The classic signs of a sluggish thyroid gland include weight gain, lethargy, poor quality hair and nails, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and constipation -- and these symptoms are relatively well known.
But did you know that depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, irritable bowel syndrome, or autoimmune disease could actually indicate a problem with your thyroid? Also, some of the conditions you might not associate with your thyroid include:
* High cholesterol * Irregular menstruation * Low libido * Infertility * Gum disease * Fluid retention * Skin conditions such as acne and exzema * Memory problems * Poor stamina
Thyroid disorders are quickly becoming one of the most common ailments in the U.S. With our fast paced life styles and increased chemical contaminated water, air and food, many people are experiencing increased levels of fatigue. When the thyroid gland is hampered, every system in the body suffers. This is because every cell in the body needs small amounts of thyroid hormone. This is also why people with thyroid symptoms are so hard to diagnose. Their symptoms can be so vague and varied that by the time they do seek treatment it is years after the symptoms started.
I read that low thyroid conditions do not cause people to die; instead they cause people to feel half dead or wish they were dead. This is certainly true of many of our patients. They are so tired they don’t want to get out of bed, they withdraw from friends and family, feel intense anger at times and severe depression at others -basically they lose their ability to enjoy life. Many low grade thyroid problems do not show up on blood tests so patients are dismissed or misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, a common practice is to put patients on anti-depressants, which does not correct the problem. Many are diagnosed in a timely manner and get put on Synthroid, however, this works for some and make others feel worse.
To compound the problem there are overlapping syndromes that may affect the thyroid patient such as fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia, chronic fatigue. Low ovary and/ or adrenal function may also develop from low thyroid. Also, the symptoms of menopause and thyroid imbalance are quite similar. So where do you go from here?
For us, a whole person approach to thyroid disorders works best. There are many causes of thyroid dysfunction ranging from bacteria, virus, heavy metal toxicity, radiation, parasites, fluoride and other endocrine disruptors like pesticides and insecticides. Ruling out low adrenal function, which can actually cause someone’s thyroid problem to be much worse than it would otherwise be, is an important step in the process. The holistic approach to thyroid dysfunction addresses nutritional needs, exercise, and stress reduction. You may also need to decrease your exposure to toxic chemicals and toxic people.