10 Signs You Have A Thyroid Problem And 10 Solutions For It

10 Signs You Have a Thyroid Problem & 10 Solutions For It

This doctor has struggled with thyroid disease herself.

You can only truly understand what we go through with thyroid disease if you’ve lived it yourself.

Written by Amy Myers MD

It’s estimated that as many as 25 million Americans have a thyroid problem, and half of them have no idea that they do. Hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid, accounts for 90% of all thyroid imbalances.

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the center of your neck, is the master gland of metabolism. How well your thyroid is functioning is inter-related with every system in your body. If your thyroid is not running optimally, then neither are you.

10 signs of an under-active thyroid:

1. Fatigue after sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night or needing to take a nap daily.

2. Weight gain or the inability to lose weight.

3. Mood issues such as mood swings, anxiety or depression.

4. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, irregular periods, infertility and low sex drive.

5. Muscle pain, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis.

6. Cold hands and feet, feeling cold when others are not, or having a body temperature consistently below 98.5.

7. Dry or cracking skin, brittle nails and excessive hair loss.

8. Constipation.

9. Mind issues such as brain fog, poor concentration or poor memory.

10. Neck swelling, snoring or hoarse voice.

How does your thyroid gland work?

Thyroid hormone production is regulated by a feedback loop between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the thyroid gland. Hypothalamic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulates pituitary thyrotropin (TSH) synthesis and secretion.

In turn, TSH stimulates production and release of T4 and T3 from the thyroid gland. When enough T4 is produced, it signals to TRH and TSH that there is enough thyroid hormone in circulation and not to produce more.

About 85% of the hormone produced by our thyroid gland is T4, which is an inactive form of the hormone. After T4 is made, a small amount of it is converted into T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone.

To complicate matters, T3 also gets converted into either Free T3 (FT3) or Reverse T3 (RT3). It’s the Free T3 that really matters in all of this, since it’s the only hormone that can attach to a receptor and cause your metabolism to rise, keep you warm, keep your bowels moving, mind working, and other hormones in check. The role of Reverse T3 is not well known, however, I do see it elevated in persons under extreme stress and those who have mercury toxicity.

And finally, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, is the most common form of hypothyroidism and its numbers are rising annually. An autoimmune disease is one in which your body turns on itself and begins to attack a certain organ or tissue believing its foreign.

I routinely screen all of my patients for autoimmune thyroid disease by ordering Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb).

Why is hypothyroidism so under diagnosed in the USA?

Many symptoms of thyroid imbalance are vague and most doctors spend only a few minutes talking with patients to sort out the cause of their complaint.

Most conventional doctors use only one or two tests (TSH and T4) to screen for problems. They are not checking FT3, RT3 or thyroid antibodies.

Most conventional doctors use the ‘normal’ lab reference range as their guide only. Rather than listening to their patients’ symptoms, they use ‘optimal’ lab values and temperature as their guide.

Which lab tests are best to determine if you have a thyroid problem?

I check the below panel on each of my patients. Make sure your doctor does the same for you. You can also order your own thyroid lab tests.

TSH
Free T4
Free T3
Reverse T3
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)

What are the ‘optimal’ lab values for thyroid tests?

In my practice, I have found that the below are the ranges in which my patients (and myself) thrive. I listen to my patients as well and take how they are feeling into account.

TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)
FT4 >1.1 NG/DL
FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML
RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3
TPO – TgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative

What are 10 things you can do to improve your thyroid function?

1. Make sure you are taking a high quality multivitamin with Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin D, and B vitamins.

2. Take a tyrosine supplement such as this one by Thorne Research to help with the FT4 to FT3 conversion.

3. Go gluten-free! If you have Hashimoto’s, try going completely grain and legume free.

4. Deal with your stress and support your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands and thyroid work hand and hand. I recommend restorative yoga and adaptogenic herbs such as this blend by Gaia Herbs, which support the adrenal glands in coping with stress.

5. Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.

6. Have a biological dentist safely remove any amalgam fillings you may have.

7. Watch your intake of raw goitrogens. There is a bit of a debate surrounding this.

8. Get fluoride, bromide and chlorine out of your diet and environment.

9. Heal your gut. A properly functioning digestive system (gut) is critical to good health.

How To Heal Your Gut Naturally with Dr. Amy Myers

10. Find a functional medicine doctor in your area and have them run the above laboratory test and work with you to find your root cause of the thyroid imbalance.

About Amy Myers MD

After serving 2.5 years in the Peace Corps in rural Paraguay, I decided to become a doctor. During my second year of medical school, I was having panic attacks, tremors, and insomnia. I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease in which my thyroid was attacking itself and causing it to become overactive.

I first did nothing. I then tried Chinese Medicine and was eating lots of fermented foods, whole grains, and terrible tasting powdered herbs. That did not help at all.

I finally decided to do the conventional medicine called PTU, which inhibits my thyroid from making so much hormone. After a few weeks, I felt terrible. I returned to my doctor for lab testing and found that my liver was being damaged by the medication and I had something called toxic hepatitis. I was ordered to stop the medication and to strict bed rest. Fearing for my health, my life, and the possibility of having to drop out of medical school, I opted to have my thyroid ablated.

I never want anyone to go through what I had to go through, so it is my mission to educate as many as I can that there are other healthier ways to recover from thyroid disease. I’ve seen incredible health changes with my patients in my clinic Austin UltraHealth. I share my approach for wide range of inflammatory-related symptoms and diseases, including allergies, obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, IBS, chronic headaches, Graves’ disease, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in my New York Times bestseller The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases.

My new book The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight — and How to Get Your Life Back became a New York Times bestseller the first week!

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About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? I founded Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Winner of two 2014 WEGO Health Activist Awards: Health Activist Hero & Best In Show Twitter. Hypothyroid Mom is for information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes Affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Connect with me on Google+