By Dr. Regan Archibald

What is the Thyroid?

Located at the base of your neck along the windpipe is a small butterfly shaped gland, known as the Thyroid gland. It is a very important part of the endocrine system and produces two hormones, namely thyroxine (T3) and triiodothyronine (T4). These hormones regulate the speed of body cells and also control various metabolisms of the body.

The amount of thyroid hormones secreted by the body is very important. Inadequate levels of thyroid hormones can lead to thyroid imbalances, which are the underlying causes of many other problems. Excessive production of thyroid hormones is called Hyperthyroidism and if the body produces less than the required quantity of thyroid hormones, it is known as Hypothyroidism.

What causes Thyroid Imbalances?

Thyroid Imbalance can be caused due to a variety of factors:

  1. Liver Toxicity – Our body gets toxic substances from the food we eat, drinking water and from the environment. The liver is responsible for detoxing the body. At times, the liver does not function properly and is unable to eliminate all the toxins from the body. This leads to increases in the amount of toxins in the body and causes hormonal imbalances. One of the most common signs of toxicity is the presence of bags under the person’s eyes.
  2. Stress and Tiredness – Stress, anxiety and tiredness affect the working of the thyroid gland. When a person is overtired or is unable to get enough sleep, the hormonal balance of the body goes out the window. At least 6-8 hours of sound sleep is essential for the body to prepare itself for a new day. Adequate amount of sleep is essential for the body to rejuvenate itself and for the cells and tissues of the body to get repaired and replaced. When a person is stressed, the production of Cortisol hormone is increased in the body. Increased levels of cortisol puts you at an increased risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and dysfunctioning of the immune system.
  3. Constipation and Food Intolerances – Constipation is a much deeper problem than what many of us perceive. Not only does it cause pain during bowel movements; it also leads to hormonal imbalances in the body. Improper functioning of the digestive system and food intolerances are also a leading cause of hormonal imbalances. Research has shown that people who suffer from food intolerances, especially gluten intolerance, usually do suffer from hormonal imbalances as well.
  4. Nutritional deficiencies – We are well aware that a nutritionally adequate diet is the primary requirement of a healthy body. Nutrient deficiencies such as deficiency of iron and Vitamin B12 can lead to hormonal imbalances. Heavy-metal toxicity and eating a nutritionally inadequate diet are the primary reasons for nutritional deficiencies.

Some other causes of hormonal imbalances include medicines that play around with the normal hormonal composition of the body such as contraceptives and medications to induce hair growth. Medications taken during pregnancy also cause hormonal imbalances. Hormonal replacement therapy also causes hormonal imbalances since estrogen is given to the person as a medication.

If you have any of these imbalances, it is likely an issue with your thyroid. While you may have had testing on your thyroid, it may not have been thorough enough to uncover all of the problems associated with the thyroid. Make sure you have a thorough and complete thyroid exam to enable the discover and treatment of these imbalances.