Tired, Sluggish, & Overweight? It Might be your Thyroid
Have you ever googled “symptoms of hypothyroidism” and thought “oh my gosh - they are describing ME!”?
Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, goes widely misdiagnosed in the medical world because the proper lab testing isn’t always done. If you’ve been told your thyroid function is fine, but you just aren’t convinced, then this post is for you.
Our thyroid is a small gland in the neck that secretes hormones which ultimately affect every cell in our body. If your thyroid isn’t functioning properly you may notice:
You feel sluggish
have difficulty losing weight or gain weight despite healthy eating and exercise
your mood is low
your skin is dry
your eyebrows are thinning
your hands and feet are cold all the time
your nails are brittle
your sex drive is low
your memory is poor.
Does this sound like you? You’re not alone - hypothyroidism affects 1 in 10 women and often goes undiagnosed in the early stages.
This is why when women come into my office with menstrual complaints or fertility issues, I always like to test their thyroid function. Proper thyroid function is an integral part of achieving hormonal balance, and having thyroid issues is often the root cause of many menstrual concerns. Meaning, we can do lots of great things to help balance your sex hormones and decrease your PMS, but if we aren’t correcting your poorly functioning thyroid gland, these changes won’t be sustainable long term. We won’t be fixing the problem.
You may have asked your doctor to check your thyroid before and they told you everything looked great. Do you have a copy of that lab work? I urge you you to see what exactly they tested because this is where things often go undiagnosed. It’s common to only test your TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, when in fact this isn’t the whole picture when it comes to thyroid health.
Brief science lesson: your pituitary secretes TSH to let your thyroid know it’s time to make the active thyroid hormones T4 and T3. T3 is the more active hormone needed for our hormonal pathways to function properly, but our thyroid actually pumps out more T4. Seems silly, right? Our thyroid leaves the conversion of T4 to T3 up to other cells in your body. When you are hypothyroid, your body doesn’t make a sufficient level of T4 and T3 for your needs.
When it comes to testing, looking at TSH is a good first step, but as a Naturopath, I like to see the entire thyroid picture. Meaning, I want to see your TSH, T3, T4 and thyroid antibodies to confirm proper thyroid function. The reason hypothyroidism often goes undiagnosed is because your TSH may actually be within the normal range, but the reason you are experiencing symptoms is because your T4 and T3 are low. If you’re just having your TSH checked then you can see the problem!
This is also why some women who are taking Synthroid, or levothyroxine, may get normal TSH readings on routine lab checks but still experience the prominent hypothyroid symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, cold hands and feet, and constipation. Synthroid is a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone T4, but if you remember our brief science lesson above, your body actually needs to convert T4 to the more active hormone, T3.
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and currently take Synthroid with no relief of symptoms, it’s likely that your problem - your root cause - of thyroid dysfunction is actually poor hormonal conversion.
If you read the list of symptoms above and felt like I was describing the way you feel, then you need to click the link below to book a complimentary meet and greet with me to see if thyroid testing is right for you.
Stop your suffering and get a proper diagnosis!
See you in the clinic,
Dr. Kelsey Duncan, Naturopathic Doctor
Dr. Duncan is a Naturopathic Doctor in Guelph passionate about balancing women's hormones, optimzing thyroid health, and helping women get pregnant naturally. You can find her at Natural Choice Medical Clinic evenings and weekends. Call 519-265-8035 or click here to book your appointment.