Denise Richards is thankful that Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fans are looking out for her. The 48-year-old Bravo star took to Instagram to thank viewers who pointed out that her thyroid looked enlarged on the recent RHOBH reunion. After watching the reunion, which was taped in June, several viewers reached out to Richards to point out the abnormality on her neck, People reports.
It turns out, the fans were right. In her Instagram post, Richards wrote that after RHOBH reunion viewers pointed out that her thyroid was enlarged, she made some lifestyle changes.
"You were right, it was something I ignored until pointed out," The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star told fans.
While Richards didn't reveal details of a diagnosis, an enlarged thyroid is often harmless but could signify a bigger issue, such as thyroid, Graves, or Hashimoto's disease, or even thyroid cancer.
Richards posted two photos which showed her neck during the RHOBH reunion taping in June and a more recent photo. The Wild Things star captioned the pics by writing that since the reunion taping, she has gone gluten-free, noting that she can't believe how much her thyroid has changed in the few weeks since she changed her diet. Richards added that gluten is "toxic" for her.
When one fan asked her how long it took before she started to notice a change, the RHOBH star responded, "Right away. Actually, I was quite surprised, I'm a pasta and bread basket girl."It should be noted that research doesn't necessarily support the theory that gluten affects thyroid function. Some internet talk has indicated that a gluten-free diet could help treat an underactive thyroid, although the medical community has yet to embrace the theory. A limited clinical study published by Scientific American last summer found that switching to a gluten-free diet helped some women with autoimmune thyroid disease, but the Mayo Clinic notes that treatment for an underactive thyroid often involves daily use of a synthetic thyroid hormone.
While she is now gluten-free, it was five years ago that Richards told Us Weekly that she eliminated meat from her diet. At the time, the mom of three revealed that she had been a vegetarian for "quite a few years." Richards also admitted her biggest dietary downfall: pretzels.
"I snack on nuts, fruits, cut-up vegetables, cheese, and I'll make homemade soup and put it in a Thermos and carry that as well," the RHOBH star said in 2014 "And I eat a lot of pretzels, which, you know, most people are like, 'That's not very good,' but I eat them. Those are my crunchy little salty snacks that I have."
Luckily, many brands make gluten-free pretzels so Denise Richards should be good after her thyroid scare.
There is no word if Denise Richards will be back on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for the show's milestone 10th season next year, but the newcomer was a popular addition to the Bravo reality show this past season.