I had a routine test a few months ago that showed my thyroid gland to be underproducing hormones. I asked for the natural remedy, which is Armour Thyroid pills, and thought this would be something quick and easy to fix. What an optimist!
The more research I do on the topic, the more I realize that almost all of the women that I know have some degree of hormonal imbalance. Very often, when you are hypothyroid, your adrenal glands are also exhausted. The description of adrenal exhaustion is like deja vu - I’ve been there so often during my life. Fatique, cold hands and feet, brain fog, anxiety and a short fuse are just a few of the long list of symptoms. I’m sure every woman can find herself peeking back from the list.
I got a enormous amount of useful information from a site calledhttp://stopthethyroidmadness.com.It was on a doctor’s site that they recommended,http://drrind.com,that I found a questionnaire that revealed my problem to be more adrenal than thyroid. My own doctor did not make any connection between the thyroid and adrenal glands.
Dr Rind also has a temperature chart that you can keep for a while to show how out of balance your hormonal system is. Take your temperature three times a day and average the results and then chart it. If your problem is mostly thyroid you will have low but pretty even temperatures. But if your problem is primarily with the adrenal glands, your temps will go up and down like a yoyo. If you have problems with both glands your temps will be erratic and also stay much lower than normal.
So it turns out that if you take thyroid supplements or medication before you attend to the adrenal exhaustion, you can feel a lot worse. I had episodes of anxiety, heart racing, and deep, unaccountable sadness. It reminded me of the bad old days when I had pms.
The body needs cortisol, produced by the adrenals, to push the thyroid into the cells to do it’s work. Without a normal level of cortisol, which varies throughout the day, the thyroid supplement stays in the blood and can make you feel hyperthyroid. Your blood tests will now show that you have a well-functioning or over-functioning thyroid and your doctor may reduce or stop your medication.
The best book I read, of many, was Feeling Fat, Fuzzy and Frazzled by Richard and Karilee Shames. Dr Shames believes that our three most important hormonal systems are thyroid, adrenals and sex hormones and they all three have to be in balance for us to feel our best. He is a specialist in this field and says that most endocrinologists are pretty far behind on the new information so this may be another time when you will have to do some research yourself to get the best results.
Dr Shames recommends a newer test that takes samples of saliva throughout the day, four times, in order to measure the daily ups and downs of cortisol, as well as thyroid and sex hormones. He feels that this test is much more reliable than the blood tests commonly offered. It is a test that you can send for yourself and do at home through http://canaryclub.org. The lab is Diagnos-techs. I have sent my test in and I’m waiting for results. In the meantime I took myself off the Armour Thyroid and I am doing all I can to restore my adrenals. When they are improved I will resume the thyroid medication.
Whatever helps your adrenals will be good for your whole body. Some suggestions are reducing or removing anything in your life that sets your teeth on edge or makes your anxious. Or using mind programs that change your own reaction to whatever you can’t change. (I’ll do a post on this in more detail later.) Other things are resting when you are tired instead of having coffee or sugar to prod your poor tired mind and body back into action.
I really see this whole issue as a breakdown in the body from years of cultural abuse. We women are taking on more and more work than ever before, along with more worries about the future. Life is more stressful every year and toxins and problems are increasing so fast we can barely keep up. It seems to me to have roots in self-esteem and trust. I feel I have often been untrustworthy in taking care of myself. I wouldn’t treat anyone the way I often treat myself! I have often driven myself way past my limits. I’m better now, kinder to myself, but that took a long time to learn and my adrenals have not yet recovered.
This is just the beginning of a huge topic and I will keep you posted on what’s happening. It has to do with my primary interest in bones because the hormonal system regulates bone strength as well as so many other reactions in the body.
At the beginning of this year I asked to be shown where I could most clearly serve next - and then I was given this diagnosis. So I think I have given my body to science while I’m still in it :-). I intend to figure this out so that I can help others do the same. We are all different and we will have different solutions to bring ourselves back into balance - but balance is the true answer.
Please comment if you have any experience with this topic. I got a couple of emails of appreciation lately that encouraged me to keep on sharing although I hardly get any comments - except spam!