Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Listen to Dr. Risk's Radio Show on Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

What is Your Thyroid?

Your thyroid is a gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It is shaped like a butterfly – each wing, or lobe of your thyroid lies on either side of your windpipe. The purpose of your thyroid gland is to make, store, and release thyroid hormones into your blood. These hormones, affect almost every cell in your body, and help control your body’s functions. If you have too little thyroid hormone in your blood, your body slows down. This condition is called hypothyroidism. If you have too much thyroid hormone in your blood, your body speeds up. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition of the thyroid and is the most common autoimmune condition1. Unfortunately, those suffering often go undiagnosed for a long time, as it is not commonly tested for. The characteristics of this illness can be similar to hypothyroidism, but the autoimmune component adds a twist. 

What are symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Symptoms people often experience are:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss or brittle hair
  • Fluctuating TSH levels
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Paleness or puffiness of the face
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Inability to get warm
  • Difficulty getting pregnant (infertility)
  • Hormone imbalances, including irregular or heavy periods
  • Slowed heart rate and heart palpitations2

It is common for Hashimoto’s to be triggered after giving birth since estrogen fluctuations can trigger the gene expression of Hashimoto’s3, but it can also be triggered at other times.

When should I seek Alternative Treatment for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

If you have thyroid symptoms that are not responding to treatment, or you are still tired, the first step is to start with getting your TPO-antibodies tested by your doctor. The common treatment for Hashimoto’s in Western medicine is to provide medication (usually Synthroid or desiccated thyroid) and allow the autoimmune aspect to continue to damage the thyroid. If you are continually having symptoms, it may be time to seek other advice.

What Diet Is Good For Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

The complications of an autoimmune condition make Hashimoto’s multi-faceted. Diet is an important component, and gluten intake should be addressed first. Gluten causes a lot of inflammation and fatigue, and contributes to all autoimmune diseases. 

How is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Treated?

After the diet is assessed, we will then assess the patient using BioScan SRT testing to find out what the root cause of the autoimmunity is. Often, the immune system has become overactive due to and an external pathogen. The majority of our patients are chronically ill, and Hashimoto’s is often a component of Lyme disease, heavy metal toxicity and chronic fatigue. We find this disease can fluctuate, especially during the beginning of treatment.  As time goes on, we find that the thyroid stabilizes and the autoimmune component calms down. Our goal is to save the thyroid from further damage, regulate the immune system, and treat whatever underlying cause there is. Our patients do go on to live normal lives, although they will constantly have to monitor their thyroid and stay off gluten to keep the autoimmune aspect in check. 

How can Acupuncture help Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Acupuncture provides many benefits to those who suffer from thyroid and autoimmune disorders. It helps modulate the immune system, but it also promotes relaxation, balances hormones, helps insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and reduces stress.  Acupuncture is a great adjunct to other therapies when working on balancing the thyroid and maintaining a better quality of life.

1 © Merrill, S. J., Mu, Y. (2015, January 6th). Thyroid autoimmunity as a window to autoimmunity: An explanation for sex differences in the prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25576242.

2 © Dunkin, M. (2020, November 11th). Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/women/hashimotos-thyroiditis-symptoms-causes-treatments#2

3 © Kresser, C. (2010, August 30th). Basics of Immune Balancing for Hashimoto’s. Retrieved from http://chriskresser.com/basics-of-immune-balancing-for-hashimotos/