Last week we talked a little bit about thyroid function and dysfunction. Today we are going to talk about one of the medical reasons behind a dysfunctional thyroid. Hashimoto’s diease (ofentimes just referred to as “Hashimoto’s”) is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing it to malfunction and slow down, causing hypothyroidism. Although it is not the only reason behind hypothyroidism, it is quite common and oftentimes misdiagnosed. Luckily, this disease is easily treatable, but you have to know it’s there!
Symptoms of hypothyroidism from Hashimoto’s usually come on slowly over the years, oftentimes so slowly that many women don’t really notice there’s a problem. The most common symptoms are sensitivity to cold, sluggishness, constipation, brittle nails, hair loss, weight gain, muscle aches and stiffness, dry skin, pale skin, and fatigue. When I ask women if they have these symptoms, many are surprised to realize they have so many.
We have found some success treating Hashimoto’s without traditional thyroid medication. We have found that if we can increase a patient’s estrogen and balance her hormones, this autoimmune disease can decrease in severity and become much more manageable. As the thyroid begins to stabilize, her symptoms may begin to lessen in severity or go away all together.
Of course, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s. Instead of a cure, our goal would be life-long maintenance of symptoms and prevention of further problems. This means that you will need to keep in touch and let us know how you are feeling. Your estrogen levels will need to be adjusted from time to time, and we can help you find the best dose.