Thyroid symptoms afflict at least 10 million persons in the USA alone. Symptoms of thyroid problems often go undiagnosed, making it difficult to really know just how many people are suffering from thyroid symptoms. Thyroid gland functions include regulating the metabolism rate of the body.
Women are much more likely than men to have thyroid dysfunction – as many as 10-20% of women and 1-2% of men may have symptoms of thyroid problems. One type of thyroid dysfunction is the condition called hypothyroidism, also referred to as low thyroid or underactive thyroid. When thyroid function is too sluggish, one effect is that metabolism in the body slows down more than it should. Much less common are thyroid symptoms caused by hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid.
When the metabolism slows down due to underactive thyroid function, the result can be symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and depression. And other symptoms may be experienced, often seemingly unrelated. Hypothyroidism or low thyroid symptoms of thyroid problems include:
Fatigue and weakness
Low basal temperature, cold intolerance, cold hands and feet
Dry and coarse skin
Heavy menstrual periods
Sluggish bowels, constipation
Poor memory, forgetfulness, dementia
Nervousness and tremors
Immune system problems
Having thyroid symptoms is related to hormone levels and hormone imbalance. Three related hormones for a woman are estrogen, thyroid hormone, and progesterone. Understanding the interplay between these three hormones helps one better understand how to approach treating thyroid symptoms.
In the best-seller What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Menopause, Harvard-trained family physician Dr. John R. Lee explains his results in treating women having symptoms of thyroid problems. In a broad sense, estrogen makes calories from food to be stored as fat. The thyroid hormone makes calories from food to be converted into energy. Excess estrogen interferes with normal thyroid hormone function. Progesterone helps “oppose” and keep undesirable side effects of excess estrogen from happening. Progesterone helps the body use fat for energy, and when progesterone is present in healthy levels, the thyroid functions more as it is supposed to. Dr. Lee found a clear pattern in his patients with a progesterone deficiency – their underactive thyroid symptoms lessened when natural progesterone supplementation was done and hormone balance was achieved.
Read more about hormone imbalance, how progesterone deficiency happens, and how to have balanced hormones for better health. There is an online women’s hormone health test you can take to find out more about your health, with physician-based recommendations based on your answers. If you have thyroid symptoms, learn more about the natural approaches recommended by naturopathic physicians for treating symptoms of thyroid problems.