Adding the Thyroid to the Mix…
Last week I wrote about the likely connection between endometriosis, chronic fatigue and your adrenal glands. After seeing the response that followed, I am further ensured that this connection is a viable one.
It makes sense considering the amount of pain and inflammation that is present with endometriosis. This causes a lot of stress on your body and adrenals play a big role in that.
The amount of pain present with my period can be very dramatic. So In the days to follow I’ve felt completely wiped out. Feel this way too?
Today, let’s focus on another factor in the mix: your thyroid. Why? Because your adrenals and your thyroid are very much connected.
This was confirmed for me last night as I listened to an interesting talk by Dr. Alison McAllister about the thyroid and adrenal connection
She confirmed that if you have an under active thyroid then you are almost guaranteed to have adrenal issues.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
I feel like most women that I meet have some sort of thyroid problem and more often then not it’s hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid. This is something that’s very common among women after pregnancy.
I infer that since an under active thyroid is a sister syndrome to adrenal fatigue that women with endometriosis likely have thyroid problems too.
Dr. McAllister made it clear that it can be difficult to diagnose thyroid issues from symptoms alone, as this can affect so many areas of your body. It’s a key player in the health of your period and fertility.
Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- dry skin/hair
- hair loss
- weight gain
- irregular heavy or painful periods
- problems getting or staying pregnant
- aches and pains especially in your wrists and ankles (worse in the morning
- slow thought processes
- cold intolerance
Hormonal Interplay of Your Thyroid
As is true with the adrenals, The HPA axis (hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal) plays a big role in proper functioning of your thyroid. This all ties together with your ovaries and sex hormone balance.
Here’s a quick breakdown on your thyroid’s intricate hormonal flow:
- The hypothalamus and pituitary gland release thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH);
- This stimulates the release of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH);
- TSH communicates with your thyroid gland;
- Your thyroid then produces two different kinds of thyroid hormone: T3 (active) and T4 (inactive). T3 & T4 are primarily responsible for regulation of your metabolism.
- Thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) binds thyroid hormone in your blood.
- TBG is then responsible for making sure these hormones are distributed to all the cells in your body.
Diagnosing Underactive Thyroid
You can test the functioning of your thyroid and it’s hormonal output with a blood test. Most doctors measure TSH, T3 and T4 levels.
According to Dr. McAllister, there are three different diagnoses for hypothyroidism:
1.) Overt hypothyroidism: TSH is high, T4/T3 is low, and you show symptoms of low thyroid.
2.) Subclinical hypothyroidism: TSH is mildly elevated, T4/T3 are normal, and you show symptoms of low thyroid.
3.) Functional hypothyroidism: TSH, T4/T3 are all normal, yet you still show symptoms of low thyroid, especially fatigue.
She said that the majority of undiagnosed ladies fall in the “functional” category. Your tests may come back “normal” but you feel far from it.
If you fall into this category (like I do) then Dr. McAllister said that your adrenals are the likely culprit.
Thyroid Antibodies & Hashimoto’s
In addition to the standard TSH, T4/T3 tests it’s also important to test the levels of thyroid antibodies in your blood.
Most doctors don’t test for this one, so you’ll probably have to ask.
The presence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies and the thyroglobulin antibodies indicate Hashimoto’s, an auto immune condition where your body attacks your thyroid.
With this “attack” comes the release of inflammatory cytokines, which can make you feel sick and tired. Higher levels of antibodies means a higher level of inflammation in your body.
I was diagnosed with this a couple of years ago.
Back to the Master Hormone: Cortisol
Dr. McAllister gave some tips in her talk about improving the health and function of your thyroid. First and foremost she expressed the importance of addressing your adrenals and balancing out the all master hormone, cortisol.
If cortisol levels are high from continued stress (physically or emotionally) then this blocks the conversion of T4 to T3 and slows everything down. This is your body’s natural survival mechanism.
Remember…. cortisol rules all 🙂
This slow down in metabolism is why weight gain is common with hypothyroidism.
Dr. McAllister suggests testing your adrenals by measuring cortisol levels via saliva testing before starting any thyroid medication. This can be done at home or with the help of a functional doctor or naturopath.
If adrenal issues are present, thyroid medication could make things worse. This is because thyroid replacement hormones speed up metabolism and can suck up much needed cortisol from your tired adrenals.
One of cortisol’s primary purposes is to balance blood sugar levels. Low cortisol levels goes hand in hand with low blood sugar levels where further break downs happen with your adrenals and thyroid… causing among other things… fatigue.
Bottom line…. address your adrenals first.
On the Positive Side?
I’ve picked up tips along the way to re-build my energy and I’ve been feeling better because of them. I’d like to pass this along to you 🙂
I put this info together in my course: Eat for Energy with Endo.
I’m super excited to share this information with you and help you on the path to naturally re-gaining your energy and the health of your adrenals and thyroid.
I really think there is a connection between the thyroid and endometriosis. In 2013, I had to have my thyroid removed because of a cancerous nodule. Four months later, I had a lap done to remove an endometrioma and extensive endometriosis. Every single doctor I’ve seen has said there’s no link between the two. I don’t buy it. I read your book and it’s awesome – thanks for sharing your story and all of your helpful advice!
Thank you so much! I think there is a connection too and that it comes back to your adrenals. How could it not?
When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I asked my doctor if it would impact my chances of getting pregnant and she told me “No.” Lol. Come to find out the thyroid plays a big part in pregnancy and often times infertility is related to an underactive thyroid. Goes to show why you must seek out additional info 🙂
Iknow I have hypothyroidism but my dr is convinced that my TSH of 3.26 and T4 free of 14 are all within range. I am losing my hair, have incredibly dry skin, gaining weight for no reason, and am always cold. But how am I able to treat it if my dr thinks Im fine? Also Im too late to register and was hoping you could maybe send me the link to thd video (hopefully) anyways? Pretty please?
Hi Brittany – Maybe seek out another doctor? Would suggest seeking out a functional doctor or perhaps a naturopath to help: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117
Here is the link to the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHJ0Xc1pC68
A biggie is getting blood sugar levels under control and working on stress. Best of luck to you 🙂
hello. my partner has Endometriosis and very definitely a low thyroid (runs in families down the female line).
Point to note is that Low thyroid often causes liver congestion meaning the body cant rid itself of excess estrogen – which in turn leads to Estrogen dominance, Fibrocystic breast disease, menorragia etc
You could go one up the scale and think that in some folks, its caused by low stomach acid, leading to auto immune/hashimotos leading to low thyroid, leading to ….etc etc etc…
Suggested Reading/Youtube Searches: Dr David Brownstein, Dr Jorge Flechas, Dr Abrams, Dr Sherry Tenpenny, Iodine, iodoral, selenium ….. etc etc..
Thanks for sharing. I did come across the connection with the liver, estrogen and thyroid recently. Such an interconnected system. Thanks for the extra resources.
Hi, thank you Aubree for being generous on sharing your knowledge and researches to us.
I have all of the above symptoms except for weight gain, is it possible that I have hypo even though im loosing weight?, i also have endometriosis .
Absolutely. Have you had your thyroid levels checked?
I have long suspected a connection between the endometriosis I suffered from in my 20’s & 30’s , my total hystrectomy (1986) and the Hasimotios’ Thryoiditus and adrenal fatique I now have. I’m please to see this new science coming out. I fact, I believe that the endometriosis/extreme fatigue and stress is the actual root cause of my Hasimotios’ Thryoiditus. Please keep the research coming along. Thank you!
Hi Donna – Glad that you found this helpful. It truly is all connected. Sending you love.
Hope this might inspire someone.
November 2014, partner diagnosed with 8cm Ovarian Endometrioma.
Obvious Symptom History:
menorragia (very heavy)
estrogen dominance (confirmed via saliva analysis)
Fibrocystic breast disease (actual cysts),
8cm Ovarian Endometrioma (first diagnosed as cyst in 2014, later as Endometrioma ( and then confirmed by one of the most highly qualified guys in the UK)
Treatment Possibilities (NHS/Private : as a result of initial consultations back in 2009 related to menorragia)
Mirena Coil ( coil that emits synthetic progesterone )
Decision on above…… Avoid !!!!
Self Treatment History in chronological Order.
Bio Identical Progesterone Cream ( certainly helps, would recommend (and still doing)
Cut out all Meat and Dairy and eat healthy vegan diet – Pretty much immediate lessening (99% resolution) of Period Pain and cramping
(see neal barnards book ‘food that fights pain’)
Various supplements – ( no obvious diminishment of pain although curcumin seems to lower/improve it)
(inc selenium (v important for whats coming up)
October ..2014… eureka !
Started reading up on Hypothyroidism / iodine (after stupidly ignoring it having seen it but mentally tagging it as not 100% relevant)
Started supplementing with iodine (having read up in first (important) and already taking selenium)
(note read:read:read !!!. google Dr Brownstein, Dr Jorge Flechas, Dr Sherry Tenpenny etc)
Did iodine loading test, came back as 77% sufficient ( this would indicate ” not bad ” , but we believe (and still do)
that almost all of the iodine my wife was taking was initially ‘bouncing off !’
Worked up to 50mg/day of lugols iodine/iodoral (we mix and match, sometimes Lugols (drops in tea) , sometimes iodoral ) and held in there for 3 months.
Things dramatically improved.
Periods like night and day, no pain (NO PAIN), no cramping, light flow, shorter period.
Was ok for a while then decreased iodine and bio identical hormones by half…
Had very short cycle… 17 days.
Increased dose for a while – things got better again over the next couple of months – have now dropped dosage again – things seem to be fine.
Today: still doing between 24 and 30 mgs Lugols / day.
Still no pain, periods much lighter than ever.
Wife Been scanned (last time by leading UK expert) a number of times since the initial discovery menorragia of ovarian endometrioma.
Endometrioma shrunk from initial 8cms down to 5cms (have been told they dont get any smaller but might improve when wife hits menopause (but we dont think shes even close to that)
Fibroid appears to have vanished.
We attribute this improvement entirely to treating the underlying illness which we believe (self diagnosis) is subclinical Hypothyroidism.
Wifes symptoms included (apart from all of the above). Dry and thinning hair, thinning eyebrows, cracked nails, cracked heals.
Her mother has a number of different hypothyroid symptoms ( officially undiagnosed) that have improved since she started taking a drop of lugols a day (plus selenium etc)
Wifes sister had radioactive iodine treatment (avoid !) about 13 years ago to treat hyper/hypo thyroid issues… and guess what… Hypothyroidism generally runs down the female line (to do with all mitochondria being present in the egg before fertilisation) and generally gets worse with each generation.
The trouble with the NHS (uk national health system) is that they’ll send you to see a specialist in the area in which the symptom is located and dont see the body as a whole system.
What i believe is that there are many interlinked systems that each can have a direct affect and/or a knock on effect.
One example would be hypothyroidism affects liver function, liver function affects estrogen clearance : result endometriosis, FBD, menorragia etc.
low iodine (or low iodine uptake) = poor thyroid function, FBD , ovarian problems etc etc =
low stomach acid = malabsorption of proteins = auto immune disease = hashimotos = poorly performing thyroid.
Where you start out in this string of problems could be anywhere.
Other, non obvious things we’ve been doing (accidentally at first).
Cut out Fluoride. Use fluoride free toothpaste (if you have it in your water (we dont) get a filter).
This is not a conspiracy theory.
Ignoring the fact that its a known carcinogen, Fluoride is a halogen that directly displaces iodine (for which _every_ cell in our bodies has a receptor.
We use various, like ‘sarakan’ and Toms brand (but also use bicarb)
Try and cut out Chlorine.
Again, This is not a conspiracy theory.
Chlorine is a halogen (just like fluoride and iodine) (look at a periodic table, all the halogens are in a line)
Chlorine (and chloramine (chlorine + ammonia)) is used is used by water companies to disinfect it (which is great) – BUT it will displace iodine in your body.
If you are on ‘town’ water (ie not a well) then buy a filter (like a berkey or similar) that contains activate charcoal to filter it.
If you shower, its easiest to get a vitamin C shower filter (they’re not a fad, they actually disable chlorine – which is the main point). The body can mostly deal with ingested chlorine in the water (mostly) – but breathing in chlorinated steam has been shown in studies to affect you way more than drinking water in terms of amounts in the blood.
Try and Avoid Bromine.
This is not a conspiracy theory.
Bromine is a halogen and displaces iodine in the body.
Bromine (in europe, is mostly found in fire retardents – so its quite hard to actively avoid) – but worst of all, in the US they still use it as a conditioning agent for bread !
I’m not a doctor, but if anyone wants to know anything more specific, mail me at gug [at] sdf-eu [dot] org
mark subject with “THYROID”
Thanks for sharing Gug. I’ve read that those of us with Hashimoto’s should be careful with iodine. Supplementing with it can make things worse.
Yes, however Dr Brownstein ( ‘iodine, why you need it and why you cant live without it’) – actually uses iodine to treat hashimotos – but i concede it does seem a complicated condition – my own suspicions are with low stomach acid , causing incomplete breakdown of proteins like gluten, leading to auto immune disease.
In order to make stomach acid you need iodine, salt and zinc.
Its a tricky one.
Interesting tidbit on needing iodine for stomach acid. I didn’t know that 🙂
I do get a little iodine from the seaweeds in the supplement called Vitamineral Green. Since taking it I’ve felt differences and think that has to do with the support it is offering my thyroid via Bladderwrack and Holy Basil: http://peacewithendo.com/2015/12/a-simple-way-to-get-some-greens.html
All in moderation I suppose.
I see alot of info regarding Hashimoto’s,I have Graves disease it took put my thyroid back in 2015,I had a thyroid storm and was in the hospital for 3 weeks before they could stabilize my body enough to have a total thyroidectomy.I to have endometriosis, terrible leg pain,ankle pain! What is your take on Graves disease? I am now on levothyroxine and have been on it since the surgery,does not work well for me I am looking into a more natural way! Any info would be greatly appreciated thank you!
Hi Christy! I think my underlying thyroid issues are because of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). I’ve learned so much more about this from Anthony William in his Medical Medium books. I’ve been following his recommendations in his Thyroid Healing Book with great success. Anthony truly changed my life! Check it out: https://amzn.to/3nLGF5I
Hi I am in a dilemma on a condition with my wife. She is having endometriosis and had a chocolate cyst of 8 cm. Now this is been removed by laparoscopic surgery.
I have all three factors T3 T4 and TSH i.e. Hyperthyroid. Can my Hyperthyroid be a issue for endometriosis in my wife.
I am planning to get this cleared with radio active therapy. Does this impact sperm count as I am planning for kids post 15 days.
Please suggest the cause of endo and is my Hyperthyroid connected. Also suggest if my radio active therapy affects our family planning.
update from february.
Wife stopped taking iodine and progesterone cream completely a couple of months ago. Very occasionally she’ll take half an iodoral (6mg)
Her temperature is regularly slightly on the high side (only slightly, not a concern) – however taking into account the temperature in middle of cycle (ala Broda Barnes) – temperature is perfect.
Cycle seems to have normalised at 27/28 days (after years of very short cycle around 22,23 days) – Symptoms like night and day compared to how it used to be. Very rarely any pain and if so, just a short lived niggle..
Every time she gets a scan, the endometrioma/cyst gets smaller (which conventionally they said would NOT happen until after menopause).
Still has FBD – obvious cysts but little pain compared to the old days.
She’s also cut down on eating carbs (not cut out, but cut down).
Seems that if you do the right things…. things dramatically improve (after years of misery).
Good to hear she’s doing better!
I have suffered with stage 4 endo of the bowel (deep tissue) as well as POD endo. Had total hysterectomy at age 35 with no relief. Given HRT and developed estrogen receptor positive breast cancer within 10 months. Had mastectomy and given estrogen blocker Arimadex for 5 years during which endo pain dissapeared. Developed lump In neck, had biopsy and told by Dr it was nothing to worry about. ( would later find out it was a goitre) Stopped Arimadex after 5 years and endo pain returned gradually over the next 2 years Lap confirmed endo was fully active again at age 48 Started Arimadex again and eno disappears. Stopped Arimadex and endo remained silent for the next 9 years. Age 54 noticed lump in neck was getting bigger. Diagnosed with hypothyroidism and started treatment Age 56 Dr doubles dose of thyroid medication and guess what. Endor pain returns. Seeing endocrinologist who thinks there is an indirect link between the 2 conditions Scheduled to have another lap to once again biopsy the endo. It’s almost like the endo treatment (Estrogen blocker ) causes thyroid problem and thyroid treatment causes endo to flair. Dammed both ways. However without a doubt they are both connected somehow.
Sorry to hear you’re dealing with that, love. I’ve had success following the protocol in the Thyroid Healing book by Anthony William. Check it out: https://amzn.to/2zbNKrd