Thyroid UK
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19 y o girl with many symptoms consistent with hashimotos thyroiditis

Hi there,

I'm a 19 year old girl, my mum, sister and aunt have all been diagnosed with hashimotos type hypothyroidism.

For 3 years I've been suffering extreme fatigue, concentration/memory issues, coldness, brain fog, dizziness, hair loss, weight gain, breathlessness (and high resting heart rate in spite of regular exercise and healthy eating - generally heart rate is above 90 even when doing nothing! Lowest I have seen it since wearing Fitbit is 82). I also suffer badly with IBS and anxiety issues. Other symptoms I've always had (since being a child) are very shaky hands and also when I'm hungry I often get a severe pain in my stomach, I feel shaky, dizzy, sick and I have to sit down and eat something to make it go away.

I have been to the doctors on many separate occasions and have at some point or another mentioned all these symptoms. So far, all I have been given is an anxiety self-help print out and an inhaler (which was in part for a chronic cough I have, which is made worse by allergies although when I did the breath test it was normal).

Last week I went to the doctor and explained to her the symptoms I have which are consistent with thyroid issues, but I requested that she test my thyroid antibodies rather than my thyroid hormones as I felt I wouldn't be at that stage of thyroid damage yet, should I have the same problem as my family. She nodded and I assumed that meant she would, however when I received my results and looked at the print out I had requested, the only thing related to thyroid that she had tested was my TSH. This is frustrating, since my mum was diagnosed with thyroid issues 6 years after her first visit to the doctor because her TSH levels were within normal range (they actually put her on antidepressants, which she tried for 4 days knowing she wasn't depressed). My sister was diagnosed at 25, having first visited the doctors at 16 with the same symptoms, and once again her TSH always came back normal in the annual tests she requested, and it wasn't until her thyroid antibodies were checked that a diagnosis was made.

My doctor did, however, test my iron levels, blood glucose levels, and requested a full blood count. All came back within normal range. However, my serum ferritin came back as 18 ("normal" range 15-300), and my serum TSH as 3.39 (normal range 0.27-4.2).

When I googled low serum ferritin, I was surprised to find that the breathlessness (which I had previously seen a doctor about, who laughed at me and told me it was normal even though I told him I walked 1.5 hours a day and visited the gym 4 days a week), was a symptom. Whilst I'm aware it's within "normal range", it seems likely that this could account for the symptoms I'm having. It's probably worth mentioning that my haemoglobin estimation, MCHC and MCH are all comfortably within normal range. I consume meat regularly, I always get my 5 a day and I eat spinach and kale daily, so I was surprised to see my ferritin levels so low. I also take daily multivitamin supplements containing iron.

Further to my surprise, when searching online I also saw that there was a link between thyroid issues and low ferritin, although it's hard to find much information that explains how this works.

I'm going to phone the doctors again and persuade them to test my thyroid antibodies. However I just wanted to know if anyone had any advice or experiences that are similar/can suggest what I can do to feel better? I'm really fed up of feeling like this, particularly as the fatigue can be debilitating and I have no motivation to do uni work, in spite of being hard working in nature. I also really struggle to think sometimes, and stringing a sentence together can be challenging in English, let alone in the languages I study. I have obviously listed other symptoms that aren't related to thyroid function, but sometimes I wonder if having so many issues is possible at this age, and maybe they are all linked together somehow. OH forgot to mention I've also been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries.

Sorry for such a long explanation!

11 Replies
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Your symptoms certainly suggest you need FULL testing

PCOS is closely linked to autoimmune thyroid disease also called Hashimoto's

pcosdiva.com/2015/08/got-pc...

Your GP may have requested antibodies tested, but if TSH is "normal" lab refuses to test

A TSH of 3.39 is on the high side

For full evaluation you ideally need TSH, FT4, FT3, TT4, TPO and TG antibodies, plus vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 tested

See if you can get full thyroid and vitamin testing from GP. Unlikely to get FT3

Private tests are available, thousands of us on here have to get private testing to get diagnosed

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

Medichecks Thyroid plus ultra vitamin or Blue Horizon Thyroid plus eleven are the most popular choice. DIY finger prick test or option to pay extra for private blood draw. Both companies often have money off offers.

All thyroid tests should be done as early as possible in morning and fasting. This gives highest TSH and most consistent results

Link about antibodies

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

Link about thyroid blood tests

thyroiduk.org/tuk/testing/t...

List of hypothyroid symptoms

thyroiduk.org/tuk/about_the...

Low Ferritin is very often present in hypothyroidism and definitely can cause breathlessness

Your Ferritin is very low

It is also very common to have low vitamin D, folate and B12

Ask GP to test these vitamins and also blood test for coeliac disease

Gluten intolerance is very very common with Hashimoto's

A persistent cough can be dairy intolerance. Dairy is 2nd most common food intolerance after gluten

thyroidpharmacist.com/artic...

There isn't really a test for dairy intolerance, you just have to try it

With Hashimoto's or gluten intolerance or malabsorption issues it doesn't matter how good our diet is, we can't absorb the nutrients.

Your GP MUST treat low ferritin

See this reply on ferritin by SeasideSusie

healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

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If you have the means you could short cut the doctor and get them tested privately with companies like blue horizon or medicheck, one of them does a discount on thursdays.

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Hi eh1234,

I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, my symptoms were cold all the time, like ice cold water pumping through my veins, feeling like my feet were wet, depression, brain fog, hair loss, dry skin, extreme muscle stiffness especially my neck, anxiety, tummy pains, low concentration.

You will find (as I have experienced) GP’s like to fob you off, you only have to look at the endless posts on here for help. Even Endocrinologist are failing patients, including mine.

This forum has been absolutely fantastic with me and given me brilliant advice, more information than the GP and Endocrinologist.

Someone more experienced will come along shortly with advice, but, you need to check all your vitamin levels are correct as with Hashimoto’s this is important.

Also it would be advisable to pay for private thyroid blood test either with blue horizon or medi checks.

Once you have the results post them on here including ranges, the full thyroid includes the antibodies test as well.

Unfortunately, although I was diagnosed by a private Endocrinologist, (I paid for a full thyroid blood test as Endocrinologist didn’t do the full works) as well as paying for a scan, he refused to prescribe me any medication.

I am in the process of self medicating, but you are a long way of this yet.

I take iron tablets, vitamin D (high dosage) vitamin c, B12, and also selenium.

I also went gluten free, this has also helped.

I’m not 100% better, but I’m certainly on the right tracks.

Don’t allow your GP to give you antidepressants either my Endocrinologist tried this but, I refused. Unfortunately, it’s a case of doing further research and sometimes taking matters into your own hands.

Good luck

Peanut31

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If you decide to get your own private testing, make sure you are well-hydrated a few days before drawing blood. It should also be at the very earliest and a fasting test.

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Yes, I can see you're already becoming aware that the GPs are for the most part pants and useless lol!

We've all been through exactly the same!

My best advice to you is to learn everything you can so you are not relying on the doc to get yourself well - you've already started realising this anyway. Everyone here will help you.

My other advice would be to go gluten free, I was exactly like you at your age and unfortunately it took me til my early thirties and in a far worse situation to figure it out. I had a sleep disorder and could barely stay awake for years - all gone now.

The private tests above are worth the cost - you can get everything needed when discounted on "thyroid thursdays" for about £69 or £79. I also pay the local hospital £10 to draw the blood for me as never really fancied trying to scrape that much blood out of my finger lol.

Hopefully you can get on top of it now and get yourself well :-)

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Oh and the multivits aren't really worth the expense and won't do much for you. My GP and endo both would class me as anaemic and would prescribe iron with ferritin that low. You likely have other deficiencies as well like B12 etc

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Wow this is so helpful! I've had a lot of bad experiences with GPs and find myself rapidly losing faith! I'm definitely going to try and get a full thyroid/vitamin test from the GP, but if I have no luck then I'll try private. Thank you!

1 like
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Glad you're feeling more hopeful - good on you :-)

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I don't understand your fast heart rate. I have hashimotos and my resting heart rate is 50bpm.

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Thyroid problems normally cause low heart rate, however I've read that low ferritin or folate can cause fast heart rate!

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Yes very true.

I had a resting heart rate of 110-120 all my life even while severely hypo with TSH in the hundreds in my teens and always deficient. Now better with everything resolved and much slower heart rate - down to around 80 - was even 70 at it's best lol.

All the deficiencies can make your heart rate very fast but specifically for me, Vit D deficiency increases it badly. Iron just seems to give me palpitations so not constant.

We don't all react the same :-)

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