Hypothyroidism

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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2016-02-28 (EDT)

Hypothyroidism indicates a deficiency of thyroid hormone activity and causes a variety of signs of symptoms mostly due to a slowed metabolic rate.[1] All bodily processes require an adequate supply of thyroid hormone to function optimally.[2] Often thyroid function slows down in response to other conditions or due to a lack of nutrients or energy.

Hypothyroidism
Causes Dietary Factors, Smoking, Stress, Environmental Toxins, Prescription Medications
See Also Endocrine Conditions, Obesity, Hypertension, PMS, Infertility (Female), Fibrocystic breast disease, Ovarian cysts, Aging
Books Books on Endocrine Diseases
Articles Articles on Endocrine Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Article Treating Hypothyroidism J Orthomolecular Med 2013, Vol. 28 (2)
Article The Delicate Balance of Iodine in Thyroid Health , 2012 August;Vol8(8) NDNR [1]
Article The "Lowe" Down on Thyroid , 2012 March;Vol8(3) NDNR [2]
Article Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Fluctuates With Time of Day , December 2012 Natural Medicine [3]

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Hypothyroidism is often associated with other conditions, yet there are factors that are directly associated with decreased thyroid function that need to be considered.

Lifestyle

Social

External

  • Smoking decreases thyroid function and can lead to hypothyroidism.

Environmental

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Many prescription medications are associated with decreased thyroid function including corticosteroids, HRT and other hormone medications, beta-blockers, chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Medical Treatments
  • Thyroid surgery and ablation results in permanent hypothyroidism that needs to be managed with thyroid medication.[3]

Diagnostic Testing

Hypothyroidism.jpg

Individuals with thyroid enlargement and/or signs and symptoms suggestive of thyroid disease should be tested to assess thyroid function. Although screening of the general population in not recommended, certain high risk groups benefits from screening:[6]

  • All newborns (neonatal screening)
  • Women over 50 years of age
  • Women trying to conceive
  • Pregnant women during the first trimester
  • Women 6 weeks to 6 months postpartum
  • Patients on medications known to cause thryoid dysfunction or autoimmune disorders
  • Patients with hyperlipidemia, hypertension or diabetes mellitus.
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • It is important to note that blood tests for thyroid function only detect frank disease, subtle and early signs of hypothyroidism are often missed if blood tests are relied on as the primary diagnostic factor.[2]
  • If autoimmune disease is suspected, autoantibodies such as anti-thyroglobulin and anti-thyroid peroxidase are measured.[7]
  • If low thyroid test estrogen levels.[8]

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Other conditions that are commonly associated with hypothyroidism include:[2]

Characteristics

Hypothyroidism can be categorized as overt, functional, or subclinical.[3]

Symptoms of hypothyroidism range from mild (undetectable with standard blood tests) to life threatening (myxedema, meaning swelling of skin and underlying tissues).[3]. Life-threatening symptoms are typically only seen in severe cases or cases where hypothyroidsim due to radiation or surgery is not properly treated. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:[7]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Hypothyroidism is typically treated by addressing the underlying conditions and associated factors.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Ensure you are exercising regularly. Exercise stimulates thyroid secretion and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormone.[3]
  • Tai Chi, Yoga, Qi Gong and other forms of exercise are beneficial in the treatment of hypothyroidism.[10]
  • Stress management has a positive impact on thyroid function.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for hypothyroidism include:

  • Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of hypothyroidism.
  • Contrast hydrotherapy over the thyroid can be beneficial. Avoid cold hydrotherapy on its own.[3]

References

  1. Powell Dirk Wm. (2005) Endocrinology & Naturopathic Therapies. Seventh Edition Self published
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Prousky Jonathon (1999) Low Thyroid Function: The Forgotten Illness" CCNM Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Prousky" defined multiple times with different content
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Pizzorno Jr. Joseph E, Murray Michael T, Joiner-Bey Herb (2008) The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine Churchill Livingstone.
  4. Pizzulli Antonio, Ranjbar Alireza (2000) Selenium Deficiency and Hypothyroidism Humana Press Inc.
  5. Crinnion WJ (2011 Mar) Polychlorinated biphenyls: persistent pollutants with immunological, neurological, and endocrinological consequences. Altern Med Rev;16(1):5-13. PMID: 21438643
  6. Guidelines for the Use of Laboratory Tests to Detect Thyroid Dysfunction (2007) Ontario Association of Medical Laboratories
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Friedman Michael (2005) Fundamentals of Naturopathic Endocrinology CCNM Press.
  8. IRL - Clinical Pearl, Orthomolecular Conference 2015
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named .E2.80.9CPizzorno.E2.80.9D
  10. Singh P, Singh B, Dave R, Udainiya R (Aug 2011) The impact of yoga upon female patients suffering from hypothyroidism. Complement Ther Clin Pract.;17(3):132-4. PMID: 21742277.
  11. Toulis KA, Anastasilakis AD, Tzellos TG, Goulis DG, Kouvelas D (2010 Oct) Selenium supplementation in the treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis: a systematic review and a meta-analysis. Thyroid;20(10):1163-73. PMID: 20883174
  12. Kharrazian D (2010) Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? Morgan James.
  13. Locke A (1998) The Family Guide to Homeopathy: The Safe Form of Medicine for the Future. Penguin.
  14. Lockie A, Geddes N (1995) The Complete Guide to Homeopathy: The Principles and Practice of Treatment With a Comprehensive Range of Self-Help Remedies for Common Ailments. RD Press.
  15. Moncayo R, Moncayo H, Ulmer H, Kainz H (2004) New diagnostic and therapeutic approach to thyroid-associated orbitopathy based on applied kinesiology and homeopathic therapy. J Altern Complement Med..