Thyroid + Adrenal Dysfunction

A Modern Undiagnosed Epidemic

The thyroid gland (located in the neck) largely controls the body’s energy production, immune system, mental function, metabolism, to name a few. Many people suffer from fatigue, weight gain, depression, constipation, cold hands and feet, and slowed mental functions, all of which are all symptoms of low thyroid function, yet are told their thyroid levels are “within normal limits". Even when the treated, the standard thyroid medications (ie levothyroxine or Synthroid) for low thyroid function may not help, or may only help for a little while. 

When patients are treated with T4 (thyroxine) therapy only, their TSH will appropriately suppress, which can seem like they are adequately treated, however, patients may not feel like themselves.  The T4 that is given to the patients via the medication, has to then convert to triiodothyronine (T3), the active thyroid hormone that is 5x more active than T4.  Unfortunately, the conversion of T4 to T3 can be reduced by medications, toxins, poor gut health, vitamin deficiencies, genetics & stress, making the standard thyroid therapy ineffective for some.

At your initial visit, we always do full thyroid blood panels, including antibodies towards the thyroid to evaluate for autoimmune diseases. 

Over time, if the thyroid is consistently low, the adrenal glands become stressed, creating a vicious cycle.  When the adrenal glands are stressed (meaning adrenaline and cortisol run high, and then cells become resistant to their function, better termed HPA axis dysfunction), the body cannot use thyroid hormones normally, so the adrenal glands must be addressed as well. In fact, many cases of low thyroid symptoms, as well as other common symptoms such as infections, allergies, anxiety and insomnia and are actually related to disturbed adrenal communication to the brain. The adrenals do not "burn out", they become resistant to signals and need to be rebalanced. If needed, therapies include natural desiccated thyroid replacing with T4 & T3, along with nutritional support and inflammation management.

Click here for an quick overview on thyroid and natural hormones to printout and keep.

Common symptoms of low thyroid system function include:

  • Low oral body temperature below 98.6
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Sleepiness, fatigue, and increased need for sleep
  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight even when strictly dieting
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin, hair loss, brittle nails
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Slow mental functioning, difficulty concentrating, brain fog
  • Reproductive system problems: infertility, heavy vaginal bleeding, irregular periods
  • High cholesterol, triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, despite a good diet
  • Ruddy complexion, puffy eyelids, loss of the outer third of the eyebrows

    Common symptoms of HPA axis dysfunction include:

    • Extreme fatigue and difficulty coping with stress, lack of stamina.
    • Uneven energy and temperature fluctuations.
    • Food and environmental allergies. Sleepiness after meals.
    • Weakened immune function: sinusitis, bladder, skin, and respiratory infections
    • Gastrointestinal infections such as Candida overgrowth.
    • Digestive problems: indigestion, bloating and gas, malabsorption, leaky gut
    • Pale skin, thin brittle nails. Pallor and fine wrinkles around the mouth. Sunken eyes.
    • Low blood pressure. Dizziness when standing, low blood sugar between meals
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Intolerance of heat and cold. Excessive or reduced sweating.
    • Anxiety, exaggerated startle response, palpitations, insomnia.

    Available Treatments

    Treatment can involve the following approaches:

    • Hormonal replacement when indicated, including thyroid replacement with a combination of T3 and T4
    • Diet modification with intestinal support and healing
    • In depth vitamin level testing and supplementation to rebuild the adrenal communication and thyroid with the raw materials they need.
    • Targeted adaptogenic herbs depending on personal cortisol pattern (after evaluating results of the salivary cortisol test
    • Immune support, with treatment of any ongoing infections.
    • Strategies to reduce autoimmune responses
    • Detoxification: removal of toxic metals and chemicals from the bowel, liver, and kidneys, if necessary.

    The Lee Clinic Can Help

    If you think you may have a thyroid and/or adrenal problem, speak to our staff. We can suggest specific tests to diagnose the problem and help you construct an individualized program to balance these vital glands and restore normal body function.   

    The Lee Clinic has been helping patients with thyroid and adrenal issues feel like themselves again for over 40 years.

    Call us at 540-542-1700 or send us your information below and we'll get back to you shortly.