Madison Thyroid Help: Can Birth Control Pills Affect The Thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located at the base of your neck. This gland may be small, but it’s very important. It plays a major role in regulating your hormones and metabolic processes. If your thyroid is not functioning properly, it can cause a host of problems.

Symptoms of thyroid disorder can be headaches, temperature sensitivity, irritability, insomnia, GI issues, chronic fatigue and depression. These are only a few of the symptoms and unfortunately, if your thyroid condition is left untreated, they can become worse over time. Many patients find their symptoms to be quite debilitating. 

A question that often arises for female patients is, can birth control pills affect the thyroid? The answer is yes. Birth control or hormone replacement may elevate a specific protein in the blood that binds the thyroid hormone, rendering it useless. Testing for this protein to determine if this is in fact one of the underlying causes of the low thyroid symptoms is crucial in order to effectively manage your thyroid condition. In fact your TSH is usually normal but because your body is producing too much of the binding protein from the hormone replacement you end up feeling lousy.

It’s important to find a practitioner who understands that comprehensive testing is needed in order to determine what’s causing your thyroid disorder. Sadly, TSH testing is not enough. TSH is only one marker of at least six that should be checked when diagnosing a thyroid condition. Traditional medical practitioners are only trained to evaluate TSH levels and diagnose from those results.

The good news is that functional medicineis offering patients another option. Practitioners with this specialized training learn to evaluate the body as an entire operating system rather than just a set of isolated symptoms. These providers use comprehensive testing and evaluation to determine the root cause of your thyroid disorder. They will then create a customized care plan because they understand that every patient is unique and has their own individual triggers, symptoms and responses to therapy. This is very different from the “one size fits all” model of care that most patients are used to. 

Patients are pleasantly surprised at the personal attention and one on one contact with their doctor that they receive when they work with a functional medicine doctor. Sometimes a new approach to care is just what you need to get you back on the path to wellness.