When it comes to autoimmunity, Hashimoto’s is one of the most common conditions. If you’ve been recently diagnosed, your first question is, “What do I do now?!”
I know that was mean less than a year ago. There are so many different factors that can cause Hashimoto’s. This will then dictate the treatment that’ll work best for you.
Therefore, this guide is made to help you seek treatment and become symptom-free! Because unfortunately, a lot more women are being diagnosed. Grab yourself a cup of tea as this will be a long one.
What is Hashimoto’s disease?
You may also know it by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid. Therefore, over time the thyroid becomes damaged.
The thyroid is located at the base of everyone’s throat. It is responsible for creating hormones for loads of functions in the body. Some examples are:
- Controlling Our Heartrate
- Digestive Function
- Muscle Control
- Brain Development
- Mood Regulation
- Bone Maintenance
What are the Hashimoto’s symptoms?
There is a whole range of symptoms due to possible co-infections. This is why it is important to get tests done such as the breath test, blood work, and a stool test.
By knowing what caused the Hashimoto’s is critical for your healing protocol. These are symptoms to look out for:
- Enlarged Thyroid
- Hard Time Swallowing
- Difficulty Getting Pregnant
These are one directly linked to Hashimoto’s, but more common ones are linked to Hypothyroidism as well. This includes:
- Cold Feet and Hands
- Muscle Weakness
- Weight Gain
- Joint/Muscle Pain
- Feeling Tired (even if you get 8+ hours of sleep)
- Pale and Dry Skin
- Dry and Thinning Hair
- Hair Loss
- Slow Heart rate
- Low Blood Pressure
- Puffy Face
- Hoarse Voice
- Irregular Period
I personally experienced more hypothyroidism symptoms than Hashimoto’s symptoms. Even if you don’t have an enlarged thyroid, hard time swallowing, and/or infertility doesn’t mean you’re clear.
You could be in the beginning stages of it and not even know!
How do I get tested for it?
There are two blood tests you can get done to see how your thyroid is functioning.
Thyroid Function Test
This is when the physician looks for the amounts of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormone in the blood. If your TSH is too high this can be a sign of an underactive thyroid.
The pituitary gland is trying to activate the thyroid to make the thyroid hormone with more TSH. Once your thyroid begins to fail, your thyroid hormones will drop.
Another blood test that your physician can do will look for antibodies in the blood. This is when the immune system generates antibodies to attack the organ. A lot of people have antibodies, but not the symptoms.
I would recommend the Thyroid Function Test as the antibodies don’t automatically mean you have Hashimoto’s. Source: Here
What is the cause of Hashimoto’s?
There is unfortunately not a lot of research on the cause(s) of Hashimoto’s. In Western Medicine, they attribute it to family history or women post-pregnancy.
However, in the holistic wellness space, a lot of researchers are finding possible causes. Some causes are:
- Genetic Predisposition
- Chronic Stress (both physically and emotionally)
- Gut Dysbiosis
- Celiac Disease
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Viral Infection – Epstein Barr Virus for example
- Heavy Metal Toxicity
- And More…
What is the treatment?
This is very dependent on how severe your symptoms and hormonal imbalances are. Some people benefit from hormone therapy, but I don’t believe that it has to be your first choice.
In Western Medicine, they often prescribe levothyroxine. It is a hormone that our thyroid gland makes on its own. Depending on how severe the case is, this can be used temporarily. Many physician believes patients will have to use hormone therapy forever.
This is not true as plenty of people put Hashimoto’s into remission holistically. But, if you need the hormone you need hormone. What is critical is to get levothyroxine dosages changed as you become pregnant, have a heart disease risk, and/or are on other hormone therapies.
It is important to have them adjusted to ensure you don’t create another imbalance.
Holistic Treatment Options
As I have said a million times, make sure to test for co-infections. With this condition, what is very important to do first is to heal your gut.
Leaky gut is a common root cause of Hashimoto’s. This is when your intestinal line has tiny holes, in which food particles get into the bloodstream. We don’t want that! There are key steps to healing your gut:
- Work with A Practitioner (this is important for supplement recommendations to testing)
- Test for Infections (i.e. SIBO, SIFO, Candida, Celiac, Parasites)
- Begin a Healing Protocol (this is different to everyone)
- Remove the Infection
- Create a Healing Diet (i.e. AIP, Paleo, GAPS, Low FODMAP)
- Rebuild the Microbiome
- Reintroduce All The Nutrient-Dense Foods
This is a very important step in your healing! Another thing to consider is detoxifying the body especially if you have a heavy metal overload. Again, you must work with a practitioner.
Another step is to reduce your stress levels. This is any form of stress from exercise to work. Your body can’t tell the difference between stress. Therefore being in that fight-or-flight state all the time downregulates your immune system.
Some great options for reducing stress are to:
- Yoga/Tai Chi
- Sleep Sleep Sleep
- Address any Arenal Concerns
More often times than not stress has a bigger impact on our health than our diet. The biggest thing for treatment is that it is bio-individual. There is no cookie-cutter program that will work for everyone. Source: Here and Here
Each journey is different, but with this guide, you have the tools to find what can work for you! I truly hope you will share this with others struggling with Hashimoto’s. I will be incredibly grateful and thank you so much for your reading!
**This information is not meant as medical or nutritional advice. Always check with your qualified healthcare professional before incorporating new supplements or nutritional changes into your routine. A Primal Health Coach (PHC) is trained to evaluate nutritional needs and make recommendations of dietary changes and nutritional supplements. A PHC is unable to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or medical condition. I cannot guarantee any specific result from recommendations as we are all bio-individually different. If you are under the care of a healthcare provider, it is important that you contact them and alert them to any changes in your lifestyle in regards to nutrition and supplements. A health coach may be a beneficial addition to more traditional care, and it may also alter your need for medication, so it is important you always keep your physician informed of changes in your nutritional program.