Did you know that having an abnormally high or low thyroid can cause you to miscarry and wreak havoc on your body?
January is Thyroid Awareness Month?
I thought talking about how vital our thyroid is to our body functions, including pregnancy, would be a great way to start the year off. One of the first things that I tell new clients is to have a blood test to check their thyroid levels. It’s super easy to do and can tell you so much about why you have trouble getting pregnant and sustaining a normal pregnancy. Even if you are not pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you are more than likely experiencing symptoms when your thyroid is out of whack. Some of the most common are excessive tiredness, weight gain/loss, brain fog, dry hair, and skin and hair loss, to name a few.
Over 20 Million people suffer from a thyroid issue, which can be Hypo (underactive) or Hyper (overactive).
Hypo-Thyroid’s most common cause is Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune condition), and doctors commonly treat it with Synthroid. Hypo-Thyroid means your body is not producing enough Thyroid hormone. In this case, you will have a normal thyroxine level and a high TSH. Some symptoms of Hypo are low cold tolerance, weight gain, exhaustion, and depression.
When you are Hyper-Thyroid, your body is producing an excessive amount of Thyroid hormone. One known cause is Graves Disease in 50%-80% of the cases. Doctors treat a Hyper-Thyroid with beta-blockers, radioactive iodine, or anti-thyroid medicines. When you are Hyper, your body is producing an excessive amount of Thyroid hormone. Some symptoms of Hyper are heat intolerance, weight loss, sleeping difficulties, irritability, muscle weakness, and a fast heartbeat. Sometimes, women with Thyroid conditions will go undiagnosed because the lab standards are often higher than they should be, especially for a woman trying to conceive.
60% of people suffering symptoms on either side of the spectrum are unaware that the cause is due to their thyroid.
1/8 women will suffer at one point in their lives and frequently will complain of symptoms. Instead of getting a proper diagnosis, their doctors tell them there is nothing wrong, and they, in turn, may think that they are crazy. I was put in that category when I saw my TSH go from two to four to five to seven. My GP insisted that’s within normal range and refused to put me on thyroid medication. When I did get put on thyroid medication, magically, after eight years of fertility treatments, I got pregnant naturally with my third child. What I’m saying is always push and always advocate for yourself. Doctors are great, but you also need to insist on what’s right for you.
My suggestion is:
Find a doctor who will listen to you and take you seriously. It’s always best to have the entire Thyroid blood panel done, including TSH, TPO antibodies, Free T3, Total T3, and Free T4. You cannot get the full picture by just looking at the TSH! Once you find a doctor you trust and get put on the proper meds, avoiding or adding certain foods can also help. Studies show that avoiding foods like gluten and adding coconut oil, fish oils, and ginger to your diet can help.
If there is anything you can take away from this article, I hope that you stick to your guns with all your doctors, not just your Endocrinologist. If something’s not right, if you’re not feeling right, you need to keep pushing until you get the testing you need. It’s ok to challenge your doctor if you have symptoms and suspect that it’s a thyroid problem. Don’t just blindly trust those numbers because there’s so much more at play. Your signs and a full blood panel, not just TSH, must be ordered. What your feeling along with your antibodies, your T3, your T4, your free T3 will allow for a more accurate diagnosis.
Please share this information with anybody who thinks their thyroid may be causing their symptoms. I genuinely hope that if your thyroid is the problem, that you can get the help with your diagnosis that you need.