Cellular Hypothyroidism - I've Got The Symptoms But Pathology Says I'm Fine!

The thyroid is a complex little gland, and life certainly becomes complicated when it's not functioning adequately.  Every single cell in the body is affected, with common general complaints being incredible fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and changes in the hair and skin. Many can't function properly and everything becomes a struggle.

The frustrating thing is that you are so aware that something isn't right, but there is a high likelihood you will be told everything is fine... over and over again.  That is, until you miraculously find the right practitioner who ends up testing your thyroid function. Low and behold, you may find you have an under-active thyroid or hypothyroidism.  Or, perhaps worse, you get your thyroid tested and are told everything is fine!  You've got all the symptoms of an under-active thyroid, so why the hell would everything be fine?  

There are three types of hypothyroidism, and the lucky last is a little tricky to find.  If you have had your thyroid tested and have consequently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you will have one of the two following forms of hypothyroidism:

  1. Primary Hypothyroidism - this is easy to find through pathology as there will be high thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and low thyroid hormone.  This reflects that there is a discrepancy in the synthesis of thyroid hormone.
  2. Secondary Hypothyroidism - still easy to find through pathology but the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) as well as the thyroid hormone will be low.  In this case, there is usually an issue with the pituitary gland, which is the control centre for the thyroid and hormone cascades.

But, did you know there is a third?  This is what needs to be investigated if you're experiencing symptoms of an under-active thyroid but have blood tests showing normal thyroid function.

  1. Cellular Hypothyroidism - this is characterised by normal pathology but low functional thyroid activity,  so many symptoms of hypothyroidism will be experienced, such as:
  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • thinning/weakened hair
  • dry skin
  • low libido
  • menstrual irregularities
  • unexplained infertility
  • sensitivity to cold (cold hands and feet)
  • constipation or sluggish bowels

As our previous blogs talk about, thyroid hormone controls the metabolism of every single cell in the body.  Changes can occur on a cellular level long before pathology shows there is something wrong with the thyroid.  We investigate low functional thyroid activity by addressing the basal metabolic temperature, which is controlled by the thyroid!  So, where there are discrepancies with core metabolic temperature, gentle support can be given to address underlying thyroid incapacities. 

Metabolic temperature charting is easy to do.  There are five important things to adhere to whilst tracking your temperature:

  1. Take your temperature at the same time each morning, upon waking.
  2. Move as little as possible before taking your temperature orally (or in the ear if you have the specific thermometer).  To achieve this, keep your thermometer beside your bed.
  3. For females, track your menstruation alongside your temperature (as temperature will naturally change throughout the cycle - specifically during ovulation).
  4. Take your temperature after at least six hours sleep.
  5. Note alcohol intake, illness and high emotional or physical stress as well, as this can affect your temperature.

You can download our Metabolic Temperature Chart here for free to see if cellular hypothyroidism is something that needs to be addressed for you.  

Don't ignore your body!  If you feel things aren't right, trust your gut, and keep asking questions until you find someone that can give you the answers!




ThyroidEmily Banks