Is Your Thyroid Ruining Your Energy, Libido & Weight?
CATEGORIES: Healing & Herbs Weight Loss
Thyroid function is something that comes up all the time with my one to one clients. And it’s something I have faced some massive frustrations with in regards to my own health journey, so *warning* I am going to get geeky and ranty about this one!
I still don’t have an ‘official’ diagnosis and have found it really hard to get thorough testing and medical support with this without going private, but from test results I have managed to get, it looks like I have a conversion issue and Hashimoto’s.
And I see it often in my clients. They feel exhausted, a bit depressed, have gained weight, have no motivation, poor digestion, weird hormones and no sex drive. And often the thyroid is the problem. So many women are just shoved on anti depressants when in reality I imagine that a large proportion of them actually have thyroid issues….just saying! #bigpharma
(Please note I am massively simplifying things in this blog post as I don’t want to bore you with details – this is a basic overview ok!?)
So your thyroid can be either under or over active. An under active thyroid (hypothyroidism) means your body isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormones it needs to run therefore your entire body is running too slowly and with an over active thyroid (hyperthyroidism) your body working far too hard! But in this article, we will focus on hypothyroidism and generally give an overview of the thyroid itself.
A few facts:
- Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in your neck, and it is estimated that 20-50% of the population has issues with their thyroid, 60% of people with thyroid issues are unaware of it (source).
- Women are 5-8 times more likely to develop thyroid disease than men and 1 woman in 8 will develop thyroid issues in their lifetime.(source)
- It is suspected that Hashimoto’s the autoimmune component of thyroid disease actually impacts 80-95% of those with a hypothyroid diagnosis. (source)
About the Thyroid…
On a very basic level, the thyroid works as our thermostat, regulating temperature, hunger, energy etc. It produces hormones (chemical messengers) in order to do this – mainly T4 and T3.
The pituitary gland in the brain causes the hormones messenger of TSH to go to the thyroid to get it going.
The body can also produce antibodies that attack the thyroid and stop it doing its job. This is known as an auto-immune condition as the body is launching an attack on itself. And Dr. Isabelle Wentz reckons that 95% of those suffering from hypothyroidism actually have this auto immune component too, called Hashimotos.
The thyroid makes two thyroid hormones, T3and T4.TSH, which is made by the pituitary gland in the brain, regulates thyroid hormone production.T3 is the most active and ‘useful’ in the body.
Also if there are nutrient depletions in the body of say selenium or iodine and/or high amounts of stress on any level then our conversion of T3 can be impaired and we get too much of something called reverse T3 made which is a ‘wasted’ hormones in our body and it is not utilised in the cells at awesomely at T3, as we can see in image below.
What are the symptoms?
The problem with defining symptoms is that the thyroid hormone impacts every cell in your body so the symptoms can be very wide ranging and difficult to diagnose.
Some of the most common symptoms are; feeling like you are wading through treacle, weight gain or rapid weight loss, feel slow in your mind, thoughts and speech, pins and needles, breathless and palpitations, dizziness, rubbish sex drive, swelling around your neck, dry skin, joint pain, muscle pain, Carpal Tunnel syndrome, infections like SIBO, parasites and yeast infections, thinning of outer eyebrows, constipation, feeling cold all the time, low basal temperature and hair loss…..
…get the picture!
So how do you know if its a problem?
Test. You really really need thorough testing and unfortunately, our UK system does not regularly offer this. I really depend on the knowledge and awareness of your local GP – some are updated some are not.
The NHS (UK based health care system) only really tests for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and sometimes, but not always, the T4 hormone. To thoroughly check your thyroid you need to have TSH, T4, and T3, reverse T3, vitamin D and your antibodies tested. A comprehensive blood panel like this is the only way to accurately identify exactly what is going on.
What is the Autoimmune Component to Thyroid disease?
Hashimoto’s is the name of the autoimmune component that I mentioned above. This means your body is producing antibodies that attack the thyroid itself impairing its function. However, it can easily be missed with testing as your thyroid is producing hormones correctly but being impaired by these antibodies.
Hashimoto’s is what test results showed me was an issue and I also suspect my reverse T3 is very high – but I need to get private testing done for that.
It is worth noting that thyroid issues do run in families, so you are more likely to suffer from some kind of thyroid disease if family members struggle with them. My sister and I both suffer from it and I suspect my mum does do but hasn’t been picked up on yet.
So if this is you, it is worth getting tested yearly to keep an eye on your thyroid.
What can you do?
- Fight for thorough testing via an endocrinologist referral or go privately.
- Get educated. Knowledge is power when it comes to our bodies, I really liked books by Dr. Amy Myers on this topic and any books from Dr. Amy Wentz.
- Clean up your diet. It is extremely worthwhile removing sugar and gluten from your diet to really support your thyroid.
- Get support. Click here to find out how we can work together and use to what you eat to get you back on track!
In a future blog post, I’ll be going into more detail about what I have been using to go into Hashimotos remission 😉
So get educated, get tested and then ask for the print outs of your blood test result from your GP (it’s your blood!) and if you want more help ditching the sugar and gluten click the links below for some free super helpful resources that will help you to live a naturally sweet gluten free life.