Ever wondered if you had a thyroid problem?
But then you google your symptoms and it sounds more like an adrenal problem?
Theeeen you take an online quiz and consider an estrogen or progesterone imbalance?
It’s hella confusing but actually, all of these systems communicate something, so it’s really easy to get confused on what’s causing what.
It’s important to know that it’s usually not the hormones themselves that are the root problem (thyroid, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc). They are simply the messengers..
The root causes can lie in inflammation, infections, food sensitivities, gut issues, stress, blood sugar issues, poor sleep, poor light exposure, trauma, dehydration, heavy metals, mold, sitting all day, etc. It’s up to us to find the cause and address it! That’s exactly what I do with clients (minus the googling part).
Today, let’s talk about the thyroid.
The thyroid plays a vital role in your health, and at times it can often be overlooked. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in front of your neck and it produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate, heart, digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood, and bone maintenance. In all honesty, it is the hub in helping to make you feel healthy, happy, and whole.
How do I know if I have a thyroid problem?
Great question! Having a thyroid issue is sometimes hard to figure out because your symptoms can vary depending on what you might actually be facing. There are different thyroid issues as well (like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, cellular hypothyroidism, subclinical hypothyroidism). However, regardless of the issue the thyroid itself is rarely the problem. It’s simply responding to a deeper issue.
If you struggle with a slow thyroid, you’re more likely to experience hair loss, dry skin, unexplained weight gain, high cholesterol, constipation, recurrent headaches, cold hands and feet, fatigue, brain fog, low mood/ depression, infertility/ miscarriage. If you’re struggling with a hyperactive thyroid you may be facing things like fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations, troubled sleeping, weight loss, and increased bowel movement (are just some examples).
Getting to the root cause of your symptoms and or what’s affecting your thyroid gland is key and the cause for each person will vary. But those struggling with a thyroid problem typically have a deeper root issue as these diseases affect the thyroid greatly:
Gut issues (with or without digestive symptoms)
High toxicant load
History of trauma
Poor breathing techniques
Autoimmune diseases like Graves’ disease
Any of these can cause major stress on the thyroid. Once you find your root cause, you will then be able to take steps towards an action plan to heal yourself through the route your body requires.
Can you test for hyperthyroidism / hypothyroidism?
Yes, absolutely! Your doctor and or health practitioner can test your thyroid hormone levels by taking your blood sample to determine if your thyroid gland is working properly.
In order to fully know what’s going on, you NEED a full thyroid panel which includes: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, TBG, TPO, and TG antibodies (these are all things I recommend and order for my clients who have suspected thyroid issues).
If you’re only testing TSH, you may miss a thyroid issue completely. TSH also won’t tell you how your cells are utilizing or responding to the thyroid hormone available. You need the full picture. Additionally, labs are to be assessed along with symptoms. If you’re symptomatic but all your labs are normal, that can still mean there’s a cellular issue or things other than the thyroid that need to be investigated.
Why is the thyroid gland so important?
Virtually every tissue in the body is affected or regulated by the thyroid hormone. It’s a big deal! It’s one of the main control centers for your body, and if your thyroid gland is off, you’re going to feel it potentially in ALL different areas of your body too. This gland helps to regulate every aspect, and it’s important in human development and living a healthy life. If you suspect that you might have a thyroid issue that could be caused by a deeper root issue, make sure to seek a doctor or health practitioner!
Best diet for hypothyroidism?: There isn't just ONE but there are some foundational things I can recommend. Eating enough total calories (this is a big deal), nutrient dense foods, balanced earting, blood, sugar and cortisol. For most, this is not the best time for long term low carb/keto (due to hypothalamus and adrenal reasons). Actually, the free guide on energy discusses this a bit.
Supplements for low thyroid?: This is VERY individualized bc it depends on WHY YOUR thyroid is suboptimal. Finding your cause is what determines your food & supplement plan. Some nutrients required for thyroid can be found in food: magnesium, zinc, iodine, tyrosine, iron, selenium.
Is it possible to get off thyroid meds?: As a dietitian, I don't change meds so this would be done with a doc. It really depends on many factors & the person tho. I've seen people come off meds but I've seen others who find they still FEEL best on them (and that's okay too!!).
Can my labs be "normal" but still have a thyroid issue?: Short answer, yes. Long answer.. depends on the labs and what you're defining as "normal." Labs should be assessed WITH symptoms.
Can your thyroid swell?: I'd recommend seeing a doc if you see swelling in that area.
Best lifestyle tips for thyroid?: Moving the body daily but not killing yourself in the gym for hours/day. Good sleep! Real food; diet foundation. Having relaxing activities in your life!
Is hypothyroid genetic?: Genetics are one factor but whether that condition expresses is mostly about diet and lifestyle! Hashimoto's in family history is a bigger reason to take action with a preventative approach.
Can thyroid probs cause period probs?: OH HECK YES. Hormones (including thyroid hormone) are messengers. So, issues with T3 will impact the message being sent to other tissues like ovaries, adrenals, gut, liver, etc..
Want some extra guidance on addressing thyroid symptoms? Take peek at this free guide. It addresses 5 foundational steps to healing yourself from the inside out!