Thyroid disorders: improve your hormonal balance naturally

Feeling crabby? Gaining weight? Feeling tired all the time? Or maybe you have a racing heart? Excessive sweating? Trouble sleeping? These symptoms could be down to your thyroid not functioning properly.

Thyroid disorders are widespread. As many as 200 million people globally are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and many more are unaware they have a disorder. Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have a thyroid problem.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the front of the neck. A healthy thyroid acts as the ‘conductor’ of the body, releasing hormones essential to bodily function. When the thyroid is working correctly the whole body plays in tune, however when thyroid function is suboptimal the whole orchestra is out.

But integrated medicine can help to heal thyroid disorders.

The thyroid controls the metabolic function of every single cell in your body, causing varied symptoms to arise.

Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, heart rate, temperature, weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, cholesterol levels – even the rate at which your body digests food!

When your thyroid doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones (also known as underactive/hypothyroidism) it causes fatigue, cold intolerance, irritability and weight gain.

When the thyroid produces too many hormones (also known as overactive / hyperthyroidism) it makes your body’s processes speed up. This causes symptoms like trembling, excessive sweating, diarrhoea and weight loss.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

  • Fatigue despite having enough sleep
  • Brain fog or memory loss
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Cold hands and feet, or feeling cold when others are not
  • Dry skin and hair, brittle nails and hair loss
  • Depression or anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Period problems or low libido
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Constipation or sluggish digestion

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

  • Appetite change
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety, irritability or moodiness
  • Sweating or sensitivity to high temperatures
  • Trembling in your hands
  • Missed or light menstrual periods
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Problems with fertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent bowel movements such as diarrhoea

Autoimmune conditions can cause your immune system to produce antibodies that attack your thyroid gland, affecting your thyroid's ability to produce hormones.

Nutritional imbalances - iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Zinc, selenium, and vitamin D are also used for the production and conversion of thyroid hormones. Nutritional imbalances are common in Hong Kong.

Ongoing stress is handled by your adrenals, which work in conjunction with your thyroid. The adrenal glands handle small or short durations of stress by releasing cortisol which supports your body's stress response.

However, long term cortisol production slows your metabolism, handicapping thyroid function and worsening symptoms.

Poor gut health - and conditions like leaky gut and food intolerance cause a prolonged, heightened immune response which can trigger antibody production against healthy tissues like the thyroid. Long-term damage may cause the adrenals to produce cortisol which can suppress thyroid function over time. The H. pylori bacteria (bad bacteria found in the gut) is also linked to poor thyroid health.

Pregnancy - some women produce antibodies to their own thyroid gland during pregnancy, causing hypothyroidism, which can increase the risks of pregnancy.

Medications like lithium or steroids can contribute to hypothyroidism.

Radiation therapy to your neck or head can affect your thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.

Pituitary disorder is a relatively rare cause of hypothyroidism. It occurs when the pituitary gland can't produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH.

Hormonal dysregulation, high stress, fluctuating blood sugar levels and more can prevent traditional thyroid medication from working correctly.

Our practitioners take an integrated approach to address all of the aspects listed above (and more) for true healing.

Our naturopaths assess all factors for thyroid issues

Conventional doctors usually only test TSH and T4 to assess thyroid problems, but our naturopaths also look at FT3, FT4, and thyroid antibodies. Sometimes TSH levels are high, but antibodies are normal, which indicates a stress issue, rather than any need for thyroid hormone replacement.

Your naturopath may carry out additional testing for adrenal health and leaky gut.

A naturopath will also look at how diet, lifestyle, nutritional and genetic factors may be contributing and make sure you have a diet plan to support your health.

Counselling or attending our weekly Monday Mindfulness classes can help to reduce stress levels and support long term thyroid health.

What’s next?

If you think you may have a thyroid problem, our naturopaths can help diagnose issues and treat them at their root cause.

Find the support you need with our naturopaths. Connect with us below, and we'll be in touch shortly.

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