Thyroid dysfunction is super common amongst women right now, leading to exhaustion, weight struggles, brain fog, digestive issues and so much more.
But thyroid issues don't just develop overnight - the develop over a few years.
Tune in today as I share the main symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, the most common causes of an underactive thyroid, and my specific recommendations in terms of lifestyle and supplements.
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Hello and welcome back!
You are likely here because you wanna learn more about your body, your hormones and your period and I’m so happy that you choose to learn from me!
I’m so very passionate about this topic and so I wanna make sure that you get information here that will not only help you to learn about your body, but that will be easy for you to implement so you can start experiencing healing, whatever that looks like for you!
So in the last episode I talked about the importance of liver health, why I don’t believe in detox diets and what you should be doing instead, but today I wanna touch on thyroid health and I believe that many many many healthcare practitioners are missing the ball on this one.
It is estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, of which 60% are totally unaware of their condition.
Women are 5-8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems and one in 8 women will develop a thyroid issue in her lifetime.
We also know that upwards of 90% of all thyroid conditions are as a result of an auto-immune condition, and this is called Hashimotos thyroiditis.
Thyroid issues are massively misdiagnosed and this could lead to serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and infertility. Women with thyroid issues that are pregnant also have an increased risk for miscarriage, preterm delivery and severe developmental poblems in their children.
And I’ve seen time and time again how healthcare practitioners don’t acknowledge the fact that thyroid conditions are misdiagnosed and the role that the thyroid plays in overall health. But more than this, I’ve been confronted by the total resistance of gp’s and other healthcare providers to do proper thyroid testing. This makes it so hard for many of my clients!
Thyroid issues are leading to so many frustrating and debilitating symptoms, so let’s talk about what it can look like.
These symptoms can be hard to describe to your doctor, as it’s often hard to measure or validate it and you can be left feeling hopeless, dismissed, ignored or you can even be prescribed anti-depressants. And I think sometimes even our families and friends find it hard to understand this condition.
Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Every single cell in your body has receptors for thyroid hormone, which means that every single system in your body needs optimal levels of thyroid hormone to perform their jobs well.
This leads to over 300 different symptoms that can present as a result of low thyroid hormone.
And the most important function of thyroid hormone, is cellular metabolism. How your body uses food to create fuel.
So the most common symptoms will include weight gain and feeling fatigued all of the time, since your mitochondria are not able to burn the food to create energy.
But here is a long list of the most common symptoms:
Cold hands and feet
Indigestion, bloating, sluggish digestion, constipation, gas due to slower gut movement
Fatigue - esp in the afternoon but can happen any time of day
Foggy thinking / brain fog
Dark circles under eye
Brittle nails and hair falling out
Headaches and migraines
Joint and muscle pain
Loss of sex drive
Weight gain - most common due to slower than normal metabolism. This is not necessarily sudden weight gain and it seems impossible to lose. No matter what you do, nothing works.
But the most common symptoms that I see would be
Weight gain, despite a consistent exercise routine and healthy meals and trying your best efforts to lose weight.
Brain fog - hard to keep up with the kids
The top 5 Root causes of hashimotos and other autoimmune disorders are
Nutrient deficiencies, more specifically iron, selenium, iodine, B vits and ferritin;
HIdden infections, like virus, parasites, mould, and bacteria;
Environmental factors like heavy metals and environmental toxins, including pollutants, endocrine disruptors and heavy metals;
Chronic stress and trauma; and
A leaky gut or poor gut health.
Let me just take a second to say that there is a difference between hypothyroidism and hashimotos thyroiditis.
Hypothyroidism is a problem with the thyroid not making enough thyroid hormones, but Hashimotos is an autoimmune condition that attacks the thyroid gland, which leads to lowered production of thyroid hormone. Thyroid conditions are not always because of auto-immunity, but a very very very high % of hypothyroidism is driven by hashimotos.
So just taking thyroid hormones will not address the underlying autoimmune disorder.
And this is where testing comes in.
Most healthcare providers, like i said, is very reluctant to do extensive thyroid testing. But the literature is very clear that a large percentage of society suffers from thyroid issues and goes undiagnosed, especially women. So for me, testing is really crucial.
I wanna provide you with a checklist, so that you can actually go to your healthcare provider and push for proper testing to be done.
And I’ve created just that, so if you head to vandghie.com/testing, you will find a free checklist that I’ve put together for you so you can go to your healthcare provider and request testing to be done that will provide you with the right results in order to make an accurate diagnosis. This checklist does not only include testing for thyroid function, but for overall health and investigating the health of all the major body systems. So head over there or find the link in the show notes of this episode.
But when it comes to testing thyroid function, you wanna get TSH tested, which is the hormone released by the brain to communicate with the thyroid for producing thyroid hormone. But most doctors perform only this test, and it’s simply not enough to make an accurate diagnosis. You want to also get free T4 tested, and free T3 tested, because this is the form that your body actually uses. And then you also need to check the Thyroid antibodies, so that we can determine whether your underactive thyroid is as a result of an autoimmune disorder.
If all thyroid parameters are normal but only the antibodies are high, this is an indication of early stage hashimotos thyroiditis.
Before I really kick off all of the information here, I want you to know that, although Hashimotos is a chronic condition, in other words it can’t be cured, you can totally get it into remission and get rid of all of those nasty symptoms.
So take courage, and let’s do this thing together.
There are a few different causes of auto-immune disorders and they include
Poor gut health and leaky gut
Viral infections, and
Heavy metal toxicity
Poor liver function