alarm clock on quilt

Hypothyroidism Could Be the Answer!

I haven’t wrote a blog post for over a month now. So, I thought one thing I could talk about is health because there a few things that have been going on recently. I realise now that in the past, I might have brushed a lot of things off, or related a certain feeling to something which wasn’t actually the cause. It wasn’t until this week when I received my latest blood test results that the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together. My recent blood tests have come back and the GP suspects hypothyroidism. I just need one more test and to discuss medication.

Considering the thyroid is only a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, it can affect more parts of your body over the years than you would think. Anyone who has hypothyroidism will know the symptoms inside out. Here are most of the common signs:

  • Always feeling tired
  • Gaining weight – for me, I put on a significant amount in a short period of time, which so unusual for my body. Nobody notices but it doesn’t help how you feel about yourself.
  • Heavier or irregular periods
  • Dry/scaly skin
  • Tingling sensation
  • Constipation
  • Being sensitive to cold
  • Having sad thoughts (now I get why my emotional side is triggered)
  • Excessive hair growth on your body
  • Brittle hair on your head

Over the years I have experienced all of these symptoms. I have also suffered with migraines and I have high blood pressure but I have never known why. Could this be the root of it all? There are still a few things which need explaining but I do think it could be part of the answer.

2011

It was around half way through my first year of college when I experienced a major health change. I was suffering with headaches, an awful lot of them. I was nauseous and had a pins and needles feeling in my fingers, arms, and legs (I still do). This was occurring pretty much every day along with dizziness and losing balance. So, I spoke to the doctor, made sure I wasn’t dehydrated, created a food diary etc. After a short while, I was prescribed Propranolol beta blockers and was told I was having migraines. The only cause they figured back then was visual disturbances like bright or flashing lights. I was sent for a CT scan on my brain and my medication was upped. This helped to reduce the frequency of the migraines but not so much the severity. A dark room and sleep is what I would recommend to anyone is starting to experience migraines.

2016/2017

It might not be the nicest of things to talk about but if I’m going to share an honest experience, it needs to be included. I have suffered with constipation for around the last 3-4 years. Let me tell you, if you haven’t had constipation, don’t presume it’s just ‘constipation’. It starts off bearable. Then over the years it can cause other complications. I have tried over 6 different laxatives, a tablet from the GP, ate different seeds and foods that help you to go to the toilet, the list goes on.

My body always reverts back to normal and the above have only ever worked as a temporary measure. My stomach swells making it look like I have been carrying a food baby! The flare ups can be triggered by certain foods or emotions like stress. You can feel fed up more often than not and feel very negatively about yourself. Later, I had a colonic transit study at the hospital. I remember seeing the x-ray on screen to be told that almost all of the markers were collected on the left side and didn’t come out. I was diagnosed with slow transit constipation, leaning towards IBS.

2018

The year I was given the news I have high blood pressure. After loads of tests including an ECG, 24-hour monitor machine x2 ocassions, I remember being given the news because the appointment with my GP was on my birthday. Diet and lifestyle changes didn’t make a difference and there any other clear reasons for the cause, other than it possibly being a hereditary condition. Other than the blood pressure readings, other signs were: a difference in the blood vessels in my eyes and my heart was beating faster than usual.

Some would worry at a young age but I felt lucky to know and I was put on Ramipril to keep it controlled. There’s been no long-term damage to my eyes now other than slight reduced vision in my left eye. Also, I have worn glasses with antiglare ever since I was told I was having migraines.

2019/2020

After a long think, I decided to stop taking Propranolol, once I had spoke to the GP of course. This was obviously something I had to wean off. The migraines were not happening as frequently. Were things getting better? Not really…

Things have started to worsen. I feel exhausted. Sometimes, I feel so tired that I can’t be bothered talking or doing life’s day-to-day tasks or tasks at work. I brush my hair to find so much more hair malting than usual. The rash on my chest returns again and again. I am bleeding, which I won’t go into too much detail about but I have been referred to gastro and I’m being sent for a sigmoidoscopy. I also have a consultation with gynaecology coming up due to cervical eclroption (common with women where cells from inside the cervix go onto the outside of the cervix).

I’m lucky if I can go a week without being or feeling sick, and going to the toilet more than once every 2 weeks. In between all of this, I have been prescribed some iron tablets. I am not anaemic but due to the blood loss, my iron count is a little low. This is a win-lose situation because they help the iron count but not the bowel issue so, I have decided to take one every other day.

This brings me to today. Okay, I am finally getting somewhere. This might only answer part of what I have been experiencing over the years but I am relieved to know that I haven’t been going crazy. I feel quite annoyed that it’s took so long for things to happen before I was listened to but I like to see the positives.

There are many people out there with other chronic illnesses but I just wanted to share my story in the hope that it will help someone who is experiencing similar symptoms. Don’t be afraid to speak to your GP, no matter how many times you have repeated yourself. Keep fighting to get answers. And remember, your health always come first.

The NHS and Thyroid UK have some useful links on hypothyroidism:

lots of tablets on a table

Coming off Propranolol Beta Blocker Medication to Treat Migraines

At the age of 16 I was prescribed propranolol medication to help reduce the frequency of migraines attacks. My dosage increased from 10mg to 80mg at the hospital. I’ve talked about the side effects of beta blockers before but my decision to gradually stop taking them was a big one to make. The biggest bother was extreme sensitivity to cold and pins and needles through my whole body. I also made the decision to stop with the hope it would help the discolouration in my skin. (I don’t have Raynaud’s Disease)I’d like to talk about the feelings I’ve had since I’ve stopped taking the medication. 

Body temperature

The biggest and best feeling of all has got to be not feeling so cold all of the time. Honestly, I know a lot of girls feel cold a lot of the time but it was just silly with me. The worst body parts affected had to be my hands and feet. My hands especially would get that cold, they would sting and hurt. I used to struggle writing, opening things, I was just a walking shiver really. Now I find it so much easier with choosing what clothes to wear and being able to get cosier is much easier because my body is at a temperature I like.

Less headaches

My migraines must have been slowly disappearing over the last few years (touch wood). The reason I was prescribed propranolol was due to having more than one migraine a week following sickness, blurry eye sight, flashes, losing balance etc. After being on the medication for a few years I expected at least one a month, maybe one severe migraine every couple months if I was lucky.

There’s no saying that stress won’t cause a migraine but I’ve gotten a whole lot better at realising the dangerous side effects of stress e.g. increase in blood pressure, shaking, diet etc. Thankfully, blood pressure medication is all I need to take on a daily basis now.

There’s an even bigger bonus, the headaches after a night out aren’t half as cruel as they used to be. I still can’t handle them like 18 year old me could though!

This post was based on advice by my GP keeping in mind the importance of keeping my body as natural as healthy as possible. I reduced my dosage from 80mg to 40mg to nothing. The last jump was a risk but it’s been a risk worth taking and for that, I’m so glad. I took propranolol for 8 years and it came to a point where they started to overpower my body. Each individual has different needs – mine being to consider what I’d rather cope with than put up with in the long run.

Have you ever taken propranolol for migraines? How do/did they make you feel? Tell me in the comments box below or via Twitter @tashalifestyle.