What is thyroid?
Thyroid disorders affect many women worldwide, and many go untreated. Women experience complicated pregnancies, miscarriages, depression all owing to hypothyroidism, with the least idea that their thyroid levels are to be blamed for this.
The thyroid endocrine gland at the throat base has a balancing role in regulating overall organ functions. Both excess and subdued thyroid activities are unhealthy signals, and should be remedied. Hypothyroidism is commoner than the hyperactive condition. Pregnant women should especially be concerned because the condition may have serious implications. The prevalence of hypothyroidism in pregnancy is around 2.5% according to the Western literature. There are a few reports of prevalence of hypothyroidism during pregnancy from India with prevalence rates ranging from 4.8% to 11%.
Why is thyroid important?
In conjunction with the all-important ‘third eye’ gland pituitary, thyroid executes the balancing mechanisms set uniquely by the brain. The pituitary again depends on the bio-feedback from thyroid to decide the unique balance of mechanisms for the body. So, it works in a loopy manner.
For example, when an organ, say the kidney, is riddled with excess uric acid, it sends a distress signal to the brain. Thyroid picks up this feedback, interprets it, and sends to pituitary for processing. The pituitary recommends the best action suitable to restore balance, and the thyroid executes it by neurotransmitter (hormones) pathways.
Furthermore, since thyroid is related to the pituitary, the emotional aspects of the mind also affect its functions. When your mind is dealing with too much stress, for whatever reasons, the thyroid is bound to be affected, getting slow or fast. Everything is connected.
In fact, science has very clearly observed that people suffering from depression tend to deal with hypothyroidism as well. The connection can be easily understood. When you are forcefully suppressing a lot of unsaid emotions, the systems of the body also begin to become dormant. Make sure you have a stress-free and happy mind when planning to be pregnant.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Sensitivity to cold
- Aches, pains and muscle cramps
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Dry hair, hair loss and dry skin
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
In case you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, your doctor will probably recommend a blood test for you TSH and T4.
Lower than normal T4 levels indicate hypothyroidism. Some women can also have increased TSH levels even though if they have normal T4 levels.
Mandatory circumstances for thyroid testing
Make sure thyroid testing is done when you can identify the following conditions during your pregnancy
- When you have a history of thyroid issues (Like anything else, it also has a genetic connection. Screen even when you have a family history of thyroid)
- If you have type I diabetes
- If you have had miscarriages or pre-term deliveries before
- In case of a history of autoimmune diseases
- If you have underwent radiation diagnosis in the neck region anytime (prior checking with radiation contrast agents also counts as an alert signal)
- When morbid obesity is an issue (the BMI should be ideally less than 40kg/m2)
- Check your prescription pills for components such as lithium and amiodarone
Unfortunately, the conventional medical science is yet to be fully perfect. The large number of medical malpractice cases registered everyday is a direct testimony to the fact. Many pregnant women listen to their doctor’s advises on thyroid treatment and actually suffer from miscarriages. This is sad. You should find a good doctor foremost. Find someone who cares with compassion instead of just treating you as another number in the patient log. Both yours and your child’s lives can be at stake if you are not careful from the beginning.
The treatment procedures for thyroid in allopathic practices include thyroid replacement, thyroid hormone replacement, radiation therapy, and pills to supply TSH hormones. Although all these are commonly accepted practices, yet they pose a very serious risk of side effects. By the way, do you know that medical science derives the hormone for your treatment from a pig’s thyroid gland usually? Enough said!
The commonest side effects are dizziness, nausea, sweating, chest pain, etc. Since nausea is only too natural in pregnancy, the medicine side effect may get veiled. So, be careful! Make sure that you are not taking high doses. Listen to your body carefully. Review your pills when you are feeling discomfort. In any case, do not consent to radiation therapy. Look up alternative therapies like acupressure, physiotherapy, holistic practices, yoga, and homeopathy.
Consequences of hypothyroidism during pregnancy
Thyroid levels and in the mother have been linked with brain and IQ deficiency in a child. Developmental delay after birth has also been observed for babies of mothers who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Untreated thyroid disease during pregnancy has been associated with pre-eclamsia, low birth weight, and many a times leads to miscarriages.
Natural Remedies for Thyroid
You are a natural organism. Your body is a natural system, with her own mind. Common sense dictates that natural therapies will bode better than chemicals and radiations. Can’t you see? It is always best for nature to accept nature, instead of trying to deal with side effects of chemicals or hormones from an animal.
Natural healers advocate that your kitchen actually has the best remedies for thyroid treatment! Essentially, some foods boost thyroid activity, while some suppress it. The natural probiotic supplements available nowadays boost digestion by supplying a concentration of healthy gut bacteria. These have been shown to help with thyroid issues. Avoid goitrogens and increase your food fat supply. Keep it healthy. Do not include trans-fats and bad cholesterol (especially from alcohol).
For hypothyroidism, you will need to increase the boosters in your diet, and reduce the suppressors. Stay away from processed foods, prefer organic over GMOs, wash fruits in a vinegar bath to remove pesticides, and stay happy overall. Besides your doctor, make sure to consult with a good dietitian and a mental health specialist. Furthermore, do not be too worried about pregnancy. Handle the stress with a confidence that everything is going to be alright in the end.