Thyroid Symptoms in Women:
Hypo-thyroid a Very Complex Diagnosis
Thyroid disease is often misunderstood leading to a misdiagnosis and mistreatment of thyroid symptoms in women. Most patients are diagnosed as
and given a synthetic form of thyroid hormone. One of the problems with this is that the thyroid was looked at as its own entity and not seen as a part of a greater whole within the endocrine system. Thyroid symptoms in women are but a slice of the proverbial larger pie.
The thyroid is only a part, albeit important one, of the delicately balanced endocrine system. Another way to look at thyroid disease is an unbalancing of the endocrine system. Most patients given synthetic thyroid hormone will not have great long-term management of their condition.
To look at the thyroid gland and thyroid function one must take into account that many man-made compounds and naturally occurring ones assault the thyroid on a daily basis. It may not be only one of these insults, but a combination that has caused malfunction in the endocrine system.
Chemicals causing thyroid symptoms in women include:
• Anti-diabetic drugs
• Sulfa drugs
• Estrogen-birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy
• Aspirin and salicylate pain killers
• Food additives in processed foods
Alcohol and prescription medication will deplete the body of B vitamins. This deficiency of B vitamins, specifically B6, reduces the availability of iodine for the production of thyroid hormone.
Soy, some nuts and cruciferous vegetables can contribute to low function of the thyroid,
, if eaten in large amounts. These include cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, mustard, watercress, lima beans, sweet potato, almonds, walnuts and pine nuts. The soy industry actually acknowledges that soy can reduce thyroid function, but only when there is a reduction in
. Exposure to environmental and dietary compounds like fluorine, chlorine and bromine will alter the production of thyroglobulin. These compounds will competitively inhibit binding of iodine at the follicular cells which will decrease the quality of iodothyronine hormones produced, or T4 and T3. This could mean that TSH is low, may prompt a diagnosis of hypothyroid, but the thyroid is producing enough hormone, just poor quality hormone. A patient might not feel better with synthetic thyroid hormone because they cannot bind iodine. (This does not mean that you should take iodine if your TSH is low, you MUST have a complete
drawn so a qualified physician can determine where in this complex system disharmony has occurred).
The thyroid can also be impacted in a negative way but dysfunction or imbalance elsewhere in the endocrine system. Cortisol, sex hormones and insulin can all have an impact on thyroid function. Conditions including adrenal fatigue, food allergies and sensitivities, hypoglycemia and decreased sex drive can all lead to decreased function in the thyroid. As stated before, thyroid function is a very complex and delicate part of the entire endocrine system. Imbalances in one area can trigger stress in other areas; it is the physicians duty to figure out where the dysfunction has occurred, where treatment should be focused and to reassure the patient that she will feel marked improvement in a short period of time.
Complete Thyroid Blood Tests
Thyroid symptoms in women may be related to food allergies
Infomation on Iodine Supplementation
Hypothyroid Symptoms and Diagnosis
To Go Organic or Not
Return to Fort Collins Nutrition Homepage