In one particular medical survey, 42% of women with endometriosis also had an underactive thyroid gland (Hypothyroidism). Hypothyroidism is a serious health condition which is extremely underdiagnosed. If you suffer from endometriosis, it will also be a smart move to be tested for this condition. There are various warning signs that may show that you are afflicted with hypothyroidism. The most common symptoms include moodiness, depression, weight gain, fatigue, high cholesterol, hair loss, intolerant to cold, low libido, tingling during the palms and feet, and infertility. And these are just a few! Here's a link with many other possible symptoms you could experience with hypothyroidism! http://hypothyroidmom.com/300-hypothyroidism-symptoms-yes-really/ If you have any of these symptoms, PLEASE get your thyroid checked!
Infertility is both equally an aspect of hypothyroidism and endometriosis. With endometriosis, it happens due to uterine lining tissue that migrate to and implant themselves in other parts of the pelvic areas such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterine muscles, colon, bladder and sides of the pelvic cavity. This can create scar tissue and adhesions. Typically, the fallopian tubes become blocked, preventing a woman from conceiving.
Hypothyroidism also affects fertility. Not only are your hormones unbalanced, but a woman struggling from hypothyroidism often doesn’t experience ovulation on her own. With no ovulation, there’s no egg for the sperm to fertilize. Thus, conception is unattainable. If you are not sure if you are ovulating, you can buy low-cost ovulation kits at your local pharmacy or online.
As studies continues, specialists continue to examine links between hypothyroidism and endometriosis. It is crucial for women suffering from endometriosis to consider the possibility of also having hypothyroidism. I urge you to demand that your doctor test you for hypothyroidism! We don’t know, at this point, which is the cause and which is the symptom (hypothyroidism vs endometriosis). But if, in fact, hypothyroidism is the cause of endometriosis (or one of the major causes), treating your underactive thyroid may very well completely resolve your endometriosis or, at the very least, bring about a great improvement!
Your body cannot heal itself properly with an underactive thyroid gland. It may eventually be able to pull off the job, but it could take much longer than it normally would if your thyroid gland was healthy and functioning properly. The good news is that we CAN correct this condition, and in theory, also heal or at least improve endometriosis.
The first step is, DIAGNOSIS with ALL of the proper tests! (see pic below). TSH alone is NOT sufficient! It's a must to get Free T3, Free T4, and Reverse T3 checked as well as TSH, at a minimum. You may have to demand that your doctor run these tests. 99% of doctors like to rely solely on TSH, but it does not give the full picture of thyroid health. We have to be strong, assertive women on this journey. No one cares about your health like you do! You tell the doctor you want him or her to give you these tests, or you will go elsewhere...period. And if they are ok with that, then what good were they to you anyway? They act like they are paying for the tests. Find a new doctor ASAP.
Also, there’s an awesome new service where you can get these tests done from the comfort and privacy of your own home now called Everly Well. The Thyroid Kit Panel costs $149, and you get your results back in a few days! This price is very competitive with labs. My doctor charges $156 for these tests in her office, and she doesn’t even do one of the tests in this Thyroid Kit Panel on Everly Well. The site is https://www.everlywell.com/.
If you are indeed diagnosed with hypothyroidism, make sure that your doctor is addressing all aspects of your thyroid health - particularly, your Free T3, the active thyroid hormone. If they are not addressing Free T3, again, find a new doctor ASAP! You may want to look into Functional or Naturopathic Doctors (what I’m in school to be!). They are usually more versed on thyroid health and willing and able to run all of the necessary tests and treat you as a whole. Many allopathic doctors want to just put you on a medication that addresses only one side of the thyroid, T4 (Synthroid, Levothyroxine, etc).
Oftentimes, this is not enough to correct the problem. Many people, including myself, do not convert their T4 to the active T3, so I needed a combination of medications - one that addresses the T4 (Levothyroxine) and one that addresses the T3 (Liothyronine or Cytomel). They will likely want to start you out with only T4 medication, assuming that you will convert the T4 to the active T3 hormone naturally in your body. As I stated, many do not. But you may have to go through this routine with your doctor to get them to see that. When you go back for labwork six weeks later, pay special attention to your Free T3 and Free T4 levels, and not just your TSH. It’s likely that your TSH will have gone down to a much healthier level with only the T4 medication, but if you don’t convert your T4 to T3 well (or at all), then your Free T3 and Free T4 will likely still be very low.
And another note on this subject, we don’t want just a “normal” range with your levels. We want OPTIMAL ranges. So, your TSH should be 1.5 or less. Your Free T3 should be in the top half of the range, often toward the upper end of the range (3.5-4.4 in a reference range of 2.0-4.4). Your Free T4 should be mid-range (usually a value of 1.4 in a range of 0.82 to 1.77). An excellent book that I highly recommend if you are diagnosed hypothyroidism is called, “The Paleo Thyroid Solution.” The title does not do it justice! This book is the only book you will ever need in terms of eliminating blood test and prescription confusion, supplementation, and dietary requirements for a healthy, functioning thyroid. I refer back to it constantly!
Along with proper medication, we also want to address this with supplements that we may not be getting in our diets. Some of the vitamins and nutrients we may be deficient in are Selenium, Magnesium, B12 and Homocysteine, Iron, DHEA, Vitamin D, Iodine, Zinc, Vitamin C, etc. These may be some tests you may want your doctor to test for you as well. I was also severely deficient in Vitamin D, so I am now on a weekly dosage of 50,000IU. This is common amongst Muslim women because we cover up and the sun cannot reach our skin. It’s also common amongst darker skinned people because the melanin protects them from the sun, thus preventing the Vitamin D to penetrate. So these two groups, in particular should have their Vitamin D tested. An awesome supplement that I highly recommend is called “Thyroid Support” by Zhou Nutrition. It includes a lot of these great vitamins, as well as some awesome supporting herbs like Ashwaganda. Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon:
Lastly, with proper medication and supplementation, is the diet. You will want to follow a Paleo lifestyle for optimal thyroid function and health. The Paleo Principles include:
- Eat plants, animals, fish, and fat
- Eliminate grains, gluten, beans, legumes, and processed sugars
- Limit dziry and potatoes to very occasional consumption (unless you’re an athlete)
- Stay under 150 total carbohydrates per day
- Consume probiotics
- Get adequate sleep
- Manage stress
- Stick with low-intensity exercise between 55% and 75% of your maximum heart rate
- Supplement/Optimize: vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, B12, iron, DHEA, vitamin C, magnesium, and sea salt (sea salt supports adrenal health)
Ok, ladies, I didn’t mean to write a book today, but this is one of my other favorite health subjects, for two reasons. One, because I deal with it personally and am learning to treat myself and heal from it, just like I did my fallopian tubes (thanks to God). And two, because like blocked fallopian tubes, it’s not being treated properly in conventional medicine. These two subjects will be my main focus in my practice: hypothyroidism and fallopian tube blockage! Why? Because I love to tell the doctors, “YES! It CAN be healed and treated” when they say, “no.” LOL! I’m kidding...kind of. The greater reason is because I love to help people heal themselves when they have been told that they cannot heal themselves. Health Empowerment is my mission.
Ok, I got off subject for a moment there...So, this is a suspected hidden connection and cause of endometriosis -- hypothyroidism. So take the first step, ladies, and get your full thyroid panel! Either go through your doctor or go to Everly Well and order their at home test. Be a pioneer for your own health! And for your future babies! Heal hypothyroidism, and you just might heal endometriosis.