The trouble with telling people about your desire to start a family, which was how Adrienne Houghton began this year, is that at every turn and every body change, people will wonder if you’re with child. But Houghton is not pregnant, and she, as well as co-star Tamera Mowry-Housley, would appreciate if people would stop asking if they are. In an Instagram video recorded by the folks at The Real, both women enjoyed bites of sweet potato pie and said that any pudges or weight gain you see on them is due to that delicious dessert — and some pretty serious health conditions. Mowry said she has diastasis recti (which Ciara talked about having earlier this year), while Houghton has a condition people don’t know enough about: Hashimoto’s disease.
“This is not a baby, this is sweet potato pie. We have a health condition!” the 35-year-old said. “I’m not pregnant! I have Hashimoto’s! It’s hypothyroidism. Yes, I have a fat neck! There is a reason!”
“We are not pregnant. We’re just happy and we like to eat and God is good,” she added. “Look up Hashimoto’s! It is not Asian!”
One woman in eight will reportedly develop a thyroid disorder in their lifetime, according to the American Thyroid Association, and as for Hashimoto’s disease, according to experts, five people out of 100, women and men, are affected. If you don’t know much about this particular autoimmune disorder, which is very common, here are five things to be aware of:
- Hashimoto’s is a disease that attacks your thyroid and can cause it to be inflamed. It can also cause it to struggle to make enough of the necessary thyroid hormones. Without enough of them, your body’s functions can slow down. Signs of this include unexplained weight gain, fatigue, a puffy face, joint pain, depression, prolonged menstrual bleeding, hair loss and more.
- If you are not hormone deficient, then your treatment for Hashimoto’s may only require some medication and consistent observation. However, it can progress into hypothyroidism if your condition causes the thyroid to be in a place where it can no longer produce enough thyroid hormones for your system to function as it should. When that occurs, you will need thyroid hormone replacement therapy. An example of this treatment is taking a synthetic thyroid hormone daily, like Levoxyl. In Houghton’s case, she says that her thyroiditis has progressed to hypothyroidism.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is actually the most common thyroid disorder. It is more common in women, and is most often seen in people between the ages of 30 and 60, though it can occur in teenagers and young women. If other people in your family have it, your likelihood of developing it increases. Also, Hashimoto’s has been linked to other autoimmune disorders, meaning the chances of someone developing it is more likely when they have conditions such as lupus, celiac disease, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
- While many women go on to get pregnant without much trouble while dealing with Hashimoto’s, it can negatively affect some. According to WomensHealth.gov, studies have shown that almost half of women who end up developing hypothyroidism because of Hashimoto’s had trouble conceiving, especially if they found themselves with irregular menstrual cycles, a cause of reduced thyroid hormones. And if not treated properly, the condition can cause issues during pregnancy, including miscarriage. Before and during a pregnancy, thyroid hormones will need to be closely monitored.
- Initial symptoms and signs of Hashimoto’s, which sometimes don’t appear for years, include an enlarged thyroid, or goiter, that leaves the front of one’s neck swollen. It can also end up being difficult to swallow, or you might just be able to feel it protruding.
So if you’ve noticed a change in Houghton’s look, or continue to, it can likely be attributed to Hashimoto’s disorder and how her thyroid is functioning. And if you’re alarmed, keep it to yourself, because as she shared this past summer, comments about her weight can be quite disheartening.
“If I’m honest, my weight gain in the last few years has been like a struggle for me where I’m like, I never looked at myself as being overweight. And it was weird to hear so many comments at one point that I was fat, and ‘Oh my God, she let herself go!’ I was like, ‘Whoa.’ So that was a little bit weird,” she said. “I just did what I had to do to be comfortable in my own skin. And I think that’s the most important thing. It wasn’t necessarily to please other people. I actually, genuinely, didn’t like the way I looked. And every day it’s a work in progress. You know, girl get up and do some cardio. More than looking good, it’s actually healthy for you to eat healthy and actually get a little workout in. So as I get older, I get that it’s going to be harder and harder, but I’m up for the challenge.”