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Menopause and Thyroid Disease

Posted Aug 22 2009 12:00am

Well, maybe it’s not menopause! Actually it is, but its much more than that...

A few weeks ago I went to have my regular checkup with the Dermatologist and I mentioned to her that my DH was showing up again. Normally associated with my highly sensitive intolerance to gluten I questioned it because I had not been anywhere near gluten in months! So, she took a biopsy as well as blood work and told me to come back in a two weeks (which would be today). So I just got home and have some rather unexpected news; but let me go back a few years first.

When I was first diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis I was checked for other diseases common to those with DH including Celiac Disease, Systemic Lupus, Graves Disease, Addison's Disease, Hepatitis, Scleroderma, Diabetes and Thyroid Disease (just to name a few). The only thing that came back positive was Celiac Disease but I was told that my potential for developing one or more of the other Autoimmune Disorders was high.

So when I developed Lupus (as well as Sjoregn's, another common disease associated with DH patients) I didn't question it, only wanted to cure it. Little did I know that my system had more going on inside than anyone realized.

So last month, during what would be my normal menstrual cycle I thought I was having menopausal symptoms however, unlike earlier in my life when I was going through the same symptoms, they stopped as soon as they started followed by no blood flow. As I said last night in my 1AM posting, the symptoms reappeared at the same time I would have been expecting menstruation to begin however all the symptoms have subsided and no menstrual flow.

When I spoke to my doctor today I told her about my hormonal symptoms and asked if that could have anything to do with the DH? Now at first, I thought she was going to think i was crazy, but by the look on her face I knew I had hit the nail on the head! OMG! What was it?!!

Seems my thyroid came back positive for hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Since I had no clue what that meant she spent the next 30 minutes explaining it and the connection to menopause. Holy cow!

Low Thyroid is common is women in their 40's and 50's (same time the production of eggs ovaries is diminishing and the need for estrogen is needed) and by age 50 one in three are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, causing symptoms such as low grade fever (which is mistaken for hot flashes), insomnia, irritability, fuzzy thinking, and heart palpitations. If you are on HRT which raises your estrogen level and still have menopausal symptoms you need to be sure your doctor is testing your thyroid as well.

Frequently the underlying hypothyroidism is such a controlling factor that simply correcting it returns the whole system to fairly normal functioning. Menopause continues, but it is a more mild, gradual, and comfortable process. If your thyroid is low, your hot flashes will be much more pronounced, much more frequent, and more disconcerting. This is because thyroid is your energy throttle, your gas pedal. You need energy to go through the change gracefully.

How much energy people have, how well they get up in the morning, how well they sleep, and how much stamina they have for the day is directly related to their levels of thyroid hormone. When your level is too low, you don’t have the energy to cope adequately with anything, much less the additional stress and emotional liability associated with the menopausal years.

So what’s a hypothyroid girl to do? There are several options. First is the conventional approach with drugs such as Armour Thyroid, Nature-throid, Westhroid, and Biotech. There is also a synthetic drug called levothyroxine that is commonly referred to as a “natural” drug. However, my doctor felt that I was just beginning to have problems (i.e. caught early) and have mild to moderate symptoms; knowing me as she does she told me to “do my homework and research” before seeing my medical and/or naturopathic doctor. Oh she knows me so well!!!

So that’s what I did, I came home and did my homework. Called a few homeopaths and naturopaths I know to get a consensus and learned much. The hormone thyroxine is produced by the thyroid gland, which controls a person's metabolic rate. An essential part of this hormone is the chemical iodine, and therefore an iodine-rich diet (containing seafood, shellfish, organic vegetables, and iodized salt) is a vital self-help measure for thyroid problems caused by iodine deficiency.

At times, those who are the hardest to treat with any other modality, including acupuncture, chiropractic, and conventional medicine, are the easiest to treat with neural therapy. Thyroid disease is one of many conditions which respond well to neural therapy, according to pain specialist Dietrich Klinghardt, M.D., Ph.D., of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Your doctor should check your TSH level and the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood to find out whether or not you have a thyroid problem. There are two basic blood tests done, followed by more specialized testing should your doctor suspect a thyroid problem. However, most of the standard thyroid tests (for T3, T4, and TSH levels) often fail to pinpoint an under functioning thyroid, leading physicians to make erroneous diagnoses.

I found out about this book in my research that just came out this month...I will be getting it and will let you know more about it later. For now, you can check out this:

I have found a few options available to me without having to take the conventional medicine approach. Once I have tried them and decide how well they work I will then post about it, but for now wish me luck and tell me about anything that works for you.

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