Did you know that thyroid disorders are often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia? Did you also know that you can have normal TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels and still have a thyroid condition? The protocol for assessing someone as to whether they have fibromyalgia is generally to rule out other conditions, especially autoimmune conditions, before making a diagnosis.
Donna Gregory Burch authored an article entitled The Fibromyalgia-Thyroid Connection. If your TSH thyroid test is normal, you better read this… stating that the TSH test alone is a poor indicator of whether or not you have a thyroid disease. Since my teens, I have been displaying symptoms of hypothyroidism (my mom has Hashimoto’s disease) but my thyroid tests have always come back “normal.” It wasn’t until I saw a naturopath who concluded that my thyroid was overworked and needed to be treated, so she sent me to a doctor (my current primary care doctor) who also agreed that I needed treatment. I was put on a low dose of synthroid and it made a huge difference in my fatigue and energy levels. As my body became accustomed to the medicine, I felt better almost instantly.
Ms. Burch interviewed Dr. David Brady, a fibromyalgia specialist about why thyroid dysfunction was overlooked when assessing for a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Dr. Brady commented on the fact that it is possible that one can be diagnosed with both conditions and while they have similar symptoms, they need to be treated rather differently.
In order to evaluate whether one has thyroid disease, Dr. Brady “order[s] a TSH. [He also] order[s] a total T4, a free T4, a total T3, a free T3, and then particularly if there’s any family history of Hashimoto’s, Grave’s or any type of autoimmune thyroid condition, we order what are called TPO antibody and thyroglobulin antibody [tests].” You can find out more about what T4 and T3 are in the article.
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and are still experiencing fogginess, fatigue, exercise intolerance, muscle aches, thinning hair and more, I would recommend getting your thyroid function testing done. In the article, Dr. Brady suggests that thyroid testing should be done either by a functional medicine or integrative medicine doctor. There is a significant amount of important information in this article as well as many wonderful suggestions. I highly suggest you read the article alongside my very condensed summary.
With lessons from my own fibromyalgia and thyroid diagnosis journey, I’d be happy to help you with yours and get you to a place where you are feeling better. In my coaching course and research of my own, I will gladly help you understand more specifics of thyroid disease as well as help you find a doctor in your area that will do a full thyroid panel. Like I stated above, fibromyalgia and thyroid disease (especially hypothyroidism) have a lot of overlapping symptoms. Don’t let your thyroid go untreated by attributing all of the symptoms to your fibro! Looking forward to helping you out in any way I can!
I’m Kate Straus and I’m a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor. I help Jewish women feel confident in their ability to practice their faith while navigating the ups and downs of fibromyalgia. I’m using the disease that at one time knocked me down, to help support others live life to their fullest.