Hashimotos’ disease is a condition in which a person’s immune system attacks the thyroid, a small gland in the neck. Since the thyroid is a critical part of the endocrine system, hormonal balance can be thrown off base, and that is usually when the patient sees the most problematic results of the disease. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Since the symptoms can seem very similar to a myriad of other conditions, it is worth talking to your naturopathic doctor about checking for this condition during an overall exam when you first recognize the symptoms.
There are ways of managing the effects Hashimoto’s and the disease can even be eliminated for some people, resulting in a return of normal thyroid function. Healing from Hashimoto’s from a naturopathic standpoint is often treated with lifestyle and diet changes and occasionally with natural supplements. Along with acupuncture, herbs and homeopathy can be utilized to encourage a stronger immune system that does not attack the thyroid.
Dr. Katie Stage, ND, RH (AHG) a Naturopathic Physician and Registered Herbalist at SCNM, offers this information about Hashimoto’s that she also shares with her patients:
“As a naturopathic physician, I always screen for Hashimoto's thyroiditis in all my patients with thyroid disease, as well as in those who have Celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and/or a strong family history of autoimmune conditions. I find it important when treating a patient to understand whether there is an autoimmune component of not.
Regarding treatment, identification and removal of triggers is very important. Patients often do well on a gluten free diet, even if they do not have Celiac disease (we call this non-Celiac gluten sensitivity), although sometimes there are other dietary triggers, such as eggs or soy. Patients willing to do a whole food, allergen free diet (such as the Whole 30) can experience dramatic benefits in energy and a reduction in thyroid antibodies. I feel diet, adequate sleep, and supporting a healthy stress response are fundamental to the treatment of any autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Other treatments that have been helpful for my patients include acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, and the use of compounded low-dose naltrexone (LDN).”
The bottom line is to simply check in with your naturopathic doctor often, even before you notice symptoms of any change in your body is not “really bad yet.” That way, when something like the symptoms of thyroid issues (including those of Hashimoto’s disease) appear, you may be able to get the situation under control with the help of your ND faster!