You’ve probably heard of the saying “butterflies in your stomach,” a phrase that describes the feeling of nervousness we sometimes feel. But have you heard of the butterfly found in your throat?
No, it’s not an actual butterfly flapping its wings. Instead, it’s a butterfly-shaped gland called the thyroid. The thyroid helps regulate our body’s metabolism, temperature, breathing, appetite, digestion and much more. It plays an essential role in our body’s overall well being.
The thyroid also produces two main hormones that are essential for the processes stated above: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
When the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, it creates a condition called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is usually caused by either iodine deficiency or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigue, weight gain, slow heart rate, constipation, and more.
What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a type of hypothyroidism and an autoimmune disease that stops the production of thyroid hormones. This affects the body’s ability to regulate its metabolism, the process by which the body transforms the foods we eat into energy, and other functions related to the absorption of nutrients during the digestive process.
Definitive causes for Hashimoto’s have not yet been found, though if we look at it through a naturopathic and functional medicine lens, we can attribute its cause to a variety of root causes that includes Leaky Gut, Syndrome (LGS), nutrient depletion, toxins, stress, and food sensitivities.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is usually diagnosed through either blood test, thyroid ultrasound, or biopsies of the thyroid gland. Blood tests are typically the most accessible option, and the right one can often uncover autoimmune thyroid disease. Most of these tests will be covered by health insurance.
Is there a cure for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
There is currently no cure for Hashimoto’s. Functional medicine practitioners, however, can work with individuals to achieve remission.
Although remission status is not necessarily a cure, improvement of one’s quality of life is the goal. If you are currently experiencing symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, such as regular constipation, weight gain, fatigue, low blood pressure or others, talking to a functional medicine practitioner like me, may help determine if there are steps in your daily diet and lifestyle which could help.
Curious how we could work together? Read how I helped a client regain control of her thyroid to live a happier, more balanced life.