Could your chronic gut issues, IBS, bloating, reflux, actually be coming from your thyroid? Listen to this week’s podcast to learn more!
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I’m Dr. Alison and you’re listening to Functional Wellness with Dr. Alison and this month our focus is all about the thyroid and we are doing a deep dive in my Facebook community so make sure to join us there. I’m posting and going live daily on what you need to know to support your thyroid.
The thyroid is so important to many aspects of our health and most people associate thyroid issues with difficulty losing weight, feeling cold all the time, hair loss, and fatigue. But you might not know that underactive thyroid is also linked to:
– Decreased metabolism of all cells
– Decreased GI motility (constipation, SIBO)
– Decreased enzyme production
– Low stomach acid
– Decreased immune support
– Changes in neurotransmitter health
– Changes in progesterone
– Decreased liver clearance
If you have been chasing all these gut, metabolism, and mental health issues with no changes, you might be missing a big piece of the puzzle!
Especially if you have been taking enzymes, probiotics, and apple cider vinegar and the second you stop, all your symptoms come back.
Low thyroid or hypothyroidism can cause significant changes in the GI tract.
First, the absorption rates will be slowed down, which means you won’t absorb as much nutrition from your food as you need to. Which means you will feel tired and fatigued, anemia can become an issue with iron and B vitamins. You don’t heal as quickly from injuries, even basic skin cuts like a papercut. You don’t recover as quickly from exercise or build muscle. Nutrition is so important for our cells!
Second, motility is slowed down leading to constipation, bloating, and potentially SIBO. Motility means movement of the intestinal tract and how it moves food and stool through your system. When your gut slows down, besides the constipation, this reduces the acidity of the small intestines and increases how long food stays in there, which means the bacteria will have time to build up where they shouldn’t be, creating small intestine bacterial overgrowth, which is SIBO. This further destroys the gut with gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, reflux, nutritional issues, and just feeling sick.
Thyroid hormones help reduce gut inflammation so without those hormones there is a greater chance for ulcers, leaky gut, autoimmunity, food sensitivity, and IBS.
This also affects the liver and gallbladder because the reduced clearance of the liver can cause gallstones, sluggish liver leading to sluggish gallbladder. This causes a difficulty in digesting fats and protein, which of course lead to gas, bloating, and IBS symptoms.
This also affects women more severely because the thyroid and hormones are intricately connected. Estrogen can directly affect the thyroid but when we are talking about the liver, if the thyroid slows down liver clearance, and the liver can’t clear estrogen the way it needs to, and the gut motility is slowed and there is high inflammation, women can’t release estrogen through the bowels. Then estrogen gets backed up in the cells and system, it gets stored as fat, you have significant hormone symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, painful periods. Many of my patients struggle with estrogen dominance as a side effect from hypothyroid, but the thyroid needs to be supported first to help support all these other systems around it.
So how do we help?
First, you can still take your digestive enzymes, probiotics, and apple cider vinegar. Keep giving your digestive system the support it needs!
Before you jump to: omg my thyroid is my problem and go out and buy a ton of supplements that might not help or make you feel worse, get your blood work done.
You want to have a full panel done with TSH, T4, T3, autoimmune markers as well. Check your liver, kidneys and protein levels. As well as inflammatory markers.
I would also add on the stool test known as the GI Map to see if there are any underlying infections or imbalances to help support your gut as well.
Then we can make a decision on how to support your thyroid, if needed with medication or supplementation. How to support your gut as well through specific care, and get you feeling better faster!
I know putting all this together is overwhelming so make sure to join our Faceboook community and keep learning with us, and schedule a consult and get your labs done with my office so you don’t have to guess about your health anymore!
Thank you for tuning in, make sure to like and subscribe to stay up to date with all our weekly podcasts and we will see you next week!