In January 2012, I started taking lithium to treat bipolar disorder, after about seven years of depression and then a year or so of depression and manic periods. The dosage started out small but eventually went up to 1000mg a day. At the same time I had a contraceptive implant put in. Since then, my hormones have been all over the place and it's been a rollercoaster ride!
I gained about ten kilos, shooting up from a stable weight between 62-65kg to 75-77kg. There was absolutely no change to my diet or exercise routine. Since January 2012, my periods have been irregular, I usually have between 4-6 periods a year now (my last one was at the beginning of January 2015), and I often have a heavy painful period for a week, a few days off, and then another week of heavy painful period.
I stopped taking lithium in the summer of 2013 (with my psychiatrist's consent), but my weight has not shifted, despite no change to my eating habits. Since January of this year, I have been eating clean, vegetables, grilled chicken breast, minimal alcohol, and running up to 25km a week, I have not lost a single kilo! I don't understand! Three years ago I was ten kilos lighter and eating whatever I wanted with almost no exercise. I know lithium is considered a cause of hypothyroidism, but is it possible that the lithium could still be affecting me this far along?
I have a history of glandular problems, and am very susceptible to swollen glands in my neck, often when flying or due to cold, and swollen tonsils. I am also very sensitive to the cold, especially in my hands.
I am unable to eat heavy foods such as pasta or pizza without feeling bloated and nauseous and reacting very badly to it. Even without these foods, I often experience bloating in my stomach despite having eaten nothing processed or particularly large portion-wise.
The last few months I have had increasing aches and pains in my lower back. I was diagnosed with sclerosis a few years ago, and it affected me in that I couldn't stand up for long periods of time, however, recently it has been affecting my ability to sleep and I feel discomfort when sitting down.
Lastly, in the last month or so, I have experienced difficulty swallowing, and have sometimes felt discomfort and panic when trying to swallow, particularly when eating dairy products and meat, or when running or exercising. For a moment it feels like I am choking, and when eating, it feels like I'm not sure if the food is going to go down or stay lodged in my throat. This is obviously not a very nice feeling.
Could anyone help me or give me any sort of advice? I don't want to be a drama queen and jump to conclusions, but is hypothyroidism a possibility? If not, what else could it be?!
Thank you for your help and support!