What Causes Thyroid Dysfunction?

Greenville SC Functional Medicine Doctor Answers: What Causes Thyroid Dysfunction?

If you visit your doctor for symptoms that indicate a thyroid problem, it’s likely you’ll have blood work done to assess thyroid function. Symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, depression and brain fog are often associated with low thyroid or hypothyroidism. If blood work reveals you do have a low functioning thyroid, you’ll likely be prescribed medication. The common solution to this thyroid problem in the Western medical model is to prescribe thyroid replacement hormones, as it would appear symptoms are the result of abnormally low thyroid hormone levels in the body.

Unfortunately for many low thyroid patients, thyroid medication often fails to help them feel better. There may be a variety of reasons why, but if you continue to suffer with symptoms of low thyroid even after taking medication, consider an alternative approach to your health care – one that looks at the causes of your thyroid problem and works on helping you recover or reestablish function throughout your body’s systems.

Low thyroid hormone levels may not be the only cause of your thyroid problem, they are a symptom—the result of one or multiple dysfunctions occurring in your body. Consider the following possible causes of disruptions in TSH levels:

  1. Outside factors may act on the thyroid metabolism cycle. Did you know that increased levels of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol can suppress the production of TSH?
  2. The thyroid has to have sufficient quantities of the amino acid tyrosine, iodine and vitamins in order to produce the hormone T4, thyroxin. If these raw materials are lacking, it can look like the thyroid is failing to function.
  3. For low thyroid symptoms to be relieved, T4 must be converted to the more active thyroid hormone T3. Many factors may disrupt this conversion process, including birth control pills, beta-blockers, estrogen and other medications. Nutritional deficiencies can also interfere with conversion, as can the aging process and other medical conditions such as diabetes, stress and having surgery. Pesticides, mercury, fluoride, lead and radiation may also affect T4 conversion.
  4. The autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s is a very common cause of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s may result in low thyroid as well as hyperthyroid symptoms, as antibodies attack the thyroid, damaging and gradually killing thyroid cells and disrupting its ability to function.

This small sampling of what may be involved in a low thyroid condition points to the complexity of thyroid problems.

Testing TSH levels in order to identify and resolve a thyroid problem often fails, because it yields very limited information. We may learn TSH levels are off, but we don’t know why. By contrast, functional wellness health care practitioners rely on much more in-depth testing to gather information about function and dysfunction within each patient’s body. The extent of information gathered can then be used to create an effective care plan that promotes optimal health.

If you think you may have a thyroid problem or you’re already taking medication with poor results, consider an alternative approach. Consult with a functional wellness practitioner to determine and address exactly what’s going on in your body’s organs and systems. You’re likely to achieve very good results with care that’s based on the underlying causes of your health condition.

Ready for a new approach to thyroid wellness? Book your FREE consultation today and learn how we may be able to help you.