Is there a link between Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism?
Fibromyalgia is a devastating disease, of that there is no doubt. It can interfere with live’s most simple tasks as well as pleasures and steal enjoyment from family activities or even a career.
The causes of Fibromyalgia are still being debated as we speak, but research is shedding new light on this misunderstood malady.
You can see my Article, “Fibromyalgia, the Truth Revealed”
Hypothyroidism or a ‘low’ thyroid must be considered when evaluating a person with fibromyalgia. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are very similar to the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of Hypothyroid such as:
The list can go on and on.
Hypothyroidism is under diagnosed since the symptoms can be blamed on mental or emotional issues, or even blamed on ‘laziness’. The proper workup for chronic pain and fatigue must include a thyroid check.
The thyroid exam should include: 1) a review of systems (thyroid is a master hormone and its effects are felt throughout the body), 2) palpation of the thyroid gland and 3) blood tests.
The most common blood test for Hypothyroidism is TSH, (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), but this is not enough to evaluate thyroid function. TSH is not a thyroid hormone at all, it is produced in the Pituitary Gland.
Measuring TSH only, assumes that the regulating system of hormones and detection is working properly. That is too much to assume, so the appropriate thyroid panel should be ordered.
A thyroid function blood panel will show actual thyroid hormones such as: T3, T4 (both free and total) as well as TSH and antibodies to the thyroid (TPO and Thyroglobulin antibodies). The latter will detect if there is an auto-immune reaction to the thyroid gland and its proteins.
The thyroid gland can effect the energy that someone feels, their mood and can effect pain sensation as well. You can see how this can be important when being evaluated for Fibromyalgia or the closely related Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
A look into Adrenal Gland function may also be warranted and is commonly involved with Fibromyalgia. Chronic stress produces high cortisol levels that actually block thyroid hormone and its conversion into the active form, T3. Again, this is something else that must be considered and can be detected with a good health history and consultation.
As you now may realize, just naming a condition and then medicating it without looking into underlying causes robs a person the chance of finding answers and may condemn them to a life of dangerous medications.
All of this, without determining the cause and whether there is a chance of actual healing.
Choose to investigate a health problem. Manage your health not your ‘disease’.
These are two pieces of advice my mentor into Functional Medicine gave me and are both worth their weight in gold.