My Confession: How Subacute Thyroiditis Helped Me Find My Way (again!)

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I have a confession to make.  I lost my roots but, ironically, subacute thyroiditis helped me find my way again. I launched The Plant-Based Diet website in 2010 while I was studying and earning my certificate in plant-based nutrition.

I learned so much and wanted to share everything I learned with those I loved and even those I’d never met because I knew that if more people ate plant-based, not necessarily “plant-exclusive,” their lives would be improved and health-care costs would go down.

My Confession

My confession is that as I worked on the website, filling it with recipes and knowledge, I also worked on my other jobs as a brand journalist, consultant, speaker, and podcaster for The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast, a show that helps brands and entrepreneurs learn marketing, branding, social media and public relations tools and strategies.

My days, weeks, months soon became very busy, and travel also caused my lifestyle and diet to slip.

I was eating extremely poorly. Don’t get me wrong. The food was rich and tasty but all wrong for my body and very weak in plant-based portions.

I kept thinking I would turn things around when my life slowed down. It’s kind of like the way couples say, “We’ll do date night when there’s more free time in our lives.” It never seems to happen.

What Went Wrong

The busier and more active I was, the less time I had to devote to eating right and following a healthy plant-based diet.  I also was covering a lot of stories on travel, restaurants, and wineries. My workouts suffered, and I suffered. I was catching frequent colds and I was constantly tired. No, exhausted.

I was a far cry from the person who founded I wasn’t eating mostly plant-based and often I wasn’t even eating. Many mornings I’d grab my coffee with heavy cream, and that’s all I’d have until lunch. Or, worse, I’d have the coffee with another simple carb like toast. I was “too busy” to realize that my body was becoming malnourished. I was depressed, stressed, and fatigued, but I couldn’t seem to reel my old lifestyle back in. I didn’t feel much like posting here on The Plant-Based Diet because, quite frankly, I was ashamed. I felt that I should be a perfect model and practice what I preach–eat mostly plant-based.
 I wanted to, but I was

My acid reflux problem was coming back from drinking too much coffee and wine and eating heavy foods. Working late. Going out. Sleeping little.
What happened?  I wondered. How did things get so out of control? I had lost my way. My work was stressful and, as I was growing my brand journalism consulting business, I forgot my roots.

I forgot that my health is a gift that must be cherished and cared for–it’s not a given. If you ruin your health, it can take a long, difficult while to get it back.

How Subacute Thyroiditis Got Me Back On Track

Then it happened. It was too late. 
In April of 2017, I was under a lot of stress. I was traveling to speak at a conference in Chicago and then for a client’s wedding in Mexico. My daughter was graduating from college and life was busy and rapidly changing for both of us.

There were many good things happening but, nonetheless, stressful times. 
I became very ill in early April, and I thought, well, this is the flu: fever, chills, teeth hurt, insomnia, and more.

I was completely sick and forced into bed. This went on for days before I realized this wasn’t the flu. It was something worse that landed me in ER for half a day while they tried to get to the bottom of this mysterious condition. Was it meningitis? I did have a very bad headache and neck pain.

No, that wasn’t it.

It was something else that’s rather rare. A condition called subacute thyroiditis.


What Is Subacute Thyroiditis?

I knew very little about my thyroid. I only knew that a couple of years ago I had my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) checked and the numbers seemed a bit low, but I was assured they were “normal”. I’ve since learned that reading was truly subpar despite the fact that the numbers fell in the “standard” range.

It’s kind of like when I had a reading of 31 ng/mL for my Vitamin D lab test, and the “below-normal” level was 29 ng/mL. So, technically I wasn’t considered that Vitamin D deficient.

Are you kidding me?

That’s not optimal. That means a few weeks of poor eating and no sun, and I could be Vitamin D deficient, but nope, my doctor told me nothing except that my Vitamin D level was good. 
Anyway, subacute thyroiditis is a nasty acute inflammatory disease of the thyroid that can last for several months–even up to 18 months—before the thyroid starts to function normally. The disease goes through several phases. First, hyperthyroidism, which often includes tachycardia (racing heart), fever, chills, pain in teeth that frequently radiates up to your ears, and overall malaise.  Even my eyes seemed to be unfocused at times.

I basically could hardly get out of bed for nearly three weeks. When I climbed a flight of stairs, my heart rate shot up to 130, and my average resting heart rate was 93, when it’s normally 70 or below.

I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my skin. Its wild beating even kept me awake at night. I didn’t want to take beta blockers to stop the tachycardia if it wasn’t absolutely necessary because I was afraid of the side effects.  Unfortunately, I had to give in to taking a course of 20mg of Prednisone for 10 days after a week of 24/7  pain, fever, chills, and tachycardia that wouldn’t let up.

Sometimes You Need A Little Medication

The Prednisone seemed to help the inflammation. The steroid is commonly used to reduce inflammation, and for that, it appears to have helped. But it caused severe insomnia and left me even more fatigued after the first, typical, burst of energy I got from taking the drug. Since my doctor didn’t taper me off of it, I had two days of HELL after abruptly stopping Prednisone. 
I felt dizzy, my racing heart escalated even more, and shortness of breath set in. Gradually, these went away, and I grew stronger, but the first phase of subacute thyroiditis lasted about six weeks with the first four being extremely debilitating. 
Doctors believe a virus causes it and then your own body can start to make antibodies that mistakenly attack your thyroid much like the way your body can behave if it has an autoimmune response to a food allergy.
 This was the jolt I needed.

Subacute thyroiditis may have been my blessing in disguise—a warning to eat better, keep my stress level under control, and watch the results of tests as well as question my doctor about them.

“In 90% or more of patients with classic painful subacute thyroiditis, there is a complete and spontaneous recovery and a return to normal thyroid function,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology.  After learning that, I was determined to be in that 90 percent and not become part of the 10 percent group whose thyroid becomes compromised or wrecked and therefore needs thyroid replacement drugs throughout life because they now have a hypothyroid condition.

Immediately after being diagnosed, I began extensive research. But there was little I could find on how to eat for subacute thyroiditis because it’s sort of transient. You go from one phase to the next–from hyperthyroid to hypothyroid–and the beneficial diet for the two conditions is quite different.

How Gluten And Dairy Impacted My Subacute Thyroiditis

I decided, since my most critical condition was hyperthyroid, I’d eat to support and tame that beast first. Some things I did were right for both conditions and, ultimately, were how I should’ve been living all along. In fact, it was how I did live for a good number of years until I fell off the wagon and didn’t realize the harm I was causing my body. 
Among those things was to go 100 percent gluten-free and casein-free. You probably know that gluten is the protein found in foods like wheat, barley, and rye. But casein, the protein in dairy products, you may not be as familiar with.

Both proteins are highly addictive. Gliadin is the specific name of the protein in gluten that many people are allergic to and unable to tolerate. Due to its molecular structure being similar to the thyroid’s, it can cause the body to attack the gliadin when it enters the bloodstream. However, the antibodies for gliadin attack the thyroid tissue too. Source.

It’s been nearly five months (at the time of this writing) since I got subacute thyroiditis and changed my diet back to a lifestyle that’s mostly plant-based.  I’m working out again, but not quite at full throttle.  I had to take a break from hot yoga and weight lifting when I got sick.  My heart rate was just too high to take the heat in hot yoga, and I needed all my strength to heal, so I stopped lifting weights and going to yoga. But, YAY! I’m feeling stronger and better than I have felt in years.

Going Back To A Mostly Plant-Based Lifestyle

I started my walking regimen about one month after getting subacute thyroiditis.  Very short and slow walks at first, though now I’m up to where I was before getting sick.   I can do my 10+ mile hikes. YAY!  A side benefit from all of this is that I shed about 10 unwanted pounds!

However, my blood work still shows my thyroid is not performing as it should.  This is common in subacute thyroiditis. Patients typically go into a hypothyroidism state before full recovery of the thyroid.  So, I have to be careful not to push too hard and give myself a break.  Also, my ferritin (iron stores in the body) level is very low and my red blood cells are low.  So, I’m borderline anemic.

To sum up, what I’ve learned from all of this is that sometimes I have to go back to my roots.  I have to find my way and reconnect with the lifestyle that I know keeps me healthy and feeling my best.

I’ll be blogging here and on Instagram, posting pics about my journey back to health.  Follow me on Facebook to see the change.

Update on Subacute Thyroiditis

COVID-19 has caused many challenges for people: stress, unemployment, increased drinking, and the overeating of comfort foods. The uncertain times, not being able to be with loved ones, and the highly volatile year that 2020 has been doesn’t help a person with a compromised, or once compromised thyroid.

Here’s What I’m Doing To Stay Healthy

In the early days of my subacute thyroiditis diagnosis, I steered clear of taking any thyroid supplements because I knew that I was bouncing between “hyper and hypo” thyroid issues. What you need to take for hyperthyroid is different from hypothyroid. However, since the recovery of my thyroid, I’ve been monitoring and ensuring that my thyroid remains stable and healthy.

What I’ve done to combat the stress and help protect my thyroid is to add supplements to my diet and add whole foods that are beneficial such as onions and brazil nuts which add selenium to your diet and are good for the thyroid. I do take a selenium supplement but now that I’m eating brazil nuts and taking a multi vitamin, I won’t continue with a separate selenium supplement. In just one tasty brazil nut there is 68 to 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium which is enough to reach the daily recommended allowance of 55 mcg.

I was already taking extra Vitamin D3 (5000 IU) along with K2 (to better balance calcium in the body) based on a doctor recommendation. I recently added a plant-based, organic multi-vitamin which has another 1,200 IU along with other vital vitamins and minerals. And, I’ve started taking a vegan thyroid supplement from Gaia.

I’m also reading a lot about Turmeric and the possible benefits it has on the thyroid.

So far, it seems to be helping. But, still, I’ve, like many of you, feel fatigued from this year.

That’s when you know it’s time to be kind to yourself. Take a break from the day-to-day news. This is coming from a former newscaster who lived and breathed breaking news for nearly 20 years. But our health is dependent not just one what we feed our bodies and the supplements we take but also on what we feed our minds.

Stay strong. This year shall pass and we will unite and thrive.

Be well, friends.

I highly recommend The Thyroid Connection book by Dr. Amy Meyers. I read it when I got Subacute Thyroiditis. The booked helped me understand what healthy a healthy TSH level should look like. It also helped me understand things my doctors never told me about the thyroid. You can use my Amazon link below and it will help support the content I share on this website. Thank you.


Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia brand journalist who consults and writes on wellness, all things plant-based, fitness, lifestyle, and travel. She is yoga certified and earned her certificate in Whole Food Plant-Based Eating in 2010 through eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She's also a top podcaster for her marketing/storytelling podcast, The Brand Journalism Advantage at


  1. Isabel Razavi Reply

    Hi Phoebe,
    I also had subacute thyroiditis this year in March and went through the same symptoms and phases as you. However, my doctor told me to supplement with Levothyroxine during the phase of hypothyroidism which I have been doing since May. You aren’t taking any hormones to get your blood levels right? And diet alone is doing the job?
    Thank you for sharing your insightful experience!
    Best wishes

    • Hi Isabel,

      Yes, that’s correct I am not taking thyroid replacement because after six months my thyroid levels are good! I’m not a doctor so I can’t advise for anyone else but I know that my course of action was to immediately change my diet which I believe was contributing to my condition. Gluten is a common irritant. Are you eating gluten? I did take a 10-day course of prednisone when I first was diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis because I had a very high fever and my doctor wanted the inflammation in my body to go down. My sed rate was very high due to inflammation. After that, I still didn’t feel well and flipped from hyperthyroid to hypothyroid to eventually normal. How are you doing today? Is Levothyroxine helping?

  2. Isabel Razavi Reply

    Hi Phoebe,
    thanks a lot for your kind reply. I took prednisone too, almost for a month because I had to slowly reduce the dose to zero, plus very heavy paracetamol three times a day about 5 weeks and beta blockers for a while because my heart raced. I had an extremely high fever for about three to four weeks before because a doctor misdiagnosed my condition, telling me I had a flu and should just wait. After I went from hyperthyroidism to thyrotoxicosis to eventual hypothyroidism my TSH was at 12. Then my doctor prescribed me levothyroxine which I have been taking ever since. I feel fine (actually even felt fine when my TSH was at 12, just a bit exhausted but no other symptoms), thank you. I’m just very keen to get off medication because like you I also read that in 90% of all cases the thyroid restores itself within 18 months. What did surprise me though, is that I often read it is a “self-limiting condition”, which is hard for me to believe after having been so extremely ill for so long. During the end of the high fever I couldn’t properly walk or take a shower anymore, my legs were trembling and I had no more strength. I did also start eating gluten- and lactose-free 4 weeks ago which has felt very good so far. My next blood work is due on November 15 and I hope my doctor will give me a chance to lower the dose of levothyroxine to see if my thyroid can work on its own. My doctor said if my TSH is near zero I could start going from 75 to 50mg of levothyroxine. I’m really impressed you were able to heal yourself without medication! And thank you very much for sharing your experience, as it’s such a rare condition and seldom to meet someone who has been through it.
    All the best, Isabel

  3. Hello My name is Mike Ross

    I have been Plant Based for maybe about 9 months now. I am struggling watching family members deal with major health issues, like diabetes and heart disease. They are told by doctors that these are both hereditary diseases and because our previous generations had them that its inevitable for us to get these same diseases too. So frustrating, especially because I was told by family, because I don’t have a doctors degree I need to just not say anything. I understand completely about wanting to share all you learned.

    Getting them to listen is hard…

    • Hello Mike,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’m so glad that your journey to plant-based eating is helping you. I completely understand it’s hard to get others to see what you’ve learned. However, I believe in leading by example rather than just “talking” to get people to understand. If you’re finding plant-based eating is working for you, keep it up! We need to give our bodies the best chance to thrive and you know what is best for you. Ironically, doctors receive very little education in nutrition. Most doctors “treat” illness. Although, some medical organizations, like Kaiser, are now promoting plant-based eating and focusing more on prevention. So times are changing!! Be well and Live Fit!

  4. Annalyn A. Reply

    Very interesting post! I was curious though..was there any other dietary restrictions you do follow? Most plant based food use soy substitute but I read that it’s not good as well. I am trying to figure out what is the best diet practice for people with subacute thyroiditis.

    • Hi Annalyn, Thanks for your question. I really believe in moderation as the key unless you have a condition that requires 100% restriction of a particular food. For me, during my acute stage of thyroiditis, I went 100% gluten and dairy free. I ate some meat and most plant-based foods that were not processed. The plant-based foods that contain soy are mostly processed foods which I elect to limit. Eating whole-foods that come from plants is what I consider to be the healthiest. However, I’m not vegetarian nor vegan. My approach is to make your plate “mostly” plant-based and to limit gluten and dairy. I’ve found when you have a thyroid condition, it’s best to not eat gluten or eat very little. Let me know what is working for you! Be well and Live Fit! Phoebe

  5. Phoebe,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! I also got de quervain’s subacute thyroditis 4 weeks ago, and for the first three weeks felt absolutely awful. Luckily one of my best friends is a progressive doctor who told me to cut all sugar, gluten, dairy and processed foods and get on an intense anti-inflammatory diet, which I did about a week into the illness, when I was diagnosed. I already had a Mediterranean diet as baseline, but cutting gluten, dairy and all sugar has been amazing. The first 3 weeks I had to take NSAIDs (Aleve) to force down inflammation, but I’ve tapered myself off and have been managing symptoms solely with diet for the past week. I’m even doing my full on Jillian Michaels exercises every day again for the past week, and hiking on weekends. I’m now starting week 5 and am still hyper but not as much as before. I’ve begun to make my own nut milks for smoothies that I eat for breakfast, and eat non-groitogenic veggies, moderate fish (as I’m still hyper), fruit. I love chocolate so ordered sugar free and dairy free 100% chocolate bars from Amazon which I have in small amounts weekly. Hoping to resolve this quickly with diet, exercise and meditation to keep stress down. Your story gives me hope!

    • Hi there,

      Wow! So glad that you have a friend who could help provide guidance. My sub-acute thyroiditis happened one year ago and it was one of the worst health conditions that I’ve had. I’m happy that I fully recovered and I hope you do too! Sounds like you have a good handle on the diet and that it’s helping your condition. I truly believe diet is key. I have loosened up just slightly on my diet. I eat mostly plant-based and some grains and dairy, however, I try very hard to not eat much as I find I can “go off the deep end” if I do! LOL! It’s constant learning and discipline that keeps me fit and healthy and everyone’s journey is about self-discovery for what works for them. Happy to hear you found some great chocolate bars too…as we all need that. My go to is the RAW Rev Bar. Love them! Keep me posted on your progress. Be Well and Live Fit! Phoebe

  6. Phoebe,

    I was diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis 12 weeks ago now. Its in the hypothyroid phase now but my neck is still sore and my concentration is definitely not where it is normally. I have been gluten and dairy free for the 12 weeks also, I believe it is helping. I am sure I would have much more inflammation in my body if I didn’t adhere to this strict diet. I was just wondering how long the neck pain you noticed lasted for and if you noticed a difference in your concentration level.

    This has been the most bizare condition… one of the most consistent symptoms being tooth pain.. wth! Go figure.



    • Hi Greg,

      Sorry for the delay. I somehow missed this. I can completely understand. My neck, jaw, and even teeth hurt for a good month. It did eventually go away completely but it took a while. After I took a short course of low-does Prednisone, I was able to break my fever and start to heal. I agree it is a very weird condition which I’d never heard of before. I hope you’re well on your way to healing.

  7. Hi. Ive hit two weeks with fever and malaise, throat pain and sensitive to touch, racing heart, fatigue. Blood work has revealed overactive thyroid. I see an endocrinologist a little over a week from now. I am diagnosing myself with subacute thyroiditis. All of my symptoms reflect yours and those typical of this disease. Being so ill and waiting to obtain answers is absolutely the worse. So i wanted to thank you for posting this. It gives me that little light at the end of the tunnel and the motivation to endure.

    • Hi Bel, So sorry to hear that you’re going through this. It did take me quite a while to feel better. However, I took one short course of Prednisone and it helped me to break the fever and begin to recover. I encourage you to see your Endocrinologist and see what is the best treatment for you. The good news is that most people, as I did, have a complete recovery from Subacute Thyroiditis. Wishing you the best. Please keep me posted.

  8. Ann Chandler Reply

    Nice site, glad I found you! I am surprised no one has addressed Iodine deficiency. It is a huge problem for Plant Based eaters, and directly affects thyroid function. Thank you for sharing your story,

    • Hi Ann, Yes, I looked into Iodine deficiency but I opted not to take any supplements as I’ve heard both good and bad about this. I’m still continuing to research and learn more about it. For me, my Vitamin D level was so low and probably had been for years which is what I believe contributed to this condition. I now take 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 with K2 and my level of Vitamin D is much better. It also helped with depression.

  9. Hi I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience of subacute thyroiditis
    I am about 6 weeks into the condition and still in hyper phase. Like you it took a while to get diagnosed and I kept being told I had a throat infection and to go away. Have all the classic symptoms: pain, tenderness swelling in the thyroid and after a couple of weeks of thyroid pain pronounced hyper symptoms, sweating overheating weight loss / increased appetite, resting heart rate >100, hair loss, anxiety, shakes and tremors. The works! In the last few months I’ve had so many cold /upper respiratory infections so this also fits with diagnosis.
    I have just finished 7 days prednisone which helped with the pain. I wondered about your experience of going from hyper to hypo?
    How long did each phase last and did you ever need to take thyroxine/Levo ? I am really scared about the upcoming swing to hypo phrase and experiencing the fatigue and depression that goes with it. Also I’m worried about taking more time off work from this – did you have to take much time off?
    It’s very good to hear your experience of being fully recovered and also to read the comments here of people who are also on the road to recovery. Thank you for writing about this! x

    • Hi Chloe, I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. I know how painful it is. While I’m not a doctor and can’t offer medical advice, I share my experience with subacute thyroiditis because I found little help from both doctors and online. For me, the journey was improved after I did a 10-14 day dose of Prednisone. I’m not a fan of taking drugs but my body truly need help. I improved and continued to improve over the next several months. I was in each phase for about 6 weeks which, according to what I’ve read in medical journals, is a pretty quick recovery. It can take up to 18 months to fully recover and then a small percentage of people may wind up with hypothyroidism and need thyroid replacement. I did not have that happen. I’m self-employed and it was, indeed, challenging during each phase but, in particular, during the “hyper” phase as I didn’t want to let my heart rate get too high. I was not taking a beta blocker. Take time to rest and eat a very healthy diet. This helped me. I gradually increased my walking and my strength came back even when I was in the hypo-thyroid phase. I also needed more Vitamin D3 with K2 as my Vitamin D levels were very low. So, getting that to a better level helped me and also helped with how depressed I was feeling. I believe my low levels of Vitamin D (for years) contributed to my thyroiditis. I wish you health, speedy healing, and love. Please keep me posted. 🙂

  10. Hi Phoebe, thanks so much to you and all for sharing your subacute Thyroiditis experiences

    I am about 6 weeks into the condiiton of hypothyroidism, still very painful neck. Though
    my lab results shows T4 and T3 values in normal range my TSH is in very low 0.16 and sedimenattion rate and ALT value are extremely hi.

    Now, going through all your comments is helping me so much to believe that is only matter of time to get back to normal in all matters and I must stop been in panic because I do have a sister who had thyroid replacement. .

    When I read your comment about the vit D I thought i should share my past health issues as there could be a connection with my today condition.

    6 years ago I had digestive desorder (uncontrolling gases) that lead me to have a health evaluation and I was surprised with the results: lack of Vitamin D ( factor to take into high consideration). I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, had extremely low Vitamin D, an elevated alkaline phosphatase originating from the skeleton, many pulmonary nodules and osteoporosis on its way.

    I was put into 50,000 vit D treatment every other week for 2 months. 3 yrs ago I had
    osteoporosis treatment but I stopped after 6 months. I am kind of medicine intolerant.

    I trust the subacute thyroiditis I am experiencing now will have a full recovery, but I will follow your plant based, meditaerranean , gluten, sugar and dairy free diet and very important caffeine free coffee (I am adicted to my morning caffeine coffeee and I know is not helping).

    Thanks so much for all these writings.

    • Hi Paula, I’m so glad you found my post and those commenting helpful. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Subacute thyroiditis is very scary and confusing because I found, as I said before, little information on it. For me, it was pretty much a wait-and-see how things turn out. I do truly believe eating clean, plant-based (not necessarily no meat, though). You have to determine what is right for your body (trial and error). For me, I needed some meat to help with my fluctuating iron levels. At one point, I was near anemic and at another time my iron registered high. I adjusted my eating accordingly. I think, especially when someone is suffering from an illness, it’s extremely important to eat whole foods that are not nutritionally compromised by over-cooking. As for the coffee, for me, I was able to drink it (in moderation) after I completely healed from Subacute Thyroiditis. However, today, I do mix it up, drinking coffee, Dandy Blend (alternative coffee), and green tea. They all have various health benefits, especially the latter two. Today, I still take 5,000 IU of Vitamin D and have found it very helpful. I also take Selenium which is helpful for thyroid health as well as B Vitamins. I’m not recommending any supplements or giving medical advice, just sharing what has helped me. I do hope you have a full recovery. Please keep me posted! 🙂

  11. Anshul Jain Reply

    Hi phoebe

    I am also diagnosed with Subacute Thyroiditis. My TSH is very low . 018. I am having low grad fever from last one month. I have similar symptoms and my doctor prescribed me beta blocker ciplar 20 MG though my heart beat is under 120. After taking this beta blocker, I am not able to concentrate and having head heaviness.
    I am lucky to found your website about this disease. I am Asian vegetarian since my childhood so please suggest food which I have to avoid.

    • Hi Anshul, I am so sorry you are having trouble with your Thyroid. I’m not a doctor/nutritionist so all I can offer is what worked for me. It’s good that you’re researching on your own. That’s what I did. I found that avoiding unhealthy foods such as fried foods and also gluten helped me heal my condition. After I was healed from Subacute Thyroiditis I could re-introduce these foods in small quantities. Gluten is especially necessary to avoid when your Thyroid is malfunctioning because in some people it triggers an autoimmune reaction that causes your body to attack the Thyroid. You might find my Meal Plan helpful. You can see it here and get the recipes. I hope you’re back to good health very soon. Please keep me posted. Love and Hugs. Phoebe

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. I stumbled upon this page while researching what foods to eat if one is diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis. I was recently diagnosed and I’m in the hyper stage for about 3 weeks now. I’ve been getting a fever/ chills every night since December 22nd, 2020 (docs first assumed it was COVID). Like yourself, I do not like medication because it can do more harm than good sometimes. However, I can’t hold off anymore, as my heart rate often goes up to 120 in the resting stage without medication. I’ve been taking a beta blocker for about 2 weeks now and it helps bring it down to 90-93. I also started a low dosage of prednisone (7 day supply). I started a plant based diet in December before diagnosis so I see that I am on the right track. However, like yourself, I recently added back fish/ salmon to my diet bc of low iron. This is so scary and uncomfortable. I just had a thyroid uptake scan and I’m waiting for the results. Hopefully my endocrinologist will direct me in the right path of treatment.

    I am also praying that I don’t get to the hypo stage… praying for complete healing.

    Thanks again for sharing. It definitely gives me hope.

    • Hi Risa, As someone who has had and recovered from both Subacute Thyroiditis and COVID, I know your pain and suffering well. The hyper stage was hard on me too. I hope your fever breaks soon. The Prednisone really helped with my fever since no over-the-counter medications worked. I hope you get well very soon. I truly believe the diet helped me heal. Also, avoiding gluten which can be very hard on the Thyroid made a difference for me. Please keep me posted and I’m sending love and hugs for a speedy recovery! Phoebe

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  16. Hi, Phoebe
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I was diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis in 2006 that is almost 15 years. I was told that there is no medicine for this as this is a viral it will go away on its own.but I can’t even explain how miserable I 2007 I start feeling normal but then again ,all the symptoms came back and the doctor told me in rare cases it comes long story short it’s been 15 years my numbers are normal but my life is not.i have terrible Brain bog,throat pain ,fatigue…lists goes on.i been to numerous naturopathic ..tons of supplements.. IV nothing worked.
    Would really appreciate your advice

    • Hi Karan, Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear that so many years later you are still struggling. As I tell everyone on my blog, I’m not a doctor so I can’t give medical advice but I can offer support and ideas based on my own experience with Subacute Thyroiditis and other issues I have had such as with gluten sensitivity which I have found can cause brain fog. It can take a while to sort through one’s health and to find what works best. I would recommend you work with someone knowledgeable in whole-food, plant-based eating. I’m not sure what your diet is like but I studied and specialize in helping people transition to an all or mostly plant-based diet. When they do, they see great results, feel better and stronger.  I think if you work with a plant-based wellness coach who can help you discover foods that help to start the healing from within through well balanced eating, you will learn if these issues can be resolved from an adjustment of diet. I believe you need to use whole plant-based foods more than supplements and IV. I’d be happy to speak with you. You can learn more here:

  17. Hi phoebe
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I had subacute thyroiditis for about 11 weeks.  I have been in the hyper phase for about 6 weeks.  i took (NSAIDs) and the pain subsided within 2-3 weeks and the inflammation was gone .. I have not taken any medications during the hyperactivity phase. Now I have been in the normal phase with no symptoms for more than 4 weeks.  I am free gluten, dairy, sugar and caffeine for about 9 weeks.  Can you tell me how long the normal period lasted between the  hyper and hypo and what were the symptoms in hypo and how you managed them and how long it took, what supplements you took during the hypo, the diet that you followed.
    thank you so much again for sharing was very helpful for me

    • Hi Mohammad, Sorry for the delay. First of all, glad to hear that you’re in the normal phase and I hope you’re on your way to a complete recovery. For me, I went from being very sick when Subacute Thyroiditis first hit me (fever, chills, extreme fatigue, racing heart rate) for about two weeks. I took Prednisone for about 10 days to break the fever. After about a month of being in the hyperthyroid phase, I went into hypothyroid phase. I did not have a normal phase until after the hypothyroid phase. If my memory serves me correctly, I then went into the normal phase several months later. I fully recovered in about 9-12 months and have been improving since then. I do not have any symptoms today. I do take a thyroid supplement (not medication — never had to for my thyroid) and I eat almost all plant-based and very little gluten. Hope this helps. Let me know how you are doing now. Blessings, Phoebe.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story and for the update. This condition is so uncommon that the web information and first hand accounts seem extremely sparse. Back in the Summer/Fall 2020 when I started exhibiting symptoms I was told by my primary that I was probably dealing with anxiety because of the pandemic and social issues (as a black male). Also, being male and looking back, thyroid wasn’t a concern even though my TSH was pretty low-normal at the time. After months of panic attacks, hives, fatigue, headaches, etc I went back to my doc for more blood work and was dx as having hyperthyroidism. This was in Feb. 2021, I was referred to an endocrinologist whose earliest appointment is May 6 2021… In the meantime I self referred after nearly collapsing after 2 min on a treadmill. Saw an endo in at the end of Feb. and was put on Propranolol, and now am slightly better. This is a wild journey. Over the past year I’d already stepped up my workouts, eat clean 90% of the time, sleep, and cut out all alcohol, now this dx has helped me really focus on my health and everything I put in my body.

    Thanks and bless you on your journey, love the social media pages too.

    • I’m so happy for you and your new healthy lifestyle. Yes, you are right, Subacute Thyroiditis is not that common. When I was ill, I found it very difficult to find information and even when I went in to see doctors in urgent care, I was initially misdiagnosed. Thankfully, one doctor recognized that it was Subacute Thyroiditis right away and ordered blood work and a thyroid ultrasound. That confirmed the diagnosis. Keep me posted on your journey to healing your thyroid. Send blessings to you. Phoebe

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  20. Hi Phoebe and thanks so much for your content here, it has given me lots of hope and inspiration!
    Especially regarding the hypothyroidism and borderline-anaemic phase. Could you please write me / post an update on how all of this went, how long it took, whether you still have anaemic levels and if not, how did you fix this? – I’ve been “not anaemic, but my body is regulating against it” for a while and I have hashimoto, which I believed I had put into remission (last year my blood results said that I had reduced my antibodies) and in fact, I am now (this year) feeling better than EVER before, but my blood results are saying my hypothyroidism is getting worse – but I don’t feel that way at all, I am feeling healthier than ever before. So this feels very confusing. Maybe you could give me some tips and insights on how you improved your condition / blood results. What supplements did you take? How much exercise? Etc.

    That would be REALLY helpful, thank you for everything you’ve already put out so far.

    Greetings from Germany.

    • Hello, Dee! Thanks for your comment. Sorry for the delay, I was traveling. Yes, I had a complete recovery from my Subacute Thyroiditis, although it was a long haul.

      My anemic phase (as I recall) was relatively short-lived. However, my doctor did put me on Iron pills (over the counter). Unfortunately, they caused some stomach cramps so I had difficulty taking them. I increased my intake of green leafy vegetables (but I also did eat some meat — which I rarely do today, since I follow a mostly plant-based diet). I now take a multi-vitamin that has iron in it and it doesn’t bother my stomach as long as I take it with food. I was not severely anemic but enough to need to do something about it. I also take Vitamin D3 with K2 and Vitamin B complex. I had a doctor suggest these vitamins for me and they seem to help. I would ask your doctor for what supplements you might take. I also take a daily vitamin called Garden of Life.

      I exercise nearly every day, walking, riding the Peloton, yoga, or weights. When I was sick for the first month, I couldn’t do any of my normal routine but gradually I got stronger and could resume all my normal exercise habits.

      I hope this helps and I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling better!

      Keep me posted. 🙂

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