There is a strong connection between adrenal fatigue and thyroid function. Read on to learn more about your thyroid health and adrenal fatigue.
In this article:
- How Does the Adrenal Gland Impact Thyroid Functioning?
- What Are the Features of Hypothyroidism?
- What Are the Challenges of Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid Disorders?
Everything You Need to Know About Adrenal Fatigue and Its Impact on the Thyroid
When the thyroid gland isn’t working properly, the impact it has on your daily life is obvious—it’s like driving a car that’s about to run out of gas. Hypothyroidism a type of thyroid disorder wherein the gland is underperforming and does not produce enough thyroid hormones.
Hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue share many symptoms, so these two conditions are often misdiagnosed. On top of that, the tests used to measure thyroid and adrenal function are sometimes difficult to interpret.
In certain cases, some doctors think that adrenal problems could be the underlying cause of poor thyroid function.
How Does the Adrenal Gland Impact Thyroid Function?
Your adrenal glands play a vital role in the fight-or-flight response that is triggered during stressful situations. They are also responsible for regulating the following hormones:
Adrenal fatigue occurs when you experience chronic stress and your adrenal glands can’t keep up with the constant activation of the fight-or-flight response. This leads to an autoimmune, inflammatory response that makes the body produce more cortisol.
The constant presence of cortisol in the body will have a negative impact on organs and the immune system. This compromised adrenal function can aggravate existing thyroid problems.
What Are the Features of Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland. It is found below the larynx, or Adam’s apple, at the front of the neck.
Basically, the thyroid gland helps your body run properly. So, a thyroid disorder can really hurt the immune system, metabolism, and even overall wellness.
Many people exhibit symptoms that may indicate hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, or both. Here are some of the common symptoms:
- Constantly feeling fatigued even after a full night’s sleep
- Shortness of breath
- Brain fog (difficulties in memory, learning, and focusing)
- Oversensitivity to the cold
- Muscle and joint pain
- Brittle or thinning hair
- Brittle nails
- Calloused heels
- Premenstrual Syndrome
- Libido problems and infertility
- Recurring yeast infections
- Difficulty in managing weight (either keeping it off or putting it on)
People who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism are usually prescribed thyroid hormones. Unfortunately, people who suffer from both hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue may not respond well to this singular course of treatment—in fact, it may even worsen the underlying adrenal problems.
In a healthy body, the hormones regulated by the adrenal glands interact with thyroid hormones in important ways. Certain adrenal hormones actually help transform the inactive thyroid hormone, T4, into its active form, the T3.
Some scientists also think that adrenal hormones also play a role in how T3 enters cells.
People who have both hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue may benefit from taking both adrenal hormones and thyroid hormones together. An expert in bioidentical hormone therapy should be able to determine the right course of treatment and hormone dosage.
What is bioidentical hormone therapy? A course of treatment for men and women who have low or unbalanced hormone levels.
What Are the Challenges of Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid Disorders?
Unfortunately, many doctors still use a standard test with outdated ranges to assess thyroid function. While thyroid problems are quite common, 80% of low thyroid patients are misdiagnosed.
This is because the standard test isn’t precise enough to detect it.
In fact, many people may have seemingly normal TSH, T3, and T4 levels but still experience all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. This misdiagnosis leads to treatments that won’t necessarily work for certain patients.
In some cases, the treatment may actually lead to seemingly normal hormone levels without providing any real relief to the patients. Even when the labs come back normal, patients continue to struggle with symptoms like fatigue or the inability to lose weight.
To get a more accurate picture of thyroid functioning, doctors should order tests that will provide the following details:
- TSH levels
- Free T4 levels
- Free T3 levels
- Reverse T3 levels
- Sex hormone binding globulin (SHGB) levels
- Leptin levels
- Tissue thyroid levels
- Basal metabolic rates
The course of treatment for thyroid disorders normally includes a customized combination of the bioidentical T4 thyroid hormone and a time-released bioidentical T3 thyroid hormone. Certain nutritional supplements can also help improve mood and energy while regulating weight, metabolism, and thyroid balance.
Learn more about the connection between adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism from Ascend Corporate Wellness, Inc.:
Hypothyroidism comes with a set of symptoms that may make your day-to-day challenging. If you feel like your current course of treatment isn’t working, you may want to ask your doctor about adrenal fatigue.
You may also want to consider adding a nutritional supplement to help you cope with your symptoms. Before making changes in your medication, make sure to consult your doctor.
Have you been experiencing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? What have you been doing to cope with it? Let us know in the comments section.
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