. I can’t even function due to lethargy and brain fog to the extent I have to quit my job.
Hi Kimberly, I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been right where you are… but please have hope! You can recover from this and feel well! Please take a look at the rest of my journey/posts in my Hashimoto’s series, because it ends well, and it can for you too. Stay strong, Kim.
I was finally diagnosed a few years ago after years of being diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. I had started a Keto diet and took more interest in my health and asked to find out what was causing my hypothyroid. Thats when I found out I had Hashimoto’s. While I’ll felt better on Keto and exercise it was difficult to stick to.
Hi Angela, that’s great to hear that the Keto diet helped you. It is difficult to stick with diet and exercise to manage autoimmune issues, but a health coach or some sort of accountability partner/group can be of great help!
Hi Anna, thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge .
I am Alicia from Chile. About 14 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. I take levotiroxin 75 everyday. After the blood exams doctors say I am ok and that the treatment is working . Have asked them that if I take the medicine should symptoms dissapear? They say : yes ! But I feel that they do not as I have problems with sleeping, have been given sleeping pills, I sleep but next day I feel worse: sad , bad temper with no energy . Also taking zoloft.
Do you have any idea of meals I should avoid?
Krgds/ Alicia Aliaga
Hi Alicia, I can sympathize with your struggles as I also felt that my symptoms did not “disappear” as the doctors said they would, even though my thyroid hormone levels were within the normal range. Every person is different, so I can’t say with confidence what types of food you should and should not eat, but there are definitely some trends with what people have had success with. I think this article is a great place to start, along with Dr. Izabella Wentz’s Hashimoto’s books if you are able to access them.