The thyroid is a large endocrine gland located in your neck/throat area, above your collar bone. For men, this gland is right below their Adam’s apple. This butterfly-shaped organ stimulates metabolism and controls the body’s circulation of calcium levels with the help of the parathyroid gland.
The thyroid secrets several hormones. The main hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) which is the “active” thyroid hormone.
T4 coverts T3 when an enzyme removes one of its iodine molecules. The pituitary gland, located in the brain, releases TSH (thyroid simulating hormone) when there isn’t enough thyroid hormone.
Most people do not pay much attention to this gland until there is a problem. The thyroids hormone production can be thrown out of balance. Overproduction of the thyroids hormones is called hyperthyroidism and an underproduction of thyroid hormones is called hypothyroidism. Both imbalances can have a negative effect on the body.
The overproduction of the thyroids hormones (hyperthyroidism) can occur in many ways:
•Pituitary gland malfunction or cancerous tumors on the thyroid gland
•Toxic adenomas- nodules that secrete thyroid hormones, can develop, throwing off the body’s chemical balance
•Thyroiditis- the gland becomes inflamed and excess hormones leak out
•Excessive amount of iodine exposure
•Graves’ disease- when the thyroid produces too much hormone
Causes of hypothyroidism:
•Lithium- is a drug that is associated with causing hypothyroidism
•Removal of the thyroid- either surgically removed or chemically destroyed
•Hashimoto’s- an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack thyroid tissue. Resulting in dead and unproductive cells
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
•Intolerance of the heat
•Unexplained weight loss
•Increased heart rate
•Increase in bowl movements
Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
•Inability to tolerate the cold
•Slower pulse rate
•Shortness of breath
•Delayed reflex relaxation
•Carpal tunnel syndrome
You can have your thyroid checked with blood tests and also:
•Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
•CT scans, MRI scans or PET scans
•T3 and T4
•A noninvasive Basal body temperature test
Why is the basal temperature test effective
The thyroid acts as a thermostats for the body, producing hormones to keep it warm. A healthy resting temperature is between 97.8 – 98.2. A body temp lower than this ideal range, lasting 3+ days could suggest the possibility of hypothyroidism.
An infection, or the possibility of hyperthyroidism could be suspected after 3+ days of the resting body’s temperature registering above 98.2.
Instructions on how to test your thyroid using your basal temperature:
This test was developed using a basal thermometer or an old fashioned Mercury-filled glass thermometer. These types of thermometers are ideal because they are calibrated differently and hence are more sensitive.
*The best time to start this test would be the second day of your period since our body’s temperature fluctuates throughout our menstrual cycle.
- The first night of your period, remember to place the thermometer within reach of your bed. You need to be able to reach the thermometer without moving much from your woken position each morning.
- Upon waking, make sure the thermometer reads a temp below 95’F before placing under your arm. Rest with your eyes closed, body relaxed and thermometer under your arm for ten mins for 3 consecutive mornings.
- Write down your results with the time, date and temperature you tested each morning.
Again, if your 3 day temperature average is above 98.2 (possible hyperthyroidism) or below 97.8 (possible hypothyroidism), you may want to discuss further testing with you Doctor concerning a possible thyroid hormone imbalance.