“I’D SWING FROM AN UNDERACTIVE THYROID TO OVER-ACTIVITY”
Beverley Garside, 60, from Sydney, had Hashimoto’s disease, which led to an underactive thyroid, and also Grave’s disease, which had the opposite effect. She is the chief executive of The Australian Thyroid Foundation. “A few months after I had a baby, in my early 30s, my neck felt sore – it was hard and rubbery. I was tired and had aching limbs and terrible brain fog. I put everything down to having kids, but the sore neck made me see my doctor.
A thyroid function test measured my thyroid hormone and an ultrasound showed the thyroid was inflamed and had been for some time. I had Hashimoto’s disease, but later I discovered I also had Grave’s disease, so I’d swing from an underactive thyroid to over-activity.
I’d go from being tired, gaining weight, not thinking straight and being constipated to being almost manic and doing housework in the middle of the night. I’d lose weight and have erratic thinking and diarrhoea. Every week to three weeks I’d go the opposite way.
I needed to take a thyroid replacement hormone for Grave’s disease, but because I’d swing it was difficult to find an appropriate dose. It’s better now with block-and-replace treatment – a drug to slow down the thyroid and thyroid replacement hormone to balance that.
Eventually I had my thyroid removed because it was badly diseased and I now take a thyroid replacement hormone tablet first thing in the morning. The day my thyroid was removed was the day my life began.
A lot of people put symptoms down to lifestyle or age or hormones. I talk to women every day who don’t realise that how they’re feeling is not just about what’s going on in their world – it could be a thyroid disorder.”