Sunday, January 13, 2013

" all aboard!!" here are two more symptoms of hypothyroid disease ( and hopefully some ideas to make living with them just a little easier)

today i am going to talk about the two "C's". one of which nobody likes to mention in polite company. and i am talking about CONSTIPATION . there, i said it. as a pharmacist i get asked about this problem every day. unfortunately, now i have some personal experience with this difficult hypothyroid issue. not everyone who suffers with constipation is hypothyroid of course, but i would bet that everyone with hypothyroid disease has struggled with constipation if not routinely, then from time to time.

when asked by a patient about what to do, i always take the natural approach. if a person gets "addicted" to a harsh laxative then that can lead to other problems- electrolyte imbalance, absorption issues, and well, heck, you have to go out and buy the laxative on a pretty regular basis. first, i  recommend some lifestyle changes, i guess you could say. make sure you are getting enough exercise- walking is great, and make sure that you are drinking enough water. fiber is important, of course, and a fiber supplement can be a good idea, but eating enough fruits and veggies is best. remember that red meat is constipating, and i am not talking about giving up red meat, just try to replace some meals with chicken or fish. red meat tends to take longer to digest and will remain in one's digestive tract for a lot longer than most other foods, thereby slowing things down. probiotics are great- i do not like the texture of yogurt, so i take a probiotic supplement. there are several good ones, but i have found that different ones work better for different people so one just has to try and see what works best for them.

this issue  takes some time to come to terms with- it is not an overnight fix . everyone lives a hectic lifestyle, and our schedules vary from day to day. i have found that organic, unfiltered ( has some apple puree in it) apple juice works well, prunes work well for some people. if worst comes to worst, and i am pressed to recommend something over-the-counter, i usually recommend a fiber supplement- powder, not pills( they can cause more problems), or a product like miralax. this is not a stimulant laxative, it is more like a fiber product, and can be taken for a period of time.i have to say here that if you have tried all of the above with no success , or have " bleeding issues" please see your physician.

now, on to the next " C". coldness. an under active thyroid means that our metabolism is too low, as we all surely know, and our bodies can not generate enough heat to keep us warm. sometimes i feel like i work at the north pole. i am the only hypothyroid person there- the others being either pregnant, pre-menopausal, or menopausal, or men. the air conditioning is on all year long and i freeze to death! i wear insulated silk cammies  under my blouses- layering is best, and i always have a sweater on under my lab coat. i have found,though, that at night i am the coldest. i know that my thyroid medication level is down, and my body is struggling to provide warmth. one simple tip that does help me at night, is wearing socks to bed. my husband likes a cool bedroom, so we turn the heat down at night. i have several blankets,etc, on the bed. i guess you could say that it is the concept of layering again.

i hope that i have provided some useful information and tips about the two "C's". i know that the topics have been discussed and then some, but sometimes it is good to review. next stop on our thyroid train ride will be depression and hair loss. see you then......

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