This week we’re sharing another fascinating article from our favourite Naturopath and Medical Herbalist, Lisa Fitzgibbon from Oomphhealth.co.nz. Lisa discusses her personal observations of thyroid problems and the tendency for these issues to run in threes within families.
This is a must read if you suspect thyroid dysfunction may be an issue for you, as Lisa explains not all cases present with ‘textbook’ symptoms.
HOW THYROID PROBLEMS APPEAR TO RUN IN FAMILIES
This blog-post is based on an interesting phenomenon I’ve observed with my clients who have Thyroid problems that primarily run through the ‘female side’ of their family. I’ve been informally keeping a record of this at OOMPH over the last few years.
THYROID PROBLEMS TEND TO COME IN THREES
Most of us are familiar with —
(Goldilocks and) The three bears,
The three little pigs, and
The three blind mice.
However, have you ever heard of:
The three Thyroid sisters?
I didn’t think so.
Please then, allow me to share my wee tale with you:
THE THREE THYROID SISTERS
Once upon a time…
There were three sisters — two of the sisters were larger lasses, while the other was relatively small. However, they all shared one common affliction.
And that common affliction was…
The sisters all suffered from Thyroid problems (to one degree or another).
ONCE IS LUCK, TWICE IS COINCIDENCE AND THREE TIMES IS A PATTERN. ARE YOU PART OF A PATTERN?
Because Thyroid problems run in families, when I’m assessing someone’s Thyroid function, I love it when I get a female client who has two sisters. (It’s really sad, but nothing makes me more excited)
This is because you can almost guarantee that when you enquire about their female siblings, that two of the sisters will be ‘bigger’ lasses (generally with bigger breasts also), and that there will be a single sister who will be smaller in comparison (generally with smaller breasts also).
Pretty much the only time I find that this isn’t the case is when one of the ‘bigger’ sisters has her heart set on holding the title of the ‘smallest sister’… and is over-exercising and under-eating in order to offset her usual physical state. Which, unfortunately, will only be making her Hypothyroidism worse/more pronounced.
While, I cannot explain this ‘three sisterly’ Thyroid problem, I can say that I’ve observed it too many times to count, and that it’s uncanny in its occurrence.
And, all I can do is to point out this ‘sisterly’ phenomenon that I’ve observed, and what this means.:
YOU CAN SUFFER FROM SUBCLINICAL HYPOTHYROIDISM WITHOUT PRESENTING AS BEING OVERWEIGHT.
BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY DEGREES OF SUBOPTIMAL THYROID FUNCTION (RANGING BETWEEN NORMAL, AND OVERT) SYMPTOMS MAY VARY — EVEN AMONG SIBLINGS.
Basically what I’m saying, is unless you have overt Hypothyroidism (you have been diagnosed and medicated for this condition by your Doctor), you’re not going to be ‘textbook’.
Note: Most health practitioners wouldn’t even consider that you had Hypothyroidism if you presented as the ‘small sister’. Because they believe you need to be overweight to have this condition (it’s part of the symptom-set, and their mind-set). Therefore as this sister you would probably be dismissed without even being blood-checked for Thyroid function.
THE APPLE DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE
Upon further enquiry with my client (depending their age), the mother of the three daughters will either —
Have been diagnosed with a Thyroid issue, or
If she is undiagnosed (as she is older, and has therefore ‘fallen between the cracks’ of the conventional medical system), she will generally suffer from depression, and/or will be overweight.
PLEASE BEAR IN MIND
If you’re a ‘sister’ now wanting to compare your Thyroid blood-work with your sister’s Thyroid blood-work, you would all need to get your blood assessed by the same NZ pathology lab to make sure you are comparing ‘apples with apples’.
FYI: From a recent blog-post: Thyroid function & blood testing.
Note: Please also be aware that Thyroid blood testing can be impacted by the time of day the blood sample is taken. It can also be influenced by stress, depression, obesity, insulin resistance, CFS, the menstrual cycle, mobile phone usage, and more!1
TEXT BOOK (OVERT) HYPOTHYROIDISM — THE 10 CLASSIC SYMPTOMS
Fatigue: Feeling tired with low energy, and a strong desire to sleep.
Feeling cold: Especially having cold hands & feet.
Weight gain: That is then difficult to lose.
Weakness, and aching: Experienced in the muscles & joints.
Hair loss: From either all over the scalp, or from the front, upper sides of the hair line, and/or from the lateral borders of the eyebrows.
Dry (or itchy) skin
Feeling down (or down-right depressed)
Trouble concentrating or remembering
Hormonal issues: Heavy or irregular periods, low libido, infertility.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY WHEN IT’S TELLING YOU THAT SOMETHING ISN’T QUITE RIGHT
Don’t wait until medical science can finally ‘pick-up’ the Thyroid dysfunction that you’ve always suspected you’ve had. Because if you do that, your Thyroid function will have become so bad that you will have to be medicated for it.
Instead, get proactive about feeling better now. There is plenty you can do to improve your Thyroid function so that hopefully you won’t ever need to rely on a pill to ‘run your body’.
Your Naturopath will show you how with diet, supplements, exercise, mindfulness, and lifestyle changes.
FEMALES, FAMILIES, AND THYROID DYSFUNCTION ARE LIKE A SET OF RUSSIAN NESTING DOLLS. IT’S JUST A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT PRESENTATION OF THE SAME THING.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE LISA
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath and Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice OOMPH in Grey Lynn (Auckland, New Zealand).
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 14 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.
Book online to see Lisa at OOMPH.