Treatment of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and the symptoms in Women & Men…let’s get started.
If you have already been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and are having symptoms, whether you are a man or women (1:8 men to women ratio) that has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashi’s, one of the first things you should do is have your doctor run blood tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The Vitamin D deficiency, alone, has been linked to causing autoimmune disease and there are several vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are linked to creating or worsening autoimmune disease symptoms.
If you have not been diagnosed with Hashi’s but maybe you already have hypothyroidism or have a familial predisposition to thyroid disease or other autoimmune diseases… I would suggest asking for a full thyroid panel of tests, to include:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- TPO -Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody
- TGAb – Thyroglobulin Antibody
- TSH – Listed last because your doctor will more than likely insist on this one because that’s what he was taught but it is not needed most of the time. It isn’t even a test of your thyroid, it’s a test of what your pituitary gland is telling your thyroid to do.
When you get these test results back be sure you understand that the “Reference Range” is blood tests from 100’s to 1,000’s of individuals of ALL ages, some of which may be sick. Your lab testing facility uses this to create its range so it’s not a “perfect range”. On your range for Free T4, you should be in the upper half of the range, whatever it is. For Free T3 it should be in the high side of the range. Reverse T3 should always be below 15. Your TPO should be between 0-15 and TGAb should be 0-0.9. Now, the TSH that your doctor will almost ALWAYS run… the reference range on this is wide reaching. Most labs have a reference range of 0.450-5.5 and that is just not good. People will vary with where they feel the best at but for normal people it should be between .5-2.5 with a rare person feeling better around 3. The older you are the higher that number will be and I don’t mean 30 years old at 5.5 either. I mean like, even active 80 year olds will probably feel better around the 4 mark.
If all of these are still considered normal you may only be suffering from vitamin/mineral deficiencies or you could have what’s considered sub clinical hypothyroidism, which just means…you aren’t showing on any test to have a thyroid problem, yet. It could also mean that you may have something else wrong and the symptoms are mimicking what is typically hypothyroid or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis symptoms. You should start now with these same steps and see if you can feel better before you get worse and test positive for anything.
What Are The Symptoms?
There is absolutely no “absolute” list of symptoms for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The list is exhausting because let’s face it, Hashi’s is an autoimmune disease and an autoimmune disease is your body fighting itself. You know when you get really sick? You know how you need sleep because your body is fighting a bad bug…well, this is what is happening. Every day. All day long. Sometimes for years and even decades. So the symptoms for you will be different from what I had and both of ours will probably be different from what your neighbor has. Here is a common list with some uncommon twists:
- Chronic fatigue, sometimes in the later stages, it’s truly debilitating. I don’t mean just not enough sleep or you’ve been going for days tired. And I certainly don’t mean just a blah mood, eh, don’t feel like doin nuthin kind of day either. I’m talking full out –all you can think of is your bed. When you’re out with friends or cooking dinner or even just trying to spend family time watching TV and all you think about is “when can I get back in my bed?” This is by far the most common symptom.
- Depression and/or anxiety – Depression can sometimes be misdiagnosed because of the fatigue and always wanting your bed. Depression and fatigue are NOT the same thing even though they usually result in the same position, lying prone or fetal position in your bed. When your body is out of whack and your chemicals and hormones are in a tizzy, sometimes the chemicals involved are the ones that keep you happy. Of course, sometimes, you get depressed from just feeling so bad and not having an answer or being too hard on yourself. Anxiety can happen for the same reasons but it can also happen because your thyroid has gotten enlarged (Goiter) and when that happens and your body is attacking it, you will get what’s called a “dump” of thyroid hormones and that can make you have the racing heart and anxious feeling.
- Cold Intolerance and Heat Intolerance– The majority of people will experience a cold intolerance where you are wearing a jacket or sweatshirt when everyone else is wearing shorts and tank tops/t-shirts. Some people, myself included, experience the opposite end of that spectrum, wearing short sleeves and capri’s while everyone else has on scarves, gloves and heavy coats.
This next list is what you may or may not experience:
- Major muscle aches and joint pain- sometimes from other autoimmune diseases on top of your Hashi’s.
- Skin rashes including hives – again, sometimes from more than just your Hashi’s
- Low basal temp – thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism
- Heavy or Irregular Menstrual cycles – hormone imbalance related to or separate from Hashi’s
- Weight Gain (even when you eat like a bird) – this can actually be what caused the weight gain instead of Hashi’s, even though, again, your thyroid regulates your metabolism.
- If you eat less than 1200 calories a day, over a long period, you will more than likely start gaining weight, not losing it. You also risk becoming Leptin Resistant which, in and of itself, is a whole other world of problems. Which can really hinder you healing your autoimmune disease. I’ll discuss this in another article.
- Constipation/Chronic Constipation
- Picking up every bug that comes around, always sick.
This is just a very small list of what symptoms are attached to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. If you have Hashi’s, and you are having any kind of symptom…it very well could be normal for Hashi’s. You should always discuss them with your doctor or keep a journal of your symptoms.
What Treatments Are Available?
Depending on if you want holistic, homeopathic or western/medicine you can find a treatment for your Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis symptoms. Like I said earlier, the first thing I would do is check Vitamin/Mineral levels, no matter which approach you want. A LOT of research suggests that most people are deficient in at least 1 or more vitamin/minerals. B Vitamins play a huge roll in your body and there are several of them.
Our diet today is made of plants grown or animals that eat plants grown in vitamin/mineral deficient soil so we are not likely to get the same vitamins and minerals in our diets from the food we eat that people used to get. There isn’t much “fertile soil” left in this world so we probably ALL need to supplement at least something. For some people you need just the trace minerals and for others you may need a long list of vitamins and minerals.
Another big reason for autoimmune chaos is from chronic illness/viruses like (EBV) Epstein-Barr Virus, the Herpes virus, or another autoimmune disease.
I know a lot of places tell you that if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or other autoimmune diseases then the first thing you have to do is completely stop all milk products and wheat. That is not always true. What they are going after is the fact that a huge portion of autoimmune sufferers have what’s called a leaky gut. No, this is not something shown in your underwear. This is USUALLY just something happening inside your gut. It’s an imbalance of good and bad bacteria that cause other issues. For women, you should understand this as the same thing that happens when we take antibiotics and get a yeast infection. We have to get the balance fixed before it goes away. Same thing with a leaky gut. It doesn’t happen with 1 pill 3 days later though. This is something that gets fixed over time, much like the way it went bad to begin with. For some people you will need to stop everything but I personally like to start with the simple stuff first. I learned about the KISS rule at a very early age 🙂 (Keep It Stupid Simple, and yes I know the S’s are reversed, I like them better this way)
If your thyroid is still relatively healthy, you can stop it from worsening if you figure out what started the immune response in the first place. You can start with the vitamins/minerals and keep an eye out on what you eat. Journal it -even loosely, it helps. You may start to notice when you ache really bad it’s shortly after eating cereal for breakfast or broccoli at dinner, or after you actually had the time to consume a whole pot of coffee, or maybe even it’s after you walk around a commercial district. You never know what your triggers are. You are going to need to know (or learn) your body. I’m fairly certain you didn’t wake up one day and just feel terrible. It was bad days stretching back quite a ways and you just ignored it or suffered through until you just couldn’t. It will be like that to get better too. You will realize one day that you have felt better and better recently and that’s when you know you are on the right track. Make sure you write what you can remember doing or eating, or NOT doing!!
If your thyroid has become a goiter or it has shriveled up, you can only use western medicine to help you feel better. You will have to take either the man-made T4 and/or T3 medication or the naturally desiccated thyroid supplement,NDT, from a pig thyroid, that has all the thyroid hormones in it together just like your thyroid should have. Be careful about taking NDT’s when you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Sometimes, not often but often enough to mention, the NDT can trigger your autoimmune response even more causing your symptoms to flare up again or get worse. If you have NO thyroid, either from having a total thyroidectomy or from ablation, and you can’t take the NDT that also has trace amounts of T1 and T2 in it, you can actually get a supplement for T2. Make sure you talk to the dr or a knowledgeable pharmacist about this. If taken incorrectly, you will cause yourself harm.
Like I mentioned earlier about the symptoms, we all have a different list. Same thing with the treatment, it will be different for a lot of people. Maybe wheat/gluten is at the root of your immune response, whereas I had several vitamin/mineral deficiencies that caused mine. Maybe your neighbor had EBV a while back and it never fully went away causing his immune system to start attacking his thyroid. There is no 1 cure-all fix-all. This is a process. Your body is attacking what it sees as the enemy, it’s trying to make you healthy. You have to calm it down and set it right. It doesn’t stop until you fix what’s causing it to go crazy.
Feel free to leave a comment, ask questions or share a little bit about you, your story, or your experiences. If you want to know more about anything I’ve written here let me know and if you want to know more about my story click here.