It’s a good thing that the thyroid has been getting more attention in general lately. For too long it has been overlooked and misdiagnosed. While medication is sometimes needed to manage a poorly functioning thyroid, and is used to replace a missing thyroid, Chinese Medicine also treats the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and can help boost functioning naturally.
When Your Thyroid Function is Low
I want to share with you a list of symptoms that may indicate a problem with your thyroid. While there are two main problems that can occur with the thyroid – hypo-functioning aka Hypothyroidism, and hyper-functioning aka Hyperthyroidism, in this article we will focus on hypothyroidism and it’s most common form which is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Untreated Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism can cause:
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Weight gain, and with it increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
- High cholesterol due to the role of the thyroid in fat metabolism
- Depression – as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the cause of their depression – but their thyroid problem hasn’t been diagnosed so they are being misdiagnosed and mistreated. That’s one reason that antidepressants don’t help a subset of women.
- Anxiety also often accompanies thyroid problems.
- Decreased cognitive function – aka brain fog – the thyroid is responsible for helping us maintain brain health, and even slight thyroid dysfunction can impair memory and concentration. Studies of women in their 60s have shown that even marginally slow thyroid function can cause dementia-like symptoms, and that treatment can dramatically improve cognitive function and have a brain-protective effect.
- Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of the thyroid on heart rate and rhythm.
- Difficulty adapting body temperature – feel cold all the time? Could be a sign that the thyroid is not working optimally since one of its jobs is to regulate body temperature.
What Should You Do if You Suspect a Thyroid Problem?
- I recommend ordering a complete Thyroid Blood Panel that includes:
This gives a broader picture of thyroid and pituitary function and if there’s an autoimmune aspect. A knowledgeable functional medicine doctor or holistic endocrinologist can interpret the lab test results.
2. Try a gluten free, soy free, dairy free diet for at least 1 month. Studies have found that these three proteins cross-react with thyroid tissue, which means your immune system gets activated when you eat those proteins and also attacks the thyroid tissue.
3. Get out of sleep deficit! Your body needs to rest deeply in order to repair and restore. If you are not getting quality sleep or enough for your personal needs, you are constantly digging yourself deeper. Make sleep a priority.
4 . Cut back on caffeine – too much caffeine can increase cortisol and upset your hormonal balance even more than without it, and this in turn affects the thyroid.
5. Add holistic healthcare to your health maintenance plan! Acupuncture is very valuable in helping your body get out of stress overload and into healing mode.
Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine for Thyroid Health and Healing
In my practice, I’m often helping women on thyroid medication or those who haven’t yet started medication with many of the symptoms listed above. When we’re talking about hormones, including those made by the thyroid and pituitary, which is the gland that stimulates and regulates the thyroid, we’re talking about subtle energies that control metabolism and many major functions including our mental health. Sometimes we need to address that subtle energetic layer, in addition to the chemical layer that the replacement hormones address.
Herbal therapy and acupuncture help hypothyroid by:
- Reducing Inflammation
- Promoting natural healing hormone release
- Allowing the body to heal itself by releasing blocked energy
- Boosting your body’s own natural energy production
- Calming the entire nervous system
- Balancing your body’s hormonal chemistry
- Regulate body temperature
Call us today to start healing your thyroid, balancing your endocrine system, and feel more like yourself! 630-335-1069