Could Stress be affecting your Thyroid Health?
What you need to know to help you.
We are all aware of how chronic stress is bad for us, but most do not consider the implications it has on the thyroid gland specifically. Let me explain this process in your body.
Hormones are molecules released from one area of the body to carry messages to another area of the body. The main job of the thyroid is to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone to tell your cells how fast to burn energy. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands are primarily responsible for producing the right amount of stress hormones that allow you to respond to stress.
When the body is under stress, the brain releases a hormone called corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). This hormone tell the pituitary gland in the brain to send a message to the adrenal glands to make cortisol (the stress hormone). Both cortisol and CRH can inhibit thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the conversion of T4 to T3. Every cell in the body uses T3 for healthy functioning. A decrease in T3 would yield these symptoms:
Fatigue, cold intolerance, weight gain, memory loss, poor concentration, depression, infertility, hair loss and more
This inhibition of your thyroid hormone takes place quietly, “behind the scenes”, for years without causing overt symptoms and change to your TSH. This is why so many women are caught off gaurd when they are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. Everything seems to be going fine until they wake up and feel horrible. The reality is, if you have been experiencing chronic stress for years, stress hormones may have been inhibiting your thyroid. Some patients that I see remain in a subclinical hypothyroid state. This is a state in which your lab results are within normal but you appear to have all the symptoms. Thankfully there are ways to reset your stress response and re-establish healthier connections between your adrenals and thyroid gland.
The common test I order for my patients is a Comprehensive Thyroid Panel: This involves a reading of TSH, T4, T3, rT3, Thyroid Antibodies.
Reach out to get tested, so you may begin my thyroid recovery program.
Thank you for reading. Knowledge is Empowerment!
Dr. Jennifer Cisternino, ND