By Louise O'Connor, Naturopath & Wellness Coach
There is little doubt thyroid problems in women are reaching epidemic proportions. When your thyroid is underactive it's termed hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism means the thyroid is underactive and is not making enough thyroid hormones or the thyroid hormones that are being produced are not active in the body.
Reduced thyroid hormone activity impacts on whole body health. Are you gaining weight for no reason? Or finding it impossible to lose weight, even with a healthy diet and exercise? Is your hair falling out? Do you constantly feel tired, lethargic, moody and even depressed some days?
The symptoms of hypothyroidism usually develop slowly over time, often over a number of years. The symptoms are subtle in the early stages. However as the condition worsens the symptoms become more obvious.
Low body temperature and fatigue are the two of the most common tell-tale symptoms of an under active thyroid.
Many doctors overlook hypothyroidism in a clinical setting. Women are often misdiagnosed as being depressed, fatigued or their thyroid symptoms are simply ignored.
It's common for women to visit their healthcare practitioner suspecting something is wrong with their thyroid, only to hear that their lab tests look 'normal'.
A Single TSH Test is Often Not Enough To Assess Thyroid Health
Although there are numerous lab tests that can be used to evaluate thyroid function, many doctors only test Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels due to restraints within the current medical model.
You may be told your thyroid function is normal when TSH levels are within an acceptable range. Unfortunately having normal TSH levels does not automatically rule out a hypothyroid condition. This is a common scenario and it leads to thyroid problems in women going undiagnosed.
If you suspect you have a sluggish or under active thyroid it is recommended that ask your health practitioner to perform a comprehensive thyroid function test. This includes measuring free thyroxine (T4) and free triiodothyronine (T3) along with TSH. This will assist an accurate diagnosis of actual thyroid function.
A single test of TSH does not reflect how much T4 and T3 is being produced. In addition, it does not assess how well T4 is converting to the active T3 form. In fact, it may not be converting at all, it may be converting to the inactive form of T3 called reverse T3 (rT3).
Thyroid Problems in Women
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