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Stress – Thyroid – Adrenals – Reproduction

It’s all connected

We all know that stress isn’t good for our health, but what we often do not realise is that there is an intimate connection between stress, adrenal function, thyroid function and reproductive issues.  Continuous stress leads to high levels of stress hormones which not only negatively impact on thyroid function, but also on reproduction and weight management.

Thyroid medications alone are often not effective

Seventy percent of people taking thyroid replacement medications continue to complain of symptoms.  It is not unusual to have concurrent presenting symptoms of both low adrenal and low thyroid functions. 

There are situations when your thyroid may be functioning perfectly, yet you exhibit all symptoms of hypothyroid.  Just as your cells can become ‘insulin resistant’ so too can they become ‘T3 resistant’.  This condition is known as Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome* where the T3 required for cellular metabolism cannot be taken up, thus leading to what overtly appears to by hypothyroid.  

Low thyroid function due to adrenal fatigue

Low or hypothyroid symptoms often include low body temperature, fatigue, dry skin, weight gain, and fluctuating emotions.  Often these symptoms do not resolve even when taking thyroid hormone replacement therapy* because the adrenal and other factors have not been addressed.

Long term stress and stress-related disorders may cause enlargement of the adrenals and an overproduction of adrenal hormones, such as cortisol. Excessive stress also inhibits peripheral conversion of T4, reduces T3 levels, decreases the thyroid stimulating  hormone (TSH) response to thyroid regulating hormone (TRH) and increases reverse T3 (rT3) levels.

Adrenal fatigue is a common cause of secondary hypothyroid function.  Over long periods of physical, emotional or mental stress, the adrenal glands become exhausted and so does the person.  If long periods of stress are not balanced by healthy food, plenty of rest and recuperation, the adrenal glands are not fully able to maintain energy, organ function, immune function and inflammation regulation.  This can contribute to a range of chronic health problems and low immunity. 

Thyroid dysfunction due to chronic fear, stress or other factors can lead to health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, infertility and osteoporosis. Stress causes changes in the immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems and stressful life events and trauma have been associated with thyroid disease.

When both adrenals and thyroid are weak, thyroid medication may be increased to the point of toxicity – heart palpitations, constant feelings of ‘wired and tired’ with ongoing fatigue, inability to maintain quality sleep, feeling anxious throughout the day.  Internally, the adrenals continue to weaken and metabolic imbalances, weight gain, increased sluggishness continue.  Fortunately, secondary hypothyroidism can be reversed once the underlying adrenal fatigue is resolved.

What is the connection?

Both the thyroid and adrenal glands are involved in secretion of hormones – molecular messengers that instruct distant organs how to behave.  The thyroid gland produces the right amount of thyroid hormones to regulate metabolism – how fast cells burn energy and produce proteins.  The adrenal glands produce stress hormones that regulate stress responses.  Both these organs function as complex sensors, continually responding to ever-changing conditions within the body.  They continuously relay information back and forth between the brain and the body.

Thyroid hormones play a much wider role in the body’s functioning.  Low levels of thyroid hormones negatively affect digestive tract motility, cause decreased production of red blood cells, increase risk of heart attack by up to 300%, and have been linked to muscle-wasting and fibromyalgia.  Inversely, elevated cortisol (adrenal stress hormone) is associated with impaired production of thyroid hormones as well as insulin resistance and increased inflammation.

Not only stress causes thyroid problems

Environmental chemicals, heavy metals, plastics, bromides, fluoride and smoking disrupt thyroid hormones.  Avoiding chemicals and toxins wherever possible is becoming more important as our body struggles to cope. 

 If you experience any of the following symptoms, please arrange a thorough health check:

  • Fatigue
  • Cold intolerance
  • Weight gain
  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Infertility or severe menopausal symptoms
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

With proper assessment and treatment, these symptoms can potentially be resolved.  Call True Medicine on 0468 774 633 today!