Seeking to understand if you have thyroid issues or what you can do to manage a diagnosis? Perhaps you are experiencing symptoms in line with possible thyroid imbalance such as hair loss, dry skin, weight gain or loss. We offer testing and natural interventions to support thyroid health.
The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It secretes hormones that are responsible for regulating many processes in the body including the rate at which we burn calories (or metabolism). The thyroid gland can become underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism).
What kinds of thyroid disease affect women?
These thyroid diseases affect more women than men:
- Disorders that cause hypothyroidism
- Disorders that cause hyperthyroidism
- Thyroiditis, especially postpartum thyroiditis
- Thyroid nodules
- Thyroid cancer
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Commonly Asked Questions
How do thyroid problems affect women?
Women are more likely than men to have thyroid disease. One in eight women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime. In women, thyroid diseases can cause:
- Problems with your menstrual period. Your thyroid helps control your menstrual cycle. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can make your periods very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease also can cause your periods to stop for several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea. If your body’s immune system causes thyroid disease, other glands, including your ovaries, may be involved. This can lead to early menopause (before age 40).
- Problems getting pregnant. When thyroid disease affects the menstrual cycle, it also affects ovulation. This can make it harder for you to get pregnant.
- Problems during pregnancy. Thyroid problems during pregnancy can cause health problems for the mother and the baby.
Sometimes, symptoms of thyroid problems are mistaken for menopause symptoms. Thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, is more likely to develop after menopause.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones. It is also called underactive thyroid. This slows down many of your body’s functions, like your metabolism.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the North America is Hashimoto’s disease. In people with Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid. This attack damages the thyroid so that it does not make enough hormones.
What are the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly, often over several years. At first, you may feel tired and sluggish. Later, you may develop other signs and symptoms of a slowed-down metabolism, including:
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain, even though you are not eating more food
- Joint or muscle pain
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Feeling very tired
- Pale, dry skin
- Dry, thinning hair
- Slow heart rate
- Less sweating than usual
- A puffy face
- A hoarse voice
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
You also may have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for heart disease.
What is thyroiditis?
Thyroiditis is inflammation of the thyroid. It happens when the body’s immune system makes antibodies that attack the thyroid.
Causes of thyroiditis include:
- Autoimmune diseases, like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Certain types of medicines
Two common types of thyroiditis are Hashimoto’s disease and postpartum thyroiditis.
What is postpartum thyroiditis?
Postpartum thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth, affects 10% of women. It often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are much like the “baby blues” that may follow delivery. Women with postpartum thyroiditis may feel very tired and moody.
Postpartum thyroiditis typically happens in two phases, though not everyone with the condition goes through both phases:
- The first phase starts 1 to 4 months after giving birth and typically last 1 to 2 months. In this phase, you may have signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism because the damaged thyroid leaks thyroid hormones out into the bloodstream.
- The second phase starts about 4 to 8 months after delivery and lasts 6 to 12 months. In this phase, you may have signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism because the thyroid has lost most of its hormones or because the immune attack is over and the thyroid may recover later.
Who is at risk for postpartum thyroiditis?
Your immune system may cause postpartum thyroiditis. If you have an autoimmune disease, like type 1 diabetes, your risk is higher.
Your risk is also higher if:
- Have a personal history or family history of thyroid disorders
- Had postpartum thyroiditis after a previous pregnancy
- Have chronic viral hepatitis
Can thyroid disease cause problems getting pregnant?
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it harder for you to get pregnant. This is because problems with the thyroid hormone can upset the balance of the hormones that cause ovulation. Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to make more prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make breastmilk. Too much prolactin can prevent ovulation.
Thyroid problems can also affect the menstrual cycle. Your periods may be heavier or irregular, or you may not have any periods at all for several months or longer (called amenorrhea).
Treatment of Endometriosis at Westend Women’s Health
At Westend Women’s Health, we help in many ways to understand and support your thyroid health. The goals of treatment of include development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including phsical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors; development of a comprehensive treatment plan and implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
The most important blood markers to evaluate when assessing for a thyroid disorder are as follows:
- TSH, Free T4, Free T3, reverse T3
- Anti-TPO, Anti-TG, TSI antibodies
- Ferritin and CBC
- 25-hydroxy Vitamin D
- Fasting glucose + fasting insulin
- DHEA, 4 point cortisol
When appropriate, treatments can include:
- Nutritional Services
- Biomarker Testing
- Hormone Testing
- Bio-identical Hormone Therapy
Reach out today to book your appointment
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