“I feel tired. It’s so hard to get motivated to exercise, not to mention my muscles hurt so much. I just can’t lose weight. I feel depressed, my skin really sucks, and if I could just remember.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
These symptoms could actually be a sign of something more challenging.”
This is an excerpt from page 149 of my bestselling book ‘Conquer Your PCOS Naturally‘. It describes a common issue, more commonly experienced by women with PCOS.
I’m talking about thyroid dysfunction.
PCOS and hypothyroidism commonly occur together. Whether due to an autoimmune response or something somewhat less sinister, like nutritional deficiencies.
So, what does the thyroid gland do?
Although small in size, you should not underestimate the importance of this gland. Your thyroid is vital for maintaining your health and keeping the ‘spark’ in your life. This tiny gland releases powerful hormones, which help in controlling and releasing energy for all of your metabolic processes.
To cut a long story short, your thyroid gland is the metabolic engine of your body. It ubiquitously affects every cell in your body. Your thyroid:
* Can modify how your genes are expressed
* Regulates your metabolism by regulating the use of glucose and oxygen for the production of heat and energy
* Regulates the speed of your enzymes
* Regulates bone mass by affecting calcium metabolism
* Regulates cholesterol and fat metabolism
* Is involved in the regulation of your reproductive functions.
How does this tiny gland do such a mammoth task?
When it comes to the thyroid, the immense strength of this gland lies in the potent hormones it releases in your blood. The three hormones of the thyroid gland are:
The secretions of these hormones are regulated by thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH, secreted by the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus in turn regulates the release of TSH from the pituitary by releasing the TSH-releasing hormone (TRH). This communication between your hypothalamus, pituitary gland and thyroid gland is called your Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis (or HPT). Development of the HPT is crucial for reproduction and overall development in men as well as women.
When the levels of your thyroid hormones drop, your hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland to produce more TSH. The opposite occurs when your thyroid hormone levels get too high. This system, known as a ‘negative feedback’ system, is used by most of our body’s endocrine glands for ensuring balance ? or homeostasis.
But, I’ve been told my thyroid levels are normal… Aren’t they?
Unfortunately, most pathology laboratories haven’t kept up with the latest research. If you’re TSH results are between 0.5-4/5 (depending on the lab), you’ll be told – maybe inaccurately – that your thyroid is working fine.
However, we know that your TSH levels really need to be between 1-2/2.5. Go and check your test results and see what they say.
Results over 2.5 have been linked to the insulin resistance so commonly present in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Then there is also the need for other thyroid tests to be run…
Like T4, T3, reverse T3 and thyroid autoantibodies. For example, women with PCOS are more likely to have thyroid autoimmune dis-ease, and this has been linked to implantation problems. In fact, several studies say that women experiencing trouble conceiving, especially with PCOS, need to be tested for autoantibodies. Are they? Often not. Given PCOS and infertility as very linked, this in my humble opinion is a glaring oversight.
PCOS and weight gain… Yes! Another possible link with hypothyroidism!
This small little gland is so integral to your health, and so misunderstood.
To find out more about thyroid function and health, and the life changing simple strategies to boost your thyroid function, head over to Conquer Your PCOS Blueprint. This (currently FREE) 21 day PCOS Blueprint will help you to gain back control of your health, your weight, your fertility and your life.
P.S. To find out more about PCOS and hypothyroidism signs and symptoms, head to this thyroid blog post now.