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Understanding Your Thyroid Gland

At the base of your throat resides a small butterfly-shaped gland called the thyroid. This endocrine gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate your metabolism and help you grow and feel energized. It makes sense then that if you have a dysfunction with your thyroid, you will likely have significant problems with your overall health.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of a thyroid disorder can be quite sinister, lurking sneakily behind the chaos of daily life. Many people deal with the burden of their thyroid issue for a long time before being diagnosed and properly treated. It is often the case that conventional medicine is only able to detect thyroid dysfunction once it has reached a severe state. At this point, doctors can treat thyroid conditions with medication or even surgery, but they have few methods for treating mild cases and preventing them from worsening.

At Seed & Soil Wellness, we are trained to detect thyroid conditions at all stages and can therefore help you before the problem is out of hand. In this article, we cover how the thyroid functions when healthy versus unhealthy, what can contribute to issues with this endocrine gland, and how we detect an imbalance.


How a Healthy Thyroid Functions

To understand how a thyroid imbalance is detected through bloodwork, you must understand the basic physiology of how your hormone systems interact.

Thyroid hormone production is triggered by a gland in the brain called the anterior pituitary. When the pituitary detects there is an inadequate amount of active thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, a messenger called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) tells the thyroid to step it up. A healthy thyroid then produces an inactive hormone called T4. This is then converted to T3 in the liver, kidneys, and brain, which then enters various kinds of cells to signal the body with instructions for energy production.

Symptoms of a Struggling Thyroid

If your body is unable to create enough active thyroid hormone, you enter a state called ‘hypothyroidism.’ On the other end of the spectrum, too much T3 production is called ‘hyperthyroidism.’ Both can take a toll on your health, but no need to lose hope. There are many steps you can take to take back control of your thyroid.

Hypothyroidism

Not all cases of hypothyroidism cause symptoms. However, if your body is having trouble making T3, you might experience the following:

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Dry skin

  • Brain fog

  • Hair loss & dry hair

  • Constipation

  • Cold intolerance

Hyperthyroidism

If your body is actually overproducing T3, you may deal with these challenges:

  • Intense sweating

  • Heat intolerance

  • Weight loss

  • Muscle weakness

  • Diarrhea

  • Anxiety, nervousness, and too much energy