Did you know that an abnormally high or low thyroid gland can lead to miscarriages and destroy your body?
Is January Thyroid Awareness Month?
I thought talking about how important our thyroid is to our body functions, including pregnancy, would be a great way to start the new year. One of the first things I tell new customers is a blood test to check their thyroid levels. It’s super simple and can tell you so much about why you’re having trouble getting pregnant and maintaining a normal pregnancy. Even if you are not pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you are most likely to experience symptoms when your thyroid is out of whack. Some of the most common are excessive fatigue, weight gain / loss, brain fog, dry hair, and skin and hair loss, to name a few.
Over 20 million people have a thyroid problem, which can be hypo (underactive) or hyper (overactive).
The most common cause of hypo-thyroid is Hashimoto (an autoimmune disease), and doctors often treat it with Synthroid. Hypo-thyroid means your body is not making enough thyroid hormone. When this happens, you have normal thyroxine levels and high TSH. Some symptoms of hypo include low tolerance to cold, weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
When you have an overactive thyroid, your body produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. A known cause is Graves’ disease in 50% -80% of cases. Doctors treat hyperthyroidism with beta blockers, radioactive iodine, or anti-thyroid drugs. When you are hyper, your body produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Some symptoms of hyper are heat intolerance, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, irritability, muscle weakness, and a fast heartbeat. Sometimes women with thyroid disease go undiagnosed because laboratory standards are often higher than they should be, especially for a woman trying to conceive.
60% of people with symptoms on both sides of the spectrum don’t know that the cause lies in their thyroid.
1/8 women suffer at some point in their life and often complain of symptoms. Instead of getting a proper diagnosis, their doctors tell them nothing is wrong and, in turn, they may think they are crazy. I was placed in this category when I saw my TSH go from two to four to five to seven. My GP insisted this is normal and refused to give me any thyroid medication. When I was magically given thyroid medication after eight years of fertility treatment, I got pregnant naturally with my third child. What I say is always pressure and always stand up for yourself. Doctors are great, but you also need to insist on what is right for you.
My suggestion is:
Find a doctor who will listen and take you seriously. It is always best to have the entire thyroid blood panel done, including TSH, TPO Antibodies, Free T3, Total T3, and Free T4. You can’t get the full picture just by looking at the TSH! Once you’ve found a doctor you trust and are given the right medications, avoiding or adding certain foods can also help. Studies show that avoiding foods like gluten and adding coconut oil, fish oils, and ginger to your diet can be helpful.
If there is anything you can take away from this article, I hope you hold onto your guns with all of your doctors, not just your endocrinologist. When something is wrong, when you don’t feel right, you need to keep pushing until you get the tests you need. It’s okay to challenge your doctor if you have symptoms and suspect it may be a thyroid problem. Don’t just blindly trust these numbers because there is so much more involved. Your signs and a whole blood test, not just TSH, must be ordered. What you feel along with your antibodies, your T3, your T4, and your free T3 make a more accurate diagnosis possible.
Please share this information with anyone who thinks their thyroid may be causing their symptoms. I sincerely hope that if your thyroid is the problem you can get the help with your diagnosis that you need.