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Is stress making your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism worse

You’ve probably heard it over and over: Stress can make your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism worse. But how do you know if your stress is high enough to be problematic for your thyroid health? It’s helpful to know some signs and about the adrenal stress test.

Severe stress can either cause you to be fatigued all the time, wired all the time, or a mix of both. Or maybe stress manifests as sleep issues.

It’s not uncommon for people to become so used to being stressed out they fail to realize it’s an issue.

However, chronic stress sabotages your efforts to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of fatigue-based stress

  • Fatigue
  • Slow to get going in the morning
  • Energy crash in the afternoon
  • Craving sweets, caffeine, or nicotine
  • Unstable behavior; moodiness
  • Shaky, light-headed, or irritable if meals are delayed
  • Inability to stay asleep
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting to standing

Symptoms of wired stress

  • Excess belly fat
  • Insulin resistance (high blood sugar)
  • Insomnia
  • Not feeling rested in the morning
  • Women grow facial hair; men grow breasts
  • PCOS in women (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

How to do a lab test for stress

You can also do a lab test to measure stress levels using your saliva; it’s called an adrenal salivary panel. Your adrenal glands are two small glands that sit atop each kidney that secrete stress hormones.

The best way to use the adrenal salivary panel is do the test a second time after following a health protocol. This shows you whether your health is improving.

This is because stress is always caused by something else, such as low or high blood sugar, an infection, or autoimmune disease.

Adrenal health should improve as you manage these conditions. If things do not improve, it means you must keep searching to find out what is taxing the body.

Simply unmanaged Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism can raise stress levels. However, if you are working to manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and still suffering from chronic stress, you may need to find an underlying cause.

Measuring your sleep-wake cycle

Another way to gauge stress is to look at your sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm.

Are you alert in the morning and sleepy at night? An abnormal circadian rhythm is a symptom of adrenal stress.

Your primary stress hormone, cortisol, should be high in the morning and low at night. Many people have a backwards rhythm causing fatigue in the morning and insomnia at night. Or, instead of a gradual decline of cortisol during the day, it may suddenly drop in the afternoon, causing a crash.

A healthy circadian rhythm is important to managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and should be addressed.

Where are you on the stress scale?

By measuring several markers, the adrenal saliva test can tell you whether you are in:

  • The “alarm reaction” of high adrenal hormones
  • Adrenal exhaustion and chronic tiredness
  • Somewhere in between

You do not necessarily have to progress from alarm reaction to adrenal fatigue. It’s possible to jump between phases, or stay in one phase for years.

The adrenal saliva test also measures immune cells called total SIgA. This measures how stress is impacting your immune system. If SIgA is low, it can mean you are more susceptible to food intolerances, infections, and weakened immunity.

Start with blood sugar stability to manage stress

Although diet and lifestyle factors are important in managing stress, the most common cause of chronic stress is a blood sugar imbalance. Addressing high or low blood sugar are vital to addressing chronic stress and Hashimoto’s.