Whilst searching for further information on Myxedema (specifically about the “skin pinch” test that of which I’d seen several mentions) I came across a really informative webpage at Tuberose about hypothyroid symptoms and I’m really almost spitting blood. I recommend that you take a look if you’re researching hypothyroidism. There is so much in this article that could have been written about me that it almost makes me want to weep that so much of my life could have been so much better if this condition had been diagnosed earlier. I realise that my symptoms haven’t been particularly severe but the quality of my health could have been so much better if someone in the medical profession had a frigging clue about this anywhere along the way:
“Many people’s teeth literally rot one by one, occasionally in rapid succession”
At the age of 10 or 11, I was beset by tooth rot which meant that I had 8 fillings, 2 extractions and a gold crown fitted over several sessions. Up until that point, I’d had relatively little trouble with my teeth. I’ve been told (repeatedly) to cut down on the amount of sugar I ingest. At the age of 10, I hardly ever ate sweets and convenience food wasn’t really in mainstream use (especially not up north!)
“The side of your tongue may be scalloped due to pressure from the teeth, small jaw, and myxedema”
My tongue has always been too big for my mouth and I’ve had toothmarks in the side for as long as I can remember
Regarding ears: “Recurrent infections may begin at an early age or may begin much later. Ear infections may contribute to hearing loss”
I had a massive infection of some description in my early 40s which meant that I couldn’t turn my head without profound nystagmus (uncontrolled movement of the eyes) which caused extreme nausea. This has remanifested several times since 2007 and a couple of years ago I ended up having a stapedectomy because of hearing difficulties
“Childhood depression is rampant and, as previously mentioned, a cardinal sign of hypothyroidism”
I was put on tranquilisers by my doctor at the tender age of 17 having been diagnosed with “teenage depression” because of my dreadful mood swings
“Dry skin on the hands, feet, and lower legs, just above the ankles, are the first places to look for dry skin”
I had a severe outbreak of eczema in my 20s on my shins, palms and the soles of my feet. Nothing seemed to make it any better and I was going to bed with steroid cream slathered on my palms and covered with plastic bags overnight to try and ease the raw cracked skin on my palms. I was shedding skin like a snake.
“The most common complaints associated with a possible diagnosis of hypothyroidism are chronic pain, depression, fatigue, loss of energy, cold intolerance, constipation, and dry puffy skin (myxedema)”
Most of these symptoms have come and gone in cycles over the years but most have been present constantly for the last couple of years.
“In more advanced cases, it may be difficult to lift the skin in order to pinch at all. The tissues are adherent or stuck to the underlying structures because of the infiltration of the glue-like substance, mucin.”
I’ve been overweight nearly all of my adult life. I had just assumed the texture of my skin and the thickness of it was down to the excess weight. After all, if you’re being constantly told you’re fat, you end up assuming that’s the reason. I never went around pinching anyone else’s skin to make a comparison!
“Severely affected people may take on a yellowish or amber tint to their skin”
When diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue back in 2002, one of the things my sister noticed was the waxy pallor to my skin. She said my skin made me look slightly unreal, like a doll.
“The big toenail often is affected first. Healthy nails are translucent, clear, shiny, firm, and smooth”
Really? Mine have never been like this!
“Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is another common and prominently listed symptom of hypothyroidism.”
Yep. Until recently, I thought the high pitched but quiet (and, to be honest, not that disruptive) noise I could hear all the time was normal
“Many hypothyroid patients suffer paresthesias such as tingling, burning, or formications (a tactile sensation similar to small insects crawling on skin)”
This particular piece of wonder developed about 3 years ago with a weird, slightly numb, patch appearing on my left leg just above the knee. I just assumed there was a pinched nerve somewhere
“Starting with the esophagus and ending in the rectum, digestion slows, and its associated secretions are diminished. Problems associated with swallowing, the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and absorption frequently develop. Reflux of stomach acid and ulcers may result. “
Diagnosed with a hiatus hernia in my 20s and put on medication, which was continually prescribed until I discovered for myself that I actually had a lack of stomach acid, took myself off the proton pump inhibitor prescription and began self medicating with digestive enzymes
“People who suffer from CFS all require thyroid hormone replacement and iodine/iodide”
I got no help from the mainstream medical establishment and had to fight for my diagnosis in the first place. My thyroid was never tested, nor were any levels of essential vitamins and other hormones tested.
“About 30% of hypothyroid people suffer headaches and migraines”
I’ve had these all my life. I discovered osteopathy in my early to mid 20s and they have kept the worst of the headaches at bay since then. I always thought it was just because of my propensity to carry all my worries on my shoulders (figuratively) which is where all the tension gathered, resulting in muscular spasms which pulled the joints out of synch.
“The signs observed more or less regularly are: …rheumatoid pains, sometimes in the joints …”
I used to suffer agonising pains in my knee and elbow joints during the summer when I was in my mid teens. The doctor told me it was because I was overweight. It didn’t occur to me to question how being overweight would affect my elbow joints. Nor did I argue about being overweight, when I was just over 10 stone and 170cms (a UK size 12/14)