Your thyroid is an incredibly important gland in your body that sits at the base of your neck and resembles a butterfly shape. It regulates so many important functions of the body including metabolization, temperature regulation, mood and energy. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 10 Canadians deal with thyroid-related issues.
The symptoms associated with hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Intolerance to cold temperatures
- Brain fog
- Memory loss
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Irregular cycles
- Hair loss
- Difficulty losing weight
- Low libido
- Increased risk of miscarriages
Since these symptoms look so similar to PCOS, it is always important to get a full lab work up on your thyroid.
A full thyroid panel includes the following blood tests:
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Reverse T3
In the case of hypothyroidism, we will see higher levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), known as the hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the thyroid to release Free T4 and a little bit of Free T3, known as our thyroid hormones. In hypothyroidism, we often see lower levels of Free T4 and Free T3.
In a recent Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, it was found that women with PCOS have a higher prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism.
Subclinical hypothyroidism is when your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) is slightly high and your thyroid hormones, Free T3 and Free T4 are within normal limits. This is not full blown hypothyroidism, however it is a milder form of hypothyroidism which requires further assessment into your signs and symptoms and overall health.
When it comes to hormones, it can be very complicated. However, completing a thorough work up into your symptoms along with fully assessing your thyroid via lab work can give us an in depth picture as to what is going on in your body.
Especially if you have been trying to lose weight and you have hit a plateau OR If you have been experiencing fatigue without a clear explanation, it is important to get your thyroid assessed.
Dr. Samina Mitha, ND
Sage Naturopathic Clinic
Ding, X., Yang, L., Wang, J., Tang, R., Chen, Q., Pan, J., … Mu, L. (2018, November 27). Subclinical Hypothyroidism in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Endocrinology, Vol. 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2018.00700