The patient, a 34 year old female, presented to the Health World Clinic with a ten year history of fatigue, and severe stress and anxiety. She worried incessantly and had an overactive mind. She experienced general muscle tension and aches, with headaches every 2 to 3 days. She was often restless and irritable and had rapid mood swings, particularly premenstrually.
Many of her signs and symptoms indicated reduced thyroid function, including fatigue, sluggishness, cold hands and feet, difficult infrequent bowel movements, and dry skin and hair. She gained weight easily and had symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), along with belching, and bloating after meals, and constipation.
Salivary hormone testing indicated low cortisol levels, consistent with adrenal exhaustion after an extended period of stress. Cortisol levels will initially rise with stress, but may later fall after long-term stress as the HPA system becomes ineffective and is no longer able to produce high levels of stress hormones.
Treatment priorities included supporting adrenal and thyroid function, and restoring healthy nervous system function.
Results of Treatment
After 6 weeks of this simple treatment, the patient had a dramatic reduction in anxiety levels and many of her stress symptoms had improved. Many of her hypothyroid symptoms had also improved, with her energy improving significantly and her hands and feet no longer being perpetually cold. The patients’ digestive function normalized as well, with regular bowel movements, no post-meal bloating or belching and no IBS symptoms. The patient was also sleeping better and walking refreshed. The patient was amazed at how well she was able to function when not clouded by stress and fatigue. She found herself more motivated with her work, and had improved brain function, memory and concentration.
Thyrobalance – A blend of herbs and nutrients to assist with the symptoms of hypothyroidism, by supporting healthy thyroid hormone production and peripheral conversion of thyroid hormone, as well as reducing oxidative stress within the thyroid.
Dose: 2 tablets twice daily.
Adaptan – Herbal combination to restore healthy adrenal and nervous system function during times of stress, anxiety and exhaustion. Contains restorative herbs such as withania and American ginseng for enhancing adrenal output.
Dose: 2 tablets twice daily.
Relaxan – A blend of herbs and nutrients to support healthy moods in patients with mood swings and emotional instability, particularly where there is a hormonal component.
Thyroid at the Mercy of Stress
As this case demonstrates, excessive stress has a huge impact on many body systems – the thyroid is no exception. Healthy cortisol levels are required for healthy thyroid function. Excessively high cortisol levels and very low cortisol levels can impact negatively on thyroid function.
An imbalanced stress response can affect thyroid function by:
- Reducing TSH production.
- Reducing the conversion of T4 to T3 in peripheral tissues.
- Increasing conversion of T4 into its inactive metabolite, reverse T3 (rT3).
- Reducing the binding of T3 at tissue level.
- Stress may also suppress thyroid function by increasing oxidative stress, which can damage thyrocytes and reduce production of thyroid hormones.
It is no surprise, therefore, that when these patients’ adrenal ad thyroid functions were supported, she had such dramatic improvements in symptoms.