What Causes Hypothyroidism In Pregnancy
In most cases, women with hypothyroidism during pregnancy have Hashimotos disease. This autoimmune disease causes the bodys immune system to attack and damage the thyroid. When that happens, the thyroid cant produce and release high enough levels of thyroid hormones, impacting the entire body. Pregnant women with hypothyroidism may feel very tired, have a hard time dealing with cold temperatures and experience muscles cramps.
Thyroid hormones are important to your babys development while in the womb. These hormones help develop the brain and nervous system. If you have hypothyroidism, its important to control your thyroid levels during pregnancy. If your baby doesnt get enough thyroid hormone during development, the brain may not develop correctly and there could be issues later. Untreated or insufficiently treated hypothyroidism during pregnancy may lead to complications like miscarriage or preterm labor.
Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Nodules
The development of thyroid nodules symptoms is not common in fact, nodules are usually found incidentally when other imaging studies are performed and not because a patient had any signs. But some people with thyroid nodules, around 1122 percent, experience whats called compressive symptoms, which can include the following:
- Neck fullness: Sometimes thyroid nodules can be felt when examining the neck and throat, and even seen, which is from swelling at the base of the neck.
- Dysphagia: Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, may be a symptom associated with thyroid nodules because the lump is causing a sense of mass in the esophagus or it is impeding the normal passage of food. This can cause pain while swallowing, being unable to swallow or having a sensation of food being stuck in the throat.
- Odynophagia: This is a medical term used for when swallowing causes pain in your mouth, throat or esophagus. Because larger thyroid nodules are creating pressure in the throat and neck, it can be painful in these areas.
- Choking: Because large or swollen thyroid nodules make it difficult to swallow, they can lead to choking.
- Dyspnea: Dyspnea, or difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, may occur with larger thyroid nodules.
Staying Present And Focused On The Positives Can Help You Reduce Stress And Feel Better Overall
If you have hypothyroidism, you know the symptoms well: Dry skin, fatigue, constipation, depression, feeling cold. The best advice for managing your hypothyroidism is to take your thyroid medication regularly, says Sarah Nadeem, MD, an assistant professor of endocrinology at The Aga Khan University Hospital in Pakistan. Ideally, if you are on the proper dose of thyroid hormone replacement medication, you should feel back to normal with no residual symptoms in a couple of month, Dr. Nadeem says.
You May Like: Can You Take Collagen With Thyroid Medicine
Who Treats Thyroid Cancer
Depending on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, you may need more than one type of treatment. Doctors on your cancer treatment team may include:
- A surgeon: a doctor who uses surgery to treat cancers or other problems
- An endocrinologist: a doctor who treats diseases in glands that secrete hormones
- A radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
- A medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancer
Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.
What Are Goiters And Thyroid Nodules
An enlarged thyroid gland can be felt as a lump under the skin at the front of the neck. When it is large enough to see easily, itâs called a goiter.
A thyroid nodule is a lump or enlarged area in the thyroid gland. A nodule may simply be swollen tissue, an overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue, or a collection of fluid called a cyst. Most thyroid nodules in children are not caused by cancer.
Don’t Miss: Thyroid Apple Cider Vinegar
Stage : Overt Hypothyroidism
At this stage, the person has started to have thyroid gland failure. Their thyroid gland will be destroyed to the point where they will no longer be able to make their own thyroid hormone.
The person will have an elevated TSH, with low levels of free T3 and free T4. Thyroid antibodies may be even higher than in previous stages. This is the most common stage when a person is diagnosed, as the person usually has a significant amount of thyroid symptoms at this point.
This is also the stage where a person will require thyroid medications to prevent serious health consequences. Even the staunchest conventional physicians almost always recommend thyroid medication at this point.
Lifestyle changes and the root cause approach are critical at this stage, as you will likely be very symptomatic. Since you will have likely had an inflammatory process in your body for almost a decade at this point, you will need to take on the most aggressive treatment.
I often recommend LDN at this point to prevent progression of autoimmunity.
At stage 4, natural tissue regeneration is going to be much more challenging, but luckily, there are new options that exist that can accelerate thyroid tissue repair .
How Can I Treat My Thyroid Problem Naturally
If a thyroid test and a physicianâs evaluation indicates youâve got a thyroid condition, itâs important to follow the medical advice of your healthcare provider. It isnât possible to heal your thyroid solely by making dietary changes.
But this doesnât mean you canât make lifestyle changes that will naturally boost your thyroid health and help manage a thyroid dysfunction. First and foremost, focus on eating a nutritious diet, since this will keep delivering benefits even after your thyroid hormone level has balanced out due to medical treatment.
Also, since both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism change the way your body metabolizes food, look to increase your fiber intake, as this can improve your digestion. Fiber-rich foods include whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Make sure to get plenty of nutrients, and look to proteins from lean sources such as fish, or plant-based options like beans or nuts. You should also eat healthy fat sources, such as olive oil or omega-3 fatty acids.
Of course, managing your thyroid health naturally also means avoiding unhealthy foods. Specifically, try staying away from âbad fatsâ like trans fats, which are typically found in products like margarine, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils.
Read Also: Can You Take Collagen With Thyroid Medicine
Does Birth Control Affect My Thyroid
When youre on birth control pills, the estrogen and progesterone inside of the pills can affect your thyroid-binding proteins. This increases your levels. If you have hypothyroidism, the dose of your medications will need to be increased while youre using birth control pills. Once you stop using birth control pills, the dosage will need to be lowered.
How Is Hashimotos Diagnosed
It takes an average of 10 years to be diagnosed with Hashimotos between the start of the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, and when the person is diagnosed.
This is because conventional medicine doctors will only test ones TSH levels, but they wont be elevated until Stage 4. There are better tests that are covered by insurance that can reveal thyroid disease up to a decade before a change in TSH is detected. However, most doctors wont run these tests until a change in TSH is seen. It is really quite backward!
The longer this immune response is in place, the more thyroid damage occurs and the greater the likelihood of the person progressing to hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland becomes so damaged, that it is no longer able to make enough thyroid hormone. If we could detect the condition earlier, we could prevent the damage ! The most helpful tests for diagnosing Hashimotos include thyroid antibody tests and thyroid ultrasounds.
Left unbalanced, the immune system may go on to attack different parts of the body, leading to the development of other autoimmune conditions.
There are no current treatment recommendations or guidelines in the world of conventional medicine to address the immune system attack on the thyroid gland. Rather, the focus is on restoring normal thyroid hormone levels.
Its akin to pouring more water into a bucket with a hole in it, without plugging up the leak!
Don’t Miss: Apple Cider Vinegar For Thyroid
Spotlight On Aging: Hypothyroidism In Older People
Many older people have some degree of hypothyroidism. About 10% of women and 6% of men are affected.
Typical symptoms, such as weight gain, muscle cramps, tingling of the hands, and the inability to tolerate cold, are less common among older people. When such symptoms do occur among older people, they are less obvious.
Older people may also have less typical symptoms. For example, they may lose weight, become confused, and have a decreased appetite, joint stiffness, joint and muscle pains, weakness, and a tendency to fall.
Because symptoms in older people can be different, are often subtle and vague, and are common among older people who do not have hypothyroidism, doctors may not recognize these symptoms as being caused by hypothyroidism. A screening test, in which blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone are measured, is important. The test should be done at age 65 even if people have no symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Look For Adrenal Fatigue
There is a connection between the thyroid gland and the adrenal gland. Hypothyroidism is not possible without something going wrong with the adrenal gland and the most common culprit is adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal gland starts to function below the normal capacity, which can be due to infections, stress, flu, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Image Source: www.gll-getalife.com
So just keeping a tab on the adrenal gland function can help you keep hypothyroidism at bay.
If someone around you is suffering from a thyroid problem, then here are the things that they should NOT BE DOING.
Recommended Reading: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
Familiarize Yourself With Your Medications
Some of the drugs doctors prescribe for your thyroid-related symptoms or other conditions you might have can cause weight gain. For example, the following medications are associated with weight gain:
- Antithyroid drugs such as Tapazole and PTU , used to treat Graves disease and hyperthyroidism
- Beta-blockers, like Sectral , Tenormin , and Corgard , which are often used to treat hyperthyroidism
- Steroid anti-inflammatories such as prednisone
- Estrogen and progesterone, either alone or together in hormonal birth control or in hormone replacement therapy
- Certain antidepressants, especially Prozac , Paxil , and Zoloft
- Mood-stabilizing and anticonvulsant drugs such as those given for bipolar disorder, including lithium, Depakote and Tegretol
If you’re on any of these medications and you’re gaining weight, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Never stop taking a medication without your doctor’s input.
Thyroid Disease Doctor Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
About Dr Kent Holtorf
Kent Holtorf, M.D. is the medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group with locations in Los Angeles, Foster City, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. He is also founder and director of the non-profit National Academy of Hypothyroidism , which is dedicated to dissemination of new information to doctors and patients on the diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism.
Dr. Holtorf has personally trained numerous physicians across the country in the use of bioidentical hormones, hypothyroidism, complex endocrine dysfunction, and innovative treatments of chronic fatigue syndrome, weight loss, fibromyalgia, and chronic infectious diseases, including Lyme disease.
He has been a featured guest on numerous TV shows including CNBC, ABC News, CNN, EXTRA TV, Discovery Health, The Learning Channel, The Today Show, The Doctors, Dr. Dean Edell, Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, Fox Business, ESPN, Rush Limbaugh, CBS Sunday Morning, Sean Hannity, So Cal News, and quoted in numerous print media including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, US New and World Report, San Francisco Chronicle, WebMD, Health, Elle, Better Homes and Garden, US Weekly, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, New York Daily News, Self magazine, among many others.
You May Like: Do You Have To Take Thyroid Medicine Forever
Can Hypothyroidism Go Away On Its Own
In some mild cases, you may not have symptoms of hypothyroidism or the symptoms may fade over time. In other cases, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will go away shortly after you start treatment. For those with particularly low levels of thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism is a life-long condition that will need to be controlled with medication on a regular schedule. It can be controlled very well and you can live a normal life with hypothyroidism.
Goiters Nodules And Thyroid Storms
Goiters and nodules can sometimes be a little tricky.
As the thyroid gland becomes enlarged with too much thyroid hormone , you can run into issues where the thyroid gland unloads too much thyroid hormone at one time.
This is called a thyroid storm.
You see, this buildup of thyroid hormone in the gland can make you very hypothyroid because your gland isnt releasing much thyroid hormone.
Then, all of a sudden, your gland can unload thyroid hormone very quickly.
This large amount of thyroid hormone being secreted very quickly can put you into what we call a transient or temporary hyperthyroid state.
We generally see symptoms such as:
- Elevated heart rate
- Feelings of extreme stress
Often, thyroid storms occur in a cyclical pattern.
Its a cycle where you transition between symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism as your thyroid gland is blocked and enlarges , then unloads before becoming blocked again, starting the process all over.
We have clients who have been misdiagnosed as hyperthyroid because they were seen by their doctor during an unloading phase, when hyperthyroid symptoms are often present.
This can lead to unnecessary medical treatments such as thyroidectomy or Radioactive Iodine treatment, both of which cause permanent damage to the thyroid gland.
Yet, the important thing to realize is that you are actually hypothyroid.
In reality, this is just a transient or temporary hyperthyroid condition.
Recommended Reading: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
Weight Loss Tips For Hypothyroidism
Maintaining a healthy weight can be a struggle when youre living with hypothyroidism. These tips can help you shed unwanted pounds and keep them off.
If hypothyroidism is inadequately treated it can be harder to lose weight, since the thyroid is a large regulator of metabolic function. The most important thing you can do for weight loss and for your overall health is to get proper treatment for your hypothyroidism. However, making a few dietary changes may help boost weight loss success. Losing weight is never easy, but people who have well-controlled hypothyroidism shouldnt struggle to lose weight more than anyone else, says Leonor Corsino, MD, an endocrinologist at the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery in Durham, North Carolina.
Use these six strategies to jump-start weight loss with hypothyroidism.
Natural Remedies For Hypothyroidism
The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is taking daily thyroid hormone replacement medication. Of course, medications often come with side effects, and forgetting to take a pill might lead to more symptoms.
In some cases, natural remedies may cause fewer side effects and fit into your overall lifestyle better.
The goal of natural remedies or alternative medicine is to fix the root cause of the thyroid problem. Thyroid problems sometimes start as the result of:
Changing your diet and taking an herbal supplement are two ways you can help your thyroid condition. These options may have fewer side effects than taking thyroid medication.
Also, taking an herbal supplement to help address a low or underactive thyroid may be helpful for people who arent responding well to medications.
Consider the following five natural remedies as additions or alternatives to your treatment plan.
, selenium is a trace element that plays a part in thyroid hormone metabolism.
Many foods contain selenium, including:
- Brazil nuts
- grass-fed beef
Hashimotos thyroiditis, an immune system attack on the thyroid, often reduces the bodys selenium supply. Supplementing this trace element has shown to help balance thyroxine, or T4, levels in some people.
Its important to talk with your doctor about how much selenium may be right for you since every person is different.
Also Check: How To Reduce Double Chin Due To Thyroid
Groups Of Thyroid Patients
There are roughly 3 major groups of people to consider before you stop taking your thyroid medication.
Where you fit into these 3 groups will determine how likely you are to be able to stop.
Let’s dive into these 3 groups so you can help determine where YOU fit in.
#1. Those who Need Thyroid Medication
It’s worth talking about these people first because if you fall into this group then you don’t really have an option.
The truth is that some people will be REQUIRED to take thyroid medication for the rest of their lives .
Not every single person will fit into this category, but it is certainly true that many of you probably do.
Why is thyroid medication sometimes required?
Because your body REQUIRES thyroid hormone to survive.
In fact, zero thyroid hormone in your body is not compatible with life and it ultimately leads to coma and death .
People who must take thyroid medication for life include the following:
- Those who don’t have a thyroid
- Those who have had their thyroid 100% destroyed with radioactive iodine ablation therapy
- Those people who have end-stage Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which has resulted in complete thyroid atrophy
- Those who don’t have a pituitary either because it’s been destroyed or damaged from trauma
If you fit into any of these categories then it is very unlikely that you will not be able to wean yourself off of your thyroid medication.
#2. Those who were Placed on Thyroid Medication Inappropriately
But how does this happen?
This simply cannot happen.