Hypothyroidism, or under activity of the thyroid gland, is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too little of the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Insufficient thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels result decreased metabolism, and all the symptoms associated with low metabolism.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) in which your immune system “attacks” your thyroid gland; but is sometimes also the result of aggressive treatment of hyperthyroidism; a deficiency of dietary iodine; a complication of pregnancy; or a failure of the pituitary gland to signal the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones.
Untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to minor consequences such as goiter (a lump at the base of the front of your neck) or a number of serious consequences including depression, infertility, birth defects and coma.
Seek professional healthcare if you experience unexplained fatigue, dry skin, constipation or other symptoms that cause you to suspect you may have hypothyroidism.
Seek emergency medical care if your hypothyroid symptoms suddenly become very intense, including:
- Intense sensitivity to cold
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Possible symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Fatigue and sluggishness
- Dry skin
- Brittle hair and fingernails
- Unexplained weight gain
- Facial puffiness
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Joint stiffness and swelling
- Heavy menses
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Thyroid gland enlargement (goiter)
Treatment of Hypothyroidism at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of hypothyroidism treatment are to correct thyroid hormone balance, thereby eliminating hypothyroidism symptoms, and managing consequences of low thyroid activity (e.g., elevated blood-cholesterol, weight gain, depression).
Conventional treatment for hypothyroidism is a medication called levothyroxine (e.g., Synthroid®), which may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your hypothyroidism symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating hypothyroidism may be to:
- “Rebalance” thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels using botanical (herbal) medicines, nutritional supplements or homeopathic medicines
- Prevent complications associated with hypothyroidism (e.g., weight gain, depression)
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Hyperthyroidism [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothyroidism/DS00353.