Thyroid disease is an extremely common disorder affecting at least 1 in 10 Canadians, most of which are women. So many of these people are undiagnosed and are suffering with debilitating symptoms. Most commonly these people suffer from hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid, which can be due to a wide variety of causes, most of which are not considered in the conventional treatment of hypothyroidism.
Some of the most common causes of hypothyroidism are:
- Hashimotos thyroiditis or autoimmune hypothyroidism
- Chronic infection due to viral or bacterial causes
- Low progesterone
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Toxicity or heavy metals
- Adrenal dysfunction or prolonged physical, emotional or mental stress
- Treatment of Graves hyperthyroidism/ Toxic Multinodular Goiter with radioactive iodine
- Removal of the thyroid gland
- Congenital hypothyroidism (or being born without a thyroid)
Unfortunately there are also reasons why a person may have normal or within range thyroid tests and still have symptoms. I call this subclinical hypothyroidism. When we consider the usual testing done for the thyroid, it is not a surprise that we often will not see the labs supporting the symptom picture that the patient has. Now how could this happen?
Firstly, the most commonly tested lab for the thyroid is TSH. This is the messenger hormone produced by the pituitary and tells the thyroid gland in your neck to produce more T4. Now T4 is not the active form of thyroid hormone, in fact it has to be converted to T3 by the liver as well as other cells in the body, the T3 then acts on every cell in your body to control metabolism. This is why thyroid hormone is so important and why the symptoms can be so widespread.
When hypothyroidism is treated with synthroid or T4 alone, without taking into consideration the underlying cause or this extremely important pathway for thyroid hormone, often people feel a little better in the beginning of treatment but very quickly the dose needs to be increased to get the same effect or no matter the dose, they still don’t feel well. By looking into these other causes as well as individual conversion problems we can find the best overall treatment for you. That said, some people may continue to take synthroid or other thyroid medications, and may have to do this for life, but hopefully we can eliminate or reduce the need for higher doses by supporting the immune system, healing the gut and supporting the liver.
If you think you might be suffering from hypothyroidism or have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and would like another opinion on your condition, please book a consultation with Dr. Katie Coombs, ND at one of her 3 Calgary locations.
Westbrook Momentum Health 403-454-1600
Ogden Momentum Health 403-236-0106
Creekside Momentum Health 403-239-6773