Thyroid has an impact on every cell of the body and can be a major source of struggle for women. Thyroid hormones play an important role in the function and balance of other hormones as well as the hormone system as a whole. There tends to be more thyroid issues in women and the symptoms are more intense. Thyroid hormone production decreases with age as do the other hormones of the body resulting in hypothyroidism. Many women have undergone treatment and never felt any better. Others are undergoing treatment but still have no improvement and just don’t know why.
Interrelationship between Thyroid And Menopause
Metabolism, that is the main function of the thyroid gland. When the thyroid goes on the fritz literally everything in the body can malfunction. Now you add on menopause and increasing age, and the thyroid gland begins to slow in its production of hormones. With this decrease in hormone output comes hypothyroidism and all its symptoms.
Symptoms Of Low Thyroid
- Weight Gain
- Water Retention
- Hair Loss (a major cause)
- Dry Skin / Brittle Nails
- Sensitivity to Cold / Cold Extremities
- High Cholesterol
- Mental Fogginess
- Memory Loss
T4 And T3: Facts You Need To Know
T4 thyroid hormone—this is the thyroid hormone your thyroid actually produces. T4 is produced by the thyroid gland and the level of the T4 will stimulate your pituitary gland to produce TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) if the T4 levels are low. This feedback loop is critical to the proper function of thyroid and you getting the thyroid hormones you need.
Although T4 is important it is not the thyroid hormone you body uses to regulate its metabolism. T4 is broken down into another thyroid hormone called T3 and T3 is then broken down to free T3, which is the hormone your body actually uses.
It doesn’t matter if you have a ton of T4, if T4 isn’t being converted to free T3 you may as well have none at all.
One of the reasons thyroid hormone levels decline with age is because the thyroid and pituitary glands start to slow down. However, as the body ages, it also becomes less efficient at converting T4 to T3 free.
The Issue With How Most Physicians Approach Low Thyroid
Most physicians typical only measure T4 and TSH. They neglect 80% of thyroid function by not testing for T3 free. (80% of thyroid function in the body is by free T3)
Typically physicians are treating low thyroid by replacing T4 and usually with synthetic hormones replacement. T4 levels may be great but if you neglect the T3 levels then the results will be subpar.
What physicians consider to be normal levels for thyroid typically isn’t high enough. Thyroid hormone levels need to be at the upper levels of normal as this is the usually what’s healthiest and will have the symptoms results that are what is trying to be achieved.
It is common to see patients who are still symptomatic from low thyroid who are being treated by their family doctors but being treated with T4 and not treating the T3. At Wright Surgical Arts we always check free T3 levels. If free T3 levels are low, we will provide the treatment that was needed all along — using thyroid hormones that contain both T4 and T3, in a dose that will get levels to the upper end of lab test normal levels.