Body image and Hypothyroidism

When I was in Graduate school I was perpetually tired… and I thought it was normal! Constant exams, loans, and studying… who wouldn’t be stressed?

I also noticed that my skin started breaking out uncontrollably. Giant cystic bumps, my skin began producing 2x the normal amount of oil… and my usual skincare couldn’t deal with it. So I went to a health care professional and was diagnosed with pretty advanced Hypothyroidism caused my my immune system attacking my thyroid cells which is called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Since then I’ve taken care of my health but I wrote about my other symptoms in an old blog post as well.

But if you know anything about hypothyroidism… you know it’s not a condition that helps our your appearance…. Here are a few other symptoms:

Weight gain: I gained… 16 pounds over the course of a couple months…  This was with regular exercise, and a history of being a former athlete. I try to exercise at least 3 times a week. I schedule myself time, and pump myself up with music. If I’m feeling particularly exhausted I still do SOMETHING physical to get moving. Also I take my medications in the mornings, and I found that I have more energy to work out in the mornings, compared to after work!

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Gained 16 pounds, lost 6 pounds… Still have a ways to go! (This is WITH medications by the way, I’m not a super hero) A common symptom of hypothryoidism that (especially middle aged folks) visit the doctor for is the inability to loose weight even with diet and exercise. 

Hair loss: Yeah being in your 20’s and having thinning hair is not fun.. I had to make some big changes to my routine to prevent hair loss and even cut my hair super short. Taking biotin supplements drastically reduced the amount of hair that ended up on my floor though!

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After cutting my hair(I figure the less weight/length, the less gravity would have an effect on my hair?), being meticulous about how I use shampoo and conditioner, as well as taking Biotin, I feel like there is a large difference with my hair loss. I actually think I noticed MORE hair loss when I started my medications… (I heard it can be a side effect)

 

Goiter/Puffy face: You should see my graduation photos… my face looks giant (bigger than my normal big face anyways). I’m someone who does make up reviews and make up art, so I kinda started looking at my face and going… “eh! I guess this is what my face looks like now….” But here’s a picture of me after treatment as well (about 2.5 months of medications). My face still gets pretty big when I’m tired though… Get plenty of sleep, keep up your medication regiment, and also give yourself a face massage to reduce the puff!

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Hypothyroidism also has a serious effect on your mental health and your overall happiness:

Fatigue: I’m the girl who used to spend 2-3 hours at the gym at 6am in the morning before my full day of grad school started at 9am… I would not be able to handle that now. I have mental fatigue, but I think physical fatigue is what gets to the me most. Often this is paired with low blood pressure so I get very dizzy… if this sounds like you drinking something like Gatorade is super helpful and just staying super hydrated! I also like to plan out my goals the previous day or when I’m too tired to get out of bed. Otherwise I would just sleep for hours and hours… Oh! also if you’re acne prone like me, wash your face and do all your skincare/hygiene stuff as soon as you get home from work/school. That way if you ptfo you won’t wake up with any new friends (pimples) in the morning.

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This is me after running a mile… ONE mile now… Drenched in sweat with a hear rate of 200bpm (not healthy by the way) And I’ve tried to stay moving and exercise through the process!

Depression: For me, it’s more that I don’t have the energy for things I once liked to do… But it can be a serious side effect, as you can imagine, of fatigue, weight gain, and having your appearance change so drastically.

Pain, Muscle aches, stiffness: There are rare days where I am completely pain free. Doesn’t help that I was in a car accident about a year ago. Years of school left me with neck and upper back pain… but I also started to have lower back pain for the first time in my life for no reason so I knew something was up… Go see a physical therapist, or even look online for stretches/yoga poses to help if you’re lazy. The less you lay in your bed and wallow in the pain, and get moving, the more the pain decreases!

Heavier/Irregular menstrual cycles: And corresponding mood swings… yep super fun. No good suggestions for this side effect at the moment.

Are you dealing with hypothyroidism? How do you deal with some of the side effects? (I believe you have to have a wordpress account to like or comment on this post, but shoot me an email hwangrica@gmail.com if you have any tips, and I’ll post them!)

 

Stay happy and healthy!

– RicaIsHungry

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