Sunday, March 8, 2015

Balancing Hormones Part I: Symptoms of Thyroid Disease

Today more than 12% of the U.S. population and 1 women in 8 will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime.  An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and up to 60% of those with this disease are unaware of their condition.  Women are five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with this disease than men.

After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism last year, I began doing a lot of research on Thyroid disease and Endocrine disorders.  Recently, I learned that the endocrine and nervous systems work together in creating homeostasis or the balance inside the body.  This has led me to believe that my suffering with severe adrenal fatigue for at least three years is most likely what caused nerve damage in my lower legs and feet.  I feel very fortunate to be attending The American College of Healthcare Sciences which has given me the tools to do in-depth medical investigations in all forms of DIS-Ease.

So what is causing this epidemic that is throwing our bodies and hormones so off balance? There are many sources including genetics, diet, toxic chemicals and auto-immune diseases. I believe it is a combination of all these things that have made this disease so rampant in the society today.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Resources:
"Endocrine disorders involve the body's over - or under-production of certain hormones.  Endocrine disorders include hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasis, diseases of the parathyroid gland, diabetes mellitus, diseases of the adrenal glands (including Cushing's syndrome and Addison's disease), and ovarian dysfunction (including polycystic ovary syndrome), among others.

Polycistic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders among women of reproductive age, and is the most common cause of endocrine-related female infertility in the United States.  An estimated 1 in 10 women of childbearing age has PCOS, and it can occur in females as young as 11 years of age.  In addition, PCOS may put women at risk for other health conditions, inclding high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes."

Picture provided by
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the front of the neck.  It acts as the control center for your body.  Hormones secreted by the thyroid gland travel through your bloodstream and affect nearly every part of your body, from your heart and brain to your muscles and skin.  It is vital in helping the body to use energy properly.  When something goes wrong it will lead to either an under-active or overactive thyroid.  Your metabolism will either speed up way too high or slow completely down. Both of these conditions affect the thyroid in different ways and therefore have distinct separate symptoms.

In simple terms, hypothyroidism is an under-active thyroid that doesn't make enough thyroid hormone.  And hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid so the thyroid makes too much hormone.

As a result of an under-active thyroid (Hypothyroidism), you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dry Skin & Hair
  • Brittle Nails
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain*
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Depression
  • Decreased menstrual flow
  • Swelling in the front of the neck (or goiter)
*If a person with under-active thyroid can force herself to maintain a normal activity level, she may only gain a few pounds.  But most people with hypothyroidism feel so tired they stop exercising, sleep more and change their routine, which causes even more weight gain.

Hyperthyroidism is associated with all of the body functions speeding up and can cause all or some of the following symptoms:
  • Feeling Hot
  • Sweating
  • Problems falling asleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty focusing on one task
  • Forgetfulness
  • Change in bowel habits, bowels are looser
  • Elevated heart rate and palpitations
  • Anxiety, nervousness, or irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Menstrual problems
  • Fatigue
My symptoms included severe fatigue, brain fog, feeling extremely cold all of the time, dry hair, brittle nails, skin rashes, being off-balance, falling down frequently and bruises that would not heal. This all eventually led to chronic nerve pain in my lower legs and feet which brought on depression.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please see your health care professional.  He or she can order tests to see if your thyroid hormone levels are in the normal range.  If they are not, there are medications that can treat and ease your symptoms.

Please read my next discussion on WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU GET TESTED FOR THYROID DISEASE.  Not all tests are the same and could come back negative when you really do have the disease.

For more information, please see the articles listed below.

Thanks for being a part of my journey.

Namaste,   Beci


Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders. (2009, January 1). Retrieved March 8, 2015, from

Hypothroid (Underactive Thyroid). (2015, January 1). Retrieved March 8, 2015, from

Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease. (2015, January 1). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from

Shimer Bowers, E., & Jones, MD, N. (2013, April 25). Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism: What's the Difference? Retrieved March 8, 2015, from

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