Undiagnosed Thyroid Conditions #1 Reason for Infertility?

{a guest post by Magdalena of  Thyroid Diet Coach}

I went for dinner with my single male friend just the other day and as we just sat down he said: “You know, just about every other woman I go on a date with has a thyroid drama going on.” Yes, he is a serial dater and yes, thyroid problems have become nothing less than a pandemic. “At least these women have a diagnosis”, I said.

They are lucky girls (to have a diagnosis) as once you know the enemy you can derive a plan of action; be it medications, diet, herbs, acupuncture or lifestyle changes. Whatever it is, it’s in your hands.

It’s the worse thing when we experience a list of symptoms and nobody can tell us what is really going on. This sounds like a typical undiagnosed thyroid story; infertility, miscarriages, fatigue, weight loss resistance, low-grade depression, anxiety, hair loss, brittle nails and the list goes on.

There are plenty of studies showing a connection between the thyroid function, fertility, miscarriages and a healthy pregnancy. An underactive thyroid function can prevent ovulation even though you are menstruating.

If you have been struggling with these and have been told that “your thyroid is OK”, I recommend getting your thyroid tested or re-tested even if you have done so already.

This is why: in spite of a mountain of evidence that the “standard thyroid tests” of TSH, Total T4 and Total T3 hormones are insufficient and inconclusive, very few doctors test for more.

And this is where the problem begins.

As a Thyroid Diet Coach, I see too many women with TSH, T4 and T3 within “range” even though they display every symptom described above. Take the TSH as an example. The conventional medicine range is 0.5 to 5.5 whereby the functional medicine practitioners will not accept anything else than 1-2 range. Furthermore, many women show a perfect TSH even though they are still suffering from many symptoms. As a former Hashimoto’s (hypothyroidism caused by an autoimmune disease) patient, my TSH was also “perfect” even when I felt at my very worse.

So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions for you:

1). Find an open-minded doctor

This might sound easy but it’s not. I’ve had many of my clients being dismissed and laughed at by their physicians when they request for a full thyroid panel. Sadly, most endocrinologists are very set in their ways and you might have more luck with internists and naturopaths.

Besides, of course, doing a Google search in your area, you can also try another great trick: ask your local pharmacy about doctors who order compounded thyroid medication. These doctors tend to be far more open-minded and willing to work with you.

2). Insist of getting a full thyroid panel

This is THE key. Forget the standard TSH, T4, T3 alone. This is what you would need to test to get a full picture of what is going on:

  • TSH
  • Free T4 (not just Total as we want to know what is “free” and available for your body receptors to use)
  • Free T3 (same for “free” as above)
  • Reverse T3 (it’s a type of T3 that mimics T3 but it only blocks the receptors and does nothing for us)
  • TPO antibodies
  • TGB antibodies
  • TSI antibodies (if you suspect an overactive thyroid)

This is a good start. However, the thyroid does not function in isolation from all other hormones therefore I also like to recommend testing for sugar levels (glucose, insulin and HA1C), cortisol levels (especially if you have been experiencing stress), estrogen, progesterone and DHEA-S.

Since the conversion of T4 hormone to T3 is dependent on many factors, including vitamin and mineral deficiencies, I would also recommend testing for Vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, D and ferritin (bio-available iron), zinc, selenium and copper.

3). Reduce your antibodies

90% of thyroid conditions are caused by the immune system’s attack on the thyroid. This means that it’s not the thyroid that originally fails to function well, it’s the immune system’s attacks that causes the thyroid to become under- (hypo-) or overactive (hyper-).

This is why most people with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s Disease which is the autoimmune condition and people with hyperthyroidism (more rare) have Graves’ Disease.

How do you know you have it? It’s pretty simple – you need to test for the TPO, TGB and TSI (in case of hyperthyroidism) antibodies.

Elevated antibodies have been connected to infertility, miscarriages and children with learning disabilities and even autism.

Taking thyroid medications like Synthroid, Armour or Levoxyl will NOT lower the antibodies completely as they will not do anything for the immune system.

So what does? This is where your diet comes in.

What many of us don’t realize is that 70% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract (aka “the gut”) in the form of a complex and vast network of lymph tissue referred to as GALT (gut associated lymphatic tissue).

You might therefore not be surprised to hear that most women with thyroid conditions also experience many digestive issues such as frequent bloating, constipation, gas, acid reflux, burping or diarrhea. In fact, for many, it’s so common that they assume it’s “normal”. By no means it is normal or acceptable if you want to live a healthy live.

The key things you can do to start addressing and repairing your immune system and your digestion are:

  1. Find out what your food intolerances are

It’s estimated that 70% of people in developed countries suffer from food intolerances (they are different from allergies) which create havoc in the digestive tract and therefore the immune system. The common culprits (although this is not an exhaustive list) are: gluten, eggs, dairy, soy and corn.

Blood tests are often not accurate therefore it’s best to go on an Elimination Diet to gain full clarity and control. If you need help in doing one, you can get The Elimination Diet Guide which was written specifically for thyroid patients. 

  1. Introduce probiotics

Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that will push out the pathogenic bacteria, virus and parasites that are aggravating the immune system. Beyond commercial yoghurt (which is very poor in good bacteria and most often loaded with sugar and additives), try incorporating lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, pickled cucumbers or kombucha tea.

  1. Support your liver

The liver plays a huge role in detoxifying our body, storing vitamins and minerals, balancing our hormones and converting the T4 thyroid hormone to T3. We will never be healthy if we have a sluggish liver. One needs to be careful, however, about many bogus detoxes, especially the ones promised by pill and powders. It’s best to focus on really freeing the liver temporarily from animal fats, meats and toxins by fasting and adding cleansing foods like dandelion, parsley, lemons, flax seeds, etc. For more details on how to do a detox that is thyroid-centric, you can check out Thyroid Detox home-study program.

I’m a big believer that we eat our way into many health problems, often times unknowingly. But, I also believe we can eat our way out of these problems.

Give food a chance. Our body is an amazing machine; designed to self-heal and self-regulate. Just give it the right environment and you will be amazed what might happen.

You can also sign up for the free video classes. I’ve watched the first video on what foods could be sabotaging your thyroid and from what I’ve been reading, aligns very much with what I know of healing the body.

Magdelena’s also has a  Fire Up Your Thyroid class that Is currently 35% off until December 31, 2012. Just use the code: THYROID2013.

And until the end of January 2013, you can take $20.00 off the Thyroid Detox home study program with the code: TD20OFF

The author of this article, Magdalena Wszelaki is the founder of Thyroid Diet Coach; a nutritional practice dedicated to empowering women with thyroid and autoimmune conditions to self-heal and reclaims their lives.

Magdalena is a former Hashimoto’s patient (autoimmune disease causing underactive thyroid) and she has been in remission for several years now. You can watch her videos, listen to her FREE Thyroid Community Calls and read her articles on Thyroid Diet Coach website.

 

 *some links in this article may be affiliate links

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.

Comments

  1. You just specifically listed everything I’ve been going through for the past several years. I had age working against me as well since no doctor would believe an otherwise healthy 19 year old would be experiencing thyroid issues. It has been an incredibly frustrating journey, and being a military spouse has not helped with having to jump from doctor to doctor constantly in an overwhelmed system that frequently lets things like this fall through the cracks. I have all but given up in trying to solve it. When my husband and I were trying to conceive, the very long wait certainly confirmed it for me, but praise God we were able to have our sweet daughter. I seem to have it under some sort of control now, but I’m not anywhere near where I should be and I know that. I just hope and pray I can one day find a doctor who will take me seriously so I don’t have to live like this forever.

  2. Interesting research. It is no surprise that an elevated number of antibodies can lead to thyroid conditions. This shows the importance of proper functioning of the immune system, which we often take for granted. I liked the fact that you also provided suggestions on how to improve the immune system.

  3. Could a consistently Low, 35.5C (95.9 F) -36.26C (97.26F) BBT be a symptom of thyroid problems? Or something?

    donielle Reply:

    @Tawny, Low temps can be a sign of thyroid malfunction, and if it’s chronically low you may want to have a full thyroid panel run just to make sure. (and check your numbers looking at a functional range, not the pathological range used by most conventional doctors)

  4. This post really makes me wonder if I am having these same issues! I have regular cycles and according to my temperatures, I am ovulating. But I’ve also been starting to think that I am actually less-than normal, in spite of what my doctor told told. She had my thyroid checked (blood test and ultrasound) last June and all I was told was that “it’s fine” and that I had “nothing to worry about”. But things I’ve read here and other places make me wonder if that is correct. My husband and I have been NTNP for a year, and actually trying for 2 cycles without success. I’ve also noticed some symptoms of low progesterone and thyroid function since doing more research (low BBTs, mood swings, sugar cravings, cold hands/feet, eczema flares, etc.) and I’m working on correcting those things naturally. My chiropractor is starting me on 2 supplements at the beginning of next cycle that will hopefully make a difference, and I’m going to be cutting some things out of my diet as well!

  5. I look forward to reading through this material and learning more. About a year ago, we read Hope for Hashimoto’s. We did not want to follow the medical plan as we were uncomfortable with aspects of it but found this book and the extensive online videos to be very helpful and informative. The main take away for us was that the issue was a nutritional deficiency or deficiencies. I began to drastically increase the foods that contain/are high in these nutrients. That helped. However, we have recently had drastic improvement after discovery butterflyexpress.com. I have begun using their tinctures for nutrition and trace minerals and the essential oils. The pricing is great (we took them up on their whole sale program but even retail pricing is much better than other companies). After years of doing many things to improve our health this is in the top 5 for major impacts. I am using the thyroid oils and a number of others several times a day, externally only, with significant results. I have now started using the tinctures and am happy with them as well. For additional nutrition I am also beginning to use teas. I am happy with bulkherbstore.com. The prices are good, the quality seems to be very good and the shipping was fast. Their web site has lots of information. We do many of the things on this web site and have emphasized high quality food for some time and lessened our toxic household, etc. The oils, tinctures and herb teas are taking our health to another level! Best of luck as this seems to be common and is a tough one!

    donielle Reply:

    @Julie, Thanks for the resources!