If you suspect that you may have low thyroid function, yet you are told by your doctor that “everything is fine” remember that they are only testing TSH levels, and this is not a good indicator of thyroid function.
TSH is your brain telling your thyroid what to do.
The TSH test is not testing your thyroid hormones but rather testing to see if your brain thinks your should have more thyroid hormone. To find out what a Full Thyroid Test looks like check out this video.
Before you go ahead and order an extensive thyroid test check out this check list of “Ten common signs you have low thyroid” and if you can check off 3 or 4 of them it would be worth getting your hormones tested with a thyroid and adrenal test
Do you wake up feeling tired, do you struggle with energy during the day especially in the afternoon?
Do you struggle to lose weight no matter what diet you try or does it come off painfully slow and you need to exercise like crazy to make it happen?
3/ High Cholesterol
Has the doctor told you that you have high cholesterol and you need to get it down or you will have to take medications? Have you tried all of the diet advice but still have high cholesterol? It maybe genetics or it maybe that you have low thyroid function
4/ Depression and Anxiety
Mood changes can also be caused by low thyroid function and going onto anti-depressants is not the answer, it’s important to address the cause! Other symptoms include brain fog, poor sleep and memory loss
5/ Bowel and Digestion issues
Low thyroid slows down your metabolism and it also slows down your digestion leading to symptoms like constipation (although occasionally diarrhea), bloating, reflux and general IBS symptoms
6/ Hair, Skin and Nail problems
Is you hair dry or falling out faster than it should, do you get dry skin or weak and brittle nails? It’s not necessary to have all of these symptoms to suspect low thyroid but these are just some of the warning signs
7/ Muscle aches and Joint pains
Aching joints may not be simply getting older or arthritis but can be related to low thyroid function. Muscle pain and poor recovery from exercise maybe another reason to do a full thyroid evaluation and not just rely on TSH as a marker for low thyroid
8/ Menstrual cycle irregularities and infertility
Do you experience irregular periods, or are they heavy and painful? The thyroid helps to control the sex hormones so PMS symptoms maybe be caused by an under functioning thyroid. Do you have unexplained infertility, have you had a full thyroid check up?
9/ Difficulty swallowing or feels like a lump in your neck
Not everyone with low thyroid function have an enlarged thyroid but this is one symptom that needs to be checked out with a full thyroid test and an ultrasound on the neck.
10/ Adrenal function
When assessing thyroid function it is also important to assess adrenal function as high cortisol can be the cause of low thyroid function, as it can inhibit the conversion of T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3
If you have been thinking that this sounds like you, if you are even experiencing a couple of these symptoms the next step is to do a comprehensive thyroid and adrenal test to find out exactly what your hormones are doing, by knowing your results it makes it easier to develop a specific diet and nutritional plan for you.
At Planet Naturopath we offer a wide variety of functional pathology testing and the ones that I most frequently recommend are extensive thyroid testing which measures TSH, T4, T3, reverse T3 and the thyroid antibodies plus testing for adrenal function using the DUTCH hormone test – this also measures the sex hormones in detail.
If you still have questions or are not sure what is the best option for you, then you can schedule a 30 minute consultation to discuss what the best treatment and testing options are for you.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. He is a registered naturopath with the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) and works with clients from all over the world via video or phone consultations. He is a degree qualified naturopath from the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine in Australia with 18 years of experience. He uses advanced testing methods, nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, and lifestyle advice to help you stay healthy. He is a Kalish Method-trained practitioner that keeps updating his education with Chris Kresser. Michael completed Dr. Terry Wahls practitioner training program, a 12-month program with ongoing training that helps understand the underlying cause and treatment of MS and autoimmune conditions. He keeps up to date with the latest research into health and natural medicine through the Metabolic Fitness Pro course with Dr. Bryan Walsh.