An overactive (Hyperthyroidism) or underactive (Hypothyroidism) thyroid can result in increased allergies, skin problems, fatigue, nervousness, gastrointestinal problems, sleeping too much or too little, gaining or losing weight, swelling and various types of pain.
Of these two, hypothyroidism is the most common. Hypothyroidism affects about 5 million people in Canada, 90% of which are women. Thyroid imbalances in women often arise especially during times of hormonal stress such as pregnancy and menopause. An autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s disease is an extremely common cause of hypothyroidism. The typical Western medical treatment is lifelong administration of a thyroid hormone.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary and not all individuals will present in the same way.
• Frequently feeling cold or having an intolerance for cold temperatures
• Unexplained weight gain or an inability to lose weight
• Unexplained fatigue or lethargy
• Increased need to sleep
• Unhealthy and splitting nails
• Dry and scaly skin
• Brittle and coarse hair
• Hair loss from the head and outer eyebrows
• Decreased memory or concentration
• Irregular menses or heavy menstrual bleeding
• Decreased libido
• Yellow-orange coloration in the skin particularly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
• Lack or diminished ability to sweat during exercise
• Muscle weakness and cramps
• Elevated Cholesterol
• Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Treatments to bring the thyroid back into alignment often involve Acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy dietary changes, nutritional supplements, mind/body techniques and an exercise program.
Overall, thyroid disease has an enormous effect on overall wellbeing and health as the thyroid hormones are basically the metabolic drivers of the body. Though each patient has a different optimal level for thyroid function, once this is found, the results can be far reaching; improving energy, hormones, fertility, health, mood and metabolism.