It’s frustrating when you know that something feels wrong, but your tests aren’t showing it. Today’s article is all about symptoms and thyroid lab tests, and what you should do if your labs say you’re normal, or even optimal, but you still don’t feel quite right.
It has gotten to the point where some doctors even go and ignore labs altogether, and start to adjust medication based on symptoms. They assume that if you have symptoms including:
- Hair Loss
- Weight gain
It means that you simply need more thyroid and there is nothing more to it. And, in some cases, thyroid can help, but that help won’t last if it is not the real culprit or at the root of the issue.
Today, I want to share some insights that should help you sort through this. This way, when your symptoms and your lives aren’t necessarily in sync, you’ll know what to do (maybe you want to kick things off with a second opinion? If so, feel free to click this link).
Understanding SymptomsAs a generalization, you can have symptoms from your thyroid, in just about either direction, and just about any symptom under the sun.
What I mean by that is that your labs might suggest that you are getting too much hormone, and you can feel like you are getting too little.
In short, the symptoms of too little thyroid medication can often feel the same as the symptoms for too much thyroid medication.
Thyroid Hormones & Thyroid SymptomsWe can think of our thyroid hormones in two distinct ways:
- How much your body has, and
- How your body uses them
The Common Thyroid CycleHere’s an all-to-common cycle that gets people stuck. They are getting too much thyroid hormone, but they feel like they are getting too little. They are tired, and their TSH is just below range (or bottom end of range). And, yet, they are given more thyroid hormone to help alleviate things. For the first couple of weeks, this usually leads to feeling better and feeling that the added thyroid hormone solved the problem. But, it tends not to last. Their symptoms come back, and then they try to raise the dose yet again. They feel better again, symptoms come back, and the cycle continues.
What’s Going On Behind The Scenes?Here’s what is happening: Your body is resisting, due to iodine or due to too much hormone, and once you add more hormone, you temporarily overcome that resistance. But, the resistance comes back stronger! Your body fights harder, and that’s why you need to continually increase the chance to have a chance to conquer your symptoms. Ultimately, it really does take getting deep into those hidden iodine sources, so that you can get into a range low enough to help your body (without adding more and more thyroid hormone).
Solutions For Thyroid SymptomsThe first big step you can take, when you have unexplained symptoms, is regulating your iodine. You want to have your iodine in a good, safe range. That is typically a great start. Second, you’ll want to make sure that your thyroid levels are optimal. That’s because if you’re getting too much, you can feel like you’re getting too little. And, if you’re getting too little, you can feel like you’re getting too much. Just like I mentioned before: Don’t assume that symptoms are the same direction as you may think. The third step is getting a handle on types of medication. There are many instances where symptoms are not resolved, unless you are getting the full spectrum of active thyroid hormones. That includes:
Last Step: ComorbiditiesThese are the other diseases that are not thyroid disease, but they are more common in those who do have thyroid disease. This could happen for multiple reasons. It could be that they show up in the same people, per age and gender, or because they show up for someone who has autoimmune thyroid disease. Or, they can be the result of abnormal thyroid hormones. All of those three reasons make it really common to have other conditions. This could include things such as:
- Celiac disease
- Autoimmune gastritis
- Latent iron depletions
- Sleep apnea