Diane had a long history of female hormonal problems and years of progesterone use, perhaps leading her to having adrenal and thyroid problems, including Hashimotos. Remarkably, her use of iodine has enabled her to get completely off Armour!
It started 35 years ago when I was just 16 yrs. of age. I had a long period that lasted for a month and was very heavy with severe clotting. I’ll never forget one of the large clots leaking through some white jeans I had on in a high school class! Well, not surprising, I fainted one morning and so I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with Endometrial Hyperplasia and had a D & C.
Again at 19 yrs. of age, the same thing happened and I had another D & C. I was told “Your FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) hadn’t developed past age 8 or so.” (whatever that meant). A few months later I had uterine polyps burned off in the office. The doctor said at that point: “You have the problems and the uterus of a 50 yr. old woman and if you want to have children, you probably just have just a couple years left to do so.” This was all before my 20th birthday! I knew I wasn’t ready to get married and have a child yet, so I took my chances and didn’t run off and find a husband and try to get pregnant! Now days I wonder if my uterus looked like it was 50 yrs. old then, what must it look like now? I shutter at the thought!
From that point until I got married at the age of 25, I had some very difficult times. Out of the blue I started having panic attacks, terrible anxiety and unbearable depression. I also believe I actually had an “event”~ a total nervous breakdown. I couldn’t sleep or eat, let alone function. I really didn’t even know how I got to work every morning, did my job and got home at night because I felt such an “out of body” feeling all the time. I just prayed that I wouldn’t have an accident and hurt someone, and didn’t understand why this was happening.
Without any testing, the doctors, counselors, etc., assumed as I did–that this was all about emotional stuff and that I just needed to try and understand what was going on in this head of mine. I look back and wonder why the doctors didn’t say, “Hmmm, with all her hormonal health history, we might want to dig deep to find out what’s going on”.
I went into one doctor during this painful time (not having slept for days, fighting panic attacks with every inch of my being, praying that the heavy weight of the depression would lift) and after waiting 2 hrs. to see him, he said, “Now honey, what in the heck could you possibly be depressed about?” I was so hopeful that he’d have an answer for me, but there was no relief from him and so I went on a soul-searching journey and I feel I did gain much insight, but the struggle with this was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to overcome.
And even though the worst of it was over, there were several years, off and on, of problems with anxiety attacks and depression. It was probably worst right after my 1st child. Yes, I was able to conceive…four times as a matter of fact. I did miscarry one, but ended up having my 3rd child at 37 years old! I didn’t know of postpartum depression at the time and wondered why I was so sad when I should be so happy. Especially after I had been told a few years back that I wouldn’t be able to have children if I waited past the 2 yr. mark.
I found out, but unfortunately years later, that it was more than likely a progesterone deficiency/hormone imbalance. It’s sobering when I think that I could have had more enjoyment with her in the beginning by probably just getting some progesterone in me.
To fast forward, because of my history, the doctors thought it wise to perform a baseline endometrial biopsy in my 30’s, to see where my hormones were (didn’t know of saliva/bloodspot testing I assume). The test showed that I had unopposed estrogen and that I needed progesterone. So what did they put me on? The birth control pill! I’m sure that I also had problems with xenoestrogens, which added to the unopposed estrogen, but to go into that here would turn this into a book (it’s close to that now!). I’ll just say briefly that I’ve read that we are constantly assaulted by estrogens in our environment from the food we eat and the chemicals we use. These estrogen mimickers in the form of chemicals (xenoestrogens), and foods and plants (phytoestrogens), mimic the action of estrogen produced in cells and can alter hormonal activity, i.e., unopposed estrogen! I had never wanted to go on the pill just because of problems I had heard about it and didn’t want any more trouble.
I studied and searched for answers. I stumbled upon information about natural compounded progesterone cream and so after one month of feeling terrible on the pill, I started this cream. The doctor re-tested me after a year and said the cream wasn’t giving me enough progesterone and that she was concerned that I could get cancer with having the unopposed estrogen. So, even though this “happy hormone” really made a difference for me, the pharmacist recommended a sublingual version of the progesterone because it would be more bio-available. However, I didn’t know that it should be monitored with the saliva test and when I finally learned about it and had one, they found that my testosterone was off the charts high, as well as other things being ‘off’. I now believe that even though this cream was good, too much of it f or too many years caused another imbalance!
I also recall at that time that my skin always had a very orange/tan look, almost like jaundice! I wondered what was going on with my liver. I’m very light complected with freckles, so this was not right! Then the pharmacist said I needed testosterone/estradiol to keep things balanced. I did that for a while along with a lower dose of the progesterone cream. This became very expensive paying the $250 for saliva/bloodspot testing every few months and buying all these natural compounded hormones. I finally stopped doing all this and just used a low dose of the progesterone cream alone….again.
I noticed a couple times in my mid-forties that the saliva/bloodspot test came back saying I was borderline positive for Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis. Well, it went from borderline to the full blown hyperthyroid side of it when I was around 48 yrs. old. I could have been put on all sorts of synthetic medications, ranging from anti-depressants, to anti-anxiety to sleep meds! I was feeling a ‘déjà vu’ moment coming on. Out of nowhere, I could only sleep for 2-3 hrs. a night. It doesn’t take many nights like that too feel like you’re ‘losing it’ either. I was starting to have the pre- anxiety attack symptoms that I remembered from years ago.
Just a note on when I was searching for answers at this time, I read in several places that if a person is on progesterone for too long (any form; e.g., cream, sublingual, suppository) it can shut down other hormone receptors and cause issues with thyroid and adrenals. I don’t’ know if this is true or not, but it sure seemed to be in my case. I had been on the progesterone in one form or another for probably 10 years, so I thought it was interesting that I was having trouble with the thyroid and adrenals (and who knows what other hormones were out of whack because I wasn’t getting the testing done because of the cost). I remembered back to when my skin was jaundice and recalled reading somewhere that if the thyroid is in trouble, a good place to start looking is the liver. I wish now I would have done a liver cleanse!
I Googled, “I’m tired and can’t sleep with anxiety”. The first thing I discovered online was a book called Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome, which lead me to take Isocort 1st again (I had taken it some after previous saliva testing because my cortisol was a bit low) because the book was adamant that a person needs to get the adrenals in better shape before or during thyroid treatment. I followed the protocol for healing the adrenals right away. Within a very short time I was feeling well on my way to recovery. I had instruction sheets all over the front of the refrigerator to help me remember what all to do and not to do. Every day I had to remind myself that my illness didn’t happen overnight and I knew it would take time to get better.
As I mentioned, I was in the hyperthyroid part of Hashimoto’s. I had noticed over the last year or so that I was putting on weight at the drop of a hat! I was having several other symptoms of hypothyroid (low body temp, feeling a dullness/mild depression, slurred speech, hair loss, dry brittle skin and nails, etc.) now and I was pretty sure what I had.
I went to the doctor and I gave him the “list” of tests that I got off the Stop The Thyroid Madness website and he did them for me. My hunch was correct and so I asked him for Armour. He said that it could be contaminated with Mad Cow Disease and you never know where it comes from! So, he said that he’d give me Synthroid or I’d have to find another doctor to get the Armour. I said, “Thanks, but NO THANKS” to the Synthroid, and left the office.
I called a local Pharmacy and asked what doc’s prescribe Armour and I called one and set up an apt. This doctor told me about Lugol’s Iodine and gave me a stack of articles on it! I learned a wealth of information from her and the articles. Several things that she said about the thyroid (that stand out the most) is what the lack of iodine in our diets and the depletion of iodine from things like fluoride, chlorine and bromides. She wouldn’t even give me the presc. for the Armour until I used the iodine for a few weeks to build up the iodine in my body. There were other dietary things, etc. that I did too, but won’t go into it here (read up at STTM website! hehe).
She said to take 4-16 drops of iodine a day, but knowing how sensitive I am to most things I take internally, I started with the minimum of 4 drops on the 1st day. The reaction I had was not fun. Major detox symptoms and with having Candida, I’m sure I was also detoxing from heavy metals too. If I could go back, I would have just done one drop. I thought I was just allergic to it, but later learned that it was a Herxheimer reaction (feeling worse before feeling better). I felt I had some heavy metal toxicity because I had read that a large percent of people with Candida yeast have some degree of metal toxicity.
Eventually, the doctor went ahead and wrote the presc. for the Armour, which I took starting with ½ grain and then after a month or so up to 2 ½ to 3 grains WITHOUT taking the iodine (before realizing it was a Herx reaction, out of fear). I kept reading about iodine and decided I would try it again. I took a chance and started up this time on 1 drop a day for a week or so and 2 drops a day for a week etc. until I got up to 5-6 drops a day. I felt great!
By the time I got up to the 5 drops I noticed that I went to bed at night and I was wide-awake though. I read that many people have been able to cut down on the Armour if they get their iodine stores replaced. So, day-by-day I decreased the Armour. And for a few days now, I have totally cut out the Armour! The iodine works well for me right now without taking the Armour. This is good news for me, which I realize might not be for everyone, but with Armour being in short supply as I write this (Sept. 2009) , I think this is a great alternative for a lot of people.
Also, I think of how iodine is anti-viral and anti-bacterial (as is liquid colloidal silver made with steam distilled water), so with the different flu bugs around now, namely the Swine Flu, I ‘m glad to know I have it on hand for the whole family. Because I’ve pretty much always had moderate yeast/yeast as well, I tried many things for that. I think what I had done has helped some, but I’ve never fully gotten rid of it. My son also had toenail fungus on several toes and with me being into alternative health, I didn’t want him to take the oral anti-fungal medications that the doctors were strongly suggesting. I found out from a nutritionist that this stuff called diatomaceous earth (DE) would get rid of his fungus in 60 days. I thought this guy was crazy. How could dirt/earth do that! A friend of mine is in the swimming pool business and said that DE is used in swimming pools to get rid of mold, etc., so I was shocked that it could be used for human consumption. I found a food-grade DE and in 2 months his toenails were as nice as the day he was born. I use it still because of having an animal in the house and they say it’s really easy to get parasites (which my son and I both had) from them. In the meantime I learned all sorts of other things it’s good for too which I won’t go into here.
I wrote my health history from so far back because I think that in many ways it’s all related and I thought it might be helpful to others out there. There has been a progressive revelation through seeking for answers (and trial and error) that has made a difference in my life.
P.S. My heart aches for all the suffering women out there who aren’t getting the answers and relief that they deserve, whether from the young teen with PMS, to new mothers with post-birth “emotional” problems, to perimenopause and menopause. Many of our doctors just assume that if you are having depression or panic attacks, for example, with which you need counseling, a prescription anti-depressant and/or anti-anxiety drug. I would be on many of these if hadn’t searched out answers. Why do we, and our docs, just assume that we must have some unresolved emotional problems and cover the symptoms up with a drug of choice? To mask the symptoms is a fairly recent phenomenon and not too many decades ago, doctors weren’t as indoctrinated with all this drug propaganda. The pharmaceutical companies knew what they were doing when they got so cozy with medical schools! Oh, don’t get me started! Anyway, the point is, we need to be very informed and search out answers for ourselves and be willing to speak up to our doctors and say we’ll not popping every pill they put in front of us. If they don’t listen, find another one that will. I’ve been a fan of Stop The Thyroid Madness website because they have given me helpful ideas and confirmed some of the actions I had already taken.