I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of mom entrepreneurs this past week about the Top Health Concerns I see in Busy Moms. For all of you that were not able to attend, I thought I would give a summary blog post of the highlights!
Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck. It is a small but mighty gland that helps with metabolism, weight, control, heart health, bone health, regulating your menstrual cycle, temperature, mood, digestive health, and your energy. Yes, it really does it all!
There are many different kinds and causes of thyroid conditions. Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune condition of the thyroid, is one of the most common conditions I see and treat in my practice. Why? A few reasons… Hashimoto’s is more likely to happen in women than men, your risk is higher after pregnancy or after a stressful event.1 Autoimmune thyroid disease is due to environmental factor but also tends to run in families.1
Symptoms of thyroid disease are often missed or dismissed in mothers. A lot of the symptoms of thyroid disease can be blamed on a busy lifestyle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, stress etc. AKA “you are just too busy and that’s why you are tired all the time”, “hair loss is normal for new moms,” “you are working and raising kids, are you sure you are exercising enough?”, “you are just stressed”. But a lot of the time, it’s not just lifestyle to blame! Having thyroid disease and juggling work-life balance is like pushing a boulder uphill! I have to say the most common cause of fatigue in busy moms I see in my practice is a sluggish thyroid. There are many symptoms of thyroid disease so please download my list of common symptoms.
The stress of pregnancy, hormonal changes, and a busy life can all contribute to your thyroid health. Just checking your thyroid hormones is a simple balance to start. With my patients I start with TSH, FT3. FT4, and Thyroid antibodies. Read more about thyroid testing. Imaging, like a thyroid ultrasound, can be a good idea if there is a family history of thyroid disease or a personal history of elevated antibodies. If your provider feels any sort of changes or abnormalities on an examination of your thyroid, then imaging would also be indicated.
Your adrenal glands are located above your kidneys and help with your stress response. Cortisol is released from your adrenals and regulates your energy levels over the course of the day and night. Too little cortisol output equals fatigue and too much cortisol can cause anxiety during the day and insomnia at night.
Being a busy mom, or anyone that has a busy lifestyle, can worsen daily stress levels which in turn strains your adrenal glands.
There is a wide variety of dysfunctional patterns that all cause a variety of symptoms and thus need a different treatment approach. There is no one pill, herb, or supplement that is good for all types of adrenal dysfunction.
There are various types of hormone imbalances. Your environment, lifestyle, and genetics play a role on how your hormone levels change in your teens, pregnancy, and into motherhood.
Because of this there is no one treatment that fits all. For conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, and perimenopause, surgery and medications like the pill are not your only options, there are many natural and effective options available as well.
A common pattern of hormonal imbalance I see in busy moms is elevated estrogen, also known as estrogen dominance. Other patterns of hormonal imbalance include decreased levels of estrogen, elevated testosterone, and low testosterone. The most important thing is that estrogen and progesterone are balanced relative to each other and there is an appropriate amount of testosterone.
Davies, T. F. Pathogenesis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (chronic autoimmune thyroiditis). Up to Date (2020). Available at: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/pathogenesis-of-hashimotos-thyroiditis-chronic-autoimmune-thyroiditis?search=hashimotos&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~122&usage_type=default&display_rank=1. (Accessed: 18th January 2020) ↩ ↩2
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