Coming towards the end of my mat leave in December 2013 I was not feeling myself. Looking back now, there were tell-tale signs for a good few months, but with two boys to look after and a house to run I didn’t really have time to give it a second thought.
I seemed to permanently have a sore throat and I was suffering from bad mood swings and became snappy with the boys. I’m usually quite a laid back person but I was grumpy and had little patience. On top of that, I started to get hot flushes which would come on suddenly. I would get all red-faced, hot and sticky – it was horrible. I also started getting heart palpitations and one evening when I was sat feeding my littlest boy his dinner my hand wouldn’t stop trembling.
That was when I knew it was time to check it out.
The doctor suspected it was a thyroid issue and sent off some blood to be checked. The results came back after a few days and I was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found in the neck. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body’s growth and metabolism.
They affect processes such as heart rate and body temperature, and help convert food into energy to keep the body going. (source NHS website)
The symptoms I had matched exactly with that of Hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland was releasing too much thyroid hormone into the blood making the gland overactive. The doctor said that it wasn’t uncommon to develop this post-pregnancy and in fact, can easily develop up to a year after your child is born.
I hadn’t realised, but I had also lost around a stone and a half in weight and I never usually lose weight unless I am dieting. Plus if anything, I was eating more and not less and felt hungry all the time. My nails were brittle and very weak and I was losing huge clumps of hair every time I washed it.
You’d be surprised to know that according to a study, 1 in 5 women over the age of 25 in the UK suffer hair loss. There seems to a social stigma attached to women losing their hair. It affects confidence and can, of course, make you feel very vulnerable. Whether we realise it or not, our hair is a huge part of our identity so it’s comforting to know that there are hair loss treatments out there.
Luckily for me, my hair loss was only temporary and with medication, I was able to control the hormone levels my thyroid was releasing.
After several months of taking meds, I was able to come off them completely and all previous symptoms disappeared.
It was a real lesson learnt. As mums, we need to look after number one first and not put off going to the GP if we suspect something is not quite right.
Have you experienced thyroid problems before?