Few might think that the thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland beneath the Adam’s apple, would make such a big impact on our health and the way our bodies perform. But it does.
The thyroid releases hormones that heavily influence our growth, development and metabolism. Given this importance, when the thyroid malfunctions, it can cause problems with this growth and development that affect both body and mind.
Having too few of these hormones is called hypothyroidism and having too much is called hyperthyroidism.
Hypothroidism can cause weakness, weight gain, fatigue, poor skin and hair health. It can disturb both the digestive and reproductive systems. It can also be a factor in depression and weight gain. A common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease.
Hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss and hair loss, as well as a feeling of anxiety and stress or even a feeling of having a panic attack. Pregnancy can cause hyperthyroidism. A common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease.
While many need medication to treat problems with the thyroid, there are also natural treatments that may help.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism is necessary in almost all cases to prevent further symptoms and to protect the body’s immune system. Make sure you check with your doctor to advise you on what type of treatments you need and take any medications prescribed.
It is possible that thyroid issues due to pregnancy can revert to normal after pregnancy and birth, but ongoing monitoring may still be necessary.
Food isn’t just for energy. It can also heal the body and prevent certain conditions so when choosing what to eat, making healthy choices is important.
Because certain elements in your food, like fats and protein, can impact your thyroid function, it’s important to have them in your daily diet.
EmpowHER expert Dr. Daemon Jones, a naturopathic physician, suggests including healthy fats in your diet like olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds so that your “good” cholesterol can improve thyroid function.