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  • What is a Thyroid Gland Disorder and How Can You Treat It?

    October 23, 2018 4 min read

    What is a Thyroid Gland Disorder and How Can You Treat It?

    What is a Thyroid Gland Disorder and How Can You Treat It?

    The thyroid may be tiny, but it has plenty of power to influence your health and wellbeing.

    A gland positioned at the front of the throat, and part of the body’s endocrine system, the thyroid is involved in the process of secreting hormones into the bloodstream. The thyroid disperses hormones to normalise various metabolic processes. These processes include growth, energy and expenditure.

    The thyroid gland plays co-captain to the pituitary gland, who takes charge of the endocrine system.

    Located at the base of the brain, the pituitary monitors and regulates the activity of the other glands. It influences the thyroid by manufacturing a hormone known as TSH - thyroid-stimulating hormone (who would have guessed). This hormone gives the thyroid a little nudge when it is time to release its primary hormones (T3 and T4). Depending on how much T3 and T4 the thyroid releases, the pituitary will reduce or increase the amount of TSH. This function is designed to keep the levels of the thyroid hormones consistent. However, that is not always the case.

    The pituitary/thyroid relationship can get a little rocky and diet can affect this perfect partnership.

    If a person does not have enough iodine in their diet, the pituitary gland continues to send chemical messages to the thyroid with no response. In an attempt to make more of the thyroid hormone, the thyroid gland grows in size causing a condition known as goitre. This is particularly common in areas where soil that fertilises the crops we consume is low on iodine. Tasmania and along the Great Dividing Range are examples of places that have low iodine levels in the soil.

    Goitre can be caused by an issue with the thyroid or by insufficient iodine in our diet.

    When a thyroid is not working as it should, the metabolic system is in turn affected. Many common hormonal disorders are linked with the thyroid gland.

    Two common thyroid gland disorders include hyperthyroidismand hypothyroidism.  


    This is the name given when a thyroid becomes overactive. An overactive thyroid speeds up the metabolism above manageable levels. This is commonly referred to as Graves’ Disease. It is driven when antibodies are produced by the immune system which stimulates the thyroid gland increasing its size. This leads to an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, and if left untreated, can lead to liver damage or heart failure.

    Symptoms of an overactive thyroid can include:

    • rapid pulse
    • sweating and sensitivity to heat
    • anxiousness or nervousness
    • shaking or tremors of the hands
    • weight loss
    • diarrhoea
    • tired or fatigued
    • bulging eyes
    • goitre – an enlargement of the thyroid gland


    This condition is caused when the thyroid gland becomes underactive and slows the metabolism. This is generally a progressive disorder, and symptoms increase over time as the thyroid functioning declines. It can be years before actual symptoms of hypothyroidism appear.

    Just like hyperthyroidism, it is important that proper treatment is applied for the condition as untreated consequences can be fatal.

    According to the Australian Thyroid Foundation, ten times more women are affected by hypothyroidism than men. 

    Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include:

    • a sensation of being cold even when the weather is hot
    • depression
    • unexplained weight gain
    • fatigue or feeling sluggish
    • brain fog
    • hair loss
    • dry skin
    • puffiness of the face
    • constipation
    • goitre – an enlargement of the thyroid gland

    Thyroid gland disorder treatments

    It is important that if you are experiencing any of the tell-tale signs for thyroid gland disorders, you get checked out by your doctor. Thyroid hormone levels are examined through a blood test to determine whether there is a presence of antibodies associated with thyroid disorders.

    An underactive thyroid is conditioned by administering thyroxine tablets which are a hormone replacement.

    An overactive thyroid is treated with drugs to slow down the thyroid gland activity.

    In the event that medication is not effective, a segment of the thyroid may be removed surgically. In some cases, the entire thyroid is also removed. Radioactive iodine may also be used to kill active thyroid cells.

    The good news with thyroid conditions like these is that once diagnosed they can generally be treated effectively.

    Thyroid disorder is quite common with one in 20 people experiencing some form of thyroid dysfunction in their lifetime. People who have a family history of thyroid problems are also at higher risk of contracting a thyroid condition through a genetic link.

    Foods for the thyroid

    Diet alone will not cure a thyroid problem however it could help to keep its melody. Following are some of the foods worth considering for your thyroid.

    Food choices for their natural iodine content that you could include in your diet:

    • Seaweed - a fresh seaweed salad each week might help
    • Greek yoghurt - also full of good-for-you probiotics
    • Low-fat milk
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Fresh fish and tinned tuna
    • Shellfish
    • Eggs

    Foods to avoid for thyroid health:

    • Gluten
    • Processed and ready-made foods – on the negative list for their commonly hidden sodium content

    Relaxation for the thyroid

    Although not going to help rid you of any thyroid problem, relaxing techniques may help you get through any stress or anxiety you experience. According to Anxiety Australia, slow breathing can help to relieve anxiety. Try out their breathing tip below.

    They advise trying this technique firstly by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor at hip width.

    • Place a hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
    • Hold your breath for 10 seconds
    • Breathe out and tell yourself to relax
    • Inhale slowly through your nose for 3 seconds
    • Exhale through your mouth for 3 seconds making a whooshing sound as you release the air. Tell yourself to relax
    • Repeat the process for 5 minutes

    Once you are confident with the technique lying down you can progress to sitting or standing up. This will help provide you with the practice to do the routine anywhere you need when you feel some tension brewing.

    Bondi Beach Tea Co. do an amazing blend of natural herbal tea created to help you unwind. Check out our Unwind Tea online here.

    Shop our full range of Bondi Beach Tea Co. here.



    Information for this article was curated from the following sites:

    1. Victoria Government Better Health Channel
    2. The Australian Thyroid Foundation

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