The thyroid and your health. Sydney naturopath Diana Robson.

The Thyroid And Your Health

Thyroid issues are a very common ailment and can be quite debilitating. I wanted to give you some information and the thyroid and your health so you can decide if it might be a problem for you.

What is the Thyroid? 

Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. This gland makes thyroid hormone that controls your body’s metabolism in many ways, including how fast you burn kilojoules and how fast your heart beats.

What can go wrong with your thyroid?

Problems with the thyroid gland are very common. These thyroid diseases affect women 8 times more than men:

  • Disorders that cause hypothyroidism
  • Disorders that cause hyperthyroidism 
  • Postpartum thyroiditis 
  • Goiter
  • Thyroid nodules 
  • Thyroid cancer 

 What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones. It is also called underactive thyroid. This slows down many of your body’s functions, like your metabolism. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. In people with Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid. This attack damages the thyroid so that it does not make enough hormones. Hypothyroidism also can be caused by Hyperthyroidism treatment (radioiodine), radiation treatment of certain cancers and thyroid removal.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Feeling cold when other people do not
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Weight gain, even though you are not eating more food
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Feeling very tired
  • Pale, dry skin
  • Dry, thinning hair
  • Slow heart rate
  • Less sweating than usual
  • A puffy face
  • A hoarse voice
  • More than usual menstrual bleeding 
  • You also may have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for cardiovascular disease.

What is Hyperthyroidism ?

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, causes your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone than your body needs. This speeds up many of your body’s functions, like your metabolism and heart rate. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

  • Weight loss, even if you eat the same or more food (most but not all people lose weight)
  • Eating more than usual
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat or pounding of your heart
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Feeling irritable
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Increased sweating
  • Feeling hot when other people do not
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diarrhoea or more bowel movements than normal
  • Fewer and lighter menstrual periods than normal
  • Changes in your eyes that can include bulging of the eyes, redness, or irritation

Hyperthyroidism raises your risk for osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak bones that break easily. In fact, hyperthyroidism might affect your bones before you have any of the other symptoms of the condition. This is especially true of women who have gone through menopause or who are already at high risk of osteoporosis.

What is a Goitre?

A goitre is an unusually enlarged thyroid gland. It may happen only for a short time and may go away on its own without treatment. Or it could be a symptom of another thyroid disease that requires treatment. It can also be due to a lack of Iodine in the diet – this occurs usually in countries that are away from the ocean and don’t use iodised salt.

Some common causes of goiter include:

  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • Graves’ disease
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Thyroiditis
  • Thyroid cancer

Usually, the only symptom of a goitre is a swelling in your neck. It may be large enough that you can see it or feel the lump with your hand. A very large goitre can also cause a tight feeling in your throat, coughing, or problems swallowing or breathing.

What are Thyroid Nodules ?

A thyroid nodule is a swelling in one section of the thyroid gland. The nodule may be solid or filled with fluid or blood. You may have just one thyroid nodule or many. Thyroid nodules are common and affect four times as many women as men. Researchers do not know why nodules form in otherwise normal thyroids.

What are signs and symptoms of Thyroid nodules ?

Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms and are not cancerous.8 Some thyroid nodules make too much thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism. Sometimes, nodules grow so big that they cause problems with swallowing or breathing. About one-third of nodules are found by the patient, another third by the doctor, and the other third through an imaging test of the neck.

Do you think your thyroid might be causing you some issues? Please get in touch to book a consult – this is something I would love to help you with.

You might like to read some of my other blogs.



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