Being a busy mum may not be the only reason you’re feeling depressed, fatigued and overweight…it may be your thyroid.
The thyroid is put under huge amounts of stress when we are pregnant and when having kids close together sometimes the thyroid doesn’t bounce back as it should therefore postpartum thyroiditis is quite common. Unfortunately it is not often recognized as we think our symptoms are just part of being a new mum or a busy mum. You don’t need to suffer any more!
A healthy thyroid plays a big part in healthy mood via brain chemistry therefore it is not surprising that your fluctuating mood or not feeling yourself can be related to a thyroid dysfunction. It’s super important to take note of what your body is trying to tell you (your symptoms) and through a qualified health practitioner such as your doctor or naturopath, matching test results (signs) to then help with a supportive treatment plan.
Let’s go over a little biology…your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located on your throat area. It is a very important gland that modulates many metabolic functions in the body such as temperature, metabolic rate, and yes even mood. The thyroid takes it’s commands from the Pituitary gland which sends out signals in the form of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which is what most doctors measure in a thyroid test (interestingly it is more of a pituitary function test)…the TSH then stimulates the thyroid to produce T4 (80%) and T3 (20%). T4 needs to be converted into Free T3 to be the most bio-active form of thyroid hormone…the one that gets into the cells and affects processes in the body.
Here are some common symptoms:
Low functioning thyroid or hypothyroid:
- low mood / depression
- brain fog or lack of concentration
- gaining weight or inability to lose weight
- cold intolerance
- dry rough, pale skin
- abnormal menstrual cycles
- low libido
- dry course hair and/or hair loss
You can almost see how the body is slowing down here if the thyroid is slowing down…like the batteries are running low.
Over functioning thyroid or hyperthyroid
- weight loss
- increased bowel movements
- heat intolerance
- anxiety / nervousness
- panic attacks
- heart palpitations
- warm moist skin
- light or absent periods
- hair loss
You can see here everything is sped up like the body is super charged.
What to do
So if you feel you have been experiencing any of these symptoms (you don’t need to experience them all at once) I would recommend getting in touch with a health professional such as a naturopath like myself for an assessment.
It is beneficial to get a full Thyroid Panel of blood tests done to make sure there is or isn’t thyroid disease present such as autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (hypo) or Grave’s Disease (hyper). Make sure you ask for a full panel including TSH, T4, T3, Free T3, Reverse T3 and Thyroid antibodies…it helps to determine your treatment plan and whether or not you are sub-clinical or overt; remember just like anything in the body there can be a continuum and if caught early and treated well autoimmunity can be avoided.
Stress can really impact your thyroid and can really impact your mood, it’s a vicious cycle. But by making small changes daily you can build your stress resilience and help balance your thyroid function too.
Tips for you
Back to mental health…as busy mums we can often just shove our feelings aside until you can’t ignore them any more or until you’ve hit rock bottom. It’s so common to put ourselves last but it doesn’t have to be that way, so I want to offer you some tips to start the process to get you back to your old self:
- Choose one thing that gives you joy every day and honor that. Do it everyday. It could be playing with your kids or dog, going for a walk, doing yoga for 10 minutes, enjoying a quiet cup of tea in your favourite spot.
For more tips to build stress resilience check out my blog here
- Eating healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, hemp seeds, nuts and seeds, oily fish like salmon and sardines. These foods support your thyroid function as well as balance out your blood sugar leaving your moods more steady.
- Look after your gut…by eating a rainbow of veges and fruit to feed your “good bugs”. These good guys help to produce serotonin (your happy hormone) in your gut.
- Getting enough magnesium, selenium, zinc, iodine in your diet to support your thyroid through things like Brazil nuts, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, oily fish, quality animal proteins, legumes.
- Reduce your toxic load as your thyroid is very sensitive to toxins. The easiest way to start this is to replace all your house cleaners with low-tox cleaners…a simple swap is white vinegar, baking soda, water and a few drops of Wild Orange or Lemon essential oils.
- Seeking help with a professional. As a naturopath I’m trained to dive deep into your symptoms and get to the root cause. I can order functional tests and read blood tests. It’s important to have the guidance and support to make healthy changes.
If you’ve been feeling teary, overwhelmed and stressed out and not being able to cope with things that you normally would then it may be time to have your thyroid checked out. Book a FREE Discovery Call with me today, I’d love to chat and see what is going on for you.