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How Important Is A Woman'sThyroid?

Having irregular menses? Maybe it's your thyroid's fault.

Iodine is found in trace amounts in the human body but plays a huge role in maintaining your thyroid health. The thyroid gland is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, which is the one responsible for cell differentiation and organogenesis during development. They also help regulate your metabolism and energy production.

As you're convinced of its importance to human beings, did you know that the human body doesn't make its own iodine? Good thing it is naturally present in soil and seawater so you get your daily dose of iodine primarily through your diet.

What Is A Thyroid Hormone Deficiency?

When people do not have enough iodine, the thyroid gland cannot make enough thyroid hormones. This deficiency can lead to a variety of iodine deficiency disorders including goiter, hypothyroidism, cretinism, and reproductive failure. It is estimated that about 29% of the world's population is living in areas with iodine deficiency disorders and around 2 billion people are iodine-deficient.

Important symptoms to look out for are weight gain, edema, getting tired easily, loss of appetite, constipation, anemia, and cold and clammy skin. Once you experience 2 or more of these symptoms, you should consult with your physician via teleconsult as soon as you can. You can also opt to do a Thyroid Test at home like the ones available at Everlywell.

People with iodine deficiencies compensate by stimulating the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones than usual. This is how the body makes up for the increasing demand for thyroid hormone production. As a result, many patients develop goiter or the progressive enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Thyroid Disorders in Women

Generally, thyroid disorders and hypothyroidism are some of the common causes of menstrual problems in women. In hypothyroidism, the underactive thyroid will signal the hypothalamus to secrete hormones that will stimulate the thyroid to produce more of its hormones. The increased secretion of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) from the hypothalamus then acts on the pituitary gland, which is responsible for regulating vital functions in the body. It is also responsible for secreting the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and prolactin (PRL).

TSH, which is increased during hypothyroidism, has a small gonadotropin-like action. Gonadotropins, like FSH and LH, are hormones responsible for ovulation. The FSH stimulates the growth of the egg cell in the ovaries, while a surge of LH causes it to be released from the ovaries. As the TSH levels continue to rise, ovulation is disrupted, causing menstrual abnormalities.

Prolactin is a hormone known to stimulate milk production as well as inhibit ovulation. Its levels are usually increased during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding. Non-pregnant women usually have low levels of PRL but in cases of elevated levels of this hormone, such as in hypothyroidism, it may cause infrequent or irregular menstruation.

In a study conducted in hypothyroid Indian women, 68.2% manifested menstrual abnormalities as opposed to the 12.2% healthy controls. Another study in Japan also found out that there was a 34.8% prevalence of menstrual disturbances in patients with severe hypothyroidism compared to a 10.2% prevalence rate in patients with mild-moderate cases. If you've been having irregular periods then it would benefit you to test your thyroid levels with a home test kit.

The Thyroid Intervention: Diet Changes

Using essential herbs like black pepper and dandelions that are rich in iodine can stimulate the thyroid and increase metabolism. You can also supplement this by consuming food high in iodine such as tuna, seaweed and shrimp can help control the disease progression and correct the internal imbalance. Consuming dairy products, barley, sugarcane juice, and cucumber, can reduce inflammation and help build up your immune system.

To accurately determine whether your diet change has positively affected your thyroid hormone levels, Everlywell's Thyroid Test Kit will measure your levels for the 3 main thyroid hormones (TSH, T3, and T4) plus thyroid antibodies in a comprehensive test—all from the comfort of your own home.

The Thyroid Intervention: Lifestyle Changes

Practicing yoga and meditation every day has also been found to drastically reduce stress and stimulate the thyroid gland, increasing the body's metabolic activity reducing weight gain. You should do this along with light physical activity like walking around for 20 minutes three times a week or taking up the jump rope and exercising every weekend.

Below are three specific Yoga poses curated for women living with hypothyroidism.

Mudrasana – or the Psychic Union Pose

This gives the flexibility of the back and hips as well as toning the back and abdomen. It helps improve the body's energy level and improves digestion.

Steps:

1. Sit in a Lotus position.

2. Close the eyes and breathe normally.

3. With the hands behind the back, hold the left wrist with the right hand.

4. Slowly bend forward. Try to touch the floor with your forehead or nose as much as possible while breathing out.

5. Relax the whole body.

6. Try to breathe deeply and slowly while maintaining in this position for a few minutes.

7. Slowly inhale while returning to the starting position.

Halasana - or the Plough Pose

This can help remove waist fat and improve the health of abdominal organs and the thyroid. The chin locks put pressure on the thyroid glands thus balance the metabolic rate.

Steps:

1. Lie on your back/ supine position.

2. Keep the legs together and hands close to the body and breathe normally.

3. Hold the breath and slowly raise the legs to a vertical position. Do not use the arms to lift but only the waist muscles and stomach to do this.

4. As much as possible, move the legs further back until the legs touch the floor. You can now use the hands to support the lower back and further push the waist and trunk.

5. Try to move the legs as further from the head as possible. You will achieve the chin lock position. This puts pressure on the thyroid gland.

6. Maintain this position for a few seconds to a few minutes.

7. Come back slowly to a supine position relaxing all the muscles. Breathe normally.

Sarvangasana – or the Shoulder Stand Pose.

This position is good for people suffering from hypothyroidism as the chin press stimulates the thyroid glands.

Steps:

1. Start with the supine position. Rest the hands on the floor next to the body. Relax all the muscles and breathe normally.

2. Raise the legs slowly until the legs are almost 90 degrees to the floor.

3. Support the lower back at the waist level with your hands and raise the body further. The breath should be held inside.

4. As the whole body achieves a vertical position, the body weight rests on the shoulders. Hands and elbows should remain supported and balance the body.

5. The body should now be 90 degrees to the floor and the chin presses against the chest as the final pose. Maintain this raised position and breathe normally.

6. Try to remain in this position for 3 – 5 minutes every day to achieve the best results. Some practitioners suggest going up to 15 minutes for added spiritual benefits.

7. Slowly release and go back to a supine position with breath held inside.

Everlywell's Thyroid Test

Everlywell tests are reviewed and approved by an independent board-certified physician within your state. This ensures that any test ordered is relevant to your health and wellness.

Thyroid tests use a blood sample to measure various hormone levels. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is often measured to indirectly check if your thyroid gland is producing enough thyroid hormones. By measuring your TSH levels, the test can determine if you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

They use well-established and effective at-home collection methods that are easy-to-do at home. They only offer tests that meet rigorous standards for reliability and validity for at-home collection.

Your thyroid health is important, please get tested today.

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