The thyroid is a very important endocrine gland that produces hormones responsible for many of our body’s crucial functions, such as our metabolism. It controls thousands of biological activities in the body including mood, temperature and even menstrual cycles.
Hypothyroidism is defined as having low thyroid hormone (T4) levels and elevated thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. It is much more common in women and can have serious consequences for both fertility and pregnancy. In early hypothyroidism, with or without symptoms or signs, a compensated state can be detected by an elevated TSH and normal T4. This is called subclinical hypothyroidism.
Some common signs and symptoms that your thyroid may not be under-functioning include:
- Menstrual irregularities and bleeding problems
- Cold intolerance
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- Depressed mood
- Mental slowness
- Poor memory
- Water retention
- Swelling around the eyes
- Slowed reflexes
- Elevated cholesterol
- Cystic ovaries
- Infertility or miscarriage
Hypothyroidism is easily caught with routine blood work and the most common treatment consists of synthetic T4, given as a daily pill. For many people this straightforward conventional approach is very effective. However, some people are left feeling unwell even after being told their blood work looks normal. In these cases, alternative therapeutic approaches may be considered that use natural or synthetic hormones in combinations specific to the individual. These can be used alongside herbal medicines, vitamin and mineral supplements and lifestyle changes for ideal results. The choice of best therapy is made after identifying the root cause of the thyroid dysfunction. There are several common reasons why a person’s thyroid can stop functioning properly, including:
1. Autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
2. Iodine deficiency
3. Poor conversion of T4 to T3
4. Elevated levels of Reverse T3
5. Increased levels of thyroid binding globulin (TBG)
6. Thyroid surgery, ablation or radiation treatment
This customized approach can help people return to a state of optimal wellness, relieve bothersome symptoms, regulate menstrual cycles, improve fertility and prevent pregnancy loss.