Hashimoto’s Disease Interview with Rachel Hill

In this episode of The Dr. Hedberg Show, I interviewed writer and thyroid advocate Rachel Hill of The Invisible Hypothyroidism.  We discussed Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroidism, and many connections to these illnesses.

Rachel suffers from thyroid issues herself so we can learn a lot from her about her personal experiences.  I urge everyone to listen or read and connect with her through her website and social media which I have linked to at the end of the transcript.

Rachel Hill

Here is a transcript of the recording with Rachel Hill for those who prefer to read rather than listen:

Dr. Hedberg: Okay. Well, welcome, everyone. This is Dr. Hedberg and today, I’m gonna be talking to Rachel Hill. And Rachel Hill is the founder of Invisible Thyroid and just some background on Rachel. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as having adrenal fatigue, and experience with depression and anxiety disorder. Rachel created The Invisible Hyperthyroidism. This is an award-winning patient advocacy blog that focuses on helping others by advocating for better thyroid disease diagnosis and treatment. So, I’m excited to have you on. Welcome to the show, Rachel.

Rachel: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to talk to you today.

Dr. Hedberg: Excellent. Why don’t we start with you talking about The Invisible Hypothyroidism, exactly what that is and why you started it?

Rachel: Yes. So, The Invisible Hypothyroidism is the name of my thyroid patient advocacy blogging website that you’ve just touched on. Under that name, I also get involved in other things such as doing interviews, podcasts like this, fundraising for thyroid charities, and I run a couple of forums in Facebook groups as well to reach for the thyroid patients and other halves, to provide some support and advice, really. The Invisible Hypothyroidism encapsulates what it means to advocate for yourself and your own health, which I think is incredibly important and something that I’ve learned along my thyroid journey.

Before my blog went live, back when I used to write about my experience as a coping mechanism, like a diary or journal if you will, for myself to read back on. I wrote a poem called, The Invisible, which I really wrote to try and encapture all the sides of living with thyroid disease, which is an invisible illness, and all the signs a lot of people don’t understand or see. So, when I decided to start writing on a private blog space, I used the title of this poem, The Invisible, but felt that The Invisible Hypothyroidism described what I was writing about and wanting to convey much better.

And I just wanted to just, kind of, get out all of the sides of hyperthyroidism that people often don’t see, and all the various sides that I was struggling with. And then eventually, I turned my little private corner on the web where I was blogging my personal experiences to a public setting, and my blog went public and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been really popular, and a lot of people seem to resonate with my experiences across the globe actually. And despite being based in the UK, about 60% of my traffic is from the U.S., which is quite interesting.

Dr. Hedberg: Excellent. So, of course, you’ve gone through this yourself. You’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, chronic fatigue. So, that was obviously a motivation, but can you give us some more insights into what motivated you to become an advocate for thyroid patients, and also create The Invisible Hypothyroidism?

Rachel: Yeah. So, essentially, I’d had signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s for years. And I was frustrated that it took so long for doctors to find it and then get to the point where I was eventually diagnosed and then began treatment. I was just flabbergasted, if you will, that it had been missed for so long, and even worse, that there are still people out there who don’t know that they have it, or like me, get diagnosed eventually, but still remain on poor treatment. And in some cases, don’t get any treatment at all for it, especially those given the sub-clinical or borderline hypothyroid diagnosis like myself. It’s really unhelpful.

As soon as I reached out and got in touch with our patients from across the globe online, I soon became quite shocked and astounded that so many people in the same position as me were still suffering, and most importantly, suffering needlessly as well. I mean, people living with hypothyroidism can live a full, good quality life. They don’t have to crawl through each day like a zombie. And so after learning all of this myself, I decided that change needed to happen, and especially, for thyroid patients in the UK as well who are often quite under-voiced due to the lack of British Thyroid Advocates.

So, I began writing and quite scarily, actually, sharing my stories and personal experiences of what I had encountered so far online, and I soon realized that a lot of people were resonating with this. And so I expanded on what I was doing and just kept on going. I think behind everything that I do, I just want to let other thyroid patients know that they’re not mad, they’re not imagining things, and most importantly, that they’re not alone. Which so many people do sadly feel so alone and isolated in what they go through with thyroid disorders.

Dr. Hedberg: Right. Yeah, your story is similar to a lot of people’s that I see in practice. Usually, there’s been a misdiagnosis, or patients are told it’s all in their head. And then of course, if you have Hashimoto’s there’s really no conventional medical treatment for that, other than thyroid medication. So, there’s a lot of people out there, especially women, who are suffering with this. So, you’ve got a lot of great information on your site, The Invisible Hypothyroidism, with some good advice. Do you have any… Is there a single, top piece of advice that you wanna give people out there with thyroid problems?

Rachel: The number one thing I always say to anyone living with hypothyroidism is to embrace being your own thyroid advocate. And that is the sort of, big tagline or slogan, if you will, across the top of my website. By this, I mean, learning what is part and parcel of having thyroid disease, and then what isn’t, learning to stand up for yourself and your health so that you can make progress in how you feel. Unless this includes learning what lab tests you should be having done, what results you’re aiming for, and this obviously, is taking into account optimal levels as opposed to just falling within a wide, outdated range often.

And includes researching, and reading, and embracing, being more involved in your own health care and treatment. The people who feel better and the ones who make progress are often the people working with their doctor. With a good doctor, often, within functional medicine even, and the people who embrace being their own advocate, they’re the ones who tend to get better.

Dr. Hedberg: Right. Right. So, everybody’s different when it comes to hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, and what I do is I will look… Usually, we began with birth and childhood because we’re learning a lot more about the connection with early, adverse, life events and the autoimmunity as an adult. So, for example, women have autoimmunity at a much greater rate than men, and if we look at traumas as a child or teenager, we’re seeing significant connections there with adult autoimmunity, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, things like that. And a lot of these patients are very different in their first signs and symptoms when they develop this condition. So, can you give us some background on what your first signs and symptoms were?

Rachel: Yes. So, I think for me, throughout my childhood, there were early signs, sort of, dotted all the way through. For example, I never used the toilet regularly, perhaps once every one to two weeks, which is quite shocking really, and we know that constipation is a big symptom of an under-active thyroid. But from as young as I can remember, I can remember that that was just normal for me, but it was never really picked up on. I was often referred to as being lazy, especially as a teenager, and I think a lot of people passed that off as just being a teenager, sleeping in on the weekends or just being generally lazy or having a lack of energy, overall, or thinking that you can’t be bothered or you are not motivated.

And I’ve also lived with anxiety my whole life, although I didn’t realize at 19 that that’s what it was, and I just put it down to being a worrier or overthinking things. But it really was anxiety and anxiety can be debilitating on its own. Again, that can be another symptom of thyroid issues and Hashimoto’s, especially. But at age 16, this is where I look back and notice the real triggering of Hashimoto’s beginning for me. Following catching swine flu, which you may remember was a huge outbreak out in the UK specifically in 2009, I never really recovered after it had gone.

I had achy legs and strong bouts of fatigue that would come and go. And this is really just the start of my health declining. It’s quite sad really, that it started so young as well, at just 16 years old. And then over the next 5 years, I developed over 20 other signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism that I would keep jotting down on a note on my phone because the doctors just weren’t really believing me. They thought I was making all of these things up that included things such as cough cramping at night, depressive bouts, acid reflux, cystic acne, despite being 23 years old when I developed it. Irregular and heavy periods, dry skin, eczema, dermatitis, brain fog, gluten sensitivity, brittle nails, hair loss and the list just goes on. So, by this time I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s at 21, I was a complete wreck and I was a shell of who I used to be. It devastated my life and so I just wanted answers.

Dr. Hedberg: Right. Right. Just to talk a little bit more about childhood. One of the things that I always look for is we begin with birth, like I said earlier. And so for the listeners out there, these are some things that you wanna think about. Number one, was your mother under a lot of stress when she was pregnant with you? Also were you a C-section or were you a vaginal birth? A C-section does have an effect on the microbiome, and effect gut health. The next thing to think about is if you were breastfed or if you were formula fed? That will definitely, have a big impact on the gut microflora as well.

And then you just have to look at when you were an infant, all the way up into adolescence, the number of antibiotics you’ve taken and your diet. And also, just having abusive parents or having some, kind of, dysfunction in the family, so this could be parents who are or a parent who is an alcoholic, and then physical and verbal abuse. And then some women are treated very differently than their brothers. Sometimes, there’s an emphasis on looks and body type. I’ve seen a lot of patients who were figure skaters or gymnasts and things like that, and so there can be body issues. All those things tie into what happens to you as an adult. And like you said, you went through some significant constipation and other issues, and we know that anxiety, there are direct connections to the gut microflora and anxiety.

And so that would include depression, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings. And then you had mentioned eczema, which we can trace back to the GI in some cases, and also direct connections with weight, so if there’s weight gain, difficulty losing weight. Then of course, thyroid function as well, all those things can tie into the gut microflora. So, those are some of the things for listeners to think about going back from birth to adolescence, just your whole environment as well as the school you went to, being bullied, having too many demands put on you by your parents or your teachers.

There’s this whole mix of things that need to be looked at with every patient who has Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism or pretty much any illness as an adult. That’s where we wanna look first. So, you are currently the most prevalent thyroid advocate in the UK. Your blog is the most prevalent and the most prevalent writer in the UK, so you’ve got a pretty big presence there. So, I’m really interested in the differences that you’re seeing between the UK and the United States with thyroid patients. So, what do you think those key issues are?

Rachel: I think in the UK right now, the use of T3 synthetic herb medication, which helps many thyroid patients as we know, is under the spotlight here. Many patients formerly feeling great on this medication have been told that they’ll no longer get it prescribed and that they’ll have to go back to T4 only such as levothyroxine, which is pretty appalling, really. In general, here in the UK, we don’t hold as much importance over functional or holistic medicine, which is a real shame. And on the NHS, conventional mainstream medicine is really, as meditation. That’s all we’ve got.

Thyroid patients here are very lucky if they’re even referred to an endocrinologist, which on the U.S. often doesn’t provide much more… Sorry. Which on the NHS often doesn’t provide much more help than their regular GP, so we’re kinda stuck in a circle, and in a cycle, if you will, and not sure which way to turn or where to go for help and support. GPs and Endos are still going by TSH, [inaudible 00:14:00] and although it’s possible, it’s extremely hard to find anyone who will prescribe anything besides Levo.

So, many thyroid patients end up taking to self-sourcing or going private for the NDT and T3 medication. Or even worse, they end up staying unwell because they don’t have the means to see a private doctor or pay extra for another medicine source from elsewhere. Of course, many patients are understandably concerned about self-sourcing their medication too, especially online. But many people wanting to try and then feeling better on these medications are having to do just that, and I’m one of those patients myself.

Private doctors can be incredibly expensive over here. I have just started seeing a functional doctor myself who’s been a great help, but I’m one of the lucky people who can afford to see someone and does have the means to travel a few hours to go see her each time. So, overall, we’re just much more restricted over here in the UK, I feel, compared to the U.S. in terms of what we can get our hands on and what the doctors know. I don’t feel as if UK doctors are as up-to-date or at the forefront as, sort of, medical knowledge and developments as U.S. doctors, from the American doctors I follow and, sort of, medical societies and U.S. thyroid advocates and whatnot.

So, when it comes to health, treatment, and just general support over in the UK, we are quite restricted and limited. And so, that’s why I work to raise awareness of that, and I just want to empower other thyroid patients to advocate for themselves as well and to try and find those roots to get ourselves better. And most, more often than not, involves us taking our health into our own hands, ordering our own tests, and then eventually, get into a stage where we can see a functional or a private doctor ourselves. Or in the extremely rare circumstances, find a doctor on the NHS within conventional medicine that we can, kind of, work with to a certain extent and as I have done with my GP in the past.

So, overall, it is just much more restricted and limited over here, and NDT and T3 medication is extremely hard to get hold of and get prescribed. And many patients are having them taken away from them as well, which I think after being well on those medications for so long, to then have it taken away from you is an incredibly scary prospect.

Dr. Hedberg: I have worked with many patients virtually in the UK and throughout Europe, and it’s very different country to country. Some of the countries that you would think might be a little bit more progressive like the Scandinavian countries are actually the most difficult to deal with, as well as Germany. And I was surprised because Russia was actually… It’s not part of Europe of course, but in that part of the world, I found Russia to actually be very progressive compared to Europe and the UK. So, with the people that I work with in the UK, they’ve had to go to private labs and of course, private labs cost a lot of money out-of-pocket to get the extra testing done, but I know that is available for people who wanna get the tests if they need.

And then, of course, the labs that we use here in the U.S., they ship test kits internationally. So, that’s worked out pretty well. But I hear you about the UK doctors and getting what you need. So, you brought up T3 and I just wanna give everyone, kind of, an update on the science behind that. And basically, we’re looking at approximately 15% to 20% of the population has a genetic deficiency converting T4 to T3. So, right off the bat, one out of every five people will need T3 and that could come in the form of Armour or Nature-Throid, or just adding in, you know, T3 to the T4.

Now, the other 80% though, that’s where you’d wanna work with a functional medicine doctor to figure out the reasons why you’re not converting T4 into T3. Because if you’re in that 80% and you get everything figured out and in balance, then you should be able to convert well just like anybody else. And a lot of times, those conversion issues, they do trace back to the gut. Also, we can pinpoint that to stress or chronic stress that will inhibit conversion of T4 to T3. Also, a lower carbohydrate diet can do that, and the Paleo Diet’s very popular, as well as the Autoimmune Paleo Diet, and those tend to be pretty low on carbs.

And so some people just won’t feel very good on those, even though they’re kinda designed for Hashimoto’s. And so, I’ll find that a lot of women when they follow those diets, they’ll actually get a little bit sluggish, and that’s because when the carb intake it’s low, there’ll be some difficulty in some people converting T4 to T3. So, we’ll just add in some rice or quinoa for some extra carbs, and that usually perks the patient up pretty quickly just by making that one change. Also, Zinc deficiency, which of course ties in with chronic stress, that can inhibit conversion of T4 to T3.

Selenium deficiency, those are some of the main ones. And then the other thing just to think about is the T3 receptor. So, you could have really good T4 and T3 levels, but if the T3 is unable to do what it’s supposed to do at the cellular level, at the receptor, then it doesn’t really matter what you’re taking and so the first thing to think about with the receptor is iron.

And so a lot of patients with gut issues and thyroid issues will have a low ferritin level and ferritin level is how much iron is stored in the body. This tends to be very low in a lot of chronically ill women, especially who have had very heavy menstrual cycles. Because every time a woman menstruates she loses a fair amount of iron each month, and then if there are gut issues, then the amount of iron being absorbed from food just does not keep up with the amount of iron that’s lost every month, and so you can also tie those iron deficiencies back to gluten sensitivity, and gut dysbiosis.

So, those are some of the main things to think about for the listeners when there are issues with T4 and T3. So, let’s go a little bit into more detail with you and what you’ve experienced alongside your hypothyroidism. So, what related health issues and issues in your life have you seen that has gone alongside your hypothyroidism?

Rachel: A lot of them are what you’ve just touched on there actually. So, obviously, living with Hashimoto’s, it can be quite up and down. And in the past, I’ve experienced low vitamin levels such as iron and vitamin D, which not necessarily deficient, although I have been anemic before. But even just low levels can make you feel so unwell, and raising them up to those optimal levels within the ranges can do so much to help you feel better. Alongside Hashimoto’s and hyperthyroidism as well, I’ve also had irregular periods and at the moment, I’m working on healing my leaky gut and taming a yeast overgrowth, which seems to be going quite well. My symptoms are slowly dying off. And also trying to calm down the adrenal dysfunction I have in the form of high cortisol, so adrenal fatigue.

I have more estrogen than progesterone right now, and right now it’s not too bad compared to how it was when it was in raging force last year. But in the past, it has meant that I experienced incredibly irregular periods. So, I couldn’t tell when they were going to show themselves. I had painful cystic acne on my face, neck, jaw, chest, back, and even shoulders, and it created really intense mood swings as well. So, one thing that I’ve learned with thyroid disease is that it’s never just your thyroid. It’s like piecing together a big puzzle. Rarely do people take thyroid medication and then feel all better.

In most cases, it can take years for people to find the right thyroid hormone replacement medication that works and at the right dose too. But more often than not, there are other things at play, such as adrenal fatigue, whether it’s high cortisol, low or a combination. There’s vitamin deficiencies going on or whole other conditions on their own. It can definitely be difficult trying to keep everything in check and unearthing all of these things. And I’ve been formally diagnosed almost three years now and I’m still unearthing things I didn’t realize, such as the sex hormone imbalance just last September, October, time I started addressing that.

But I have no doubt that as I go along, my iron might drop again or… One thing I’m looking into at the moment is whether I’ve now got sensitivity to dairy. So many people with Hashimoto’s do. I’ve been gluten-free for almost two years now and that’s made such a huge difference, but yeah. It’s so individual to each person and it really is just like trying to piece together this enormous puzzle. Most of the time it can just take a while to get things back in check, and then it can even be difficult to try and keep them there long-term.

Dr. Hedberg: Right. I’m glad you said that about how it takes time and it’s a big puzzle because there are a lot of people out there who are just looking for a pill to take. They just wanna find the right medication and be done and that’s, like you said, it’s very rare that that’s actually going to work or that’s the case. So, let’s tie together some of what you’ve mentioned. So, you mentioned cortisol and I’ll just make a couple of additional notes there.

So, high cortisol also has a direct effect on thyroid receptors, on T3 receptors in the cell. And then it also has an effect on the conversion of T4 to T3. And then also high cortisol will have an effect on the brain and the production of thyroid stimulating hormone, which, of course, signals the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. So, cortisol is going to hit the patient very hard in multiple ways if they have a thyroid issue.

Also, the adrenals, of course, also make adrenaline, norepinephrine, epinephrine, those are the catecholamines. And we know that the catecholamines also suppress thyroid function. So, that’s one of the things that I wanna stress to everyone, is how important it is to get stress in our lives under control and where to balance the thyroid. And then you mentioned sex hormones, and so the big ones to think about are estrogen dominance. So, too much estrogen will inhibit thyroid function. And then if progesterone is too low that can also have an effect on thyroid function. So, one of the reasons why there are fluctuations in body temperature during the menstrual cycle.

So, we’ll see increased body temperature mid to late cycle. That’s because of the surge in progesterone increases thyroid function, and so that’s the explanation of why that happens. And then you also mentioned acne and acne is usually, for the most part, it’s traced back to the gut. And then there’s also issues with food sensitivities, especially dairy, and also insulin resistance. So, blood sugar is intimately connected with acne, and of course, blood sugar is intimately connected with the gut microflora. So, it is just a big puzzle that we all need to put together. Now, why do you…

Rachel: I was… Sorry.

Dr. Hedberg: Go ahead.

Rachel: No. I was just saying that that’s exactly what I’ve been unearthing at the minute. I’ve been drinking Kefir, which is like a fermented product with a lot of good bacteria in there, and a good natural probiotic which has made such a difference to my gut health, to my skin. The acne is clearing up miraculously. But also, addressing things such as the yeast overgrowth and blood sugar, just being so much more aware of what you’re putting into your body and how that affects how your body functions.

They are the key areas I’ve been focusing on, working with my functional doctor for the last maybe five or six months or so. And yeah, it’s so important and I think for most people with Hashimoto’s, that that’s gonna be one of the key areas that they have to target and work on to see any improvement, not just in acne or irregular periods, but also, just in overall wellbeing, mental health and energy levels as well and it’s crucial.

Dr. Hedberg: Exactly. So, my next questions are very interested in what you have to say about these… So, why do you think there are so many undiagnosed hypothyroid cases out there, and why are those who are diagnosed still not feeling well?

Rachel: I think the biggest issue is with doctors using the TSH test alone which a lot of us are aware of is incredibly inaccurate. Without using the rest of the thyroid panel, there’s an issue because TSH isn’t accurate on its own due to being a pituitary hormone, not a thyroid one. It can give an indication of whether thyroid hormones are low, but you never really know without actually testing those thyroid hormone levels. So free T4 is the storage hormone and free T3 being the active one. It means that this is what is free for the body to use in all its many processes, and a low free T3 is often present even in people with a normal TSH level.

So, whereas that normal TSH level may indicate to a doctor that someone is not hyperthyroid or that they are adequately treated, a low free T3 that, more often than not, isn’t being tested, would indicate that they are still not adequately treated. It just doesn’t make sense to be going by TSH alone when diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism. And I think even for people on thyroid medication and still feeling unwell, this is just one of the many issues that could be causing them to still feeling ill. For a lot of people, it comes down to a conversion problem as well, which I know you touched on earlier, which would explain why so many people on T4-only medicines such as levothyroxine or Synthroid in the U.S. still feel unwell. Because that T4 they’re putting in isn’t being converted to the all-important active thyroid hormone T3.

And so, again this backs up why so many people do so much better on T3 and NDT preparations, and it’s another reason why a full thyroid panel should always be tested, is just checking TSH and even checking free T4 alongside it. It doesn’t flag up the conversion problem without that free T3. And I think it’s incredibly important to remember that where we fall within a given range can also make such a big difference. I know for me personally, once my free T4 hits mid-range, if not a little bit higher, and when my free T3, which I find most important is in that top quarter of the range, if not right near the top of the range, that’s when I have the energy and that’s when the brain fog disappears, and that’s where I know I feel best.

But many doctors just don’t seem to care or they don’t seem to be paying enough attention to where a patient’s results are falling within a range often, an outdated or inaccurate range as well. But more and more, people are saying that they feel best when their levels reach a specific point within a range and this is often a TSH below 2, and even suppressed on medication containing T3. And then free T4 mid-range or higher and perhaps most importantly, that free T3 in the top quarter of the range. So, I just feel that a lot of doctors have lost touch with listening to the actual patient and treating them as the individual they are, especially if they’re still complaining of ongoing symptoms.

Dr. Hedberg: Right. I’m glad you brought up the TSH. It still boggles my mind that that is the only test that’s ordered for a number of patients, when we know that it’s not always an accurate test for thyroid function or many things that can affect the TSH. And I’m actually just now, I think as of last year, starting to finally see at least the American doctors also running free T4, and that was a change in the guidelines here. People are now getting TSH and free T4, which is good, but still, no one’s really getting free T3 or total T3 or anything like that. So, conventional medicine is slow to change. They do use science as their guiding principle, of course. So, there’s caution there, sometimes being overly cautious, but it will eventually change. It’s just going to take time. So, what other issues do you think we should be thinking about alongside hypothyroidism?

Rachel: I think knowing whether your hypothyroidism is autoimmune is probably one of the big things. Autoimmune hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s or Hashi’s for short, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. And it’s behind around 90% of the cases of hypothyroidism, so that is a lot of us. And knowing if it’s autoimmune can help as many people where they often cite that there are certain lifestyle changes and interventions that can help to control the condition, such as going gluten-free, eliminating dairy, taming toxins in the environment, addressing the leaky gut, yeast overgrowth, improving low vitamin levels, adrenal issues, and a lot more.

But many doctors don’t test. They don’t check for Hashimoto’s alongside the hypothyroid diagnosis. And I think it just could be crucial in helping so many people get back onto the road of recovery. But when I talk to so many patients out there, I’d say the vast majority don’t know whether they have Hashimoto’s and a lot of them don’t even know what it is. And another thing would be adrenal fatigue. I think that’s another big part to many people’s thyroid puzzles. And I do believe this condition will become more widely recognized within the next, I don’t know, maybe 30, 40 years or so.

It is awful to think it could be that long but like you were touching on just then, mainstream and conventional medicine, they do seem to be lagging so far behind. And I think as experts carry on delving into how the dysfunction of the adrenal glands can wreak so much havoc on the body, it will become much more widely recognized. It’s very recognized with holistic and functional medicine, and this is where I’ve experienced a lot of improvements, personally. My functional doctor has been great in addressing the leaky gut, the yeast issue, sex hormone imbalances, and even that pesky adrenal fatigue. It’s certainly made a lot a difference to how I feel and how my body functions.

And so I think there are two key issues there, whether your hypothyroidism is autoimmune, which it most likely is, and then for whether you’ve got adrenal fatigue at play as well. I think quite a large proportion of the population, even without hypothyroidism, probably have adrenal fatigue and just don’t know. Now, we’re faced with so many stresses and poor diets and things that influence our stress levels and then cortisol levels. I just think it’s quite a big issue that people need to be looking into and addressing much more often.

Dr. Hedberg: Right. Right. Yeah, you would think because Hashimoto’s is the most common, autoimmune disease in the world that there would be more attention to it, but there isn’t, which is still fascinating to me, how it could be so prevalent but so little is researched behind it. So, you’re writing a book. What’s going to be the name of the book and what is it about?

Rachel: I am. So, I’ve been working on it now for a few months, and I set aside some time each week to try and write some more of it. I do have a day job. I work part-time doing two and a half to three days a week, so I am getting there, and I am really enjoying the process of writing it. I’m hoping that people are gonna find it really helpful. At the moment, the title I have for it is “When You’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired,” and I think that that straight away, will be something that a lot of thyroid patients relate to and resonate with, and perhaps even have a bit of a chuckle on. Because we all know that feeling of just feeling sick and tired and fed up of being there, and not knowing which way to turn.

But, I really hope that with this book, with me sharing my own story of diagnosis and treatment, which after sharing it online, I’ve realized a lot of patients are going through the same kind of issues. That a lot of people will find it helpful and it will provide some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and other people are going through that as well. And that by going through that, we can share what we’ve learned and help each other to actually get more people diagnosed earlier and treated more effectively sooner as well.

I think it came up after so many people following my blog started to suggest that I put a lot of these experiences and anecdotes and helpful bits of information into one book. And so I just thought, “Why the hell not?” Hopefully, it will be both educational and empowering, not just to thyroid patients, but I am also hoping to address their friends and family as well. I think the key thing I want to do is to just really let other thyroid patients know that they’re not alone, and I want to provide a voice for the many out there that are struggling through this disease, often in silence, as well. So, yeah, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share what I’m up to and my experiences with your listeners as well.

Dr. Hedberg: Great. Great. It was good to have you on. Why don’t you tell everyone where people can find you online, your website, social media, anything else you’d like them to know.

Rachel: So, my website and blog is just theinvisiblehypothyroidism.com. If you popped The Invisible Hypothyroidism into Google, all of my sites and various bits of work that I’ve been involved in should pop up. And I’m particularly active on Facebook and Instagram. So, again if you just search for “The Invisible Hypothyroidism” on there, you’ll find me. I do also use Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest as well. And I do have a support group for thyroid patients called The Thyroid Family. In there, you’ll find advice, support, and just some people. If you’re having a bad day, if you just want to vent about something, we’re all there as a safe environment and just talk things through and help each other through rough times, but also, celebrate the improvements and successes as well.

So, if you’re looking for some support and some people to talk to, you can check out The Thyroid Family on Facebook as well.

Dr. Hedberg: Excellent. Well, I urge everyone to visit theinvisiblehypothyroidism.com and also, follow Rachel on social media, Facebook. I really appreciate all of the information you’re putting out there for everyone. So, thanks again for coming on.

Rachel: Thank you very much for having me. I really enjoyed talking through things and I hope I’ve given some people some things to think about there.

Dr. Hedberg: So, go to drhedberg.com and I will be posting all the show notes as well as a transcript of today’s podcast in case you’d like to go in and read everything that we talked about, as well as links to Rachel and any other resources that we talked about today. All right. Well, take care, everyone. This is Dr. Hedberg and I will see you at the next show. Take care.

Here is how to connect with Rachel Hill:

Visit her website ===> The Invisible Hypothyroidism

Follow her on social media:






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