Feeling tired all the time? Fed up with gaining weight even though you eat a healthy diet? Low mood and anxiety?
If we listed all the symptoms of hypothyroidism you might be forgiven for thinking they are very similar to perimenopause and menopause symptoms: that is because we are discussing hormones and hormonal balance or in the case of hypothyroidism and hormonal imbalance.
Issues relating to the thyroid gland can occur at any age, but, in combination with perimenopause or menopause, diagnosis can be difficult and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can be overlooked.
Two of the main symptoms are fatigue and weight gain, both of which work against each other in a vicious circle. Both of which can be the result of hormonal changes due to our age, lifestyle or diet. If we deal with the fatigue first very often weight loss follows.
What could be causing the fatigue? And what other symptoms are connected to this overall sense of everything just being too tiring and difficult to achieve? Low sex drive? Low mood? Loss of appetite or increase in cravings for sugar and alcohol?
Free T3 is the active thyroid hormone and when tested and proven to be too low is relatively easy to rectify by prescribing daily dose of thyroxin. But it is necessary to do a blood test every six months to a year to ensure the levels remain correct. Low mood goes hand in hand with low levels of free T3, so once diagnosed and treated patients will notice an increase in energy levels, which in turn boosts mood and decreases anxiety levels. With more energy the daily chores and challenges suddenly seem achievable, which in turn boosts confidence and mood. Increased levels of activity may instigate weight loss, but almost certainly will help metabolic rates to climb again. Other low thyroid symptoms such as constipation, anxiety and lack of energy are directly linked and thus affected and improved.
One of the easiest ways to work with a body that is struggling with low levels of thyroid active hormones is to drink plenty of water. Hypothyroidism draws water out of your stools, leaving them hard to pass, which in turn causes anxiety and reluctance to go to the toilet. By drinking water each day you avoid becoming constipated or dehydrated. It is not true that if you drink lots of water you will become bloated. On the contrary, you may well have water retention due to thyroid issues and in actual fact you are dehydrated.
For women hair loss can be devastating, but if your thyroid levels drop you may notice significant hair loss. This is often because the adrenal glands are impacted, production of androgen is increased, which can cause hair loss. Hair follicles are dormant not dead in hypothyroidism. Rebalancing hormones will also rebalance thyroid hormones and the hair follicles will kick back into life in time.
Heavier periods can also be caused by low levels of T3 and in combination with an overall feeling of lethargy and lack of confidence, can be difficult to manage, especially if your periods have always been light. Understanding why it is happening can bring initial relief and enough motivation to seek further advice and options for treatment.
If you’ve wondered why your nails seem to be growing more slowly, or tend to break more easily, or split, have your T3 levels checked. The thyroid gland is key to cellular turnover and regeneration, so if hormone levels are not in balance your cell health will be affected: nails, hair, skin. Many women notice that the skin on their shins becomes dry and flaky, no matter how much moisturising creams they apply. The skin here is very thin and easily damaged, so becomes increasingly vulnerable as your T3 drop.
Cyrotherapy, which is cold treatment, is great for stimulating the thyroid, as is hot and cold therapy: for example, a sauna followed by a cold water immersion. The thyroid is linked to nearly every function in your body, so it is vital to respond to its hormonal changes whether you are perimenopausal or menopausal because if you can rebalance your thyroid there is every chance that other symptoms will decrease too.
For more information about Dr Meyer or if you’re interested in booking a consultation with her, visit https://menopausetreatment.co.uk/your-consultation/ or contact the clinic directly here.