The thyroid is a small yet powerful gland, and its dysfunction can cause significant problems to the body such as weight changes, fatigue, and muscles aches. These symptoms often send those suffering to a doctor in search of relief for thyroid dysfunction.
The difficulty in treating thyroid disorders, though, lies with most doctors addressing only the symptoms, ignoring what is causing the dysfunction in the first place. This is why, with functional medicine, the entire body and all the root causes of dysfunction are observed, returning hormonal balance and reducing your symptoms.
The Role of the Thyroid
The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones responsible for regulating a range of body functions based on the amount of the hormone in the bloodstream.
The three hormones produced by the thyroid include:
- triiodothyronine (T3)
- tetraiodothyronine (thyroxine or T4)
However, only T3 and T4 are proper thyroid hormones.
- body temperature
- heart rate
- brain maturation
If there is too much or too little T3 or T4, these actions can be dramatically affected, and one common cause of thyroid dysfunction is Hashimoto’s.
What is Hashimoto’s?
Most cases of thyroid dysfunction are due to Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disorder that most often causes the thyroid to produce too few hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism. In rare cases, this disease may cause hyperthyroidism, or the production of too many hormones.
In those with Hashimoto’s, the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, causing a large number of white blood cells to build up in the thyroid. This then results in damage to the thyroid, which prevents it from producing enough thyroid hormones.
Those with Hashimoto’s disease may experience symptoms such as:
- weight gain
- dry skin
- thinning hair
- joint and muscle pain
- frequently cold
- slowed heart rate
- heavy/irregular period
- fertility problems
- Functional Medicine for Hashimoto’s
The Functional Medicine Solution to thyroid dysfunction
Functional medicine is superior to traditional medicine for autoimmune disorders, such as Hashimoto’s, because it takes a body-wide approach to determine what is causing the autoimmune disorder and how it can be addressed. Functional medicine also takes it a step further, though, to examine why the body is acting in this way.
In comparison, traditional medicine often underdiagnoses Hashimoto’s because it does not focus on what is causing the low thyroid numbers, which, in the case of autoimmune disorders, is the body itself. By only remedying the symptoms of low thyroid hormones, a significant problem is left unaddressed.
With functional medicine, Hashimoto’s is also considered a potentially reversible condition, not a life-long diagnosis. This thinking is why functional medicine seeks alternative therapies for diseases, such as natural ways to increase thyroid levels and address Hashimoto’s beyond supplementing thyroid hormones through a pill.
Functional medicine’s approach to autoimmune disorders allows you to gain better control over your Hashimoto’s disease and see significant improvements in your well-being, since your thyroid hormones are better regulated.
Are you ready to see the difference?
InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does the thyroid gland work? 2010 Nov 17 [Updated 2018 Apr 19]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279388/