If you are a woman struggling with ANY sort of chronic issue, you have probably either heard from your doctor, a friend or family member, or the internet to have your thyroid checked. And this is for very good reason – nearly 25 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease and as many as half of those don’t even know it!
Let’s start with a little background on the thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland is basically the thermostat that regulates the energy of the entire body, pretty important, huh? This is so critical because for women that we commonly see around 45-60, low energy levels are one of the most common complaints! The thyroid gland controls energy levels, mood, menstrual cycles, and metabolism along with thousands of other body functions. It accomplishes this by regulating the precise amount of hormones into the bloodstream for the body to function effectively – this is called homeostasis. When the thyroid isn’t functioning correctly (due to about a thousand different reasons) either too much or too little of a particular hormone is released. This improper amount of hormone causes the organs which they affect to become dysfunctional. And just as it sounds – organs becoming dysfunctional is bad, very bad. This is what causes severe chronic issues and throws the whole body “out of whack.” Which is exactly the way some women feel! They can’t exactly put their finger on it, but they describe it as they feel “out of sorts.”
So, as if that wasn’t enough information for you yet, I’ve put together the TOP 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE THYROID ISSUES. I think these are so important, so please take a minute to read them, learn more about thyroid issues, and what options you have to help your thyroid function better!
#1 Yet Another Issue For The Ladies!
Women are far more likely to experience thyroid problems than men – and women of all ages! Typically we think of thyroid issues around the time of menopause (which is totally true!) but actually in the months immediately after birth is a very common time for thyroid problems to develop. So ladies… radar on!
#2 As If Having a Baby Wasn’t Enough…
Thyroid function is ESSENTIAL for the hormones that control fertility and menstrual regularity – so women having trouble conceiving could potentially have thyroid problems. Optimal thyroid function is also essential for healthy development of babies’ brains and nervous systems. Metabolic needs can increase by up to 50% in the first trimester to support all the extra needs of the baby! All of this metabolic demand is regulated by the thyroid, and it starts to work overtime. The thyroid then has to change function drastically right after baby is born. All of that extra demand is gone and now it has to go back to self-regulation. This period of time, post partum, is a high risk time for women to see thyroid issues appear. (Stay tuned for #3 to see what this looks like.)
#3 The Laundry List
I’d love to tell you, “If you experience this one particular thing, then it’s definitely your thyroid.” But, unfortunately it’s not that simple. The process of thyroid control and regulation is a very intricate and specific process, so depending on what is going on, there could be a laundry list of symptoms that are considered potentially “thyroid related issues.”
Ok, ready? Here goes:
Hot Flashes/Night Sweats
Weight Gain & Trouble Losing Weight – despite your most valiant efforts of eating right and exercising!
Weight Loss (seems crazy… but if your thyroid is functioning too much, it causes your metabolism to be too high, and you lose weight without trying)
Depression (watch for this postpartum)
Memory Issues/Brain Fog
Let’s take a breather here, wow. Goes to show you just how important your thyroid really is! How many women do you know who are silently suffering from some of the above symptoms and just say, “Oh, it’s just normal at my age” or “It’s not that bad, I just deal with it.” Ugh! I just want to scream from the mountaintop… “Ladies, you don’t have to just deal with it!” Imagine how different their quality and outlook on life would be if these symptoms were resolved?! That is what getting your thyroid on track can do!
#4 Why Can’t I Microwave Plastic?
MANY things influence your thyroid, one aspect to consider is what are you exposed to? Exposure to environmental toxins interfere with thyroid function. Period. I want to repeat that for emphasis, but I’ll leave that to my bold text. Your diet, the water you drink, what you drink your water from, products you put on your skin, what you store your food in, the methods you use to cook, your toothpaste choice, what you cook your food in, the air you breathe – just to name a few! These toxins disrupt thyroid function and need to be considered and greatly reduced when you are getting your thyroid function back.
#5 Part of The Bigger Picture
Thyroid function and hormone function are controlled by a mechanism called feedback. Follow me on this one, it’s not too bad. It works just like the thermostat on your heater. When the gland (thyroid) is working harder than the body needs it to, the hormone production switches off. Same thing that happens with your house reaches the 70 degrees the thermostat is set at – the heater will turn off. When the thyroid needs to speed up again, the hormone will switch on again. This “switch” and control of the hormones that INFLUENCE the thyroid is controlled by the nervous system. This is so important to remember, because it is so often overlooked when we are searching for an answer for thyroid dysfunction. If the issue is with how the nervous system is controlling the thyroid gland; than no amount of medications, diet modification, or reduction of toxins is going to fix the problem.
We see many women in this same predicament – they have been trying all these different changes and still haven’t seen the BIG changes in their “laundry list of symptoms” that they so badly desire. We check their nervous system function, and if we see THAT is where the problem is, we can work to get that resolved. Once resolved, the pieces of the puzzle come together! Suddenly their energy levels sky rocket, they can actually sleep, they handle stress and anxiety better, their mood improves, and they start losing weight!
So if this sounds like you, or someone you know, don’t forget this essential part of the thyroid story… It is still an organ that needs to be correctly controlled and regulated by the nervous system.