Thyroid conditions are rampant, but what can be done to stop them? Thankfully, there are natural ways to heal your thyroid and help you once again take control of your body.
The Society of Endocrinology states, “On a worldwide scale, approximately 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease. People of all ages and races can get thyroid disease. However, women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to get problems with their thyroid function.”
The thyroid gland plays a large part in women’s health and fertility. Do you have irregular or heavy periods? Well, you may just be the 1 in 8 women impacted by a thyroid condition, resulting in a whole host of continual health issues. This is a growing issue among women and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The reasons for this aren’t known for sure, but autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Grave’s Disease make up a large percentage of cases. Thyroid issues are common, so what can we do to treat and possibly even prevent them?
What Is the Thyroid and Its Purpose?
The thyroid is located just below your adam’s apple and resembles the shape of a butterfly. Its job is to produce hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Your kidneys and liver modify the hormone T4 into T3, after being produced by the thyroid gland.
Thyroid hormones are crucial for everyone’s health, but most especially for women. Your thyroid single-handedly helps produce your hormones and manages your menstrual cycle, digestion, bone health, brain development, metabolism, and muscle mass.
Your thyroid manages your menstrual cycle, digestion, bone health, and brain development.
The thyroid gland is intimately involved in hormone production, and if it’s not functioning properly, hormonal imbalances can accrue. Consequently, the disruption of hormone production can delay or stimulate early puberty. Since the thyroid plays a major part in digestion, it’s often connected with gut issues.
Stress makes your adrenal glands release cortisol, which results in the slowing down of your thyroid. Mild amounts of stress won’t lead to many issues, but long-term stress will worsen pre-existing thyroid conditions. Who knew that something so small could have such a big impact on your whole body? So what can you do to prevent and heal your thyroid from the inside out?
The Signs and Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism means your thyroid gland is underactive, meaning it’s not producing enough T4 and T3 hormones.
Signs of Hypothyroidism
Imbalanced hormones (estrogen dominance, etc.)
Irregular menstrual cycle
Dry hair and skin
The main cause of thyroid disease is the autoimmune disorder Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which makes up 90% of hypothyroid cases and can be passed down genetically through family lines. Women who have given birth can contract a version of thyroiditis called postpartum thyroiditis. Only 5-9% of new mothers contract it and are temporarily affected.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis makes up 90% of hypothyroid cases and can be passed down generationally.
Leaky gut, when your intestines release toxins into your bloodstream, is a large component of an underactive thyroid, since your gut and thyroid work closely together. Exposure to toxic mold or metals can create an environment for future thyroid problems. Another reason for an underactive thyroid is nutrient deficiencies. Not getting the vital nutrients you need, especially iodine, leads you down the path of many health issues.
Are you working overtime at your new job? Not sleeping enough and eating poorly? All of these factors put stress on the body, which will only worsen hypothyroidism symptoms. Since this disease is so common, it’s not surprising these symptoms are so prevalent.
How You Can Treat Hypothyroidism
Address the gut aspect by striving to eat a nutritionally dense diet full of animal-based protein (eggs, meat, and fish), fruit, natural sweeteners (maple syrup, honey, etc.) bone broth, and herbs (like turmeric and garlic). Avoid consuming wheat, dairy, nuts, and processed foods.
Try to keep your stress levels down and aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Cut back on blue light exposure, as that will disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin. This means avoiding watching tv right before bed and not scrolling on your phone until you fall asleep.
Also, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D during the day, as that can boost thyroid function too. Some people have success with acupuncture. Of course, if you’ve tried all the natural paths to heal your thyroid and your symptoms aren’t improving, then medical intervention may be needed, which usually means taking a daily pill of T4.
What Causes Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism means your thyroid gland is overactive, meaning it’s producing too much hormone.
Signs of Hyperthyroidism
Heart palpitations and rapid heart rate
Goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland)
Tremors and shakiness
Weight loss (even with increased appetite)
Menstrual period changes
Inability to concentrate
The most common form of hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune disorder Grave’s Disease, in which an antibody attacks the thyroid and causes an overproduction of hormones, raising your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn energy). Although this disease is common in people over 60 years old, younger adults can develop it as well. Grave’s Disease is closely linked to type 1 diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, which are other common autoimmune disorders. An overactive thyroid can lead to your bones, heart, and mental state taking a hard punch.
Grave’s Disease is closely linked to type 1 diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
How You Can Treat Hyperthyroidism
You can alleviate some of the side effects with diet by eliminating food allergens like dairy, gluten, soy and processed foods filled with preservatives. B vitamins and iron will help control side effects such as weakness and irritability. Eat antioxidant-rich foods and cook with oils such as olive or coconut oil. You should also aim to exercise 30 minutes a day 5 times a week.
If your symptoms aren’t manageable, get in touch with a holistic practitioner. Getting a professional massage or receiving acupuncture can also be used as a great way to relax and combat your symptoms.
Can We Prevent Thyroid Conditions?
Although we don’t really know what the root causes of thyroid conditions are, there are many factors that can inflame and worsen them. By supporting your thyroid and digestion, you can lessen the possibility of your body working against you. Stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet will only compound your hormonal imbalances, but a healthy balanced diet rich in animal protein and consistent daily exercise will help you achieve a healthy thyroid and complete health.
As we know, women suffer the most from autoimmune disorders and thyroid disease, so we must take extra precautions to maintain our health and fertility. When we can heal and remedy these diseases, we can be free to live life without any horrible side effects. With all the stress and factors that affect us daily, that can seem almost impossible, but with a little help, we can get closer to genuine vitality in mind, body, and soul.
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