What do you wish you were told at the start of your thyroid journey?
I asked my readers this very question and below are the most common responses, answered by myself for those who are perhaps new to understanding their hypothyroidism.
1. “Your Sleep Problems Could Be From Your Thyroid Condition.”
One of the lesser known signs of a thyroid condition can be sleep disruptions in the form of:
- Not being able to fall asleep.
- Feeling ‘Tired but wired’.
- Waking up frequently during the night.
- Waking up feeling unrefreshed or ‘more tired’ than when you went to bed the night before.
- Thyroid symptoms keeping you awake, such as muscle cramps and aches and pains.
- Sleep apnea.
- Night Sweats.
Low thyroid hormone levels, as well as the presence of thyroid antibodies can be to blame for night sweats, sleep apnea, overtiredness and muscle pains keeping you awake.
Many thyroid patients also find that they have some level of adrenal dysfunction alongside their thyroid condition, often in the form of high cortisol, which doesn’t help or even drives many of these complaints too.
2. “Make Sure You Take Your Thyroid Meds and Take Them Correctly.”
Many of us are handed our first prescription for thyroid medication and sent on our way without any information on taking it correctly.
Reading the leaflet and box that your medication comes in is a good start. It will generally recommend that you should take it at least one hour away from any food or drink (excluding water) and medications, and four hours away from supplements and medications containing calcium, estrogen, magnesium and iron (including antacids and antibiotics). Not doing so can affect how much of the thyroid hormone in your medication you absorb, meaning you’re not getting as much as you should be.
It is also worth noting that coffee has been reported to affect the absorption of T4-only thyroid medication which is why thyroid patients need to wait at least an hour after taking their meds before drinking any tea or coffee, too. 
I personally would avoid all caffeine within an hour of taking any thyroid medication, not just Levothyroxine, to be on the safe side. To get around this, an option could be to take levothyroxine medication at night. Some studies have shown that taking levothyroxine at bedtime may improve absorption. It also allows for you to have your morning cup of coffee without worrying about it affecting your thyroid medication. 
Is it also important to take your medication at the same time each day, check often that it is within date and not expired, never skip or miss doses (or stop taking it completely) and if you’ve been prescribed a specific brand or type of thyroid medication which is working for you, to make sure that you’re always given the same one, as some thyroid patients are given a generic substitute in place of their usual and end up feeling unwell again.
3. “You Need to Be Your Biggest Advocate.”
The answers to all the questions in this list have a common theme: advocate for yourself.
What does this mean? It means:
- Understanding your thyroid condition; what your medication is for, what blood tests you need, obtaining printed copies of test results and understanding how to interpret them.
- Learning what lifestyle changes you can implement to help yourself.
- Finding the right medical professional for you, because there are so many out there and they’re not all created equal when it comes to treating thyroid disease.
- Listening to your body and understanding what it is telling you; putting your foot down in situations that are not moving you towards better health.
4. “It’s More Than Just Taking a Pill Everyday.”
This is one I hear a lot.
We’re all initially told that we only need to take this one little pill a day and we’ll be right as rain before we know it.. yet many of us are left scrambling for support and advice when we take the thyroid medication, yet still feel unwell many months later.
After a little research, you will find a vast amount of information regarding the holistic view of our health many of us require in order to make bigger steps towards improved health and reduced symptoms.
I’ve been a guinea pig myself, trying out many different interventions, supplements, protocols and what have you, figuring out which steps are actually important, without wanting to overwhelm us all!