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.
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.