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Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Could my wife be suffering from some hormone imbalance/thyroid disorder ?

Hi, I am living a very difficult situation with my wife and I have come to consider that the root cause might me some hormone imbalance, possibly thyroid related. I will try to summarize it and make it short :

within few months my wife has drastically changed and our lives too consequently : we came from (just 6-7 months ago) planing the future, and having a second child (we have a 2 yrs old daughter) to her wanting to separate, neglecting our daughter...first I did consider that was simply a couple issue but the fact that it first affected her behavior towards our daughter made me consider that the issue could be either physical, psychological or both. As this change started and seems to correlate to her starting weaning off our daughter (she breastfed for 2 yrs), return of her period and finally stopping breastfeeding.

From the "psychological" side, here are the main elements : mood swings, depressive episodes, anger, irritability, emotional distance/rage, and basically seeming like not caring at all or anymore about either our daughter or me, us, while being both agitated and bored, but neither resting even always tired (notably in evenings)

Besides, she seems to have difficulty focusing on anything, often her mind seems "foggy", she has also memory problems, and lose interest quickly,

"Physically" she keeps gaining weight, even though she exercices and not eat more than usual, but cant lose weight, her nails are breaking easily, she lose hairs, have puffy eyes, chronic constipation, irregular periods, varicose, sensitivity to cold, but also to sun (severe rash when she goes to the sun, and need to wear sunglasses even when not really needed)

most of those symptoms/signs did preexist to her pregnancy, so I am starting thinking that this potential hormonal (thyroid maybe) issue has been long standing, and may have worsened either because of the number of years or because of the pregnancy...

I do hope someone could help me to understand better, and if considering some hormonal/thyroid (or other cause) is actually sound, and that I am not deluding myself : as for now, she does refuse any professional/medical help or advice, she seems in full denial while acknowldeging that smth is wrong, but she blames that on us...

Thanks in advance for any insight, advice or just sharing similar experiences.

p.s. : if I did establish this list, it is not because I spend my time trying to diagnose her, it is just that I have a medical/scientific background but until recently I could not put the puzzle pieces together and grasp what might be the "big picture", I kept focusing on what affected both our daughter and I : I do hope I finally did get closer to what could be the root cause of this hell we are going through .

    
9 Responses
Avatar universal
You are not the first to report having difficulties such as you describe.  If you look at this link it shows 26 of the more typical symptoms related to hypothyroidism.

http://endocrine-system.emedtv.com/hypothyroidism/hypothyroidism-symptoms-and-signs.html

Then, from another extremely long list of symptoms that can be related to hypothyroidism, this is the section on those affecting emotions.

Emotional:

    Tension
    Irritability
    Wanting to be solitary
    Mood swings
    Anxiety
    Personality changes
    Feelings of resentment
    Jumpy
    Easily startled
    Lack of confidence
    Nervousness

I think you will find all your wife's symptoms listed within those lists.  So, if you can discuss this with her and reach agreement that some tests are in order, then the first thing is to find a good thyroid doctor.  That does not automatically mean an Endocrinologist.  Frequently they specialize in diabetes, not thyroid.  Many of them have the "Immaculate TSH Belief" and only pay attention to TSH for diagnosis and treatment.  I won't get into all the reasons why, but that does not work.  If they go beyond TSH typically it will only be to test for Free t4 and then apply "Reference Range Endocrinology", by which they will assert that a test result that falls anywhere within the so-called "normal' range is adequate.  That is also wrong because the ranges are far too broad to be functional across their entire breadth for all patients.

A good thyroid doctor will treat a hypo patient clinically by testing and adjusting Free T3 and Free T4 as necessary to relieve symptoms, without being constrained by resultant TSH levels.  Symptom relief should be all important, not just test results.  You can get some good insight from this link written by a good thyroid doctor. I think it is vital that you find that type of doctor, otherwise you might never convince her to continue going to other doctors searching for the good thyroid doctor.  You can help find such a doctor from friends/acquaintances, or by asking pharmacies what doctors prescribe T3 type meds for hypothyroid patients.  When you have some prospects, it is worthwhile to "interview" them by phone, if possible, before making an appointment.  The two questions I always ask are:  Is the doctor willing to treat a hypothyroid  patient clinically by testing and adjusting Free T4 and Free T3 as necessary to relieve symptoms?  Second question is if the doctor is willing to prescribe T3 meds like the desiccated brands and Cytomel?  If either answer is no, then keep looking.

http://www.hormonerestoration.com/Thyroid.html

So, hopefully you can find a good thyroid doctor that will test and treat clinically as described.  For tests, I recommend that she should test for Free T4, Free T3 (not the same as Total T4 and T3), TSH, the antibodies of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (those tests are TPO ab and TG ab), Reverse T3 (if possible to get it done), Vitamin D, B12, ferritin, and selenium.  

If you do get those done, if you will post results and reference ranges shown on the lab report, we will be glad to help interpret and advise further.  



1756321 tn?1547095325
Excerpt from Sara Gottfried MD - Motherhood: How Breastfeeding and Weaning Affect Your Emotions...

"When Weaning isn’t Wonderful

As I worked with mothers all over the world, I increasingly began to hear of a “delayed” postpartum depression that some of them experienced. As we discussed it further, many began to make the connection between when they weaned off of breastfeeding, and this marked increase of emotional depression.

Remember, for some women, oxytocin does function as a conduit for uplifted mood and bonding, so their emotional wellbeing during breastfeeding was being bolstered by the rise in oxytocin. As breastfeeding ends, so does the regular hormonal production of prolactin and oxytocin.  When this drops, a woman again is susceptible to the mood impacts of her hormonal state bottoming out, until her body recovers a normal hormonal rhythm again."
Avatar universal
Hi dear Gimel,

First of all, thank you for having taken the time to read my post, and for having taken the time to provide me with so many information and resources.

I sincerely thank you as it does help me, and makes me consider that I wasnt deluding myself when I envisaged that it could be some hormone related medical condition. I will do as you advised, even though I have no idea about the approach I should use as right now, my wife seems to be in full denial, and virtually unreachable. That is the worse actually, she is both smart and educated, and if it was one of her friends, she would have no problem understanding the situation and advising her friend to seek some medical advice/help (she actually did it for one of her close friend and for her cousin)...but now, she seems to think that there is nothing wrong with her, and that is all about us (me mostly)...I dont know if denial is part of the symptoms (maybe the ones which are depression-like), but that is the current situation.

Well, sincerely thank you for your help and advice, I will try to find a way to make her see a doctor first, and then find a thyroid specialist such as the ones you described : but here again, it is going to be a real challenge, as for example, even though she sould have gone to her OB-GYn after both weaning and return of periods, she didnt and doesnt seem to plan to go anytime soon...I am really despaired.

Thank you.
GD

        
Avatar universal

Thank you dear Red Star,

This delayed or late onset post-partum depression was actually what made me envisage some hormone problem, and then considering the preexistence of most of the symptoms, that it might have been here for years now. I think that might be a way for me to approach her/our situation (i.e. speak first about delayed post-partum depression and then about possible hypothyroidism).

Well, I do hope I will be able to (at least) make her consider that is a medical issue and not some couple issue : that would be a giant step in the right direction.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my post, and to provide me with further resources.

GD
Avatar universal
Do you think you could get her doctor to call and push her to come in for a followup appointment, since she hasn't been back.  That might provide the opportunity to get all those tests done, if you confide with the doctor and ask for help.  Then you and the doctor can determine if it is all thyroid related.  Of course we would be very glad to help interpret test results and give you our opinion.  
Avatar universal
Hi dear Gimel,

Thanks again for your attention and care.

To answer to your question : no, I dont think that I could get her doctor to call her, and even if I could that will just raise her suspicions (or feed her "delusions"). The problem being that she doesnt like to go to doctors (and I do start thinking that might be why it has never been diagnosed, that or her different doctors' incompetency), and so she might have been her OB-GYN or the family doc only very few times in the past years...Thus, it is not like there is any of this doctor-patient closeness you may encounter sometimes : I would say they barely know her...last time, she went to her OB-GYN was more than a year ago, and before that except during the pregnancy, I dont think she ever went just for regular check. Same applies with the family doc, she has certainly not seen him for 2 or 3 years.

And yet, she seems obsessed by my health, even though, I dont really have any health problem (except some light hay fever during spring).

So right now, I am following your advice and trying to find competent thyroid specialists, and will start contacting them this week and see what they tell me. In the event that I manage to take her to either a specialist or just a regular doc, I will share the test results here as I start thinking that if I dont find the right doc, that would be another dead-end...and for sure, she wont even bother listening to what I say ever again.

I am just hoping now to find some "window" during which I could establish with her a constructive dialogue, and lead her to understand that she might be suffering from a serious condition...

well, that is me hoping, lets see what the coming days and weeks may bring...

Thank you again for your advice and support (yes it does make me feel better)

GD  
Avatar universal
If she wants you to go and see a doctor for a good checkup, why not agree,  if she will make it a package deal and also go?  If you find a potentially good thyroid doctor, you could coordinate with the doctor in advance to make sure she got all the necessary tests, by explaining the situation.  
Avatar universal

Yes, thank you that would be a subtle way to take her to a doc. Problem being is that she will most likely refuse the "package deal" as she is really (or seems) convinced that nothing is wrong with her. I guess it might be that she has been this way for such a long time that it is "normal" for her. As after reading the information you provided, and going through the web resources you indicated, I start thinking that it might be an hereditary condition, as both her mother, aunts and grandmother (and possibly her brother) seem to present most of the described symptoms - the psychological/emotional having obviously the whole family dyanmic and relationships, which I guess created additional psychological issues.

So for her, it does seem "normal" as it might be that she had never experienced anything different (she tends to be very secretive and neither bound on an intimate/close level even with her "close" friends, which I would call more acquaintances than friends in the traditional sense/undestanding) : I can see it even in the way she speaks about our couple, and how it should be according to her, and yet, even though, it is obvious that her way of seeing things is not what one would qualify as "normal", she remains obstinate.

Well, I guess it is worth a try, I have no problem going for a checkup but I am already afraid that I will be the only one. Anyways, thanks again for your advice, that helps me to refine a potential approach.
Avatar universal
Well, first thing is find the doctor you need for her.  Then my suggestion is to  be devious like a woman LOL, and to wait for her to mention that you need a physical checkup.  You could then feign reluctance and commit to it only if she will also go with you and get a checkup.   Just some thoughts about how it could  work for you.  Good luck and let us know how things progress.
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