To find out that your thyroid is “hypoactive,” or hyperactive more rarely, can be almost a sigh of relief. You felt that there was something out of balance, but wasn’t sure what it was, and then you figured it out! It’s the thyroid! And it’s usually an “easy fix.”
Symptoms of a thyroid problem include:
1. Fatigue – waking up tired, even after a good night’s sleep. There may be some nighttime insomnia as well, especially with hyperthyroid.
2. Depression – with hyperthyroid, you may feel more anxious or irritable.
3. Cold basal body temperature and intolerance to cold environments – with hyperthyroid, warmer basal body temperature. You can check this yourself by putting a thermometer next to your bedside at night. First thing in the morning before you get out of bed, check your temperature. Is it below 97.4? That’s a pretty good sign of hypothyroid.
4. Hormone imbalance signs – menstrual changes like irregular periods, heavy cycles (or no cycle with hyperthyroid), PMS, etc.
5. Joint pain from water retention – with hyperthyroid, muscle weakness is normal.
6. Weight gain usually from water retention, so may amount to only about 5-10 pounds at the most. Since the thyroid regulates the uptake of oxygen into the cells, and hence the metabolism, even with a slow metabolism, the body’s intuitively regulates a slower metabolism with a decrease in caloric need. With hyperthyroid, weight loss from increased metabolic uptake is expected.
7. Dry skin and hair loss – with hyperthyroid, the skin is more moist.
8. Poor memory.
9. Constipation – with hyperthyroid, diarrhea.
Here are some reasons that I have discovered in my own experience and my clinical experience as to why someone’s thyroid becomes imbalanced:
1. Significant Hormone Changes: menopause (or puberty but that is more rare), childbirth
2. Major Prolonged Stress
3. Improper Diet: too much gluten in the diet; too much iodized salt or unfermented soy products in the diet
4. Radiation or Exposure to Toxins in the Throat: smoking, chewing tobacco, frequent dental or neck x-rays
The best solutions?
- From a Chinese medical standpoint, thyroid hypo-activity is closely related to adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands are your body’s stress glands. You can think of them like a battery-pack: they can recharge, but in order to do that you must eat healthy and get plenty of exercise and sleep. Your thyroid shows how well you are balancing (or not) the stresses in your life.
- Some changes, like having a baby, involve an adjustment period. How long it takes depends on how resilient your body is to change. The better your diet is, the younger you are, the better your overall health are, and the more support you have in your life make all the difference in the world.
- Chinese herbal medicines that target the Spleen and the Kidney qi and yang can help significantly as well. Definitely the patients notice more energy and better moods. If the thyroid condition is complicated with other problems such as handling stress or moods, hormone imbalances, arthritis, or digestive problems, medicinal herbs can provide a nice solution.
- If you are trying to avoid going on synthetic medication to regulate your thyroid, you can also try dessicated thyroid organ like Armour Thyroid or Standard Process’ Thytrophin. Kelp supplements can also provide the best nutrition for your thyroid in the way of essential trace minerals such as iodine.
“Since I first came to the NHC of Austin 3 years ago, Nicole has become my ‘primary care’ practitioner. More recently, though, through food education and treatments targeting hypothyroidism, I’ve gotten completely off all prescription medication for over a year. Thank you Nicole for giving me my health back.” ~Beth