Symptom Management: Fatigue

Introduction 

Welcome back to the Thyroidcafe. I’m glad you’re here, because today we’re tackling the most common thyroid problem. There’s no symptom that evokes more passion and grief in me. Yet it’s the least understood by those without it. It is fatigue. Beyond tiredness, fatigue is a chronic force, which leaves you listless and unengaged. Managing this symptom is taking on the Big Beast of thyroid disease, but there is hope. 

What it’s like

As you know, my spirit animal would be a sloth. Fatigue is not merely the feeling after a good night out, symptoms go beyond exhaustion. Depression, apathy, irritability, and sore muscles are a way of life.  Thankfully and sorrowfully, most cannot relate. One thing I hope is readers will show this blog to their loved ones, in order that they may better understand fatigue. 

Sleep, your thyroid, and medication

While I still suffer from fatigue, I have some tricks I’ve learned over the years. Medication is the first key. If you suffer from insomnia, it’s most likely that you have hyperthyroidism and need to lower your dose. Hypothyroidism causes chronic fatigue, so your medication levels need to be increased. Those of us with Hashimoto’s disease will fluctuate between the two. Our doses are like hitting a moving target, as it depends on how our bodies are attacking our thyroid. Getting your medication optimized is the first step in treating fatigue. 

What works for me

“Get more sleep” is frustrating and futile advice. I won’t give it. But I will say, guard your sleep. Being tired on top of fatigue only exasperates the issue. Find a night time routine and make it a priority. So if you call me after 9:30 pm, be prepared to leave a voicemail. I listed my nightly routine below. It is descriptive, not prescriptive, use what works for you.

My Bedtime Routine: 

8:30: Make Chamomile Tea(causes drowsiness) and I may take CBD oil if I’m anxious or awake. 

7:30-8:00: Kids in bed 

8:45: “Cleanup” or clean up 

9:00: In bed to pray and read a book (play on phone) and drink tea. 

9:30: If I am done my tea and still not tired, I put on a sermon or podcast 

Fighting Fatigue in the Kitchen

Canadians are only part-time acquaintances with the sun, so we often lack Vitamin D. This, and anemia, are common causes of fatigue in thyroid patients. I was too impatient to wait for a vitamin panel, so I started supplements and have found Vitamin D and Iron take the edge off my fatigue. 

It’s not working 

If you have waited several weeks for your medication to work, and have kept your local vitamin store in the black, but nothing seems to work, you can test your T3 and T4 levels (blood test). Talk to your GP or endocrinologist about desiccated pills, such as Armour Thyroid. This medication contains T3 and T4, the two hormones that some thyroid warriors can’t produce. 

Conclusion 

Fatigue is the hallmark of thyroid disease. While it has taken many things from me, it hasn’t taking my ambition. For me, the true pain of fatigue is not that I don’t want to do things, it’s that I can’t. But now I battle back. Having my medication optimized, taking supplements and defending my most precious sleep, are each steps which bring me closer to the dreams thyroid disease once stole. Now if you will excuse me, it’s late and I’m off to bed. 

5 thoughts on “Symptom Management: Fatigue

  1. Thanks for this post. I can certainly relate. What I wouldn’t give for 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep! Woke up three times last night. My endocrinologist has me on methimazole. He’s adjusted it from 10mg to 5. I’m wondering how long I have to take it. Fighting weight gain. I read where some gain 20-30 lbs on it. So far, holding steady around 218-219. Walking 3 miles a day and eating healthy small portions. I was down to 220 before I started taking it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My wife is into all that. She gives me a handful of vitamins and supplements each day and one at night for sleep. I think it’s Dr. Berg’s “Sleep Aid” supplement.

        I think one problem is that I watch the Braves and chat on FB with Braves fans watching the game. I get wound up. Braves beat the Nationals last night 4-2 in a thriller! 8 games ahead of the Nats now 😀. After the game, I have to try and wind down. Games are over around 11pm. I usually go to bed at midnight.

        Like

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