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

I founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroid Mom is for informational 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 to favorite resources including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Connect with me on Google+

Comments

  1. Hello. I am currently seeing my second endocrinologist. No one can dx me with anything. I’ve had symptoms of Grave’s, Hashimotos and probably 25 symptoms of things that is wrong with me. I think I’m getting narcolepsy now. I had to have a memory test for short and long term memory loss. Needless to say I did poorly. I sometimes contemplate suicide because I feel so very bad. I don’t go anywhere. I suffer severe migraines and other types of headaches. I need to be a guinea pig for science. My mother and sister both had hypothyroidism and autoimmune disorders. Why can’t anyone dx me with something? I feel like maybe I have that disease where you sound like a hypochondriac. Just think I went to my dr and said I think I have a vitamin difficency and hormone problems and that started the ball rolling. The only thing I don’t understand is I am never cold. I am so hot I can’t stand it. I sweat in the shower after and all day long. I have to have a fan blowing on me at all times. This all started in April 2013 I have the worse case of burning mouth syndrome. Today it is a tad bit better, but then it gets fired up again. It never goes away. Can you help me? What should I do? I have so many specialist’s it’s not funny. I’m so doctored out. There has to be someone out there that can help me. Like I said I’ll be a guinea pig.

    Sincerely,
    Kelly Coley

    • May I suggest you have them test your gallbladder. I have a very low reading of hypothyroidism and was just dx with it when I came down with IBS, and GURD. I was also placed on Prilosec. I had night sweats so bad it was completely disturbing my sleep as well as my husband’s. I had a complete hysterectomy 12 years ago, should not be having night sweats. Also I was still feeling bloated, getting heavier, tired all the time, and I had an uncomfortable feeling under ribs just below my right breast and a stabbing pain in my back between my shoulder blades. All of these can be related to your gallbladder. I am feeling so much better since I had my gallbladder removed. IBS, gas, bloating…..gone. I have lost 60 lbs by watching what I eat and work out….but it works now that my thyroid treatment started (Levothyroxin 75mcg) AND gallbladder removed. My thyroid tests since surgery indicates my thyroid numbers are even lower, so medication was reduced slightly. No SWEATING at night or ever really unless I am working out or it is warm weather. This has been a miracle for me and I can only hope it helps you. Please ask your GI doctor to give your gallbladder an ultrasound to see if you have stones…..get it removed if you do….it will only get worse. Don’t let them run you around on it, your gallbladder can make you so sick and yet overlooked. I hope you try this, best if so, good luck!!

    • Kelly, I have been experiencing all the same things you describe right down to the burning mouth, including unfortunately, the doctors attitudes! I’m not sure how it works- but I found a really good acupuncturists who uses Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s made a huge difference in how I feel- It’s been pretty amazing. If you can try that- just make sure you go to someone who has in depth knowledge of acupuncture & traditional Chinese medicine.

      • Glenn D. Miller says:

        Acupuncture is witchcraft, while it can seem to produce results it will lead to other complications. Seek the healing of your Creator- he made you. Would you take your car to your local mechanic for repair or service if he was a known carjacker or Thief? There are many good natural remedies designed to be used for of our needs also supplied by our creator- the Creator of the universe. The medical field seeks to hide this information and discourage it. Steer clear of acupuncture, reflexology, sacral cranial therapy, yoga etc. Also high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG) highly processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, food coloring Etc. I learned a lot through my family having Lyme’s and winding up contaminated with extreme amounts of heavy metal. There’s very few doctors in the country that can be trusted not to load you with drugs, same with hospitals. Thankfully I know the best Healer, also a good medical doctor & many old home remedies. Any questions contact me- thanks!

  2. I was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism yesterday after having crazy high heart rates for about a month. I am completely freaking out! I am 35 . I don’t know what to do. I had more blood work this morning and I have made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor as well as i am going to see a n endocrinologist I am petrified about the treatment most of the reading suggest the medication in pill form fails which only leaves an option for Radioactive Iodine which ultimately leads to hypothyrodism which lead to having to take a pill for the rest of my life. My Primary care provider has let me know that the encrinologist wants to start med asap. Tx doesn sound like a solution,abatement is not the solution and neither is surgery. what to do? I feel completly lost.

  3. Glenn D. Miller says:

    Acupuncture is witchcraft, while it can seem to produce results it will lead to other complications. Seek the healing of your Creator- he made you. Would you take your car to your local mechanic for repair or service if he was a known carjacker or Thief? There are many good natural remedies designed to be used for of our needs also supplied by our creator- the Creator of the universe. The medical field seeks to hidIe this information and discourage it. Steer clear of acupuncture, reflexology, sacral cranial therapy, yoga etc. Also high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG) highly processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, food coloring Etc. I learned a lot through my family having Lyme’s and winding up contaminated with extreme amounts of heavy metal. There’s very few doctors in the country that can be trusted not to load you with drugs, same with hospitals. Thankfully I know the best Healer, also a good medical doctor & many old home remedies. Any questions contact me- thanks!

  4. Please suggest how to cure from thyriod…

  5. Savannah Masters says:

    All of you sound like you should get tested for lyme disease and other coinfections just to be sure.

  6. Savannah Masters says:

    I’ve had the strangest symptoms lately with the main one being dizziness and an off balance feeling. I’m only 19 and am having a ton of issues. I’m gonna go get tested for multiple things to see how I can heal myself. Remember that the big picture should be looked at as a whole. There is often an underlying problem that causes all of these issues. Definitely research ways to heal your gut, mind, adrenal glands, and nervous system because they often are the root of issues such as thyroid dysfunction. When you think about it everything these days is poisonous to our bodies. Just be careful and think about everything that is going into/on your body. I wish peace and healing to you all and that you get to feel yourselves again someday.

  7. I have been having some crazy symptoms for over a year and Dr thinks I have hypothyroidism and being tested for hashimoto auto immune disease also Dr’s says I have a heart murmur which is another symptom of thyroid issues but I don’t have every symptom of hypothyroidism does this mean the diagnosis could be wrong still waiting on blood work to confirm it, I’m so scared and overwhelmed by this all hard believe I can have all these health issues but my dad,sister and niece have problems with thyroid and my sister has hashimoto as well so maybe it runs in the family

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