Hypothyroidism: Causes, Treatments, and Natural Remedies

hypothyroidism causes natural remedies

Hypothyroidism may only affect approximately 5% of the American population, according to studies, but it’s a growing concern that seems to be affecting more and more people each year. What’s even scarier is that 60% of people with thyroid disease or its symptoms are not aware of it, according to studies. When left untreated, this condition can lead to all kinds of complications, including infertility, heart problems, nerve injury, and other rare but life-threatening conditions. But does the average person even know what hypothyroidism is or what to look for? Most would say no. Sure, we have all heard someone talking about their thyroid but rarely does anyone explain the details of hypothyroidism and how it may be affecting you right now. And since knowledge is power, this article aims to provide you with all of the information needed to understand this health condition and what you can do to prevent or treat it moving forward.

What is your Thyroid?

First things first, let’s talk about your thyroid because without it, you can’t have hypothyroidism or any thyroid issue for that matter.  Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped organ that is located in your neck. It’s small in size but mighty in potential, as its key responsibilities are to control the functioning of many major organs, as well as the release of hormones that control your metabolism. It produces more hormones when your body requires more energy, and less of them when your body requires less energy, but is always delivering hormones to the bloodstream. These hormones are responsible for regulating things such as:

  • Breathing
  • Brain development
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Heart rate
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Muscle strength
  • Nervous system
  • Temperature
  • Weight

What is Hypothyroidism?

There are several types of thyroid disorders, with the two most common ones being hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Hypothyroidism is when you have an underactive thyroid and is the condition we will be focusing on in this article. This means that your thyroid gland isn’t making enough of the hormones needed to perform properly, which causes several organ functions to slow down. If you take a quick look above at the different things your thyroid helps regulate, you can see how an underactive thyroid can quickly and drastically impact your life and health.

As a quick recap, these hormones help regulate everything from your body’s metabolic rate to heart, muscle and digestive function, as well as brain development and bone maintenance.

What are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

When your body isn’t receiving the amount of hormones it needs from your thyroid gland, many symptoms and potential complications can begin to show. Unfortunately, this tends to happen fairly slowly, making the symptoms far more difficult to identify as possible signs of an underactive thyroid. This may very well explain why studies found that approximately 60% of people with thyroid disease or its symptoms are not aware of it.

But we’re one step ahead of the game, providing you with this knowledge so you can have a more pro-active approach when it comes to spotting any signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism. These symptoms can differ person to person, but the most common ones are:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Numbness in hands
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle soreness
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Depression
  • Unable to tolerate cold temperatures
  • Dry, coarse hair and skin
  • Decreased sexual interest
  • Frequent, heavy menstrual cycles
  • Brain fog/forgetfulness
  • Physical facial changes, including puffiness around the eyes

You can see how easy it would be to mistake many of these symptoms for something else, especially if you don’t know about your thyroid gland. However, it’s important to never overlook these symptoms, as untreated hypothyroidism can lead to many health conditions, including serious and potentially-fatal ones. This includes problems relating to infertility, heart health, kidney disease, neuropathy, and other rare but life-threatening conditions, such as myxedema (coma). There’s also thyroid cancer to be concerned about. So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis.

Who is At Risk of Developing Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism can affect anyone. Some people are even born with it. Although, this condition is called congenital hypothyroidism and is a rather rare condition that affects only 1 in 2,000 to 4,000 newborn babies.

However, for typical hypothyroidism, it is developed over time. It can affect people of all genders, ethnicities and ages, but it seems to be more common in women, particularly those over the age of 60.  There are also additional factors that may make you more likely to developing hypothyroidism.

Here’s a quick recap of the risk factors as a whole:

  • You are a woman
  • You’re over the age of 60
  • You’ve gone through menopause
  • You’ve experienced a thyroid problem before
  • You’ve had radioactive iodine or surgery to treat a thyroid problem
  • You have received radiation treatment to your thyroid, neck or chest
  • There’s a family history of thyroid disease or problems
  • You were pregnant in the last 6 months
  • You have Hashimoto’s disease, Turner syndrome, Celiac disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, anemia, or Sjögren’s syndrome
  • You’re on medication known to cause hypothyroidism, such as certain heart medications, cancer medications and medications for bipolar disorder.

But now what? If you are at a higher risk of developing hypothyroidism and have also been experiencing potential symptoms, it’s crucial to speak with a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis.

Treatment for Hypothyroidism

Just like many health concerns and conditions, there are a vast array of treatment options available – from natural remedies to prescription medications, from alternative therapies to conventional treatments and everything in between. One of the most common forms of treatment for hypothyroidism is a daily hormone replacement that is used to replace the hormones that your thyroid doesn’t make enough of. However, there are many natural treatment options that are just as effective and since they’re natural, you don’t have to worry about any potential side effects.

The natural treatments used to treat an underactive thyroid typically consist of actions that allow you to treat the problem at the source by focusing on improving your health as a whole. This usually consists of correcting a poor diet, getting the proper nutrition into your body each day, removing stress that depletes your mind and body, and so on and so forth.   

To begin healing hypothyroidism naturally, here’s a quick look at some of the things you can do:

Step one: Improve Your Diet

With your thyroid playing such a key role in how your body uses food for energy, it only makes sense that your diet should be at the top of your list. There are several foods that have the natural ability to balance your thyroid, and a dietician or nutritionist can help you create a food plan for doing just that.

However, if you’re eager to get started, a general rule of thumb is to eat more wholefoods and fewer processed, unnatural foods. So, you’ll want to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and so on and so forth.

Foods that are high in selenium are also great for combating hypothyroidism. This includes things such as tuna, turkey, brazil nuts and grass-fed beef. You’ll also want to increase foods that contain amino acids and B vitamins, such as leafy greats, whole grains, seeds, chickpeas, and beans. You will also want to eat more cheese, milk, eggs, asparagus and peas for an extra dose of B12, as a B12 deficiency is quite common in people with hypothyroidism.

Most importantly, you’ll want to eliminate as much processed sugar as you can from your diet. Sugar is the root of all evil and is not helping your hypothyroidism in any way, as it can lead to increased inflammation in the body. This slows down the breakdown of hormones, which can worsen your symptoms and thyroid disease.  Eliminating sugar can also help boost your energy levels, reduce your stress levels and give your hair and skin the glow they’ve been lacking.

Step two: Supplement your nutrition

If you can’t find a way to get all of the nutrition needed into your diet to effectively balance your thyroid hormones, supplements are a great option. This is particularly true if you’re dealing with any of the nutritional deficiencies commonly associated with people dealing with hypothyroidism.

Now, the type of supplements and dosages depends on your individual needs, so be sure to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action. However, here’s a quick look at some of the supplements known to be beneficial for people with hypothyroidism:

  • Vitamin B: for proper thyroid function
  • Iodine: to produce thyroid hormones
  • Zinc: to synthesize thyroid hormones
  • Tyrosine: to produce thyroid hormone (when used in combination with iodine)
  • Selenium: to improve thyroid hormone metabolism
  • Vitamin D: to improve TSH levels
  • Probiotics: to keep your stomach and intestines healthy

Step Three: Take Advantage of Natural Treatment

Complement your new, healthy diet and nutrition with some healthy habits and natural remedies. These can be used to help ease your symptoms, balance your hormones, and get your thyroid working properly. This includes things, such as:

It may be small but your thyroid gland sure is mighty. It controls a variety of key functions in the body and when it’s not working properly, many symptoms and potential complications can follow. Fortunately, treatment can be as simple as improving your diet, reducing stress, staying active and getting proper nutrition into your day.  However, you may wish to speak with your health care provider to discuss the best options for you specifically.

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