Navigate Travelling with Hypothyroidism So You Can Explore The World

Traveling with Hypothyroidism

Embarking on a journey while managing hypothyroidism brings its own set of challenges and considerations. Yet, with proper preparation and knowledge, travelling with hypothyroidism can be not only manageable but also enriching and fulfilling. From mastering medication management to adapting to diverse climates and dietary needs, together, we’ll embark on a voyage that prioritizes both health and wanderlust.

I was diagnosed in 2013 with hypothyroidism and then subsequently with Hastimotos, an auto-immune disorder a couple of months later. I’ve navigated these waters and discovered that with the right preparation and understanding, travel with this condition can transform from a source of anxiety into a journey of empowerment and enlightenment.

What Is Hashimoto’s?

Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland. In this disorder, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid tissue, leading to inflammation and damage over time. As a result, the thyroid gland becomes unable to produce a sufficient amount of thyroid hormones, which are essential for regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism, energy levels, and temperature regulation.

Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland. Individuals with Hashimoto’s disease may experience symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, and muscle weakness. They may also have swelling in the neck area (a goitre) due to inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

What Are the Symptoms of Hashimoto’s?

Symptoms vary from individual to individual. Some people can live the majority of their lives and not know that “something is off”, much like I did until something was wrong – it was all simply my normal day-to-day. Other people can find themselves overtly suffering from:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
  • Depression
  • Memory lapses

How Is Someone Diagnosed with Hashimotos?

Diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels and detect the presence of specific antibodies associated with the condition. Treatment usually involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which aims to restore normal thyroid hormone levels in the body and alleviate symptoms. In some cases, additional medications or interventions may be necessary to manage symptoms or complications of the disease.

How Has Having Hypothyroidism Changed My Travel Habits?

While I have had to make some lifestyle changes and choices in terms of what I eat and exercise, one thing that has NOT changed is my love of travel and the immense wanderlust I feel when grounded in Toronto.

At first, I thought that travelling with an autoimmune disorder was going to be a curse. I mean, I’d have to bring medication that I am going to be on every day for the rest of my life and deal with some of the symptoms that sometimes rear their ugly head… However, I have found that taking care of and managing hypothyroidism while travelling is very manageable.

If you are reading this, it’s likely because you have hypothyroidism or you will be travelling with someone who does have it. If you have any additional tips of your own for managing hypothyroidism while you are travelling, I’d love to read them.

Here are some of my tips for keeping on top of your

hypothyroidism while travelling:

travelling with hypothyroidism1.) Take your medication at the same time every day just like you would at home. When you are travelling within your same timezone, it’s easy, but when you are going forward or backward in time is when it gets tricky, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself.

2.) When you are flying or travelling by train, make sure you pack your medication in your carry-on luggage to reduce the risk of it getting lost. I always pack a couple extra synthroid pills in my purse as a backup – in case my flight gets delayed going home or if I miss counting my vacation or travel days.

3.) Bring a copy of your prescription just in case. We never want to have to do a run to a pharmacy, but you never know what can happen.

4.) If you have been put on a restricted diet by your doctor, do your best to stick to it. I’m one of the lucky ones who passed the gluten sensitivity test, so I do not have to deal with celiac-type symptoms as well, but I do have to avoid certain foods and ingredients or suffer from flare-ups. The quickest way to send me off kilter and ruin my week is by eating anything cooked in canola oil. Running to the salad bar at a buffet seems like a great idea, but you have to remember to steer clear of goitrogens (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) as well as foods from the soy food group (tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, soy milk, etc)

travelling with hypothyroidism

5.) Since you’ll likely be dining out while travelling and not preparing your meals, stick to ordering and consuming the following foods:

  • Eggs: Whole eggs are best, as much of the iodine and selenium are found in the yolk, while the whites are full of protein.
  • Meats: All meats, including lamb, beef, chicken, etc.
  • Fish: All seafood, including salmon, tuna, halibut, shrimp, etc.
  • Vegetables: Most vegetables are fine to eat. Cruciferous vegetables are fine to eat in moderate amounts, especially when cooked.
  • Fruits: berries, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, etc.
  • Source out gluten-free grains and seeds to be safe: Rice, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds and flaxseed.
  • Dairy: All dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. are okay as long as you’re not consuming those foods within 4-6 hours of taking your medication.
  • Beverages: Water and other non-caffeinated beverages.

6.) If you are doing hotel stays, try to book one with a gym so that you can stay on top of your fitness regime, as we all know as those suffering from hypothyroidism, we need to get moving, it’s a matter of life or death… even when we don’t have a shred of energy left, take 5 more steps.

Please note – I am not a doctor or a medical professional and I cannot give you advice about how to treat your thyroid condition. I am only sharing what works for me. Please consult your doctor or medical professional if you have any questions about your symptoms or medication.



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2 thoughts on “Navigate Travelling with Hypothyroidism So You Can Explore The World

    • kathrynanywhere says:

      Exactly! Time changes can always throw a wrench into it. Along with being our of your comfort zone 😉

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