thyroid health

Medical GasLighting With Stephanie Ewals

In a recent Fatigue Your Fix podcast episode, I sat down with Stephanie Ewals, a board-certified and licensed nutritionist and host of the Help for Hashimoto’s podcast. We discussed the topic of medical gaslighting — which has unfortunately become a bit of a buzzword lately. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation.

Common Gaslighting Tactics

Medical gaslighting is a real phenomenon whereby people visit their traditional medical practitioner with a range of symptoms and basically get dismissed or told they are “just getting older.”

To be fair, this gaslighting isn’t necessarily the doctor’s fault; they are taught a certain way, and they typically have only a few minutes to see patients. They are also part of a broken healthcare system that isn’t set up to get to the root causes of problems, but rather to prescribe medications and address acute problems, not chronic illness.

What’s often more damaging, however, is the gaslighting that makes you feel discounted, dismissed, too emotional, lazy, or incapable of handling stress. So, for example, the person who could use a closer look at their thyroid instead gets put on an antidepressant or birth control — or offered a hysterectomy (more on that below). Let’s look at some of the most common forms of medical gaslighting.

“You’re Just Getting Older”

My story comes from dealing with years and years of struggling with really low energy and feeling sick and blah all the time — just always thinking, “Gosh, I think I have the flu” because I always felt kind of nauseous and unwell. It was easy to chalk up the fatigue, depression, and anxiety as just stress from college.

Even when I got my thyroid tested, the results always came back “normal.” And this is where the medical gaslighting began. Ultimately, it all culminated in a diagnosis of thyroid cancer many years down the road. Meanwhile, along the way, I had delayed my health progress because I was told I was just getting older, even in my early 20s.

“You’re a Woman, So This Is Normal”

Another one I’ve heard: “You’re a woman, and your hormones fluctuate. So that’s why you feel like A, B, and C.” Essentially, you’re told that you’re supposed to have migraines and headaches and be out of commission with heavy, horrible, disgusting periods because you’re a woman. “You can just take this birth control and that will solve all your problems,” they’ll tell you.

Over time, you get so used to experiencing medical gaslighting that you start to think you’re lazy, that you’re supposed to suffer, and that you should just accept the way things are because it’s supposedly “normal.”

“Get a Hysterectomy”

Stephanie recalls being told to try endometrial ablation for heavy periods, a process whereby you have a thin lining of tissue removed from the uterus. When she didn’t qualify for ablation, she was offered a hysterectomy.

This practice is more common than you might think, as Stephanie learned in speaking with a doctor who had seen countless 20-year-olds who had already undergone hysterectomies. She says, “Doctors would ask, ‘Do you plan on having kids?’ Well at 20, I didn’t plan on having kids either. And they said no. And then they’re like, okay, we’ll take your uterus out and then you won’t bleed anymore.”

Young women who make such a huge, life-altering decision at 20 years old will never get the chance to change their minds about having biological children.

Times Are Changing

Older generations took the doctor’s word as gospel, but nowadays, younger generations are no longer simply passengers on the bus when it comes to their health. They’re questioning doctors’ advice and taking a more proactive approach to their health needs. And if one provider is giving off gaslighting vibes, they’re beginning to see there’s no reason not to switch providers.

If you don’t take that proactive approach, your health issues could go on for decades before being properly diagnosed. You’ll prolong the issues instead of getting the help you need to start feeling better, faster. You might even wind up making a life-changing decision like getting hysterectomy or quitting gymnastics (one doctor’s advice given to a friend of Stephanie’s as a “remedy” for insomnia when she was a young teenager).

You see, doctors typically won’t tell you they don’t have the answer for you — whether for lack of a good referral network or an unwillingness to admit that something isn’t their area of expertise. Many doctors would rather leave you with a prescription than send you to a specialist or agree to further lab testing.

You must self-advocate, and you must do the work. As one of my clients recently reminded me, do something now that your future self will thank you for.

Let’s Connect!

Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to a full and vibrant life! Join me over in my Facebook group where we are talking all about how to take back control of your health!

Be sure to follow me on my FacebookTikTokInstagram and Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to use nutrition to live your very best life! ​

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Have You Experienced Medical Gaslighting?

We live in a world where conventional medical practitioners are not set up to accommodate anything that falls outside traditional medicine. While they may have good intentions, these professionals often unwittingly participate in what’s known as medical gaslighting — a maddening process where doctors make you question your perception of the realities of your health. It’s why I rarely go to professionals in conventional medical practices. And unfortunately, I’m not alone in the feeling that medical gaslighting is more common than we think. Here are some common scenarios I’ve either encountered myself or that clients have experienced when seeking medical care.

When You Present Outside the Scope of Standard Symptoms

Let’s say you go to the doctor with symptoms that don’t link you directly with some kind of illness or condition. The traditional doctor dismisses you, attributing your symptoms to, say, getting older. This type of medical gaslighting most often happens in the beginning stages when you’re first trying to figure out why you feel tired, lethargic, achy, or just not like yourself. More than likely, the doctor will give you some kind of prescription to help those symptoms, but they won’t actually look into what’s actually causing your symptoms. For me, this medical gaslighting started in my early 20s and went on for many years.

When They Minimize Your Symptoms

Right along with the first scenario is the one where your doctor minimizes your symptoms. For instance, my symptoms of fatigue could be attributed to numerous things that might be benign. Still, the doctor never considered the bigger picture where fatigue could be caused by something underlying. When I think back, I was fatigued from an early age, always hitting the snooze button, needing more sleep than others my age, and having a difficult time even getting out of bed.

The traditional doctor would have me believe this is normal and not a big deal. Basically, the message is to “suck it up.” That message often becomes louder later in life when more issues arise, like chronic sinus infections or other illnesses. There was a time when every fall, I would get so sick that I would be in bed and not functional for a couple of months. When I tried to dig deeper to request a specialist, the doctor told me it wasn’t a big deal and that a lot of people get sick in the fall.

When You Question Your Own Sanity

Medical gaslighting, like the gaslighting you might see in a toxic relationship, can make you question your own sanity. When you try to get help for your symptoms, the doctor might make you feel like there’s something wrong in your head, and it can really do a number on the psyche.

As a result of medical gaslighting, I experienced mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. I questioned whether I was making up symptoms. I began taking medication for clinical depression, and while it took the edge off, I still couldn’t function normally. When I told my therapist I was still sad and depressed and asked when things would get better, she looked at me like I had three heads and she just said, “You just keep going to therapy and you keep taking your meds and that’s all you need to do.”

I’m not against therapy or psychiatric meds if you need them. However, sometimes you need to look beyond that to see what’s happening biochemically underneath it all.

When You Have Lab Work Refusal

Lab work refusal is another big one when it comes to medical gaslighting. Along with that is a kind of “shaming” for doing your own research. You end up feeling like you’re pulling teeth to get lab work done and try to get to the bottom of your symptoms.

While it’s true that laypersons might not understand the minutiae of medical science, they can learn enough to ask questions. I experienced this after having thyroid cancer and surgery. Three years afterward, I was still feeling like garbage, even with the medications my doctor prescribed. I asked my general practitioner to run some basic labs for that, and she said, “No, you’re too young for that. Insurance won’t cover it.” Even when I offered to pay cash, she still said she couldn’t write an order for that. Her hands were tied by a medical system that doesn’t consider that even young people can have underlying issues.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve experienced medical gaslighting, you might get to a point where you feel hopeless and defeated. You might think there’s nothing you can do and that you should just accept things. However, I’m proof it’s worth investigating your symptoms with a non-traditional medical professional.

If you’re looking for one-on-one support from someone who won’t gaslight you into thinking your symptoms are nothing, consider the All Year Resolution Membership. At $50 a month, it’s a fraction of the cost of working with someone at this level to get the support you need. You’ll start feeling better, faster, and actually overcome and resolve health issues.

Have you ever experienced medical gaslighting? I would love some feedback on your experiences. Message me at

Let’s Connect!

Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to a full and vibrant life! Join me over in my Facebook group where we are talking all about how to take back control of your health!

Be sure to follow me on my FacebookTikTokInstagram and Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to use nutrition to live your very best life!

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A Cautionary Tale About Stress & Your Thyroid

The word “stress” has become so overused that it gets watered down. We’re desensitized to the effects of stress even though we’re all walking around in a stressed-out state. We keep running on empty to the point where we’re unaware of the major impact that stress can have on our bodies. And sooner or later, it makes us sick.

It happens to me, too. I go through bouts of stress, and it eventually catches up with me. This is coming from someone who should be an expert in my own health. That is to say, even those of us who are well-versed in the effects of stress will get caught off-guard when stress sneaks up on us.

And that is what happened to me this past year. So, I wanted to address that in the context of what stress is and how it works in our bodies.

The Science of Stress

The major organs or glands that affect and help manage our stress management system include the adrenal glands. These small, walnut-shaped glands sit right on top of your kidneys. Nutritionally and biochemically speaking, adrenal glands require a ton of B vitamins, along with vitamin C, to function and to help you manage your day-to-day stress.

Let’s take a normal stressor in most people’s lives, like the holiday season. We often allow the alcohol, sugar, lack of sleep, financial pressure, and social events to catch up with us. That’s all on top of normal, everyday stress, like waking up, driving in traffic, making sure we have a lunch packed, making sure the kids’ backpacks are ready to go, making sure dinner is prepared and planned, buying groceries, and just doing the run-of-the-mill everyday stuff on top of the stress that may come with your job.

Look at What You Can Control

In these scenarios, look at things that you can control. Can you somewhat control the holiday situation? Are there toxic people in your life? Do you need to be around them? If so, how will you manage that to minimize the stress that they may or may not be causing you? What about excess things that you’re putting into your diet?

It’s things like that, that add to the stress on our system. Yet you can control a lot of that. You don’t have to have a glass of wine every night before you go to bed. You don’t have to drink every weekend to excess. You don’t have to have a dessert every single night with all the sugar.

Is There Good Stress Vs. Bad Stress?

When I do one-on-one consultations with people, some people might come across as not stressed out. They don’t feel very stressed. They have a pretty easy life. They don’t worry about money. They don’t worry about kids, or whatever it may be. But then we dig deeper, and we find that there are some stressors in their life that have been there for so long they don’t even realize how it impacts their health.

Think of the people who say “I really love my job, but I work 12 hours a day. So it’s kind of a good stress. It’s just that I work long hours.” And then some people will say, “Yeah, I’m really stressed out dealing with an elderly sick family member.”

The thing is, we mentally compartmentalize good stress and bad stress. The body doesn’t know the difference.

I always use the example that whether you’re planning for a funeral or planning for a wedding, which should have very opposite feelings, they’re both stressful. Both of them are causing problems in your stress management system.

The Thyroid-Stress Link

How does this apply to thyroid people? The stress management system needs to be optimized and intact for everybody, not just thyroid patients; but thyroid patients tend to have a weaker response to stress. They’re not as hardy when it comes to added stressors.

As someone who has dealt with thyroid cancer and other thyroid issues for a long, long, long time, I have seen over and over again that stress and thyroid dysfunction do not play well together. Any excess stress for a longer period of time wipes me out.

Sometimes I see it coming, and other times I don’t. This last time I did not see it coming. I had added a lot of stuff to my business, and I’d put a lot of pressure on myself when it came to my business and other things going on in my life. I had one child graduating from high school and moving to college, and another one moving and starting her last semester of college.

By the time October and November came around, I was flatlined for 2022. It literally took me out of the game. I laid on the couch every day, practically for a few months. I did the bare minimum of what I had to do for my business, for my house, for myself.

It got to the point where I needed a med change because of all this. That’s what’s scary, when you don’t have a thyroid gland and you are 100% dependent on thyroid medication. It’s very scary when all of a sudden you don’t seem to be absorbing the medication.

Recognizing Your Stress Patterns

Whether you have a thyroid problem or you are someone who has a lot of stressors pulling you in different directions, try to think of a different way of navigating your life:

  • What can you do to get rid of stressors?
  • Who or what do you need to cut out of your life?
  • What do you need to say no to?
  • What boundaries do you need to put up?
  • What do you need to do to actually help yourself when it comes to fueling those adrenals and helping that stress management system in your body?

When our stress is supported, our stress management system is supported, and we are able to get through things a lot easier than without. You can start by not underestimating the stressors in your life. Try journaling a personal assessment of your stressors, what you can do to change them, and how you can bring more control to situations that feel chaotic.

If you’re looking for more support in navigating stress, consider the All Year Resolution membership. This affordable, group-type program is for anyone wanting to do something differently without turning to quick fixes. We use real food, real lifestyle changes, lots of nutrition, education, and health education — all at fraction of the cost of working one-on-one with me.

Let’s Connect!

Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to a full and vibrant life! Join me over in my Facebook group where we are talking all about how to take back control of your health!

Be sure to follow me on my FacebookTikTokInstagram and Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to use nutrition to live your very best life! ​

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Do You Have Sunday Night Anxiety?

Sunday nights can be a source of anxiety for some people. Life can feel hectic, and the thought of having to start the work week again can be daunting and stressful. Little things like feeling overwhelmed by tasks or worrying about not having enough time to complete them can cause feelings of dread. Thankfully, there are ways to help reduce Sunday night stress in order to create a more meaningful, productive start to the week ahead.

Why Do Some People Feel Anxious on Sunday Nights?

Sunday night anxieties are often rooted in worries about the upcoming week. Thoughts such as work deadlines, social obligations, or household tasks can lead to feelings of overwhelm that leave one feeling anxious. Even something as small as planning meals for the week can seem overwhelming, leading to a feeling of being overwhelmed by all the tasks that need to be completed. Other common causes of Sunday night anxiety are fear of the unknown and worrying about what could go wrong with upcoming events or activities.

How to Change Your Sunday Routine:

To help reduce feelings of anxiety on Sunday nights, there are certain things that one can do in order to create a more positive start to the week.

1) Clear Your Mind & Set Your Intentions for The Week Ahead:

It is important to take some time each Sunday evening to set goals and intentions for the week ahead. Take some time alone to focus on what you would like to accomplish during this upcoming week, as well as any worries or concerns that you may have. Writing down these intentions can help to provide clarity and focus, as well as create a sense of direction for the week ahead.

2) Organized Yourself:

Prepare for the upcoming week by getting organized. This can include purchasing groceries, planning meals, organizing your work documents or setting up reminders in your calendar. Taking time to plan ahead and organize yourself can help reduce stress and anxiety.

3) Create A Routine Around Your Mental & Physical Health:

Make sure that you are taking care of your mental and physical health on Sunday nights. Take some time for yourself with activities such as yoga, meditation or reading. Make sure that you are eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep so that you feel rested when Monday morning comes around.

4) General Tips:

Finally, here are some additional tips for reducing Sunday night anxieties:

• Make a list of tasks that need to be completed during the week and set aside specific times to complete them

• Get outside and take a walk or bike ride to help clear your mind

• Spend time with friends or family members who can provide support and laughter

• Listen to calming music or nature sounds.

Remember, it is important to recognize that everyone experiences anxiety differently and that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Taking the time to recognize what works best for you and using these tips as a guide will help reduce Sunday night stress and make Monday mornings much easier to face.

By following these tips, you can help reduce the anxiety associated with Sunday nights and have a more productive start to the week ahead. Taking time for yourself on Sundays is essential in order create healthy habits that will last throughout the week and beyond. With some planning, organization and self-care, you can make Sunday nights a positive experience.

Let’s Connect!

Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to a full and vibrant life! Join me over in my Facebook group where we are talking all about how to take back control of your health!

Be sure to follow me on my FacebookTikTokInstagram and Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to use nutrition to live your very best life!

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The Possible Connection Between Your Thyroid and Migraines

Migraines and thyroid dysfunction are both common medical conditions that many people suffer from. Migraine headaches cause intense, throbbing pain often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Thyroid dysfunction is a condition where the body produces too much or too little of the hormone thyroxine. Both conditions can significantly reduce quality of life if left untreated, making it important to understand any potential connections between them.

In this post I will discuss the possible connection between suffering from migraines and having thyroid issues. We will also look at some of the main causes of migraine headaches and what might lead to thyroid dysfunction in order to help better inform individuals who may be struggling with either or both conditions.

Is there a connection between Migraines and Thyroid Dysfunction?

Research suggests that there may be a link between migraine headaches and thyroid dysfunction. Studies have found that people with thyroid disease are at an increased risk of developing migraines, due to the fact that abnormal levels of thyroxine can lead to changes in serotonin levels which can trigger headaches. It is not definitively known if low or high thyroid hormones are more likely to affect migraine frequency, as both have been associated with migraine occurrence.

What are the main causes of Migraine Headaches?

The exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown; however, they tend to run in families and certain factors may increase your likelihood of experiencing them such as hormones, stress, certain foods or drinks, and environmental changes. Hormonal changes are a common trigger for migraines in women due to the fluctuations of estrogen during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Stress can also be a major factor in triggering migraines, as well as certain foods like aged cheeses, processed meats, and alcohol.

What are the causes of Thyroid Dysfunction?

The underlying cause of thyroid dysfunction is not always easy to determine. It’s most commonly caused by an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s disease which leads to the body attacking its own tissues and producing antibodies against them. Other causes can include iodine deficiency in the diet, a family history of thyroid dysfunction or certain medications.

Migraines and thyroid dysfunction are both complex medical conditions that can lead to significant impairment of quality of life. It is important to be aware of the possible connection between them, as well as the causes and triggers associated with each in order to better manage symptoms. If you think you may be suffering from either condition it is best to seek medical advice so that an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan can be established.

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Let’s Connect!

Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to a full and vibrant life! Join me over in my Facebook group where we are talking all about how to take back control of your health!

Be sure to follow me on my FacebookTikTokInstagram and Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to use nutrition to live your very best life! ​

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