Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hypothyroidism and Menopause

In this article, we will discuss how hormonal imbalance and other factors affects the thyroid leading to hypothyroidism.

Menopause is a time of profound changes, both emotional and physical in a woman’s life. Although some women do not suffer from the changes brought on by menopause, a good percentage of women do suffer extreme symptoms which make quality of life decrease drastically.

Changes in both body and mind can begin as early as the late 30s for some women, this transition is known as permenopause or premenopause. Hormone levels are changing, some such as progesterone levels are declining and sometimes estrogen level will either increase dangerously (estrogen dominance) or also decline. The body is sent into a tailspin with these hormonal shifts.

It is believed by some doctors and researchers that hormonal balance itself can lead to hypothyroidism which is a decrease in thyroid functioning.

Adrenal glands can affect thyroid functioning. A bio-identical doctor should also evaluate adrenal functioning alongside thyroid testing. It is very possible that hypothyroidism can be caused by overstressed adrenal glands.

Stress is the major cause of problems with the adrenal glands. This includes mental, physical or emotional stress which causes implications for the entire body. High cortisol levels will also be present when there is a problem with the adrenal glands and the thyroid. The production of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 to T3 conversion is affected by high cortisol. Cortisol produced by the adrenal glands will eventually reach an exhaustion point resulting in burnout or adrenal fatique, both serious conditions.

Lower levels of T3 will create symptoms of hypothyroidism such as memory loss, weight gain, especially around the waist, extreme fatigue, depression, infertility, hair loss, poor concentration and puffiness in the face, etc.

A doctor, at this point, will probably prescribe a drug called levothyroxine which replaces T4 levels in the body. This will improve the symptoms of hypothyroidism. If it doesn’t, after a few months of using this medication, the doctor will test your blood again and increase the dose if necessary.

Besides high cortisol levels and tired adrenal glands causing hypothyroidism, there are other causes to a low thyroid condition. There could be a problem with low iodine levels. Other factors to consider as contributing to hypothyroidism include food allergies and sensitivities. Gluten or soya could contribute to low levels. Try eliminating these foods from your diet. Sensitivities to prescription medications such as somatostatin, inhalers, lithium, and amiodarone could be affecting your thyroid.

Poor nutrition could also be a factor. Having enough iodine in your diet, selenium (which is necessary for T4 to T3 conversion), Vitamin A, C, E, B complex, DHA, EPA and zinc also help with this converstion for a healthy thyroid. Consuming enough Omega 3 fatty acides and more antioxidants will help support your thyroid hormone. Reducing your stress levels will also help with your thyroid problems.

Balancing your hormones with natural bioidentical hormones will assist with your hypothyroidism. You can also ask your bioidentical doctor to prescribe a natural thyroid hormone such as Armour Thyroid, West Thyroid or Nature-Throid or compounded T3 and T4, though these compounded medicines for thyroid are somewhat controversial.

Remember that menopause is a change in life and you have to take utmost care of your body at this time in life. This time in life is all about You. Although you may experience many of the negative symptoms of menopause, including hypothyroidism, this is the beginning of a new life and a new found freedom. Improving your quality of life is all up to you now.

No comments:

Post a Comment