I refer to days when my hypothyroid symptoms are particularly bad as a ‘bad thyroid day’. I’ve had bad thyroid days when my hypothyroidism hasn’t been under control and when it has. Even now, with a good TSH, Free T3 and Free T4, I have bad thyroid days from time to time.
Some of them have triggers, such as drinking alcohol the night before, eating rubbish for a few days (I usually have a very good diet consisting of fruit, veg and nuts mostly) or from over-doing it the day before (using up my spoons). But sometimes, they don’t seem to have a trigger. As Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield says in his book The Great Thyroid Scandal: you can’t expect the body to work as well as it would with a properly functioning thyroid, even when putting in the thyroid hormones we are lacking via medication, because it quite simply isn’t the same.
Our thyroid gland can’t adapt to certain situations, like others.
So if we have a bit too much to drink the night before, spend a week eating take-aways or push ourselves too much physically, we’re going to feel it afterwards.
Some people get it from a food allergy or sensitivity, such as gluten. Around 90% of people with hypothyroidism have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s, which is the cause for their underactive thyroid. Many don’t even know it, though. And for these people, cutting out gluten from their diet is often a good idea to help control antibodies and ease hypothyroid symptoms. So for people who should avoid it, gorging on gluten one day could result in some bad thyroid days afterwards. You can try eliminating gluten from your diet for a few months as a test to see if it helps you.
The bad thyroid days are a part of having hypothyroidism that I have learnt to accept with time, but I did, at one point, think I would be able to make a 100% recovery back to full health, without any bad thyroid days ever again.
But now I realise, it’s OK to have bad days. No one’s perfect. As thyroid patients, we do often expect a bit too much from ourselves.
On a bad thyroid day, I like to wrap up warm, put on some films/a TV box-set, and drink lots of warm drinks such as hot water and lemon, or herbal tea. I eat nourishing food and might even call a friend or two. But if I don’t feel sociable, then that’s OK too.
It sounds obvious, but when your body is wanting sleep, it’s wanting it for a reason. Have a few naps throughout the day if it helps, but make sure you don’t oversleep as this can make you feel even more groggy. Usually no more than 9 hours max’ is what we need per night.
It’s OK to not be 100% well everyday. It’s OK to look after yourself. Have a bath and relax. Burn some scented candles, listen to music.. anything that helps you feel good. Avoid sugar and caffeine and other stimulants that place additional stress on your thyroid and adrenal glands, and eat fruit, veg, rice, nuts, soup etc. to nourish you and aid your recovery. Sit in the sun and soak up some warmth and vitamin D and listen to the outside sounds. Close your eyes and really listen..
But most importantly: take it easy.
Don’t over-do anything, as you’ll just make it worse, listen to your body and don’t push yourself, and don’t do anything requiring too much from you mentally, physically or emotionally.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.
Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018, and is a qualified Diet and Nutritional Advisor, also currently studying for relevant qualifications and certificates in Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking, Reflexology and more. She has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.