Why do you really feel tired?
Have you ever felt so tired that no amount of sleep seems to help?
It’s normal to have periods of time where busy-ness, acute stress, or illness can temporarily zap your energy. But if you are experiencing chronic fatigue that no amount of sleep can seem to solve, it may be time to dig a little deeper.
If you're feeling fatigued and unable to keep up with your daily responsibilities, thyroid dysfunction may be to blame. Thyroid problems can manifest in a variety of ways, and it's not always easy to pinpoint the cause.
One of the most frustrating things about thyroid dysfunction is the lack of energy it can cause. When you're struggling to keep your eyes open during the day, it can be tough to focus on work, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the activities you used to love. But with the help of a functional medicine practitioner, you can find relief from these symptoms.
What is “normal” anyway?
When your medical doctor suspects a thyroid problem, they will typically test your TSH levels to determine if they fall within the normal range (this is considered to be between 0.45-5.5). However, this wide range can make it difficult to accurately diagnose and treat the true cause of thyroid disorders. A healthy TSH range should be between 1 and 3, so even if your doctor tells you your numbers fall within the normal range, it's possible that you're still experiencing a thyroid problem. This is where functional medicine practitioners come in: they use more extensive thyroid panels to get a better understanding of what's going on in your body.
Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's can also cause thyroid dysfunction. These disorders occur when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland and disrupts normal function and hormone production. Unfortunately, standard blood workups often miss these autoimmune diseases, and instead simply focus on whether or not thyroid hormone levels are out of balance. This is why functional medicine practitioners focus on identifying the root cause of the dysfunction in order to treat it appropriately, as lack of hormone production and an autoimmune disease require two very different treatments.
Adrenal fatigue is another condition that can mimic the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and confuse a proper diagnosis. Chronic stress can negatively impact all of your hormone levels, which can lead to fatigue, brain fog, and other symptoms. A functional medicine practitioner will work with you to identify the sources of stress in your life and develop strategies to manage them, so you can start receiving the correct treatment and ultimately start feeling better.
Getting back on track
When it comes to treating thyroid dysfunction, it's important to understand the role of T3 and T4. T3 is an active hormone that regulates your energy levels, and T4 must be converted into T3 in order to maintain enough levels in your body. This conversion takes place in the gut and liver, so if either of these areas are experiencing dysfunction, under conversion can occur, leading to thyroid dysfunction. A standard thyroid panel will only display if T3 and T4 levels are out of balance (and how much pharmaceutical supplementation is needed). If the true root cause of the problem however is T4 conversion, a liver detox or intestinal healing protocol is what is really necessary for healing. A functional medicine practitioner will take this into account when designing your treatment plan.
If you're struggling with fatigue and other symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, a functional medicine practitioner who specializes in thyroid treatment can help. They will use more extensive thyroid panels to get a better understanding of what's going on in your body, and work with you to find the root cause of the problem. By focusing on healing the underlying causes of your symptoms, rather than just treating the symptoms themselves, you can start feeling like yourself again.
Feel like your hormone health needs a deeper look? Contact us today and get back on track to a healthier, more energized you!