I want a life without all of this medication
March 29, 2012 3:15 PM   Subscribe

I am too young to be on all this medication. I’m willing to make drastic lifestyle changes to get off of them. Please help me.

I am a 42-year-old female. No children and the SO and I have no plans to have any. About 25 pounds overweight with hypertension, diagnosed major depressive disorder and battling uterine fibroids.

Hypertension: I’m predisposed to it due to a) genetics (both my parents are hypertensive) and b) race. I also need to lose weight. I’m on two blood pressure medications and for about 10 years, my bp was under control. Recently, it’s been erratic and I feel tired and spacey as a result. I begged my primary care physician not put me on a third medication because the last time they did, it caused me shortness of breath. I have a month to get the bp down naturally.

Depression: I’m on Pristiq and a sleep aid. The sleep aid is new to replace Trazadone, which zonked me out all day. I’ve battled depression my entire life and I expect to always be on antidepressants but if I could get rid of those too, I’d be grateful.

Fibroids: Last year, I had a uterine fibroid embolization which apparently didn’t take because my uterus has grown to my belly button now. It’s mildly painful. Lots of trips to the bathroom. Heavy cycles. … Sex is still good and I don’t feel bothered by the fibroid then. My doctor wants me to consider a hysterectomy and even though I don’t want children, I’m completely freaked out by the idea of losing my uterus. I’m getting a second opinion from a well-regarded specialist. In the meantime, my monthly blood loss means I’m physically exhausted almost all the time. I don’t feel refreshed after sleeping which makes it impossible to slog through the day and working out? Forget it? My last blood work up showed low-normal thyroid function so now they want to put me on thyroid medication. Sigh.

I eat OK. I don’t eat fast food and I just started watching my carb intake about two weeks ago. I live in a state with pretty good weather year-round so I can work out outside and the sunshine helps my moods. I drink moderately … maybe 2 on weekends and a glass of wine or rum twice a week. I’m also a casual pot smoker because it helps with the anxiety … and well, just generally makes me feel better.

I’m looking for any and all life hacks related to any of my conditions. I feel 82 instead of 42 with all this sickness and medication and that’s not doing much to help my depression.

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Treating the thyroid issues might actually mean you can go off the anti-depressants (and might also address the energy and sleep issues).

I feel you about the blood pressure stuff. Addressing blood pressure issues through means other than medication is really difficult for most people, but the Mayo Clinic tips are pretty much the gold standard.

Intentional weight loss is super-hard for most people, but setting blood-pressure-relevant goals rather than shooting for an "ideal" goal weight is probably more likely to end in success. Once your thyroid is ticking along properly, the exercise (and again, being conservative about goals is key here, I think) should feel easier.

I had a lot of problems with excessive blood loss at the beginning of my perimenopause, and my GYN put me on NuvaRing, which has been tremendously helpful. I realize it's another medication intervention, but it's a set-it-and-forget-it thing you only have to remove and reinsert once a month.

Best of luck. Being sick sucks!
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:28 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Please note: the thyroid could be the root cause of all or nearly all of the other issues you are treating. IMO, that should be your number one priority to treat.
posted by vers at 3:30 PM on March 29, 2012 [22 favorites]

Don't think of the thyroid medication as "medication" - it's really just a thing your body can't make (enough of) by itself. Think of it more like...food. Or air. Yeah, it's a pill you have to take every day, but once the dosage has been got right - and it might take a while, so don't get discouraged - there are no side effects. You might want to start keeping a journal when you start the synthroid to track how you feel on what dose/level of activity etc. And in case you haven't already, ask your family members if anyone else has or had thyroid problems - it does tend to run in families, like hypertension does.
posted by rtha at 3:39 PM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]

I am not a doctor but..
If your really serious about making a drastic lifestyle change then I recommend the following.

1) Cut back on all sugars, caffeine, and alcohol.
2) Start eating more vegetables and fruits but mostly vegetables
3) EXERCISE! Something, anything.

Start with those 3 and you will see great results in about a months time.
posted by Takeyourtime at 3:39 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, getting your thyroid on track will definitely make you feel better. You'll probably lose some weight and your mood will probably improve. Rtha is totally right that you shouldn't really think of that as another medication, because low thyroid really isn't something you can fix via improving your overall health. As a data point, my blood pressure creeps up a bit when my thyroid is low.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 3:45 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh my dear, I am just about your age and I feel for you.

If you were my friend I would tell you:

1. Really try not to worry about going on thyroid meds. Like others have said, that can make everything else so much better.

2. Do you walk a lot? Walk a lot. It helps your mood, your body, everything.

3. Try and truly consider the hysterectomy. It's understandable to be freaked out, but breathe deep and give it some time to marinate. Among my friends who have gone that route (in their 40s, for fibroids/endo problems) it has made their lives much happier and healthier. You may need to grieve for this part of you, but imagine no pain and no monthly weariness.

Take care and hang in there.
posted by pantarei70 at 3:58 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

To go with the diet bit of Takeyourtime's comment, think about getting a juicer. It's super easy to use and the benefits are huge. I started using one when I was busy and dealing with mild depression, and I never would have gotten on the fruits and veggies bandwagon if I didn't have the juicer to get it going.
posted by MillMan at 4:00 PM on March 29, 2012

I had a hysterectomy at 37 after a failed embolization and extreme complications. My partner and I were also childless by choice. Two years later, I haven't regretted it for a moment. I kept my ovaries, so no instant menopause. No changes to my sex life or drive. And gloriously, no more insane periods, hormonal birth control, or peeing every hour. I had been so anemic, I required a blood transfusion before surgery. Fuck my uterus... she was making me miserable.
posted by kimdog at 4:01 PM on March 29, 2012 [8 favorites]

I am not a doctor. Please, please talk to your prescribing doctor before changing your medications.

As far as depression goes, this book, The Depression Cure, has some advice about how to treat depression without medication. I noticed a change, personally, when I tried some of what he talks about. (YMMV, of course, and please, please be careful about changing, coming off, or phasing out your antidepressants.)
posted by gauche at 4:01 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Boy, do I sympathize. I'm coming out of a 1.5 year stretch of being ill, and while I feel great now, I really felt shitty for a long time.

I'm 42 and about 10 pounds overweight--though I used to weigh 70 pounds more than I do now, and I work out a lot, so I'm ok with the number on the scale. I've battled depression in the past, though not recently. I'm also a married woman with no children.

Can you articulate (to yourself or others) exactly what is is about losing your uterus that freaks you out?

I had a hysterectomy last summer after a year of misery due to fibroids and adenomyosis. And let me tell you: I didn't lose anything. I gained my quality of life back. No more 24/7/365 bleeding. No more pain. Guess what else? No periods. EVER. I still have my ovaries (which is the common thing to do if you're our age and doing it because of fibroids, endo, or adeno), so I'm still going to have a natural menopause someday. Also, sex drive: normal. I'm still kind of a newlywed, so it's particularly important to me.

I urge you to get a second opinion on the fibroid/hysterectomy issue. Especially if you have a teaching hospital near you.

Also, to lose weight, you need to cut portion sizes. Even if you're cutting down/cutting out starches and sugars. Because 10 ounces of lean meat still has way more calories than 5 ounces of lean meat.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:01 PM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

Another person chiming in to suggest you give some serious thought to the hysterectomy. My mother had similar issues with fibroids, endo, etc., and she put off having a hysterectomy until she was in her early 50s. She says now that the only thing she regrets about it is that she didn't do it a decade earlier.
posted by skybluepink at 5:25 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thyroid is really different from the other medications you listed. I understand your hesitance to be on medications, but thyroid is less a medication like the others, and more of supplementing something your body makes. It's like a diabetic taking insulin, or like when I had to take iron because I was low in iron.

Like others have said, low thyroid usually causes weight gain and exhaustion, so it's likely that if your thyroid is too low for your body, going on the thyroid will help with your weight (which will then help with your blood pressure, probably), and will help with your energy levels.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:33 PM on March 29, 2012

Please think twice before ill-advisedly adding thyroxine to your mix. Your one and only thyroid function test is low of normal, low of NORMAL. Thyroxine is a replacement therapy (with unpleasant long-term side effects); and as a replacement therapy it can and will irretrievably diminish -- if not wipe out completely -- your current normal thyroid function, such as it is. You'll never be asking: how can I come off thyroxine? You can't. Less haste on that one, please. Please. Please.

(See an endocrinologist to confirm need of thyroxine, and then double check. It is not an innocuous medication.)

Stay on your current medications. You cannot change too many variables and expect balance.

However, you can do something about your current circumstances. You can do something about your diet, hydration and exercise starting yesterday ... lifestyle changes that will rapidly impact your disposition, hypertension, and energy levels. And don't let anyone tell you lifestyle change doesn't impact all body systems, including better thyroid gland performance where you (still) have function.

I'd encourage you to rethink hysterectomy. Research it. Keep your ovaries and cervix if they remain unaffected. Symptomatic fybroids won't go away and will wear you down.

Improve your hydration status. It will improve your metabolism -- everything.

Can you afford a personal trainer? A dietitian? It would seem to me your biggest problem will be maintaining will power while depressed. You could benefit by having encouraging professionals on-side.

Keep your goal in mind: reducing reliance on medication through improved health. Express this goal to your physician. Discuss poly-pharmacy with your physician. Perhaps a change of doctor is indicated if his or her responses aren't encouraging.

As your health changes through lifestyle, your need of medication can reduce. Stay under medical review with your goal front and centre.

I am not your RN, worst luck.
Good luck :)
posted by de at 5:48 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing that adding thyroid meds will probably help a lot. I would also recommend going to an endocrinologist rather than having your internist/GP write the rx.
posted by radioamy at 6:18 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

de, With all due respect, you are completely off your rocker. As a nurse, would you deny a patient insulin when they are diabetic? Because that comparison upstream was highly accurate. People with hypothyroidism need thyroid hormones supplemented. I have not once seen this reversed with diet and lifestyle changes. The effects of thyroid hormones affect every system and cell in the body, and to leave a patient in a hypothyroid state, even "low normal", when they are symptomatic invites a host of other ailments as we see here.
posted by vers at 6:31 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

Seeing an endocrinologist is an excellent idea. Scaring someone about how terrible thyroid medications are--someone who's in the process of getting a dx based on classic hypothyroid symptoms and some suggestive lab results? Not such an excellent idea.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:49 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, thyroid medications are not terrible. Or, at least, not as terrible as thyroid dysfunction.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:51 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Please think twice before ill-advisedly adding thyroxine to your mix. Your one and only thyroid function test is low of normal, low of NORMAL. Thyroxine is a replacement therapy (with unpleasant long-term side effects)

Screw that. I don't mean any disrespect, honestly, to the commenter above, because everyone's experience is different, but for me Synthroid (thyroxin) has meant far LESS unpleasant stuff to deal with for the last several years.

Before Synthroid, when my thyroid first dropped, my hair was thinning and falling out like crazy, my skin was so dry my heels were cracking open, my blood pressure and cholesterol both sky-rocketed, I gained weight no matter what I did (I felt like the Red Queen in Wonderland: "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place!").

Plus, my depression wasn't responding to my meds (hello, fellow Pristiq user here!), and I was tired ALL. the. frickin'. time.

It was amazing, the difference I felt after getting on Synthroid! I was actually in control of my weight again; I could eat like a normal person and I only gained weight when I actually made bad choices. My hair stopped falling out. My skin wasn't so dry it hurt. And I actually cut down on my anti-depressant dosage. My blood pressure went down as well (can't do anything about the cholesterol, I have crappy hereditary stuff, too).

About the hysterectomy: look, everyone else in thread had a good experience with that. Me? Not so much. I attribute that to having to lose my ovaries as well, though. I didn't have a choice; if you do, I STRONGLY recommend keeping your ovaries if you can.

There is all kinds of research now, that wasn't out there when I had my "hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy" done, that suggests you delaying surgical menopause as long as you can is the best way to head off some really nasty health issues (which it certainly sounds like you are already trying to avoid!). If you can keep your ovaries, I don't think you will regret having the hysterectomy, either.
posted by misha at 6:51 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Good for you for recognizing that your body can be in much better shape than it is, and that *you* have the power to do something about it. My suggestions are these: first, start with small changes that you can do every day. Like walking briskly for 15 minutes a day. Try that for a week. Then try 20 minutes. You're in this for the long haul, so there's no need to rush, and the important thing for your health is to make changes that are sustainable for you and your life. Work your way up for a half-hour walk every day, and maybe longer on some days if you can swing it.

Weight and Overall Health:

Gradually introduce changes to your diet. I'd start by cutting liquid sugars (soda, commercial fruit juices) and try subbing in fruits and vegetables for packaged foods wherever you can. If you can afford organic, switch to organic fruits and veggies, or look at the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" to decide which are worth splurging on. Eventually, you might try to cut out packaged foods and try sticking with "whole" foods. You may find that you no longer crave the foods that weren't as healthy for you.

Blood Pressure:

You might also take up some body work/relaxation activity. Do you live in a city with a good yoga studio? If you can find a good yoga teacher, check out a class (the quality of the teacher is very important-- ask around or look on yelp). You might also check out Pilates, massage, or craniosacral therapy through the Upledger Institute recommendation page.

Meditation is also an excellent way to reduce stress, which can contribute to hypertension. Download some of Thich Nhat Hanh's audio files or other meditation podcasts. Tara Brach is also good, as is the Emotional Freedom Technique.

The goal here is to change what you can change and accept what you cannot change. You've outlined a number of areas that you do have some measure of control over, so I think you're in good shape to make some really positive changes.
posted by airguitar2 at 6:52 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think getting a referral to an endocrinologist about the thyroid and reconsidering the hysterectomy are really good suggestions.

I would also suggest seeing a registered dietitian to put together an eating plan. You know basically to eat lots of veggies, not a lot of fat or meat or refined carbs. But a dietitian can help you create meal plans and that sort of thing that will help you stick to your goals.

Also, do you snore? Or do you have a lot of fatigue/feel like you just aren't sleeping well? My husband's high BP went back to normal after he was diagnosed with sleep apnea (which you can also have if you don't snore) and began using a CPAP at night. Not the most convenient thing in the world, but he feels so much better for it.
posted by elizeh at 7:21 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's a little frightening that no one has mentioned iron supplementation here yet. Hopefully, it's because everyone assumes you are already doing that. Anemia can cause anxiety, and better to treat it with iron than pot. (Although I suppose you can use both, if necessary.) I was too scared to get a hysterectomy until my iron levels were up enough to give me the mental/spiritual strength to go through it.
posted by serena15221 at 8:23 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just to pile on with the thyroid stuff -- I, too, felt so much enormously better once I got my thyroid problems diagnosed and treated. I would suggest trying it for a few months and seeing if it helps with any of your other concerns.

I have no, zero, none negative side effects from the levothyroxine I take for my thyroid.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:26 PM on March 29, 2012

Really, really make sure your iron levels are ok. Get an IV if they'd allow it, because Iron supplements take ages to work.

Also, having a history of thyroid disorder myself, I have to weigh in on the de/vers discussion (diverse? That's kinda coincidental).
Everytime I'm depressed and get my thyroid tested, I do kinda hope it's that, because I've heard so many stories of the pills actually just making life waaaaay better. If it was that, the pills would fix it. One of those life changing meds, so keep that in mind.

On the other hand, de has a point, from what I know of thyroid family history, it can work like that. My mother was prescribed thyroxin over 10 years ago, but negotiated with her doctor that if it wasn't in normal levels in 3 months, she'd take it, and then went on a massive health kick.
She cut out all sugar (and alcohol, as alcohol is a sugar), and goitregenic foods, and lost some weight - the sugar thing was because of some theory about pre-diabetes kinds of things being bad for it, and anything even rumoured to help with auto-immune conditions.
Anyway, she did it. She still gets her TSH levels tested every 3-6 months, and has stuck to her diet and lifestyle choices.

And no really, thyroid issues cause weight gain, tiredness, depression etc.
I'd just do both. You've got a better chance of losing the weight on the meds. Exercise in the morning, and really, really good sleep hygiene in the evening (no bright lights, winding down, hot shower, bed with fresh air etc).

Yay for the consulting the specialist about the fibroids, and I'd get anything done for that I could, because boy! That must be wiping you out. I had period bleeding for a month and then they gave me a Mirena IUD (hail, hail, and hosanna to the Mirena!) because of the mild anaemia.

I'd focus on getting the Fibroids, and Thyroid sorted out, and then once you've got a handle on one of them, cutting out sugar and processed carbs from your diet, as losing a few pounds would help with a couple of the other issues (BP, sleep etc).
posted by Elysum at 10:30 PM on March 29, 2012

I tend to agree with de. Poster, you want to go off meds, not add them, and Synthroid is a rest of your life type of thing. I believe it's pushed by the medical industry because it's so lucrative for them to have a patient who continues to live many years but who is dependent on a daily med that whole time. I feel like people in this thread are presenting a false choice between treating with synthetic thyroid and not treating at all. I would try dietary changes first (avoiding goitrogens, adding some occasional seaweed or other good sources of iodine), followed by natural options like wild yam. If those don't work, then yeah, try Synthroid.

I am also skeptical of some of the recommendations in that dash diet and of recommendations to "not eat a lot of meat". As someone with heavy periods, you need your heme iron to restore your iron levels, and that means eating red meat. That meat can be lean.

For your depression, are you getting enough omega-3s? If not, add some wild caught salmon to your diet. It can also be found in flax seed, hemp seed, walnuts, and properly produced eggs (get pastured eggs if you can find them where you are). Even beef and chicken have more omega-3's if they are raised the correct way. If you can afford it, try pastured and organic.

One thing from the dash diet I do agree with: eliminating alcohol. Alcohol provides absolutely nothing in terms of nutrition, and stresses out your already tired body to process. Moderate alcohol intake would be fine for a healthy person. It isn't fine for you.

Boosting potassium, from the dash diet, is also a good idea. Avocados are great sources of potassium, along with fiber, vitamin e, and "good" fat. And they are versatile; you can toss a few slices in a salad, put them on a sandwich, top a taco with them, or just eat them plain.

I think the juicing thing is misguided. You need the fiber found in the fruits and veggies; just eat them whole.

You mention sunshine making your moods better, so I am wondering if maybe vitamin D is at issue. Making sure you get daily sunlight between 10 and 2 is a good way of ensuring healthy vitamin D levels. I am guessing you may be African-American, which means you need lots of sunlight exposure to get proper amounts of vitamin D--more than people with lighter skin. Also, wild-caught salmon, again, is one of the few significant dietary sources of vitamin d.

I think cutting down on carbs will be helpful. Some people seem to do better by "replacing grains with greens".

Most important of all: it's your body, and only you can know how your body reacts to your diet, water intake, sunlight exposure, sleep patterns, and all the other numerous aspects of lifestyle. Don't ever go against what your body is telling you just because some orthodox source or doctor tells you you need to do X. Keeping a log of how you feel as you try various changes can really help pinpoint what may be best for your body.
posted by parrot_person at 12:43 AM on March 30, 2012

Memail me
posted by zia at 1:48 AM on March 30, 2012

[Just a reminder: offer your ideas (and they can be pro or con any previously mentioned advice), but please don't argue/debate with other commenters, or expand this into a back and forth chat about anyone's suggestion. "Doing/taking/avoiding X is a good/bad thing because..." = good; "Poster Y is wrong! You should/shouldn't do X because..." = not so good. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 2:19 AM on March 30, 2012

I've found that these two communities on Reddit are great for gaining knowledge and maintaining enthusiasm for working out, eating right and losing weight:



Feel free to lurk, read the FAQ, search for certain terms within the sub-Reddit.

Best of luck!
posted by THAT William Mize at 4:44 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I recommend Dr Fuhrman. I have never seen anyone not cure hypertension on his diet combined with exercise (for some it does take a while, but others get it down in two weeks). Here's a summary of his depression treatment. He has a few books, check out Eat for Health or Eat to Live. I'd personally be careful with lots of animal protein because that can promote growth and while that may be a good thing when it's about muscles it's not what you want the fibroids to do.
posted by davar at 4:46 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Chiming in here with my experiences re: synthroid and red meat and sleep apnea:

- Every single woman in my family is or was on Synthroid so I knew it would be my fate too some day. Never has such a tiny pill made such a huge difference to me (and to my mom, too, looking back). Here is where an endocrinologist is essential. A good one will start you out on one dose, keep testing your thyroid levels and asking about how you feel, and titrate it up or down depending on the results (I started out at 25 mcg and ended up at 50; my mom was on 150 at one point but she essentially had no thyroid left after many years - Hashimoto's just ate it up. YMMdefinitelyV here).

- Red meat is not the monster it is made out to be (neither is fat; IME it's the kind of carbs in white bread, cookies, etc. that are the real culprits in weight gain and poor health). You don't have to eat it every day, but once in a while it's good for you to replace iron lost during menstruation, as well as essential B vitamins. If you don't eat red meat, it is important to supplement not only iron, but B12. Get the sublingual B12 tablets. They make a huge difference in my energy levels.

- Get a sleep test. Sleep apnea is NOT just for old, fat guys. Young thin folks of all genders get it too. Women with apnea more often complain of insomnia and fatigue than excessive daytime sleepiness (falling asleep while reading, driving, etc.). Do you wake up with a super-dry mouth? Do you get up to pee every night or almost every night? Do you sweat heavily while you sleep? These are all non-snoring signs of possible sleep apnea.

- Check out HysterSisters. This is a website run by and for women who have had or are thinking of having hysterectomies. Tons and tons of really great advice are there, as well as tips on how to prepare for your hysterectomy and how to recover.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:56 AM on March 30, 2012

I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. My family has had high blood pressure issues for ages, and we all take L-Arginine and Vitamin E (with Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta tocopherols) to keep it under control. Not a one of us is on standard blood pressure medication anymore, and our blood pressures are in the normal range now.

Vitamin E is necessary for the proper absorption of the L-Arginine, so they're always taken together. Also, the Vitamin E at, for example, Walmart, isn't as effective, because it only contains one of the mentioned tocopherols. I bought mine from GNC. They market it as "Isomer E."
posted by ThisKindNepenthe at 5:13 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, I'd meant to mention HysterSisters like Rosie M. Banks does above. The tone of the place gives me a lot to complain about, and there's way more in the way of support than authoritative info. But you can't beat it if you're looking to hear from people in the same boat you are.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 12:06 PM on March 30, 2012

I don't know if it makes sense to focus on dieting if you have all these other issues, particularly if one of them is feeling low on energy all the time. Seems like increasing the proportion of good things is a better goal.

Are you getting good sleep with the sleep meds? Seems like that would be another factor in your low energy. If you can get better sleep that will also help with the depression.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:26 PM on March 30, 2012

Synthetic thyroid meds can be very cheap. Mine was $12.89 this month without the insurance portion subtracted (with insurance it was less than $6). Seems like nothing compared to the one I take that is $900/month retail (though it will have generics available soon).
posted by marble at 6:11 PM on March 30, 2012

Parrot_person's advice, FWIW, could actually be dangerous, OP, so please do your own research before deciding to go the "wild yams and seafood" route.

Wild yams, even as a source of natural progestin, have been shown to be no more effective than a placebo in clinical studies. So there's that.

As far as eating more seafood--look, people in the U.S. and other developed countries do not really get thyroid problems because of low iodine levels in our food. We put an end to that with the invention of iodized salt.

So if you have hypothyroidism, you might have an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, where your body attacks itself, or maybe your pituitary is messed up, you have had radiation treatment or thyroid surgery, or you have been taking lithium. RARELY will it be related to the iodine in your diet. Most often, you are nearing/already menopausal and you have just drawn the winning ticket in the Heredity Lottery like a host of other women before you.

You can treat with synthetic thyroxine, or you can use natural thyroxine extracts, which are PRESCRIPTION ONLY, come from pigs, and are not available in health food stores.

EATING MORE IODINE CAN MAKE THYROID ISSUES WORSE! There's two dangerous responses that a person whose thyroid is not working properly can have when you start ramping up the iodine intake. One, your body shuts down much of its thyroxine production as a self-defense mechanism because it cannot cope. It's called the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. If you already have low thyroid function (because of Hashimoto's, for example), that's disastrous.

Instead of shutting down, your body might ramp up production of thyroxine, which would be a good thing, except the unexpected iodine load forces your body into hyperthyroidism instead. This reaction is actually seen even in healthy people from cultures who don't eat salty foods when they come to the U.S. and their body is just over-run with iodine. It's called The Jodbasedow effect.
posted by misha at 7:13 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Juicing is a great way to help you lose some weight while still getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. A juice fast is pretty extreme, but good for short periods of time. It's not a great strategy long term, because your body needs the fiber from the fruit and vegetables, but if you are trying to get some results in the short term, it's definitely worth trying. Watch "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" for some inspiration and ideas as to how this works. I did a juice fast for a week, and while it was hard, I felt better at the end of that week than I had in months, and it helped me to start getting my weight down in a permanent way. The film "Forks over Knives" Talks about how removing animal products from your diet can cure a lot of things. They are both worth watching for some inspiration and ideas, even if you don't end up following what the people did in those films.
posted by markblasco at 8:44 PM on March 30, 2012

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