Hashimotos thyroiditis is the most common form of hypothyroidism in North America. It is estimated that millions of women are living with undiagnosed hashimotos and accompanying symptoms such as chronic fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and constipation.
Hashimotos is an autoimmune disease meaning that your body loses it’s ability to identify the thyroid gland as it’s own tissue and begins attacking the gland. It does this by producing antibodies that specifically target the thyroid gland.
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism you will want to get the function of your thyroid examined including testing for thyroid antibodies. The two main antibodies that can be elevated in hashimotos thyroiditis are Anti-TG and Anti-TPO antibodies.
What causes Hashimotos?
The cause of hashimotos is still not fully understood despite its prevalence. As with most autoimmune conditions it is likely a combination of factors that leads to the condition, rather than one specific trigger. Some of these factors include; genetic predisposition, inflammation, chronic stress, and infection. Identifying which of these factors may be at play in your specific situation can help guide treatment and get at the root cause of your autoimmune condition.
How is it treated?
Pharmaceutically, hashimotos thyroiditis is treated with synthetic T4 thyroid hormones known as Levothyroxine. This treatment replenishes the body with thyroid hormones that the damaged thyroid can no longer produce. From a naturopathic perspective, trying to uncover the root cause and reducing the autoimmune attack on the thyroid itself can be used alongside Levothyroxine to reduce further damage to the gland and restore balance within the body. The goal of treatment is to decrease the antibodies attacking the thyroid gland and get thyroid hormones (TSH, T3, T4) back to their normal range and most importantly, get you feeling back to normal.