The Secret Hormone: Women Get Your Thyroid Tested

Almost 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder, with 15 million being undiagnosed according to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Women are at a high risk for various types of thyroid disorders, almost 10 times more likely than men. 

Women are more affected by thyroid issues which can often be the reason for unexpected weight gain. Getting an accurate assessment of your thyroid hormone is important for solving menstruation, fertility and low libido issues. 

Hyperthyroidism, also known as Graves Disease is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Although a number of disorders may result in hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease is the most common cause. Risk factors include family history of thyroid or autoimmune diseases, recent pregnancy and exposure to iodine.

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The thyroid gland, part of the endocrine system, is located in the front of your neck and plays a huge role in your energy levels. It creates and stores hormones that regulate your internal body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate, among other functions.

Some people suffer from an underactive or overactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your pituitary gland sends more and more Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to your thyroid gland because it is not producing enough of thyroid hormone Thyroxine (also known as T4).

Triiodothyronine (also known as T3), is the active form of your thyroid hormone that governs your metabolism, heart rate, and growth. When this hormone isn't be produced properly, it will affect menstruation, fertility, unexplained weight fain and fatigue. 

What can you do?
1. Get your thyroid tested: Your doctor should test for TSH levels, T4, T3, and T3 uptake which will give you a well-rounded understanding of where your thyroid function is suffering. But the challenge can sometimes be that these tests result in normal numbers but looking closer at many of the results can show that the hormone levels may live on the higher end of the range. This can mean too much TSH is being produced due to unresponsive thyroid which leads to not enough T3 and T3. Get a baseline of these tests and ask questions when you receive the results. 

 

2. EAT RIGHT TO SUPPORT THYROID FUNCTION

When you have hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid, eating specific foods can boost effectiveness and function of your thyroid.

The thyroid produces hormones that regulate mood, metabolism, energy levels, body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Hypothyroidism occurs when this gland isn't producing enough hormones. It's important to work with your doctor on the right treatment path, but along with that plan, you can boost and even improve thyroid function through a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lots of lean protein. 

Try these food ideas for thyroid health:

  • Fish (full of omega 3 fatty acids, fight inflammation)
  • Nuts (great source of selenium)
  • Whole grains (regulate constipation, often occurring with hyperthyroidism)
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy (great source of Vitamin D)
  • Beans (great source of energy)