By Dr. Nicole Sundene
Depression caused by thyroid disease such as Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos Thyroiditis feels like a dead plant in need of water. Often patients will feel flat, blah, lifeless and disinterested in participating in activities when their thyroid level is low. Many patients are also experiencing extreme emotional symptoms while their levels are hovering at the bottom of the normal range. More often than not this chronic thyroid deficiency is going on despite being told their thyroid level is normal. T3 the most active thyroid hormone helps the brain make serotonin. When the thyroid is deficient less serotonin is made. This is why patients with hormonally triggered depression do not improve as expected on antidepressants.
TSH is generally the only test conducted by their doctor to evaluate it. TSH is only accurate 1 in 5 times at diagnosing hypothyroidism. Free T3 and Free T4 levels should always be checked when we suspect a thyroid problem. Just checking TSH is “90’s Medicine” in my opinion that should be stopped. I would never measure just measure your FSH to try to understand your estrogen levels. I would simply check your actual estrogen levels. FSH is also a message the brain is sending down in a feedback loop with estrogen and is elevated in severe states of estrogen deficiency such as menopause. Yet time and time again patients ask for their thyroid to be checked and it is only a TSH checked which tells us only about what your brain is telling your thyroid to do for it and tells us very little about how much hormone your thyroid is or isn’t making.
Depression or anxiety coupled with thyroid symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, swelling, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, arthritis and joint pain should be worked up by a doctor that specializes in hormones. Doctors that specialize in fine tuning hormones can help you understand the complex web of hormones and ensure each hormone pathway is optimal and not just “In the normal range.”
I have heard this TSH story nearly every single day of my career for the past 13 years! Let's put an end to the mental health problems caused by hormone imbalance. There are enough depressing things going on right now and we don’t need hormone imbalance causing moodiness.
Please share this important message on Thyroid Depression as many patients are silently suffering and don’t know why they do not respond to the typical antidepressants.
If you need help with your hormones I am always happy to help and just just a phone call away!
Dr. Nicole Sundene
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!