Thyroiditis: Possible Causes and Remedies
Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid gland. When we suffer from thyroid problems, it affects our physical and pyschological capacities in an intense way. The thyroid is one of the most important glands in our body. It secretes some of the most necessary hormones for our body to function effectively.
This gland, located in our neck, is responsible for regulating the rate at which we burn calories, heart rhythm, and other rhythms of our body, and most importantly, the way in which our cells use energy for their vital processes.
Among the existing kinds of thyroidism, the majority show symptoms of hypothyroidism, except de Quervain’s thyroiditis, which mostly produces hyperthyroidism, but all of them cause inflammation of the thyroid gland.
General Information For Treating Thyroiditis
The treatment for thyroiditis depends on the variety that you suffer from. But in general, almost all of them try to alleviate and eliminate inflammation so that the thyroid can recuperate its normal “working rhythm”.
Allopathic medicine may include anti-inflammatories for pain (from aspirin or ibuprofen to prednisone), just like the thryoid replacement hormone in the case of hypothyroidism, etc.
Chinese medicine works with herbs like ginseng, ginger, or mint, and has obtained good results when stimulating or controlling thyroid function.
For hypothyroidism, natural medicine uses ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) and guggul, both of which help the thyroid produce its hormones. Maca is recommended in the case of menopause.
Regarding thyroiditis and dietary deficiencies, it is important to remember that thyroid function is dependent on iodine. In Europe, it is customary to consume iodized sea salt, but it is a nutrient that often is lacking in the American diet. To take in the appropriate dosage of iodine, it is a good idea to eat iodized salt or sea vegetation like seaweed. It is good to remember that it is better to consume iodine through food consumption than as a supplement, though there are cases when eating it only in food is not sufficient.
Though the cause is unknown, it seems to tend toward a genetic predisposition.
It is autoimmune by nature, which means that the body produces defensive cells (antibodies) against the cells of its own thyroid, attacking them. The gland then inflames and the cells are destroyed little by little, causing hypothyroidism due to the reduction of the thyroid hormones.
Essentially, this produces the same symptoms as hypothyroidism: high sensitivity to cold, constipation, feeling of heaviness or fatigue, pale and dry skin, weak and easily-broken nails and hair, unexplained weight gain, and menstruation may be very heavy.
Treatment for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
More than being a direct treatment, it is a series of disciplines to follow to help the body fight against this illness.
1. It is very important that we understand that 70% of our immune system is found in the intestine. So, the better our intestinal flora, the more effective our fight against autoimmune hypothyroiditis will be. For this reason, we should consume probiotics to improve our intestinal flora. By itself, it serves to correct possible candidiasis, as hypothyroiditis causes Candida to flourish, further weakening the immunity.
2. It is proven that erradicating gluten from our diet helps reduce the level of autoantibodies to normal levels in some people, in a period of 3 to 6 months: we will avoid wheat, rye, and barley.
3. If the levels of autoantibodies are elevated, it is especially important to avoid iodine: no more than 1,000 mg/day.
4. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system: it is important to regularly get a little time in the sun.
5. Reduce stress, since it releases cortisol, which impedes the activation of thyroid hormones by suppressing the thyroxine 5′-deiodinase enzyme.
6. There are illnesses that increase the adrenal secretion of cortisol, such as an overloaded liver, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, etc., so it is imperative to correct them.
7. Detoxify the body from possible toxicants like pesticides, solvents, chemicals, or heavy metals.
8. Selenium helps reduce the level of antibodies working against the thyroid and promotes the conversion of T4 (reserve hormone) to T3 (active hormone). It plays an important role in thyroid function, and protects it from nodules and cancer.
9. Correct, if they exist, iron, Vit. B12, or folic acid deficiencies, and also well as supplementing with dosages of B2 vitamins, B3, B6, and Vitamin A.
10. It is also important to do some sort of light or moderate exercise, without straining ourselves, and to sleep well.
de Quervain’s Thyroiditis
Most likely from viral origins, it presents itself with pain in the neck, opposed to the previously mentioned, symptoms of hyperthyroidism initially develop and last from 1 to 3 months, followed by normal function. A fifth of cases ended with permanent hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces more hormones than usual and thyroid hormone levels in the blood are elevated. Among the symptoms may be found:
- Intolerance to heat
- Tiredness, fatigue, and lack of concentration
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss
- Frequent bowel movements and diarrhea
- Restlessness, anxiety, nervousness
- Increased sweating
- Goiter (visibly inflammed thyroid gland)
Following pregnancy in some women, some antibodies may remain in the body that attack the thyroid, generally 4 to 6 months after having had the baby. It can produces both kinds of disorder, hypo- and hyperthyroidism.
Silent or Painless Thyroiditis
Similar to the aforementioned, but it may appear in both genders, and its cause is unknown.
Thyroiditis Caused By Medications or Drugs
It is a side effect of some medications like lithium, amiodarone, interferons or cytokines. They cause hypo- as well as hyperthyroidism and only subside when the intake of the medications stops.
It presents itself during treatments with radioactive iodine for hyperthyroidism or in patients in radiotherapy for treating certain types of cancer. Hyperthyroidism symptoms develop.
Acute or Infectious Thyroiditis
Provoked by bacteria or other infectious microorganisms. The symptoms vary. It may or may not be painful, and often the person feels sick from the infection. Upon treating the infection, the symptoms (usually of hypothyroidism) disappear.
Acupuncture and Thyroiditis
Our thyroid syndromes may be alleviated and also improved thanks to acupuncture, a science deeply rooted in Asian culture and now offered as an optional hospital treatment in countries like Norway, for example.
Basically, acupuncture works to reorganize and balance the metabolic system in general. This forces the thyroid gland to function correctly.
When we use acupuncture to relieve certain zones of the body and cause a relaxing effect, it acts upon our brain, stimulating its activity and hormonal production.
In addition, we can use acupuncture to directly treat the symptoms of thyroiditis.