adrenal stress

Thyroid Health During Stressful Times

Hormones fluctuate daily, monthly and seasonally even in the best of times. Add stress, diet and sleep into the mix and sometimes it can be hard to figure out why you aren’t feeling yourself.

Typical symptoms of low thyroid hormone include fatigue, low mood/depression, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails, acne, irregular/heavy periods, constipation and even heightened anxiety. While in normal situations one or two of these can be present, stress can lead to worsening or additional symptoms. The stress hormone cortisol can block or slow down the ability to make thyroid hormone thus producing a temporary (or worsening) hypothyroid state.

Lab tests can confirm new cases of hypothyroid and determine the severity of both new and pre-existing conditions. But, what do we do to treat when the root cause is stress? Stress correlates to the hormone cortisol which is produced in the adrenal glands. The main treatments we have are to lower cortisol and to increase production of the active thyroid hormone T3.

Previous blogs on adrenal health and stress reduction can be found HERE which provide useful tools and foods to lower cortisol. In some cases we use herbal medicine to slow down cortisol production to decrease anxiety and insomnia which can make a significant difference. If T3 production has been slowed, nutrients such as selenium and zinc may be helpful either in the form of nuts and seeds or as a supplement. When lab results reflect low thyroid hormones, we give a prescription of T3 (Cytomel or compounded liothyronine) in addition to nutritional improvements and supplements.

To help you determine if your thyroid hormones are low, please use our online booking system to schedule an appointment or send us an email. During this time of isolation, our Naturopathic Physicians are able to book phone and video appointments for new and existing patients to deliver individualized treatment plans. Stay safe and healthy!