Anna is a BTF trustee and is a regular contributor to our online support groups and an admin for the children’s group.

“ Following my experiences, I wanted to help raise the awareness of thyroid disease and all aspects of its treatment as well as supporting both those with thyroid disease and their families.” 

What were your symptoms? 

I had a difficult birth with my second son, requiring a blood transfusion, I found it much harder the second time around. My iron levels were fine and I was told that my fatigue was due to having a baby and a toddler so I just got on with life. I now suspect the pregnancy triggered the thyroid disease but I don't know for sure.

In hindsight, I did have typical symptoms of feeling cold, low heart rate, my legs feeling very heavy, low motivation, brain fog/fussy headache, loss of body hair, dry skin and weight gain – approximately 4 kg which I then lost once on treatment. At the time I attributed these symptoms to other things. 

How was your condition picked up on and diagnosed? 

I requested a blood test three years later after hearing a radio item discussing how, in Europe, thyroid function is checked for those with a family history of autoimmune conditions who are planning a pregnancy. I didn't see a doctor, I just arranged the blood test. I was told my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) was very raised at 78. I was then prescribed levothyroxine, and suddenly the symptoms I hadn't realised I had went away and I felt better.

What part of your diagnosis and treatment have you found most difficult? 

The most frustrating thing has been the general lack of information shared with me about thyroid conditions, especially before diagnosis. In my first pregnancy, there was a lot of focus on the fact that my father was type 1 diabetic but no one asked about my family history of thyroid disease. At the time I didn’t know that postpartum thyroid issues are quite common. If I had known more about thyroid issues I am sure I would have been diagnosed earlier.

Considering I was diagnosed because I was hoping to have another baby I was given no information about pregnancy and thyroid disorders. When I informed my GP practice that I was pregnant I was told I would be seen at my booking appointment at 12 weeks. It was only because of my own research that my levothyroxine was increased in the first trimester. My thyroid function wasn’t checked either which resulted in my TSH levels going high.

I was stable and symptoms were well controlled up until I was perimenopausal.  Routine thyroid function tests showed my TSH level was low so my levothyroxine dose was reduced however a couple of months later it was low again so I needed another reduction.  I then started HRT and my TSH went high so my levothyroxine was increased. Since the menopause I do get some brain fog, I am more tired than I used to be and have gained some weight but as my hypothyroidism was stable for many years before menopause I assume the symptoms are menopausal rather than due to thyroid disease.

Have any other family members been affected

My second child was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease, when he was nine years old. My mother, her brother and their father all have or had hypothyroidism.

What motivated you to get involved with the BTF’s work

Despite having been hypothyroid for many years I only discovered the BTF when my son was diagnosed. I like the fact that all the BTF’s resources are evidence-based. Following my experiences, I wanted to help raise the awareness of thyroid disease and all aspects of its treatment as well as supporting both those with thyroid disease and their families.

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Information and support for hypothyroidism

Information and support for hyperthyroidism