I'm writing this for my ex girlfriend. I'm quite worried about her as she's getting increasingly depressed (and unhealthy) with her situation.
She has had a lot of emotional stress over the last few years and also a lot of physical problems. It seems like they both trigger each other in a vicious circle.
Emotional stress (she is receiving councelling) causes her to get sick almost immediately, irregular period and bleeding and dramatic weight gain. All of this leads to further stress. Also, without the emotional stress - she regularly gets ill anyway (colds, flu, unsettled stomach and unable to eat certain foods, has issues with her weight) and this causes here stress and low self esteem.
In the last 6 months she has gained almost 6 stone (84 pounds) and this is getting her so depressed as to be suicidal. GP's do not take her issues seriously - they just say 'sort out your stress', eat less and exercise.
But I can vouch for the fact that she doesn't eat much at all and there is NO WAY that she should gain as much weight as she does so easily. Something is clearly very wrong. A year ago, she was able to get to a healthy weight by basically living off protein shakes and exercising intensly for at least an hour every day - but this was clearly not sustainable.
What can she do? Are there any doctors here who may be able to advise?
Please help - last week she tried to take an overdose because she feels so alone with these problems.
59 million Americans are estimated to have thyroid problem; the majority don't even know it. The following are the most common signs of a thyroid condition however you do not need to have all of these symptoms in order to have a thyroid problem. Based on unexplained weight gain, hypothyroidism (most commonly due to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - autoimmune hypothyroidism) is a very possible diagnosis.
Top 10 signs that you may have a thyroid problem:
10. Muscle and joint pains, carpal tunnel/tendonitis
9. Neck discomfort/enlargement
8. Hair/skin changes
7. Bowel problems
6. Menstrual irregularities and fertility problems
5. Family history
4. Cholesterol issues
3. Depression and anxiety
2. Weight changes
Excerpt from the book - "Why do i still have thyroid symptoms? when my lab tests are normal" by Dr Kharrazian:
"Hashimoto's Disease and "Normal" Lab Results
Jan - TSH 4.5
Feb - TSH 0.08
Mar - TSH 2.3
April - TSH 3.8
May - TSH 8.7
June - TSH 7.4
July - TSH 1.6
One reason hypothyroidism goes misdiagnosed is because a person with hashimoto's can present with normal TSH. This graph illustrates the monthy TSH levels of a person with Hashimoto's who is receiving no treatment. As the autoimmune condition fluctuates, TSH levels vary wildly. Using standard lab range of 0.45 - 4.5 this person would fail to be diagnosed. During the month of March the patient's TSH even falls within functional range 1.8 - 3.0. That's why also testing for immune antibodies and evaluating symptoms and history are so vital."
Testing for TSH, free T3, free T4, and thyroid antibodies - thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) can help obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Sorry to add, i just realised you wrote 6 stone in 6 months! Not sure if a thyroid condition can cause that degree of weight gain in that time frame actually but still worth testing out.
Cushing's disease is another cause of unexplained weight gain. This condition is due to high cortisol levels usually from a benign tumour in the pituitary gland. Google: "Cushing's Moxie: Fighting The Worst Disease You've Never Heard Of" for a lot of good info and tips to avoid misdiagnosis.
Ive experienced same and similar problems. I am not a doctor, but Ive been there and have learn to cope with some of the issues, but sometimes its a daily struggle. I think alot of it is hormones. People, including doctors and licensed professionals think that over stressed people with these symptoms are crazy or just dont take care of themselves. Thats not the case. Stress and Anxiety can be triggered by a hormonal imbalance. Irrg periods,unsettled stomach, even heartburn and acid reflex could be related to stress.
Have drs ever checked her tyroid for the excessive weight gain? Tyroid problems can go two ways excessive weight gain or the inability to gain weight (and these people tend not to complain). Most the time its detected with blood work and treated with scripts or even shots sometimes depending on how severe.
Just let her know more than anything, that she isnot alone. There are numerous other people out there that struggle with same issues. Love her and let her know that you are there for support.
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