Endometriosis and thyroid hormones
Women with PCOS, endometriosis and uterine fibroids are at higher risk of having a low thyroid function than women without. (1-6). Your thyroid gland is the main metabolic gland in your body. If your thyroid is defective, it may affect your female hormones, energy levels, and weight loss will be a challenge.
Imagine seven women next to each other. Each one of them reports that they have the exact same symptoms: heavy fatigue, difficulty losing weight, constipation, lack of motivation, cold hands and feet, and feeling ‘puffy’. These are all classic symptoms of a low functioning thyroid gland. However, did you know, each of these women can have a different thyroid defect?
The problem is; there is a strong possibility that none of them will have had a correct diagnosis.
Let me explain …
Every cell in your body has thyroid hormone receptors. Low thyroid hormone leads to elevated cholesterol, triglycerides and gall stones (7). Low thyroid hormone leads to poor digestive function. There are connections between the thyroid and other hormones, such as insulin (8,9) and progesterone (1,10), linking poor thyroid function to PCOS, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Low thyroid hormones can impact neurotransmitters like dopamine, influencing motivation and will-power.
The reality is that millions of women with a thyroid problem do not know they have a problem because of flaws in understanding the basics of thyroid physiology and in the way the thyroid is tested today.
Some low thyroid symptoms include:
• abnormal menstrual cycles depression
• decreased libido.
• weight gain
• difficulty losing weight
• dry hair and skin or hair loss
• cold intolerance
• muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
• memory loss (11)
Problems with testing
Before you get tested, you need to understand that there are two problems with laboratory testing.
1. Broad reference ranges – Ranges are created using people who go to the doctor, not healthy ones. Therefore the reference ranges are far too broad to catch minor fluctuations in thyroid physiology.
2. Non-standardized reference range – Not only is the reference range too broad, but it varies from lab to lab, and state to state, country to country. Therefore you can have a thyroid issue in one state, but not another.
Thyroid physiology is complicated, but I will outline the basic foundations. There is a section in your brain called the hypothalamus that releases thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). This tells the pituitary gland to produce thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH), which then tells the thyroid how much hormone to produce.
The thyroid gland itself puts out a number of thyroid hormones, most of it being thyroxine, otherwise known as T4. Over ninety percent of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland is T4, which is considered to be a pro-hormone because it has minimal metabolic effects on the body. Triiodothyronine (T3) is the active thyroid hormone, but only seven percent is produced by the thyroid gland. The rest has to be converted from T4.
The majority of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid are bound to a protein (thyroid binding globulin) to transport them around the rest of the body. At some point in their travels, T4 is converted to T3 in many tissues of the body, primarily the kidney and liver, and free T3 then gets into the cells to exert its metabolic effect.
Seven different women. Seven different issues. All resulting in the exact same symptoms. And most of the issues probably missed in the conventional medical system.
What to do
To be honest, I’d love to tell you what to do for each of these. But it is not as easy as that. Without proper testing and a complete assessment or updated review, it’s hard to pin down the one or two things you’ll need to do to resolve a thyroid issue.
However, you must start with the first few steps. Here they are. Take a good look at the hypothyroid symptoms listed earlier in the article. If you have many of those symptoms, you may want to contact a qualified natural health care practitioner for further assessment. Next, consider getting a good blood work thyroid panel done. A good panel includes TSH, total T4, free T4, total T3, free T3, T3 uptake and thyroid antibodies (thyroid peroxidase TPO and anti-thyroglobulin TG).
In the end, the thyroid is a very important gland when it comes to health and your hormones, as well as our ability to lose weight. When functioning well, you’re laughing. However, when your thyroid system isn’t functioning well, there are a lot of links in the chain that need to be examined.
This research was brought to you by Narelle Stegehuis MHSc, BHSc (Naturopathy), a practicing medical herbalist and naturopath specializing in restorative endocrinology for women, with over 14 years clinical experience. She is an accomplished writer, editor and technical training advisor for the media. A recipient of the Australian Naturopathic Excellence Award, Narelle adopts an integrated approach of both medical science and traditional complementary health care principles and can be contacted at, www.massattack.com.au” <http://www.massattack.com.au