How is your thyroid doing these days? How does one know? What are some symptoms of your thyroid needing some attention? Take a look at this list to find out as well as one simple home test that can tell you a lot about your thyroid.
COMMON SYMPTOMS CONSISTENT WITH HYPOTHYROIDISM (under-active) INCLUDE:
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Coarse, dry hair
- Cold extremities & intolerance to cold
- Decreased libido
- Dry, rough pale skin
- Enlarged Thyroid
- Hair loss
- Memory loss
- Muscle aches, cramps & weakness
- Water retention
- Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
COMMON SYMPTOMS CONSISTENT WITH HYPERTHYROIDISM (over-active) INCLUDE:
- Appetite change (decrease or increase)
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Enlarged Thyroid
- Frequent bowel movement—perhaps diarrhea
- Heart palpitations
- Heat intolerance
- Increased sweating
- Itching and hives
- Light menstrual periods—perhaps even missed periods
- Mental disturbances
- Muscle weakness
- Possible increase in blood sugar
- Problems with fertility
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden paralysis
- Thinning of hair
- Vision changes
- Weight loss-but perhaps weight gain
Even though these lists of symptoms are quite different, there are often common causative factors at work. Environmental toxins, nutrient deficiencies and stress have a big role in disrupting the thyroid’s function (as well as that of the whole body!). This article will deal mainly with hypothyroidism, although the treatment for both has some similarities.
Perhaps you have been to your doctor with some of these symptoms? Perhaps you had a “thyroid test” done. The main initial main initial thing that is looked for in your blood is called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). If this came back abnormal then your doc would have most likely put you on synthroid as well as perhaps doing a couple of other tests. Unfortunately, there are many problems with this approach.
For starters, measuring TSH is a very inaccurate method - extremely large normal range, therefore a lot of false negatives, and it often misses 3 other types of hypothyroid issues. Secondly, there are other factors that will be missed that are just as crucial to making an accurate diagnosis. This results in the majority of people being sent home because their TSH is normal and being told that there is nothing wrong with their thyroid when in fact there is an endocrine issue affecting the thyroid hormones that is still causing the above symptoms.
In addition, many of my patients who had elevated TSH, which was normalized with synthroid continue to have most of the above symptoms. This tells me that just because the TSH is in the normal range there is still something out of balance. To me this makes perfect sense and is why I am an ND - we need to find and treat the cause, not just one lab symptom or hormone pathway. Supplementing with one synthetic hormone, while it may work for some, and it may work for quite a while, does not work from most as the underlying condition goes untreated.
To explain a proper assessment is beyond the scope of this article, but there is one simple free test that is often left out, or the results ignored, and this one you can do at Home – take your TEMPERATURE. If it is below 37.1 C or 98.6 F orally, then there may be a “Thyroid Issue.” It sounds so simple, but please check it anyway. You may even be thinking "I have hot flashes, I know my temperature is normal, if anything, too hot” but please just check it anyway. I have found many of my patients are quite surprised by the results.
Dr. Denis Wilson is an MD in the US who I have trained with over the years. He coined the term for this low body temperature & normal blood levels as Wilson Temperature Syndrome. He is a long time partner of a friend and classmate of mine, Dr. Michaeal Freedman, ND. Together they help to educate MDs and NDs on the proper care and restoration of the endocrine system, primarily thyroid and adrenals. Once diagnosed accurately, most cases are very treatable with herbs/plant medicine, supplements including iodine and selenium (in the correct amounts!) and diet. There are situations that require your MDs support for Armour thyroid (bovine thyroid with active hormones intact- what all old time MDs gave patients before synthetic synthroid came onto the market) and T3 therapy (the end result of proper thyroid hormone metabolism), however a great deal can be healed with naturopathic medicine.
I encourage you to take 10 seconds to download a chart that I made to record your body temperature in a specific way. This way we can be more accurate and objective about what is going on and then monitor your progress with the correct, individualized treatment plan if necessary. If your temperature is below normal, please consider making an appointment, as the sooner things are restored to balance, the better you will feel and the faster your body will repair itself. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to call 905-690-6123 or email me or email Lynda at reception for an appointment
Love & Blessings to your Thyroid!
Dr. Melissa Howe, ND.