Thyroid Hormone Basics

An underactive thyroid can make you feel tired, gain weight, have brain fog, hair loss, low mood and other hormonal issues. In fact, the symptoms can be so wide and varied, sometimes it’s tricky to know if it’s a thyroid gland problem or just a random collection of annoyances. So, what on earth does it mean when you’re told, “your thyroid is “borderline”, but we’ll keep an eye on it.”?

Gosh it’s frustrating to hear this when you’ve gone to the doctor because you don’t feel quite yourself. You know something isn’t right, but all the tests are “normal”.  You might start to wonder if it’s all “just in your head”. I know I did.

What do you do with this lack of information and support? Do you just, wait and see what happens? Do you google for help? What will you search for on the internet? If you walk into the health food store looking for a way to help yourself, how do you decide where to start? Those walls of vitamins can be overwhelming when you don’t have a nutrition or herbal medicine degree.

Having an underactive thyroid can be overwhelming when it feels like your health is on a downward spiral of fatigue, hair loss, brain fog and weight gain with no easy way out. But, if you understand what your body is trying to tell you, which questions to ask, and where to get support, you can claim back your energy and confidence.

First of all you need to understand what the thyroid gland does and how it fits in with the rest of your hormone systems.

The basics of thyroid gland function and testing

In a nutshell, a general screening check up on the thyroid gland usually measures just one thing, TSH. If a significantly abnormal TSH is detected, then free T4 might be measured as well.

If TSH and T4 fall within the statistically generated reference range, then there are often no suggestions given for treatment or medication even if you don’t feel right.

When TSH is too high – it means the thyroid is slow.

If TSH is too low- it means the thyroid is running too fast.

But, what if it’s “borderline”?

The diagram below provides a helpful summary of the possibilities that need to be considered.

There is much more to the story than just little old TSH and T4. There are other checks and measures that can be taken to define what is happening in the body and define a more wholistic or comprehensive treatment plan.

The first step involves teaming up with a practitioner well versed in thyroid hormones and wholistic, functional medicine. I happen to be a little bit passionate about this, because I’ve been down this road myself.

Next, it’s important to investigate and uncover the drivers or root causes of the imbalances.

With this information at hand, an individually tailored treatment plan can be created to remove obstacles to healing, nourish the body correctly and boost it in the direction of optimal hormone balance. The end goal….to enjoy a healthy active life again.

If you’d like some assistance to understand your thyroid and hormonal system better, reach out. You can book an FREE discovery call to see if we’re a good fit to work together, or book a New Patient appointment to get started right away.