Possible thyroid/adrenal dysfunction

Hi, I'm in my mid forties now but have experienced feeling abnormally cold all my life. I have also experienced life-limiting anxiety from a very young age (cannot recall a time when I wasn't anxious and fearful). Looking back now, I am amazed this was not properly addressed as a child.

The extent to which I feel cold is that I have slept with an all night electric blanket and sometimes cardigan and socks since I was probably 5/6/7 years old. I have never been able to wear nice clothes and wear multiple layers to everyone else's 1-2 layers. I have never had a great deal of stamina in my life and have never been able to cope with late evenings, feeling sleepy early on. I am early to bed, early to rise. So I've never had much of a social life.

I tend not to go near doctors if I can help it and much prefer complementary medicine. However, I had had to resort to treatment for anxiety and doctor visits from time to time in the past due to nervous breakdowns and not being able to work. I have mentioned the feeling abnomally cold all the time to doctors in the past but was told to wear more clothes! I have had routine bloods done in the past on occasion and everything comes back perfectly normal. So I tend to get on as best as I can and give GP's a wide berth where possible.

Recently I came across the Wilson's Temperature Syndrome website and have been doing some research. Having just started to take my temperatures which vary between 35.6-36.5 (with lots of clothes on!). I am now revisiting the idea that perhaps there is something more I can do to help myself. However, I find my symptomatic pictures a confusing one. I don't have the classic hypothyroid weight problems and have always been slim (except for a couple of spare tyres when I hit 40!) but I have the anxiety of the hyperthyroid. I also have very little in the way of eyebrows left. And a host of other symptoms which may or may not be related.

I have come across the work of Dr Skinner and, as I live in Scotland, I would be able to get to an appointment. I also read that it has to be a GP referral to him - and this fills me with dread. That said, and considering I avoid GP's for the most part, I wouldn't know what tests to ask them to do and how to go about getting a referral. I even doubt the GPs will take me seriously.

I am also interested in hearing people's experiences with Dr Skinner, what the appointment consists of, and how many and how frequently the follow-up appts need to be (thinking of cost here!!).

I'm am new to all of this, and no nothing about the treatments, etc, and I've never met anyone else who experiences the level of cold body that I do.

Thank you!

10 Replies

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  • I also wondered if it might be appropriate to write to Dr Skinner in the first instance, outlining my symptomology and asking if he thinks he might be able to help and would it be worth my while seeking a referral.

  • You sound very much like I did when younger. Dont make the mistake of thinking weight gain is required to be hypo, I am and always have been underweight, although I broke the 9st barrier last year for the first time ever (not including pregnancy) simply because I am now on suitable medication. I have always suffered with the cold ( I always thought it was because I didnt have a fat layer) and I was diagnosed as profoundly hypo.

    You dont say if you have ever been tested or given any diagnosis, if not, It would probably be best to start at the beginning and get your thyroid function tested, if your doctor wont do it then private tests are available, I wouldn't have thought a GP would refer you until this at least had been done ( although I could be quite wrong).

    I have no experience with Dr Skinner, as my finances would never stretch to being able to see him.

  • A very important point. A proportion of people do indeed present with apparently wrong-way-round signs and symptoms. Not only do some hypos remain thin, even lose weight, but some hypers/Graves put on weight.

    And I am not surprised that both they and everyone around them makes the same mistake. The "standard" of weight gain in hypo, loss in hyper is repeated everywhere with hardly any suggestion there may be exceptions.

  • I have had blood tests done in the past which included thyroid and these were normal. However, whenever I mentioned the subject of being cold I got a patronising answer such as 'put more clothes on'. And if one is known to be anxious, everything is put down to being all in the mind anyway. I was told my blood tests were normal and there was nothing wrong. So really I've just learnt to live with it.

    I've always been size 10/12 - 5'4 and was around 8st for many years. Since hitting 40 I'm now just over 9st. The only noticeable weight is a couple of spare tyres round the waist, but even so if you look at me I would be classed as slim.

    Is it possible to have had adrenal and thryoid dysfunction from being a very young child? (Back then I was skinny)

  • I felt just like you when a young child and even had raynauds when I was 10. Took some pills for this for a while and did not suffer again until this year, when I suddenly noticed my toes had gone numb last week. I eventually had a sub-total thyroidectomy for Graves in 1981 when I was 32 and have been hypo since about 6 months after, although not treated with Levothyroxine until 1997 and am still not comfortably warm, although it doesn't sound as though I am as cold as you. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Hi Just a little to add to the excellent posts. Make sure you have been tested for TSH , T4 and Free T3 as a start. When I first had treatment, many years ago, after years of suffering, my FT3 was the only blood for thyroid that came back extremely low. Also, as I am sure you know,know Vit D ( a hormone) can make thyroid worse. My cold is due to thyroid, diabetes , Raynaulds , heart and kidney. I say this as it is just possible some thing else also/ may be your problem.Diabetes was the worse until treated.

    I hope things improve. Do no put up with it.I have just discovered that in 1982 my nephrologist ( kidney) told the GP I had an endocrine problem. No patients access to letters then. i am horrified at what I went through, do not let kit happen to you!

    Jackie

  • Thanks for your replies. To be honest I'm not one to do the doctor/hospital thing, but really what I need to ask for from the GP is TSH, T4, Free T3. Are there any adrenal stress tests that the GP's can do also? And are there any other tests I would need to have done if I were to pursue a referral to Dr Skinner? Thanks!

  • Hello nanookofthenorth - It would be helpful if you can ask your GP for your results from your last thyroid function tests along with the reference ranges. If this test was over six months ago then ask for a retest and also ask for a test for Thyroid Antibodies.

    Also, ask for tests for Serum Ferritin, Serum Iron, Folate, B12 and Vitamin D. Please do not accept the term 'normal' from your GP. All this means is that your tests are in range.

    For example, you can be told that your serum ferritin (iron storage) is normal when in fact you are at the bottom of the range. In this case the GP does not have to treat you. Just being low in this range can be one of the reasons for being cold all the time.

    It may be difficult for you to request these tests as GP's tend to ask why you want them doing, so be prepared. Levels of Vitamin D are shown to be low generally in the population of Scotland so you most certainly need this testing.

    If you have concerns about adrenal problems then discuss this with your GP. Many of us on this forum suffer with impaired adrenal function but this does not register on any of the NHS tests. They only treat Addisons Disease which occurs when the adrenal glands don't produce enough cortisol and aldosterone. See this link;

    tinyurl.com/d7v5kur

    In summary, ask for;

    Thyroid function test and thyroid antibodies

    Serum ferritin, serum iron, folate, B12 and Vitamin D.

    The thyroid function test should include TSH and T4 only, mostly GP's do not do a T3 test. This is usually done by an Endocrinologist.

    Get the results and reference ranges and post on this forum - Maddie

  • Just say i too hav always been q slimand suffer heat and cold intolerance;but definately hypothyroid.it is the adrenals play part too.like others hav said there is various symptomology fir hypo /hyper;it is a complex illness.

  • Forgot to say also have anxiety/depression which is definately caused by hypothyroid(even though i can see that there must also be some psychological 'tendency' for it,as it were.)

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