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A Naturopathic Approach to Thyroid Health

Around 20 million Americans have some form of Thyroid dysregulation and that’s only those who get lab tested, the millions that have not been tested or whose lab values are in the normal range, are left thinking what’s wrong with my body?

Naturopathic doctors see thyroid conditions on a regular basis. Patients need to know that there are other safe and effective options for treating the Thyroid Naturally, rather than feeling stuck between taking medication for life or having a surgical procedure to remove the gland.

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in your throat and is the master regulator for your metabolism. When the thyroid gland is functioning well, the body can regulate your temperature, your protein metabolism, your uptake of vitamins/nutrients and your energy levels. When the thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, it can cause problems with your energy levels, your hormones, your weight, your mood/brain function, fertility and your menstrual cycle.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland is underactive and not producing enough thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism symptoms include:

  • Fatigue

  • Easy weight gain or trouble losing weight

  • Hair loss

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Constipation

  • Dry, thinning skin or hair

  • Decreased heart rate

  • Hoarse throat

  • Increased sensitivity to cold

  • Aches, tenderness, and stiffness in the muscles or joints

  • Heavier menstruation

  • Depression

  • Brain fog

  • Difficulty remembering

  • Goiter

  • Higher cholesterol levels

Hypothyroidism may be a result of high stress, iodine deficiency, or an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid gland is over-functional and producing high amounts of thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism symptoms include:

  • Increased energy

  • Weight loss

  • Increased appetite

  • Weakened muscles

  • Insomnia

  • Sweating

  • More frequent bowel movements

  • Increased or irregular heart rate

  • Thinning hair or skin

  • Menstrual changes

  • Nervousness or anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Increased sensitivity to heat

  • Goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland)

Hyperthyroidism may lead to a medical emergency called Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder, where your immune system sees your thyroid gland itself as a pathogen and attacks it. This leads to chronic inflammation, as well as chronic underperformance of the thyroid gland.

Hashimoto generally progresses very slowly, taking many years to take full effect. As a result, you likely won’t have any symptoms at all at first. Because of this, the best way to diagnose Hashimoto’s disease is by looking at the levels of TPO antibodies in your blood. TPO is an enzyme that plays a role in your thyroid’s production of thyroid hormones.

What is Graves Disease?

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition of hyperthyroidism. It stimulates the thyroid to work harder than normal through increased production of TSIs (thyroid-stimulating immunoglobins). Symptoms of Graves’ disease are similar to hyperthyroidism, but with additional complications.

One is Graves’ ophthalmopathy, where inflammation affects the tissue around the eyes. This happens in about 30% of cases. Another is Graves’ dermopathy, where your skin becomes reddened and thicker, especially on your shins or feet.

What are Thyroid Labs?

A proper diagnosis of what is causing your thyroid condition is a critical step on the way to health. Conventional testing usually measures TSH only, and if your TSH is in range, no further testing is suggested, which can miss underlying issues. Naturopathic doctors often test the whole panel of thyroid markers:

TSH, T4, T3, rT3, free T4, free T3, Anti-TPO, Anti-Thyroglobulin

Testing the whole panel gives a comprehensive way view of Thyroid dysfunction and what treatments are necessary to help support the thyroid gland.

How do Naturopathic Doctors Treat Thyroid Conditions?

Conventional medicine tends to write a prescription for Synthroid, a synthetic form of T4, for hypothyroidism and methimazole, a thyroid-inhibiting drug for hyperthyroidism. In addition, the thyroid gland can be removed surgically in Graves, Hashimoto’s and Thyroid cancer leaving the patient with a master regulator for the body. Supplements and other forms of therapies and thyroid hormones to help patients with thyroid conditions feel better. Thyroid health is also dependent on the health of your adrenal glands, and immune system, therefore support these with herbs and nutrients to help keep the whole system in balance.

Connect with Dr. Mehreen Hussain, Naturopathic Doctor about your thyroid concerns. We will work together to uncover the root cause of your thyroid condition and build a comprehensive treatment plan to get your thyroid functioning again properly and naturally!


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