Underactive thyroid in women

at doctor's officeHypothyroidism is a common endocrine disorder resulting from deficiency of thyroid hormones. If the thyroid gland does not secrete enough thyroid hormones the body requires then the metabolism slows down and the woman becomes hypothyroid.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune disease and cause of hypothyroidism in North America and other industrialized countries. This health condition runs in the family and occurs six times more often in women than in men.

In Hashimoto’s the thyroid gland is slowly destroyed by the thyroid antibodies as a result of an autoimmune attack. As more damage to the thyroid occurs with time, less thyroid cells are able to produce thyroid hormones and she becomes hypothyroid.

In the early stages of the Hashimoto’s disease some women may experience hashitoxicosis that is intermittent and a temporary phase of overactive thyroid function.

Hashitoxicosis is caused by inflammation associated with an autoimmune reaction that disturbs the thyroid follicles. The antibodies cause the thyroid gland to slowly die off and release an excess of thyroid hormones. The metabolism speeds up and women can start to experience physical symptoms similar to hyperthyroidism.

Hashitoxicosis is a short-term event that is characterized by hyperthyroid symptoms such as weight loss, anxiety, heat intolerance, fatigue, hair loss, weakness, hyperactivity, irritability, apathy, trembling, depression and excessive sweating.

Additionally, severe symptoms of overactive thyroid in women such as palpitations and arrhythmias (rapid heart beat), shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can occur. About 11.5% of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis experience hashitoxicosis that may last as long as 6 months.

Hashimoto’s disease progresses slowly and it could take up to several years to develop hypothyroidism and symptoms of underactive thyroid. Hypothyroid symptoms in women are varied because there are thyroid hormone receptors in virtually every tissue of the body and many physiological functions are affected by the lack of the hormone.

Does Thyroid Medication Work?

Thyroid drugsOften subclinical hypothyroidism occurs first then progresses to a persistent hypothyroidism that requires thyroid hormone replacement. Currently, synthetic T4 thyroid medication is a standard method of hormone replacement therapy for people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. The goal of the treatment is to bring the patient into a stable condition where the TSH is in the normal range.

Although the use of T4 thyroid medication has been accepted for many years in conventional medicine, many patients continue to experience symptoms of underactive thyroid even if their lab test results show normal.

About 20% of T3 hormone is produced by the thyroid gland and 80% comes from an inactive pro-hormone T4 through conversion in the liver, kidneys, intestines and in the cells. The patients who are on the T4 medication depend on these conversions in the peripheral tissues as the only source of active form of the thyroid hormone T3. The absence of T3 production by the thyroid gland and impaired hormone conversions could make a significant physiological impact leaving the patient with unresolved hypothyroid symptoms.

Patients who do not feel well on the T4 only prescription hormone could benefit from a combined T4 and T3 type of drug:

  • T3 medication called Cytomel and synthetic T4
  • Natural desiccated thyroid
  • Synthetic T4 and compounding pharmacy slow release T3 medication

Natural desiccated thyroid may not be the best option for patients who have autoimmune thyroid condition. With Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid antibodies attack the thyroid gland and could develop autoimmune reaction against T4 and T3 hormones. Since desiccated thyroid is a natural compound that includes both thyroid hormones, the human body can start produce its own antibodies against the T4 and T3 and make the existing autoimmune condition worse.

Although switching to synthetic combined T4 and T3 type of drug can bring relief of some symptoms at the beginning, with time most patients do not see much difference compared to being on T4 medication alone. Many of them are not satisfied with the results and can become frustrated.

Combined T4 and T3 medication can be helpful to the people with impaired thyroid hormone conversion and provide them with more natural ways to fight depression and fatigue. However, there are other thyroid dysfunctions that can leave the patient with numerous untreated hypothyroid symptoms. In addition to the autoimmune condition, patients with Hashimoto’s could have other thyroid defects caused by the inability of thyroid hormone to enter the cell and perform its metabolic action.

Any type of thyroid medication currently used by conventional medicine does not address the cause of the Hashimoto’s disease which is an overreaction of the immune system. Thyroid medication replaces the hormone that cannot be produced by the thyroid gland, however it does not stop the autoimmune attack that causes the disease. The destruction of the gland continues and the patient needs higher doses of medication with time.

Patients with Hashimoto’s disease have a latent gene that could remain in an unexpressed state for a long period of time. If some environmental factors get involved, it could “turn the gene on” and trigger the autoimmune response.

Poor blood sugar control, hormonal imbalances, adrenal issues, infections, irregular immune function are factors that can also affect thyroid function and trigger the over reaction of the immune system.

Any prescription thyroid medication currently used in the conventional medicine for treatment of hypothyroidism does not address this mechanism of autoimmune response in Hashimoto’s disease.

New Treatment Options

There is a new approach in treatment of Hashimoto’s as an autoimmune disease. The goal is to identify the contributing factors to the thyroid autoimmunity and balance the immune system using nutrition and natural compounds to stop the destruction of the thyroid gland.

In the following video Dr. Tom Brimeyer explans why thyroid drugs do not always work and why many common hypothyroidism treatments can be even harmfull to your thyroid. He explores much safer alternatives that bring long-lasting results.

When the conventional medicine fails to recognize and properly treat hypothyroid health issues it is up to the patients to take a proactive position and educate themselves and their physicians about alternative approaches to improve their thyroid condition and quality of life. If you are a dedicated learner who is actively looking for answers you may find them in the FREE Presentation Dr. Tom Brimeyer prepared for you.


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