My current profuse hot flashes notwithstanding, there was a time that I actually suffered from feeling extremely cold. Not just now and then, but 24/7. Even with wearing multiple layers of clothing, and turning up the heat in any given room. So cold that my chronic pain patients actually recoiled when I shook their hand during my introduction. I joked that I felt like a human popsicle.
My underactive thyroid, due to the autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, was to blame. Even with taking thyroid replacement medication, I continued to feel exceptionally cold. I had been prescribed a synthetic T4 (thyroxine) medication. It was controlling some, but certainly not all, of my symptoms. My extreme sensation of feeling cold was truly interfering with my life.
As with all of my medical conditions, I engrossed myself in researching what was causing my symptoms, as well as my range of treatment options. I asked my endocrinologist if the addition of T3 (triiodothyronine) medication might be a treatment option. She reluctantly agreed to allow me to try this, stating that it wasn’t, after all, even necessary. She asserted that my body was more than capable of converting T4 to T3, the active form of thyroid hormones. (I had learned, however, that this isn’t always the case). A short period of time after taking Cytomel, I experienced blessed relief. No longer was I feeling excruciatingly cold. My quality of life improved.
Once more, I learned how critically important it is to not be passive about your healthcare. Learn as much as you possibly can about your diagnosis, including its cause and treatment options. Because I did so, my patients with chronic pain were no longer afraid to shake my hand!