Is The Root Cause of Your Painful Period Your Thyroid?

We know that imbalances in “female hormones” (estrogen, progesterone) can wreak havoc on a menstrual cycle, and can lead to PMS symptoms, mood swings, bloating and pain, but what if there was more to the picture than meets the eye?

The thyroid could be the root cause.

The power of the thyroid gland is remarkable. This little hormone producing powerhouse, sits at the front of your throat, and is in charge of a LOT of our bodies functions.  

  • It sets your metabolism rate, and body temperature
  • It is involved in building bones
  • It affects digestion
  • It affects brain power
  • It influences the menstrual cycle
  • It affects the cardiovascular system

So how do you know if it’s your thyroid that’s causing your menstrual irregularities?

Thyroid function can be impaired by the following:

  • Stress, and over work
  • Starvation, diets, or caloric deficits
  • Nutrient deficiencies – such as zinc, iron, selenium and iodine
  • Toxicity exposures – Chlorine, bromine or high fluoride exposure – these halogens compete for iodine’s role in thyroid health
  • Over consumption of raw brassicae family veggies, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage

Common symptoms of an under active thyroid gland (hypothyroid) are:

  • Fatigue, especially in the morning after a full night’s restful sleep
  • Slowing of mental activity, and forgetfulness
  • Weight gain despite no change in appetite
  • Constipation – less than one or two bowel movements per day
  • Menstrual difficulties such as heavy periods, or irregular periods
  • Sensitivity to cold and lower basal body temperatures
  • Slow heart rate and shortness of breath

Far too often I hear patients telling me that “Their doctor said thyroid levels are normal”. Yet they still experience one or more of the above symptoms, plus cramping, irregular, heavy and painful periods.  When I take a deeper dive into the thyroid healthy with in depth blood work and other clinical evaluations, they are far from normal function!

Here is the thing, “normal” thyroid function to a medical doctor means your TSH is not abnormal, therefore, you don’t need a drug like synthroid (thyroid hormone) yet.  Unfortunately, the medical system waits until your blood TSH levels reflect that your thyroid is working so poorly you need a drug.  This is a reactive model, and in my opinion it leaves many women confused, uncomfortable, and without any real options.  I prefer a proactive approach to health,  so I treat the problem before it’s a BIG problem, and lone behold patients feel better.

How an under active thyroid can cause menstrual difficulties:

  • Makes estrogen stronger in the body – hello PMS symptoms
  • Impairs ovulation – irregular periods and infertility!
  • Causes progesterone to drop – hello PMS again
  • Makes periods heavier by changing blood coagulation

The root of this hormonal cascade is the thyroid, although it mimics estrogen and progesterone abnormalities.  Do you think your thyroid is the root cause of your period problem? I have a passion for hormonal health, and I would love to help you get to the bottom of it! 

Dr. Kristin Spark, BSc, B.Nat, CISSN, Naturopathic Doctor sees patients at: The Golden Mean Wellness Shoppe on Tuesdays & Thursdays, and at Flow Health and Wellness on Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays. She is also at Waterloo Sports Medicine on Wednesday mornings. For information about appointments, or to book your appointment, click here

The content provided is not intended as health or medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a prescription. Always seek the advice of your medical provider with any questions you have regarding medical conditions. Dr. Kristin Spark, Naturopathic Doctor is released from any liabilities resulting from the use of information contained here.