A chief complaint of fatigue is very common in patients and when you treat stressed out corporate workers, it often goes along with the territory. I have talked about treating adrenal fatigue before and that is a big reason for fatigue but today I am going to talk about another reason for fatigue. The organ involved is called your thyroid and more specifically, it is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s disease is the name of the disease and is one big reason for fatigue in patients. It is very common in women, especially in middle age, but it can also occur in men, less commonly.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease, more specifically, include fatigue with extreme sluggishness in the am, poor stamina, dry skin, constipation, muscle weakness, depression, loss of libido, poor cognitive function, cold intolerance, heavy menstrual periods, weight gain, hair loss, and infertility. People can sometimes present with a ‘fullness feeling’ in the throat or an actual sore throat. Some patients, if left to the extreme, will present with a goiter. The reason I bring this topic up is that it is a very common autoimmune disorder so it is wise to have it ruled out if you have chronic, unrelenting fatigue.
When most people go to their doctor to get a screen of the their thyroid function, the first test that is done is of thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH. If TSH is high (>5.0 ), typically more tests are run. When I am evaluating and testing for thyroid gland function, I run a full panel that includes testing for antibodies against the thyroid gland- TPO or anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. Hashimoto’s is one big reason for fatigue that can be missed, so be sure and ask your medical doctor for some additional testing if you are concerned.
Causative agents are suspected to be environmental factors such as infectious agents, environmental chemicals and pesticides, not to mention a diet that may include a lot of gluten along with many other factors. Getting off gluten is very helpful if you have Hashimoto’s as most autoimmune diseases can be aggravated and made worse from gluten intake. Nutritional deficiencies can be part of the picture and could include Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Selenium, Zinc, iodine and/or omega 3 fatty acid deficits so additional testing to uncover these may be very helpful. Additional heavy metal testing to rule out mercury or lead toxicity can sometimes be necessary when approaching any thyroid imbalance.
I use Biotherapeutic drainage to support the physiology of the thyroid gland. Organotherapy can be useful to act as a decoy to get the antibodies to attack the supplemented medicine versus the thyroid. I refer out if it is a more complicated case but often the body will respond well to comprehensive support involving natural medicine. For additional information on the thyroid gland and imbalance, check out Mark Hyman’s book, The Ultra Thyroid Solution. Please book an appointment to discuss if you are interested in thyroid testing at Parallel Wellness in Calgary, Alberta.