#43: [What To Expect at the Doctor] Maybe It’s Your Thyroid Series, Part 2

If you know something about your body doesn’t feel right, remember that YOU are the expert in your body. It can take years for women to get a proper diagnosis. Even then, doctors may not have the whole answer for you. Meanwhile…your symptoms are very real.

You’ll hear:

  • How doctors are NOT trained to address diet and lifestyle changes
  • My personal history of fainting episodes ranging back to my teenage years
  • The reason you need to know if your thyroid problem is linked to autoimmunity
  • Why you want to get to the root cause of the symptoms and fix the problem underneath those symptoms

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It started when I was 16 years old

It was the age where I was beginning to fight my parents about going to church on Sunday. 

But there I was, at church on Sunday. And I had a friend with me.

My friend had flown in from Ohio – which was a really big deal. Flying her in was my parent’s alternative to throwing me a Sweet 16 party.

The thing is, I knew that once she flew back to Ohio I wouldn’t see her again. Probably ever. 

(Remember, life before Facebook? It was actually possible to entirely lose touch and never see or hear from a person again.)

We were heading to the airport after church so I sat in that service feeling all kinds of bad. Bad about letting my parents drag both of us to church. Bad that the visit was nearly over. And bad that – hey, I might never see this person again in my whole life.

I didn’t feel well. My head hurt. I sat down…

And the next thing I knew, I was waking up outside, confused, a crowd of people looking down at me, talking over each other, ambulances being called. 

It was the first of many fainting episodes in my life.

My mom took me to doctors, of course. During college I remember having more appointments. And after college, at age 23, I was still looking for answers.

Because every single doctor visit ended the same way…

They always said I was fine.

The problem with being “fine”

Last week I talked about symptoms that so many women experience in their 40’s — symptoms like stubborn weight gain, brain fog and exhaustion. 

Women often see their doctor about these issues and 9 times out of 10 they’re told “you’re fine.”

I’ve heard a statistic that it can take 8 years for a woman to be properly diagnosed with an autoimmune condition.

The frustration is real.

Not only does it mean that you continue to suffer with whatever you’re suffering from…

It also means you have all these doctors looking at you like you’re crazypants – maybe even insinuating as much. 

And women are often medicated for anxiety and depression, long before they’re diagnosed with, say, Hashimoto’s.

You are the expert in your body

If you know something is wrong…if you know that something doesn’t feel right…you need to remember that YOU are the expert in your body. And just because a couple of doctors haven’t been able to diagnose you doesn’t mean your symptoms aren’t real.

It’s a matter of finding a practitioner trained to look at the whole picture…not just a standard set of labs.

Also, one who will listen.

Be prepared when you see your doctor

If you suspect something is going on with your thyroid and you see your doctor, be prepared to not be taken seriously.

I hope that’s not your experience.

Unfortunately, for so many women, it is. 

The next thing that’s likely to happen (if you have a doctor willing to test your thyroid) is that they will probably run a test called TSH.

If TSH comes back within “normal” range…they’re going to say you’re FINE.

If your TSH is high, they might put you on Synthroid or levothyroxine. Those are the two most common supplemental thyroid hormone prescriptions. 

And…that’s it.

That’s all they’re going to do.

Even if you have the BEST doctor who runs alllll the labs and looks at them through a functional lens…I’ve yet to talk to a woman who got any kind of nutrition or lifestyle advice in addition to the meds.

Your next step…

If this is resonating with you…download my Thyroid Solution Kit so that when you visit your doctor, you can show up prepared with a list of symptoms and ask for a complete panel of thyroid lab tests. 

This will make for a much more productive office visit.

Watch out for these mistakes

You may be diagnosed with hypothyroidism but not told whether you have an autoimmune condition or not.

And, whoa, it matters.

If autoimmunity is causing your hypothyroidism (also called Hashimoto’s disease) you want to know that because there are very specific dietary changes that can halt the attack on your thyroid gland. Also, you should know your autoimmunity status because once you’ve developed one autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to develop another.

This was the case for one of my recent clients. She’s a real go-getter who had been doing HITT classes, counting macros and really trying to lose weight.

She knew she was taking levothyroxine for her thyroid, but she had no idea if she had an autoimmune disease or not.

Unsurprisingly, the weight wasn’t budging.

And that’s common. Supplemental thyroid hormone will bring your TSH number down. But you may very well still have symptoms like stubborn weight, exhaustion, hair loss or even infertility.

Doctors give you medication because that’s what they are trained to do. And that’s fine. You DO want your TSH numbers to come down, and usually the meds take care of that.

But doctors aren’t trained to do anything about the symptoms you continue to experience due to the ongoing inflammation (and often ongoing autoimmunity) lying beneath the surface.

But it is possible to make diet and lifestyle changes that help with all of that. 

By removing the right food triggers, my client lost 15 pounds very quickly. 

It’s all about understanding why symptoms exist, and then fixing the underlying problem. Clients will say, OMG why didn’t my doctor TELL me I shouldn’t be eating this or that???


Probably because your doctor doesn’t know. This isn’t how they are trained.

Does that mean you should ignore your doctor? Or that you shouldn’t take the medication he or she prescribes? No! Supplemental thyroid hormone exists to supplement what your body isn’t producing. It’s like a diabetic taking insulin. It doesn’t HEAL the disease. It just supplements what your body isn’t producing because of the disease.

Empower yourself

It’s so easy to become disempowered when your doctor says you’re fine – when you’re NOT fine. Or when they give you a prescription and don’t tell you anything about your condition or what you can do to support your body.

But that doesn’t mean the story ends there. There’s so much you CAN do!

My goal is to empower you to find your answers. If you think it might be a thyroid situation going on for you…download my free solution kit at ShesGotPower.com/thyroid.

And by the way…no doctor ever diagnosed me with anything. But with diet and lifestyle changes ALONE I put a stop to those fainting episodes.

It really is worth addressing the root cause.

If you enjoyed the audio version, be sure to subscribe to the She’s Got Power podcast on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts. Love what you hear? Please share with your friends and leave a review on Apple so more women can finally overcome the health issues associated with chronic stress and burnout.