Thyroid problems and hysterectomy

by West Conner

Dr. Conner,

I have some how been led to your approach on bio-identical hormone supplementation and I am so thankful I did.  Let me just give you a brief run down of how I got here.  When I was 25 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis and I took Synthroid for 9 years up and down on my milligrams and they always wanted me to take an anti-depressant but I refused (well I tried a couple but they made me feel really weird).  I stopped taking Synthroid because it didn't seem to be helping me.  I have done test after test after test after test and I still feel awful all the time.  I had a partial hysterectomy at age 40 and it has truly been down hill since.  I am so tired (I mean hurting tired all the time and I have drag out of the bed every morning and I have gained sooooooo much weight).  Just this year I went in for so much testing and all I could get is all your levels are fine.  Just watch your diet and exercise.  REALLY!!!  I watch my diet very closely but I DO NOT have the energy to exercise.  I know you provide coaching, I look at it on your website, but I am a single mom of two and there is no way I can afford your services right now.  Is there any way you can make a few suggestions of some supplements I could look into taking just to get some energy please?

 Thanks,
Andrea

Well Andrea, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, there are no energy pills.  Having energy is related to the balance of your hormones, your diet, and your exercise.  People think I'm just telling them something obvious when I tell them if they want energy, drink coffee.  It's a stimulant that is taking over where your adrenal glands should be producing adrenalin needed for energy.  That's it, there's no simple answer or supplement for energy.

Let's just start with your thyroid.  Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease.  Often times, it is linked to a condition known as leaky gut syndrome.  Leaky gut happens when you have a poor diet that causes inflammation in the digestive tract.  This inflammation causes the spaces in between the cells to increase, leading to the leaking of proteins out of the digestive tract.  These proteins are foreign to the body because they belong in the gut and not outside it in the body.  So, your body produces anti-bodies to surround and kill these proteins.  Unfortunately, your thyroid gland looks like these proteins to the anti-bodies that your body is making.  So your body is attacking the proteins outside your gut, but the anti-bodies that are produced also attack your thyroid gland.  When you solve the leaky gut issue, the Hashimoto's will often times get much better.

You said the doctor prescribed Synthroid for you.  Your thyroid produces T4 thyroid hormone and then it is converted to T3 in the body.  T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone that your body uses.  Synthroid is 100% T4.  What if your body, for some reason, doesn't properly convert T4 to T3?  Continuing Synthroid is not going to help you.  Your dose will keep going up and up because your TSH level is still high.  Also, if the severity of your Hashimoto's is fluctuating because it is caused by the leaky gut, your thyroid levels are going to fluctuate also.   Just to add to the complexity, if your estrogen level is high, this will lower your body's ability to respond to the thyroid hormone.  I use a prescription called Armour Thyroid that is a combination of T3 and T4.  I don't think Synthroid is the best way to go when working with thyroid issues.

If you're tired all the time, that's several issues involved there.  Your thyroid is involved, but also your adrenal glands, your hormones, your diet, and how much you exercise.  If you are so tired that you are sore, this could be a growth hormone issue.  Without proper sleep, your growth hormone levels will suffer.

There's no way to know what supplements you would need without testing.  If you just try taking something and don't need it, you may be doing more harm than good.  You say you're a single mom and too tired to exercise.  Well, I'm a single dad.  There has to be time in your day to fit in some sort of physical activity.  Even walking just as a start is better than nothing.  I'm not trying to pick on you here, but I've heard over and over from women how they watch what they eat or hardly eat anything or just eat salads with the occasional snack or whatever.  Truth is, if your estrogen level is high, it is difficult to lose weight.  Notice I didn't say you will gain weight, you will have difficulty losing weight.  Eating too much is the only way to gain weight.  Now, some medications cause you to retain fluid and therefor gain weight.  But gaining body fat is caused by eating more calories than your body burns off.  The extra calories are stored as fat.  It's that simple.

If you came to me with these issues, the first thing I would do is test your thyroid.  I'd give you the proper dose of Armour Thyroid based on your test results and check your progress.  If you're not feeling better, we would move to correcting your leaky gut.  This involves lifestyle changes and some supplements to help heal your gut.  After getting your thyroid hormones at proper levels and your leaky gut taken care of, move to your hormones.  Test those and properly balance your hormone levels.  After hormone balancing and thyroid is taken care of, 99% of my clients are very happy with the results.  The final 1% need their adrenal glands working properly again.  This again is lifestyle changes and some supplements with testing levels to make sure we are following the right steps.


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