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Hypothyroid Symptoms & Causes. Wondering whether you may have a thyroid problem? Maybe you suspect hypothyroid or underactive thyroid? Or maybe you have already been diagnosed with hypothyroid. Maybe you even have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Or perhaps you have been told everything is normal with your thyroid tests, but you suspect otherwise. I’ll discuss some important things to know in regards to this.

Let’s talk about ‘Hypothyroidism Symptoms & causes’.

Hello, I am so thrilled to be here.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michelle Cooke, Period & Hormone Naturopath, Natural Fertility Educator & Naturopathic Emotional Release (NER) Practitioner. I help women struggling with their menstrual cycles, have easy, pain-free periods, balanced hormones & emotional wellbeing. I’m the Founder and Director of Reproductive Wellness, a clinic located in Melbourne. I see patients online and face-to-face.

What does your thyroid do?

 Your thyroid is a cute small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits in the front of your neck. It produces thyroid hormones T4 which converts to T3.

It is important for:

  • Regulating temperature in the body

  • Growth

  • Development of the human body

  • Metabolism

It controls the speed of your metabolism. Metabolism is how your body converts the food you eat into energy. That energy is what the cells in your body use to function.

 

  • Cardiovascular system

Heart rate, amount of blood your heart pumps through your circulatory system

 

  • Breathing

  • Digestion

How quick or slow food moves through your digestive system into the toilet when you do a poo – the motility of your bowels (hypothyroidism commonly presents with constipation)

 

  • Brain function

Memory & concentration

 

  • Weight management

  • Nervous system: hypothyroidism commonly presents with depression

  • Reproductive health, healthy periods, hormone production:

Because it works on the metabolism and development of the ovaries and uterus. Thyroid hormones also influence the release of GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) from the hypothalamus in the brain which impacts girly hormones like oestrogen production.

 

 

What is hypothyroidism?

 

It is when your thyroid is underactive, it is under functioning, and it is not producing enough thyroid hormones (T4, T3). You will commonly have low T4 and T3. You will have high TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which taps on the shoulder of your thyroid and tells it to produce the thyroid hormones (T4, T3). It causes your metabolism to slow down.

Normally the hypothalamus in the brain produces TRH (Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone) which tells your Pituitary gland in the brain to produce TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which tells your thyroid to produce T4 which converts into T3 which is the active thyroid hormone in your body.

What are the signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism or Hypothyroid?

 

  • Feeling tired and exhausted

  • Constipation

  • Weight gain

  • Dry skin & hair

  • Thinning hair

  • Very sensitive to the cold

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Muscle stiffness, tenderness, aches, pain, weakness

  • Joint pain

  • Heavy periods

  • Irregular periods

  • Prolonged periods

  • Shorter menstrual cycle

  • No period

  • Anovulation – ovulation not taking place

  • Decrease folliculogenesis (follicle development each of them contains an oocyte)

  • Poor concentration

  • Poor memory

  • Depression

  • Goitre (enlarged thyroid gland)

  • Shortness of breath

 

 

What are the causes of Hypothyroidism or Hypothyroid?

  • Too much or too little iodine in the diet

The thyroid gland needs adequate iodine in the diet to be able to work properly. You need to eat things that contain iodine daily: seafood, sea vegetables: nori, wakame, arame, dulse

Your body uses iodine to make T4 (Thyroxine). TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) will increase if your iodine intake is too low. Because the body senses that you don’t have enough T4 and you need to make more.

 

  • Thyroiditis – inflammation of the thyroid

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – autoimmune condition where the immune system is dysfunctional and thyroid antibodies are attacking your thyroid gland. This will result in your thyroid having difficulties working properly and being able to produce thyroid hormones.

  • Congenital – born with that issue

  • Genetic

  • Pituitary gland issues

  • Hypothalamus gland issues

 

What are the contributing factors to hypothyroidism?

  • Stress

  • Not enough rest or relaxation or both

  • Low grade chronic acute infections

  • Chemical exposures: household, herbicides, pesticides, agricultural run-off, food additives

  • Heavy metals

  • Poor elimination & digestion

  • Imbalance of bacteria in the bowels

  • Leaky gut – damage to the lining of the small & large bowel due to gluten, stress, antibiotics, infections, toxins,pharmaceutical drugs etc.

Why do I still have hypothyroid symptoms, but my tests are normal?

 

Three things to consider here:

  1. It could be that your medical practitioner only tested TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) this only gives you ONE part of the story. It doesn’t tell us anything about what your thyroid hormones are like. TSH can be “normal” but your thyroid hormones can be out of balance, but you wouldn’t know because they weren’t tested. So you will then be told “everything’s normal”

Ideally you want: A blood test looking at: TSH, T4,T3, Thyroid antibodies (TgAB – Thyroglobulin antibodies, TPOAb – Thyroid peroxidase antibodies) & urinary iodine at the minimum. Preferably including rT3 as well which you would normally have to pay for.

  1. A doctor reads tests very differently to a Naturopath. They are looking at the results from an emergency room perspective as they treat disease and symptoms. A naturopath will look at results to see if they are within optimal levels. The pathology ranges are very broad, so we make sure within that range you are within the optimal level for good health. You can still feel rubbish & have symptoms within a normal broad pathology range. A Naturopath will address it before the wheels completely fall off the wagon.

  1. You could have subclinical hypothyroidism: where it is not full blown hypothyroidism but it on the way there. So TSH might be slightly elevated but T4 seems to be at normal levels.

Can a Naturopath with thyroid problems, suspected thyroid problems or an underactive thyroid?

Yes, absolutely. I would suggest seeing a Naturopath that specialises Hormones like myself; to help support you. Regardless of whether you think you have something going on with your thyroid or it has already been diagnosed or perhaps you are on thyroxine and you are not feeling much better.

Treatment wise, we would be using Natural medicine: including herbal medicine & nutritional medicine based on pathology findings, symptoms & signs, diet & lifestyle. I also use NER (Naturopathic Emotional Release) to look at underlying emotional contributors.

-Assessment:

 

  • Nutritional Deficiencies (iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc – the last two are important for conversion of T4 to T3)

  • Hormonal imbalance: Thyroid, Girly Hormones (oestrogen, progesterone etc.) – the second one if appropriate to what is going on with you.

  • Assessing gut health: might include microbiome testing for large bowel, SIBO testing for small bowel. There is a high risk of SIBO with Hypothyroidism due to slow gut motility

  • If appropriate: heavy metal testing

If you would like support with your thyroid, I would love to help you, go ahead and book a FREE 15 min discovery call to find out more about how we would work together and if we are a good fit

If you have any questions or comments, pop them in the comments box down below 🙂