Updated 19 February 2019

'My unexplained weight gain turned out to be a major thyroid problem'

Every woman should know the subtle signs of this condition.

“It felt like I was living in a body that wasn’t mine.” During her mid-twenties, Kaitlyn Hoever felt increasingly depressed and exhausted. “I didn’t want to see my friends or return their texts,” recalls the now-31-year-old entrepreneur. She was gaining weight even though she worked out religiously and was meticulous about her eating habits.

Read more: 7 ways your thyroid is messing with your body

When the doctor dismisses you…

Kaitlyn didn’t have a regular doctor to discuss her symptoms with, so it wasn’t until she was 26, and Googling them, that she began to suspect she had an underachieving thyroid. She visited a GP, but he was dismissive, saying she just needed to eat less and work out more to lose weight.

Read more: 11 thyroid symptoms in women that could point to a serious problem

Kaitlyn begged him to test her thyroid and her TSH was 20. Another physician later said that, based on her symptom history, she likely had hypothyroidism for at least five years.

Kaitlyn’s experience is far from rare…

Hypothyroidism’s symptoms are often shrugged off, which can have deleterious results. Left untreated, the condition can raise your bad LDL cholesterol, increase your risk for heart disease and infertility and in rare cases, lead to a life-threatening condition known as a myxedema coma.

Read more: The best way to lose weight when you have hypothyroidism

Kaitlyn started taking medication just over two years ago. She’s since lost much of the weight and her emotional state and energy levels have mostly returned to normal. Still, it’s taken several years to arrive at a treatment plan that works. Finding the right dose is often a dance between symptoms and side effects, says endocrinologist Dr Martin Surks.

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Image credit: iStock


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