More women are learning that thyroid issues are common and may be what is behind their symptoms. Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) can result in common symptoms such as hair loss, dry skin and breaking nails, and depression or constipation. The 3 most common symptoms are often overlooked, but should be an early warning sign that your thyroid needs to be checked:
At first, it seems like the weight gain is slow or even explained. Gain 5 lbs here, then 5 lbs there, it must be due to the holiday celebrations. Right? Maybe it was the calories from the lattes or wine, or that you got out of a gym routine. If you look back and ask “How did I gain 15 lbs so fast?” verses in comparison to when you were younger, consider checking your thyroid. Hormones play an important role in weight gain or weight loss. As we age and the ovaries decline bit by bit, the endocrine system must compensate with hormone balance at the thyroid and adrenals. If the thyroid is not at optimum the shift in weight can be real, but it does not have to be.
Other people may be mentioning you look tired, or you are relying on caffeine to keep your day going. As soon as you get home if you sit down you start to get sleepy or could nap. In fact, on the weekends you may be sleeping in and still needing a nap during the day. If you know your energy is lower and you aren’t able to keep up with the kids like you want, this could be due to low thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormone controls brain function and alertness. When thyroid hormones are low it is often described as “fat, forty, female, fatigued… and foggy”! It feels like you can’t remember what you were doing last, can’t concentrate well, or like your eyes and head are tired and heavy. If you miss being sharp and alert have a complete thyroid panel checked including antibodies.
Check Your Thyroid Thoroughly!
Often routine labs can miss lower thyroid function. The standard TSH is not measuring your thyroid hormones, it is measuring your pituitary gland telling your thyroid what to do. The thyroid makes hormones that must convert further at other organs including your liver, kidney and intestines. After all of those steps, you now have an active form of the thyroid hormone that can tell your brain, body and metabolism to function properly.
Most commonly, hypothyroidism is due to an immune system attack on the thyroid called Hashimoto’s Disease. These immune antibodies must be checked to be thorough as they wax and wane years before being diagnosed before the thyroid labs are abnormal. Consult with your functional medicine practitioner to have your thyroid thoroughly checked and get to the source of the hormone imbalance.
Dr. O’Donnell is passionate about helping women live their best lives. If you are concerned about your thyroid function, snag a spot on her calendar for a complimentary thyroid consultation.