In recent years, Dr. Douglas Husbands, a Functional Medicine Doctor in San Carlos, CA, has seen a growing number of women with hypothyroidism. Many of them have consulted conventional medicine doctors and were told they do not have a thyroid problem. He very often has to address misconceptions about hypothyroidism. He says that the increasing prevalence of hypothyroidism comes with a lot of misconceptions. The following 3 misconceptions are among the most common.
Misconception #1: “Although I have symptoms of hypothyroidism, my doctor said my thyroid test is normal and I don’t have hypothyroidism.”
Many doctors only check TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) to diagnose a thyroid problem. Complete thyroid testing should include total T4, total T3, free T3, reverse T3, TPO (thyroperoxidase antibodies), and thyroglobulin antibodies.
Checking just TSH doesn’t really tell what is really going on with the thyroid. For example, if the TSH is at high normal, one possible problem is that the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of T4, thus the patient has begun to have hypothyroidism symptoms. Hypothyroid symptoms may also be caused by poor cell receptivity to T3.
Misconception #2: When thyroid hormones and thyroid antibodies are in normal range, there’s nothing wrong, even though common hypothyroid symptoms exist.
In some cases, the adrenal glands may be the primary problem, not the thyroid. Many doctors don’t check adrenal problems unless the signs and symptoms are very severe, so adrenal dysfunction is often missed.
Adrenal gland dysfunction is also often mistakenly diagnosed as thyroid dysfunction because many of the signs and symptoms are the same.
Misconception #3: If a woman just had a baby within the last 6 months, high thyroid antibodies are nothing to worry about. They are expected to go down within nine months after the baby was born.
Not necessarily. Although TPO (thyroglobulin antibodies) are commonly elevated between 6 and 31 months postpartum, it is not normal or healthy.
Postpartum thyroiditis is a syndrome of transient or permanent thyroid dysfunction that occurs in the first year after delivery. It is due to an autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid. Women with elevated TPO levels are especially vulnerable to depression.
These thyroid gland antibodies are damaging the thyroid gland. If enough thyroid damage is done, it will result in these common complaints from women: always tired and can’t lose weight.
Since Dr. Husbands has found himself debunking his patients’ hypothyroidism misconceptions far too often, he decided to write an educational patient guide to hypothyroidism. Read this patient guide for full explanations for the above and the other misconceptions here: http://hypothyroidismdiagnosis.com.
To contact Dr. Douglas Husbands, visit http://www.holistichealthbayarea.com/.