Making the Most of Your Thyroid Health after 40

hormone health perimenopause Sep 05, 2020

Have you noticed that you’ve been feeling a little more tired than usual?

Noticing some unexplained weight gain?

Change in your skin, like dryness or extreme itchiness?

How about a change in your hair? Thinning, dry, or frizzy?

How about changes in your internal thermometer? Hands and feet often cold?

Well, welcome to some of the crazy symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause.
When I started struggling with the chronic fatigue, the cold feet, and the super itchy skin - I knew something wasn't right.

If you are noticing that something feels a little “off” in your body, it’s super important that you talk to the doctor. I suggest you ask to get your hormone levels tested as soon as possible. If you’re not sure what tests to ask for or what conversation to have with your doctor, you can refer to my The Beginner's Guide to Perimenopause and Beyond eBook.

Here’s the deal . .. you could be suffering from something called subclinical hypothyroidism.

Yes, subclinical hypothyroidism is a real thing. And if you're sitting there thinking you have no idea what that is or if you have it - don't worry, that was me too.

I had never heard of it or thought that it could be the reason for my constant fatigue, sudden weight gain even though I was still working out and eating right, and why my feet were freezing all the time, until I started to conduct my own research on thyroid health.

This condition, common for women over 45 to develop, comes with some very life-disrupting symptoms. Subclinical hypothyroidism is an early, mild form of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.

It’s called subclinical because only the serum level of thyroid-stimulating hormone from the front of the pituitary gland is a little bit above normal. The thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland are still within the laboratory’s “normal range," and why it's commonly missed.

Understand that the “normal range” is a huge range, so make sure you know where your doctor actually stands with regard to what he/she uses as “normal” for women over 45.

I was very lucky to have a doctor that knew her stuff when it came to hormones levels, menopause, and midlife women.

The Thyroid hormone helps support heart, brain, and metabolic functions. When thyroid hormones aren’t working properly, it affects the entire body. This explains why you may be feeling it from head to toe (literally).

According to research, 3-8% of people have subclinical hypothyroidism. This condition can progress to full-blown hypothyroidism in as little as 6 years of the initial diagnosis.

My goal as a women's Health and Wellness coach is to give my clients the information they need so they can take control of their own health and happiness. I’m here to tell you that there are many options for supporting your thyroid and relieving symptoms. I promise it’s not an all or nothing situation.

Common symptoms of low thyroid function
Severe fatigue, loss of energy
Weight gain, difficulty losing weight
Dry skin
Hair loss
More sensitivity to cold
Cold hands and feet
Puffiness in face and extremities / bloating
Stiffness or sore joints

The biggest complaint I hear from perimenopausal and menopausal women is the frustration with unexplained weight gain. And let me tell you sister, I was right there with you!!

Thyroid-related weight gain affects plenty of women. The thyroid affects your weight so easily because one of its main jobs is to regulate metabolism. When thyroid hormones are low — even just a little bit — it causes physical changes in your body and brain that can stimulate weight gain.

There is an even sneakier hormonal issue connected to imbalanced thyroid function that can effectively shut down the weight loss process. When thyroid hormone becomes a little wonky, it decreases leptin, the hormone that, under normal circumstances, helps trigger weight loss, decreases hunger, and increases the sense of feeling full.

When leptin drops because of low thyroid, the brain senses an emergency. It switches leptin’s hormonal function to ramp up your appetite and slow down energy use. Now your brain sends the signal to use leptin to gain weight because it senses your body needs to be in survival mode.

When this happens you may notice an increase in cravings (think heavy comfort foods), body composition change meaning weight gain is happening in the midsection instead of the thighs and hips, you may be moody, grumpy, irritated, tired, and even sad or depressed.

There are ways to work with your thyroid, whether that's with thyroid medication prescribed by your doctor or supplement recommendations (ask your doctor first before purchasing and using supplements) or via natural support by way of living a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re taking thyroid medication AND you’re working to improve your health, have your TSH and other thyroid markers monitored, since you may need to have your medication reduced at some point.

So let’s talk about how you can help your Thyroid work at optimal levels naturally. Here 5 things you can implement today to help naturally boost your thyroid:

  • Take in the right nutrients. The most important fuel for thyroid health are vitamins B2, B3, B6, C, E, A, and D, as well as zinc, copper, selenium, tyrosine and iodine. These nutrients work best as part of a well-balanced diet. And adding fish oil with EPA and DHA helps with all thyroid imbalances.
  • Explore thyroid-supportive herbs. Ashwagandha is a great herb for your hormonal system.
    Get enough sleep. Setting a regular bedtime and getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night can do wonders for your thyroid health and stress levels.
  • Find exercise you enjoy. Regular exercise is a great way to relieve stress and support your thyroid. Choose something you enjoy, rather than anything that feels like a chore. Yoga, dance, and walking are some great options.
  • Eat a healthy diet. This includes a plant rich diet - focusing on eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean animal protein or plant proteins, enjoying healthy fats, whole grains, beans and legumes. Try to limit or avoid processed foods, high sugary foods/drinks, alcohol and caffeine.

It’s important that we understand how our overall health suffers when thyroid function is low.

It’s also important to understand that thyroid function suffers when our overall health is low on the priority list!!

That’s why I'm always referring back to midlife ladies living their healthiest lifestyle!

Don’t forget, I’m are always here for support whenever you need it.

For more info on topics related to this . . . check out 7 Appointments Every Woman Over 45 Needs to Make, Why I Chose HRT, and 5 Common Menopause Myths.

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