Thyroid Health ~
First off, what's a thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that rests directly under the tough
cartilage, or Adam's apple, of the neck. This gland produces hormones that
control your basal metabolic rate or, in other words, how fast your metabolism
is running when your body is at complete rest.
How do I know if I have an issue with my thyroid?
When your thyroid is working optimally, it helps maintain energy, weight, hair
growth, skin health, sleep-wake cycles, digestive function, and heart function,
among other things. Alternatively, when it is not functioning appropriately, it can disrupt any of these factors.
There are usually two main issues we see with the thyroid;
~ Slow function, or hypothyroidism, and
~ Accelerated function, or hyperthyroidism.
These issues may or may not be due to an autoimmune disease referred to as Hashimoto's thyroiditis (hypothyroidism) or Graves' disease (hyperthyroidism).
Sometimes the thyroid can become swollen or enlarged which is referred to as a goiter.
What can we do about thyroid dysfunction?
The conventional medical approach to treatment for thyroid dysfunction typically includes medication to either rev up or slow down your thyroid or surgery.
The naturopathic approach to treatment is based on trying to understand why your thyroid is not functioning properly and working to correct the underlying causes. While these causes are being determined and treated, support is given through botanical or pharmaceutical medication based on the current level of thyroid dysfunction and/or patient preference.
One of the most important first steps in determining the cause of thyroid dysfunction is to rule out autoimmune disease. This is completed through a simple blood test. If thyroid dysfunction is due to an autoimmune process it changes treatment options significantly. For more information on autoimmune thyroid disease treatment options, please click here.
If your thyroid dysfunction is not part of an autoimmune process, it may be linked to malnutrition/deficiencies or other hormonal dysfunction and these underlying issues can be treated appropriately.
It is not always possible to reverse a thyroid disorder, but it is usually possible to decrease the severity of dysfunction and/or decrease variability, or "roller-coaster"-like, symptoms to help improve your overall health and ability to enjoy your life more fully.