The thyroid gland is an organ that is situated in the anterior (front) neck below the skin and muscle layers. The thyroid gland takes the shape of a butterfly with the two wings being represented by the left and right thyroid lobes which wrap around the trachea. The sole function of the thyroid is to make thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormones control your energy production and fat burning, as well as your ability to process foods. When you have too much estrogen or chemicals that mimic the estrogen hormone, your body will then decrease its thyroid hormones. There are many chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis that have the ability to mimic estrogen.
The thyroid produces three hormones, Calcitonin, T3 (called tri-iodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). The pituitary gland in the brain produces the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which activates the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones: 1. Tell your organs how fast or slow they can work 2. Tell you when to use energy (consuming oxygen and producing heat) in your body.
When functioning normally, your thyroid gland keeps your body and its regulators on task. If the thyroid fails to produce enough stimulating hormones, the result is hypothyroidism -- an under-active thyroid condition that can cause weight gain, fatigue, forgetfulness, and mood swings. Though it occurs less frequently, the gland may produce a surge of hormones leading to an over-active thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, that can cause weight loss, irritability, muscle weakness, irregular menstrual periods, and sleep or vision problems.
Another problem that is causing major problems today is endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors, are certain synthetic chemicals in the environment that we are exposed to every day which endangers human health by disrupting the human endocrine system. When these disruptors affect your thyroid gland many symptoms often arise. More than 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with thyroid disease, and another 13 million people are estimated to have undiagnosed thyroid problems in the U.S. alone
Since these are times of hormonal change, it makes sense that an imbalance in female hormones would strongly impact thyroid function. In fact, we often see hypothyroidism in our patients as part of a larger pattern of long-term hormonal imbalance.
Unfortunately, conventional medicine typically views the thyroid in isolation from the other systems of the body. And quite frankly, the success rate of conventional medical treatment for hypothyroidism is far from encouraging. In so many cases women with thyroid problems spiral steadily downward, feeling worse as the years go by and finding themselves on an ever-expanding list of medications.
I would encourage you instead to see the thyroid as an integral part of your overall health picture. What we find is that with this approach to thyroid health, we can often restore and then maintain healthy thyroid function in our patients.
Different Types of Thyroid Disease and Dysfunction • Hashimoto's Disease or Thyroiditis (one of the most common forms of hypothyroidism, an auto-immune disease of the thyroid gland). • Hypothyroidism caused by a sluggish thyroid gland or thyroid gland inflammation. • Hypothyroidism caused by surgery or medication. • Hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency. • Hypothyroidism caused by dysfunction of the pituitary gland.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism? • Chronic fatigue and weakness • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight • Hair loss or coarse, dry hair • Dry and rough skin • Intolerance to cold • Abnormal menstrual cycles • Decreased sex drive • Memory loss • Depression and irritability • Constipation • Muscle cramps
Not all of these symptoms are always present. If you are concerned that you may have Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, always consult your doctor.
What is a Goiter? A goiter is an enlargement or swelling of the thyroid gland. The result is a bulge or a painless swelling or disfigurement of the neck, sometimes so large that it can easily be seen as a mass in the neck. There are different kinds of goiters. A simple goiter is classified as either an endemic (colloid) goiter or a sporadic (nontoxic) goiter. This type usually occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive (hypothyroidism) and cannot produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body's requirements. The thyroid gland enlarges to compensate and produce the necessary hormone. Another form of goiter, called toxic nodular goiter, appears when one or more nodules in the thyroid get out of control and produce too much thyroid hormone. A nontoxic goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid which is not associated with overproduction of thyroid hormone or malignancy.
What you can do about hypothyroidism? The first thing to do if you are experiencing stubborn weight gain is to talk to your practitioner. She or he may ask for a thyroid blood test or measure TSH (thyroid- stimulating hormone). I have found in my practice that many women who test within the “normal” range of traditional medical standards still need thyroid support. Their TSH may be only slightly elevated, but enough so that it influences their metabolism and causes weight gain.
For these women, supplemental nutrition and a regular meal plan that balances a proper ratio of protein to carbohydrates increases their metabolic functioning which also helps them to lose weight. In some cases, a low-dose thyroid replacement hormone may also needed.
There is a lot of controversy in the endocrinology world regarding hypothyroidism treatment. There are those that believe that patients who test within the normal range but have very low basal metabolic rates and very low basal temperatures need thyroid supplementation. There are others that argue that only patients with significant abnormalities should be supported with thyroid hormones.
At Balanced Body Wellness Centre we look at the individual needs of each patient and treat her accordingly — sometimes referring for medication, sometimes not. Weight gain is not sufficient evidence to conclude that someone has a thyroid abnormality, but it is one part of the picture we try to bring into focus. Efforts to lose weight without addressing related thyroid issues are doomed to fail. The greatest success is found through a holistic, natural approach that considers thyroid function as an integral part of your overall hormonal balance.
As with all endocrine problems, our natural technique called Body Restoration Technique (BRT) checks the hormonal feedback loops to the brain for communication problems. The hypothalamus region of the brain produces a hormone called thyroid releasing hormone (TRH), which travels via the blood to the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. The TRH stimulates the pituitary to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which in turn travels to the thyroid gland and stimulates it to produce the thyroid hormones T3, T4 and Calcitonin.
These hormones go to virtually all the cells of the body, carrying an instruction to the nucleus of the cells to produce various proteins, enzymes and other cellular products needed by the body (gene expression). The circulating thyroid hormone concentrations in the blood are constantly monitored by the hypothalamus. If they become too high the hypothalamus decreases its production of TRH. If it becomes too low it increases TRH. This mechanism works very similar to a thermostat used to control temperature in our houses.
What can you do about your thyroid health? Some tests you can do at home are the temperature test and the iodine patch test. We often see hypothyroid symptoms totally reversed when a woman commits to an alternative hypothyroidism treatment program that supports balance through nutrition and daily self- care.
In our experience a multi-tiered hypothyroid treatment approach that deals directly with the nutritional, stress-related and emotional factors of hypothyroidism — in combination with alternative therapies — often restores a woman’s thyroid function completely.
A Personalized Program is a great place to start! At Balanced Body Wellness Centre each person is treated as a unique individual. Our personalized programs promote natural hormonal balance with nutritional supplements, endocrine support formulas, dietary and lifestyle guidance.
Call 770-425-6068 or e-mail us today to get started!