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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jessica

I Feel Awful, Is It My Thyroid?

Your thyroid gland, shaped like a butterfly, sits at the base of your neck. Your thyroid hormones, called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), have a big say in how fast your body works, your temperature, energy levels, heart rate, periods, mood, and even how your hair and nails grow.

The most common thyroid imbalance that I see in my practice is Hypothyroidism, or slow functioning thyroid.

When the thyroid gland doesn't produce sufficient hormones or those hormones fail to act effectively, it affects cells throughout the body, leading to various symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Thinning or dry hair, nails, and skin

  • Brittle nails

  • Feeling constantly cold and having a decreased body temperature

  • Irregular periods

  • Fertility problems

  • Brain fog

  • Depression

  • Aching muscles and joints

  • Loss of muscle strength and tone

Without proper treatment, hypothyroidism can lead to additional complications over time, including:

  • Elevated cholesterol levels

  • Pregnancy-related issues

Less commonly I see women with Hyperthyroidism, which is an over-active thyroid.

Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss (unexplained)

  • Increase in appetite

  • Rapid heart rate/palpitations

  • Anxiety/irritability/nervousness

  • Tremor

  • Sweating

  • Increased sensitivity to heat

  • Sleep disturbances

Thyroid Testing

To assess for optimal thyroid function the following tests should be done;

  1. TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) - tells us how fast/slow your thyroid is functioning

  2. Free T4 - inactive thyroid hormone

  3. Free T3 - active thyroid hormone

  4. Anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO): marker for Hashimoto's disease (autoimmune disease)

  5. Anti-thyroglobulin (TG): marker for Hashimoto's disease (autoimmune disease)

Unfortunately, many women have never had a complete thyroid panel done, even when they have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Be sure to check your lab work to see if more than TSH and Free T4 have been tested. If not, you are missing key information needed to assess how your thyroid is functioning and to develop treatment options.

Compared to conventional lab ranges, which are based on results from the overall population, functional medicine thyroid lab ranges are tailored to detect thyroid issues prior to the onset of more advanced thyroid disease. Ask your health practitioner if they are interpreting your lab results for optimal levels not just normal levels.

Clinical Pearl

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

An autoimmune condition of the thyroid and the most common cause of under-active thyroid, however, 80% of those with thyroid disease have this and don't know it because it is not properly tested through lab work with your medical doctor (unless you see me, of course!)

Thyroid Treatment

Naturopathic treatment for thyroid issues is individualized for my patients. But, some common areas that individuals need to consider are;

  • nutrient deficiencies such as iron, zinc, selenium

  • stress hormone (cortisol) management

  • gut health

  • autoimmunity for Hashimoto's

Next Seps

I invite you to have a complimentary health discovery phone call with me if;

  1. If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism but your symptoms haven't changed

  2. You would like a second opinion about your "normal" blood work

  3. You have been told that your thyroid is normal, but you still feel like there is something off

During this call, I will explain how I would approach your particular concerns and outline the process of what it looks like to work with me over the first few appointments.

My goal is provide you with the information to help you feel empowered in your health journey.


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