Hypothyroidism, also known as an under active thyroid, refers to a medical condition where the thyroid gland does not produce a sufficient amount of certain significant hormones.
Based on this disruption of chemical balance in the body, untreated hypothyroidism can result in various health problems, such as joint pain, obesity, infertility and heart disease.
The symptoms are seldom seen during the early stages of hypothyroidism, but manifest later on – which is why diagnosis and treatment are so important.
This article will provide information on hypothyroidism, the causes, the diagnosis, and the different treatments.
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What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a common disorder where the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland can be found along the front lower section of the neck.
All hormones produced by this gland affect almost all parts of the body by travelling to the areas using the bloodstream, including the brain, heart, skin and muscles.
Not only does the thyroid gland produce hormones, but it also controls how the body utilizes energy obtained from food – a process known as metabolism.
Metabolism affects bodily functions such as one’s heartbeat, the body’s temperature, and how quickly the body burns calories.
If there is a deficiency in the thyroid hormone, the metabolism process will slow down; thereby, making the body less energetic and making it more difficult to burn calories.
What Are The Causes Of Hypothyroidism?
Thyroiditis refers to the inflammation or swelling of the thyroid gland; whereas, Hasimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder.
This condition involves the production of antibodies that not only attack the thyroid gland, but actually destroy the gland.
Thyroiditis can also be contracted via a viral infection.
Treatment for certain conditions, such as lymphoma, will require radiation therapy around the neck area.
While this can be beneficial in treating cancer, the radiation damages the thyroid gland making it difficult for the gland to produce any hormones.
Side Effect Of Medication
Certain medications used to treat psychiatric conditions, heart problems, and cancer can have detrimental side effects including the production of the thyroid hormone.
These medications include lithium, amiodarone, and interleukin-2.
Radioactive Iodine Treatment
While radioactive iodine treatment is typically used by patients with hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland, the radiation can have detrimental side effects.
Due to the damaging effects of radiation to the cells in the thyroid gland, it will often lead to hypothyroidism in the long-term.
If an individual undergoes surgery to remove the thyroid gland, they will experience hypothyroidism.
If only a section of the gland is removed, the remaining gland may be able to produce enough chemicals to meet the body’s need for thyroid hormones.
However, if the full gland is removed there will be no production of the hormone whatsoever.
Not Enough Iodine In One’s Diet
To produce the necessary hormones, a thyroid requires iodine and this needs to be obtained via one’s diet.
Food sources that are rich in iodine include iodized table salt, eggs, shellfish, dairy products, saltwater fish, and seaweed.
One of the best ways to add iodine to our diet is using an iodine supplement called, Nascent Iodine Supplement.
This is what I use and have already experienced great results. I just add 4 drops in my first 24 oz cup of water each day, it’s very simple!
To read a report from Dr. Michael Donaldson of Hallelujah Acres on iodine supplementation, click here.
While the reason is not clear, it is possible for the thyroid to become inflamed following a pregnancy. This is typically known as postpartum thyroiditis.
Females with this condition will have a severe increase in thyroid hormone levels, suddenly followed by a severe drop in production.
Many will return to normal hormone production, but there are females who will experience hypothyroidism.
Iodine supplementation as explained above, is a necessary consideration but be sure to consult with your doctor for the correct dosage.
Pituitary Gland Disorder Or Damage
In some cases, the reduction in hormone production is caused by interference from the pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland produces a hormone known as the thyroid-stimulating hormone, which functions by telling the thyroid how much of the chemical it must make and release.
Disorder Of The Hypothalamus
One of the rarest forms of hypothyroidism occurs when there is a problem with the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus is a region in the brain producing a hormone known as TRH, and if it does not produce enough TRH this will influence the release of thyroid-stimulating hormones from the pituitary gland.
As a result, the thyroid will not be instructed to produce and release a sufficient amount of thyroid hormones.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism?
The symptoms of an under active thyroid gland can be vague presenting only during the later stages of the condition, and are often misinterpreted as part of other disorders.
They include the following:
- swelling of the thyroid gland, also known as a goiter
- changes in the menstrual cycle
- dry skin
- dry hair and hair loss
- reduced heart rate
- sensitivity to cold
- unexplained weight gain
- problems losing weight
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- impaired memory
- increased blood cholesterol level
- muscle aches and stiffness
Babies experiencing hypothyroidism tend to not present with any symptoms, but if they do have symptoms they can include:
- cold hands and feet
- hoarse crying
- extreme sleepiness
- low muscle tone
- little or no growth
- puffy face
- poor feeding habits
- swollen tongue
- stomach bloating
- persistent jaundice
- frequent choking
Typically, a child or teenager who develops hypothyroidism will present the same symptoms as adults; however, they may also display the following signs:
- poor growth
- delayed puberty
- delayed growth of permanent teeth
- poor mental development
What Are the Most Common Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women?
If you are a woman and you are noticing some changes in the way that you look and feel, you may be concerned about the possibility of having hypothyroidism.
Before you receive such a diagnosis from a physician, it is good to know of the different symptoms of hypothyroidism that are most common in women of all ages.
Even if you are experiencing just a few of these symptoms, you should still schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to go over the problems you are currently experiencing.
Women with hypothyroidism often start gaining a significant amount of weight, even if they are not eating more than they normally would.
If you typically count calories and know that you are not consuming more than what you would normally consume in a day, you may be wondering why you are suddenly experiencing weight gain at such a fast pace.
While weight gain is one of the common symptoms that women tend to experience, there are a few other symptoms that can occur.
When a woman suffers from hypothyroidism, her nails may start to become brittle, breaking quite easily.
Her hair may no longer feel as thick as it once did, and it could start to thin out more than it ever has before.
Aside from changes with weight, hair, and nails, women with this condition tend to experience severe mood swings, feeling good one minute and then feeling angry or upset the next minute.
If you have been experiencing some or all these different symptoms, you should reach out to your physician to talk things over and to find out if you do have hypothyroidism. If so, there are different treatment options available, including natural options that you may personally prefer.
How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?
Talk to your doctor about hypothyroidism tests. Have you been experiencing unusual health symptoms, such as a slow heart rate or an extreme sensitivity to cold?
If you’ve been dealing with these kinds of symptoms, it’s possible that you’re suffering from hypothyroidism.
Here’s why you should be talking to your doctor about hypothyroidism tests:
Hypothyroidism Can Have A Serious Impact On Your Health
This condition isn’t something that you can afford to ignore. Even if your hypothyroidism is fairly mild, it can have a dramatic impact on the health of your heart.
Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death, which is why it’s essential to address this problem sooner rather than later.
If your condition isn’t diagnosed, you may wind up experiencing a number of heart problems.
Ignoring this condition isn’t just risky; it could actually be fatal.
If you suspect that you have a problem with your thyroid, you’re going to have to talk to your doctor about it.
This Condition Is Treatable
If you undergo tests, and your doctor discovers that you’re suffering from hypothyroidism, they’ll be able to recommend a treatment plan.
Your doctor should be able to reduce the frequency of your symptoms and make them a lot more manageable.
This isn’t something that you have to learn to live with. With the right treatment, you’ll be able to reduce your symptoms or get rid of them entirely.
The sooner you get your diagnosis, the sooner you’ll be able to kick off your treatment plan.
Testing Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive
A lot of people are wary of undergoing tests because of the cost. If you’re worried that these tests will lead to high medical bills, you can breathe easy.
These tests are fast, and they aren’t invasive, which means they’re usually very affordable.
If these tests are requested by your doctor, they shouldn’t be expensive at all. Talk to your doctor about hypothyroidism tests and see what they recommend you do.
Hypothyroidism Is More Prevalent In Females Over The Age Of Sixty
Medical experts recommend that older women are screened for the condition during routine physical examinations.
Some doctors also recommend that pregnant females or females considering becoming pregnant are tested for an under active thyroid.
Typically, a doctor will test for hypothyroidism if you are experiencing exhaustion, have gained weight, are suffering from constipation or have had a goiter with previous thyroid issues.
Diagnosis of under active thyroid conditions is based on the person’s symptoms and the results of blood tests will measure the thyroid-stimulating hormone level in the body.
If there is a low level of the thyroid hormone (thyroxin) with a high level of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), then it is a sign of hypothyroidism.
This is because the pituitary gland is producing more hormones to stimulate the thyroid gland.
In previous years, physicians were unable to detect an under active thyroid until the symptoms were advanced; however, using these blood tests, doctors are able to make a diagnosis much sooner.
As the TSH test is the more effective screening tool, it is likely that the doctor will check this hormone first. The test result will help the doctor diagnose hypothyroidism (if evident), as well as determine the correct dosage of medication to prescribe.
What Treatments Are Available For Hypothyroidism?
The average treatment for an under active thyroid gland is a daily prescription of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine.
This medication is consumed orally and assists the thyroid hormone levels to reach a sufficient level; thus, reversing the different signs of hypothyroidism.
For many people, they begin to feel less exhausted after one week of beginning treatment. Treatment with this medication is normally a lifelong prescription, but the dosage prescribed will change according to your TSH levels.
A Hypothyroidism Diet
While you can’t completely solve the issue with diet alone, changing your diet can have a very positive impact on your ability to improve your thyroid function.
One of the main foods you want to avoid is soy. Many vegetarians consume huge amounts of soy not knowing that this will have a negative effect on their health.
Soy can have a very big impact on your thyroid and hormone fluctuations throughout your body.
And, foods and beverages that contain soy can negatively influence the hormonal balance in your body.
In fact, studies have shown that women that consume diets full of soy have a much more likelihood of developing hypothyroidism.
To read one of these studies, Click here.
Foods you should consume for good thyroid health are:
Fruits and Vegetables.
You want to get a diet heavy in nutrient dense and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidants can help to improve your thyroid gland function.
Nuts and Seeds.
Selenium is crucial for optimal thyroid function. Therefore, you want to consume nuts and seeds that contain large amounts of selenium like brazil nuts, sesame and sunflowers seeds.
When you buy your fish make sure it is wild caught. Fish contain Omega-3 fatty acids essential for thyroid health and hormone balance.
Seaweed is a natural source of iodine. You can find them dried in sheets or even snack size squares called kelp, nori or wakame.
Also, you can find them in the refrigerated section of your health food store that you can use in a salad.
We used to get them fresh in the Philippines and my mom would prepare them with a bit of soy sauce and vinegar.
You want to make sure that you try to eat as much raw organic vegan foods for maximum effect if you are trying to resolve your hypothyroid problem with changing how you eat.
You’ll want to read my post on RAW VEGAN -THE ANTICANCER DIET SIMPLIFIED. Even though you eat meat I list simple ways you can add this way of eating to your everyday meals or snacks.
You will be amazed how eating this way can not only help your thyroid health but also other health issues you may have.
Overall, there are a lot of different things that you want to keep in mind when you are eating to improve your thyroid function and minimize the negative impact that hypothyroidism can have on your overall health.
How to Naturally Prevent Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is no longer as active as it should be, which can cause an array of different health issues.
Some of the different symptoms associated with this medical condition include weight gain, irritability, and the feeling of being tired most of the time, even after getting plenty of rest at night. Some people experience hair loss as a result of this condition, too.
If you have hypothyroidism, you may want to try a natural approach to treating this medical condition and reducing the symptoms of it.
Not everyone wants to get stuck taking medication to control different medical conditions. If you are all about taking more of a natural approach, there are a few different things you can do that are worth trying to see if they will make a difference for you and improve your health.
Making dietary changes is one of the first and most essential steps for you to take. Eating healthier meals that are full of vegan protein and vitamins is a great way to get in better shape while reducing hypothyroidism symptoms.
Juicing is a great way to get essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your diet that can have a powerful impact. I have several posts on juicing and one of them is How To Make Juice , it’s definitely a worth read.
Ensuring you have good lymphatic health will also prevent hypothyroidism or improve the way you feel by reducing your symptom. See my post on Lymph Node Location and Importance Of Lymphatic Drainage.
Along with making some changes to your eating habits to ensure that you are following a much healthier diet, you should try to avoid stressing out as much as you can.
The unfortunate truth is that too much stress can take a serious toll on the body, causing the thyroid to reduce the speed of your metabolism, which eventually leads to weight gain and other issues.
While it is not completely possible to avoid stress both at home and at work, you must do your best to relax and stay calm, even if it means pampering yourself or meditating regularly each day.
Stress and eating habits have a lot to do with the way that the thyroid works. If you are looking to relieve symptoms of hypothyroidism in a natural way, eat healthier meals full of protein and vitamins and make sure to avoid stress as much as you can.
Not all cases of hypothyroidism are treated in a timely manner and this can lead to various complications for the individual.
If the condition is not treated, hypothyroidism can result in obesity, heart conditions, infertility, joint problems, and birth defects if the woman with the condition is pregnant.
The under active thyroid is a complicated condition with various causes ranging from pregnancy to thyroiditis and the influence of the pituitary gland.
Fortunately, there are treatments that can help reduce the symptoms of this condition, whether you choose to take medication or try to treat it with natural means.
Using the information above, you can discover what hypothyroidism is and how you can manage your condition effectively.
Endocrine Web – https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperthyroidism/radioactive-iodine-hyperthyroidism
Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284
Web MD – https://www.webmd.com/women/hypothyroidism-underactive-thyroid-symptoms-causes-treatments#1-2
The content of this website is research done by me, Linda Edwards, author of blossomingwidow.com.Everything you find here is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any medical condition. The information you find here is not to replace your relationship with your physician or other medical professionals. The information is not intended for medical advice but rather, sharing with you knowledge I have gained through research and experience. If you apply any information you find here, it is based solely on your own discretion, and at your own risk. Linda Edwards / blossomingwidow.com shall not be held liable for any reason.