Dr. David Clark, DC Center for Low Thyroid Solutions Durham, NC reveals the fourth reason why thousands of women still suffer with low thyroid symptoms - prolactin.
I’m going to tell you about hidden cause number four, why you still have low thyroid symptoms. It is related to a hormone called prolactin. Unlike the other three hidden causes that we’ve talked about, this one is more or less screened for by your medical endocrinologist.
Here's a short explanation of how Prolactin causes low thyroid symptoms.
Prolactin is a hormone made by your pituitary gland. High levels of prolactin suppress thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), the marker your doctor has been measuring.
Prolactin is tightly balanced by progesterone and dopamine.
So many times, when people have a dopamine deficiency or a progesterone deficiency, their prolactin will rise up and will squash their pituitary’s production of thyroid stimulating hormone. That imbalance will show up on your labs, if you’re lucky, as a TSH that is low but not quite out of the lab reference range. That’s why this particular problems gets missed as a cause of you're continued low thyroid symptoms.
What I’ve just explained is a functional model of how prolactin excess can suppress your pituitary and make you have thyroid symptoms because it didn’t fall out of the lab range.
Remember, I use a functional range; it’s a narrower range than the lab's "normal" ranges; it’s an opinion and it picks up things like this. So that was a functional model of how prolactin, this hormone, can cause thyroid suppression.
One of the ways that you might know if you were having a prolactin excess is discharge from the breasts in both men and women
Also, Prolactin will suppress luteinizing hormone (LH). So, in women, prolactin excess causes infertility...in men, excess prolactin depresses testosterone so they have low libido.
You can understand this prolactin-progesterone-dopamine situation would confuse medical and alternative doctors because people who have low thyroid function often have these exact same symptoms of infertility and low libido.
That was a Functional take on Prolactin and low thyroid symptoms.
Now the pathological medical model take on Prolactin...
High prolactin usually is caused by a tumor and these are called prolactinomas. Many of these tumors can be surgically removed.
Hopefully, whoever you’ve seen before for your low thyroid symptoms, has evaluated you for this. If you don’t have the tumor, it’s still possible that you’ve got this functionally elevated prolactin because you may have dopamine deficiency or progesterone deficiency.
The dopamine deficiency could manifest as you having ADHD type symptoms along with low thyroid symptoms. In fact, see this post on that topic. You may have difficulty concentrating, difficulty paying attention, being impulsive, hyperactive. If you’ve got those symptoms, plus you’ve got these low thyroid symptoms, you may have a prolactin excess that needs to be balanced out by working on dopamine.
Same thing with progesterone; you may have a progesterone deficiency that’s allowing the scale to tip high for prolactin and shuts down your pituitary, which means you have low thyroid hormone activity.
But remember, and the point I want you to understand is, if you go to your medical doctor and you ask them about this, they’re probably going to know about the tumor thing...buth they’re going to know very little about the dopamine and the progesterone aspect of it.
That’s because they’re not using a functional model like I use. The functional approach is how we’re able to find a lot of women that are missed....Because there’s a lot of women reading this right now that have been through the wringer...or they haven’t really been helped at all just because they’ve been getting prescribed thyroid hormones--which will NOT help this situation.
That's hidden cause number four; it’s an excessive level of prolactin that’s caused either by a tumor – again, I hope you don’t have one of those – and can also be caused by deficient dopamine and deficient progesterone.
And I can test for all those things--do some detective work – and find out exactly why you have low thyroid symptoms. For example...
If you’ve got a dopamine deficiency, then why do you have that? Maybe it’s because you’re iron anemic.
If you’re progesterone deficient, what does that really mean?
There’s still investigation that has to be done.
If your doctor is not going to take a comprehensive look at your low thyroid symptoms, you’re going to suffer for a long time.
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© 2010 Dr. David Clark
Dr. David Clark, DC
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist