Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: An Autoimmune Disease
I’ve worked with an awful lot of people with Hashimoto’s (this is all I do) and I’ve spent years studying and looking at research on how this condition impacts the body. And I’ve also lived with the disease, myself, for many years.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM LIVING WITH & TREATING HASHIMOTO’S
By far, the most important thing I have learned is that Hashimoto’s is much more than a thyroid problem. It’s an autoimmune disease, but it’s not just an immune system problem either. It’s an all-over-your-body problem.
Your body is not a machine. Like the earth, it’s a complex group of ecosystems that all interact. And these ecosystems can all be adversely affected by Hashimoto’s. When this happens you get a downward spiral of vicious cycles all feeding on one another.
With Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism you often wind up with a multi-system disorder. It creates webs that can lead to problems with virtually all the major systems of the body.
These include issues with the brain, the adrenals, the liver and gall bladder and problems with the digestive tract like acid reflux, leaky gut, as well as body wide pain and inflammation and more.
All of this can result in anxiety and depression, gall stones and poor liver detoxification, poor absorption of vitamins and nutrients, poor conversion of thyroid hormone, blood sugar imbalances, terrible fatigue and immune responses to various triggers from foods to environmental toxins and chemicals.
Hashimoto’s is not a simple condition that can just be fixed by some thyroid replacement hormone and/or a surgical removal of the thyroid. This works for some, but millions of others have done one or both of these things and don’t feel any better at all.
You have to be able to see the big picture. Then you have you have to isolate each system and look at the interactions and start working on healing the whole body. This requires several steps.
The first thing you must do is find the most destructive triggers and eliminate them. After that, you need to identify which systems are involved and start repairing them.
When you do this, something magical happens. All of those vicious cycles get turned on their head and start having a positive impact on the other systems. When that happens, you can stop triggering the immune system and start to restore balance. Then the body can heal itself.
In the beginning, this will give you glimpses of more good days than bad ones and if you stay the course and work on the big picture you can even sometimes get this condition into a state that resembles remission. (But remember that’s not permission to go back to everything that got you sick in the first place.)
To put it another way. You must adopt a Hashimoto’s lifestyle. That is what I teach my patients and what I try to share about in my Facebook support group and here on my blog. Healing Hashimoto’s requires you to go all in.
1. Step One: Understand Which Systems Are Impacted
The first step is to get a proper diagnosis that will lead you to understanding which systems make up your unique web of vicious cycles. The key is to work with someone who understands this.
In my practice, I specialize in treating people with Hashimoto’s. I know which diagnostic tests are appropriate and I have worked with hundreds of people with this disease and lived through it myself so I’ve seen a lot of permutations and variations.
2. Step Two: Take Your Diet Seriously
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease. 70% of the immune system is found in your digestive tract. What you eat has a huge impact on the state, quality and severity of your autoimmune disease. Anyone who tells you otherwise has no idea what they are doing, plain and simple.
Some foods serve you, some cause you harm. In my practice I prescribe a special Hashimoto’s diet that is the foundation of the work we do. I have found that people who won’t make the dietary changes that they need to heal are just setting themselves up for failure.
3. Step Three: Heal Your Adrenals
For a lot of people with Hashimoto’s the adrenals are a critical piece of the puzzle. Did you know that the label on Synthroid and other thyroid replacement hormone warns that if a patient has adrenal insufficiency they should not be prescribed the drug?
That’s how important the adrenals are. They can be the difference between you turning this thing around and you treading water and not improving or just continuing to get worse. In my practice we do proper testing evaluation and treatment of the adrenals.
4. Step Four: Heal Your Gut
This is really closely related to Step Two. The gut is where your immune system lives. Many really smart people believe that issues in the gut like intestinal permeability (leaky gut) are actually one of the root causes of Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases.
When you heal your gut, you heal everything else: your brain, your immune system, your thyroid, your adrenals and more.
5. Step Five: Remove the Triggers
You have to find and eliminate the triggers that drive your autoimmune flare ups and the progression and destruction of this autoimmune disease. We’ve already mentioned the dietary triggers. Where are the other ones?
Environmental toxins and chemicals (these include some drugs) can be triggers. Blood sugar imbalances can be another important trigger.
Stress can be another trigger and if ignored can torpedo your progress.
In my practice we take you through all of these steps and we teach you along the way how to identify what your unique set of issues, triggers and solutions are.
Then we create an action plan and help guide you out of the woods. You can heal your Hashimoto’s, but healing requires acceptance, and it requires adopting a new lifestyle that will support your body and your immune system and that will provide you with the foundation to get lasting results.
And last but not least, remember to have fun. To laugh and enjoy the life you have. There is a lot in this struggle that is not fun, but what we try to do is to empower you with the knowledge you need, but also make it enjoyable and entertaining.
Because there’s nothing worse than doing all this work and not being able to enjoy the process. A sense of humor can be healing all by itself.
Lastly, I offer a 30 minute Hashimoto’s Healing Discovery Session. In it you can share where you are and where you want to be. I can help by giving you some suggestions that will help right away and we can discuss which other programs or services may help you reach your goals.
Here’s a link to set up a time to chat.
I look forward to chatting with you!
So now, not only is it my profession, it’s my passion, and it’s personal. I’ve been joking with people lately saying it’s a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I really get it, and a curse because I really got it! ?