About Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

This section outlines the common symptoms, diagnosis, and root causes of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

The hormone released by the thyroid gland is used by every cell in the body.  So when something goes wrong the resulting symptoms can be both non-specific and wide-ranging - making diagnosis difficult.  While chronic fatigue and weight gain seems to be the most common symptoms, there can be many others.

Common Symptoms
  • chronic fatigue
  • depression
  • weight gain
  • memory loss
  • constipation
  • stiffness
  • loss of the outer third eyebrow
  • weakness
  • hair loss
  • tight or scratchy throat
  • muscle cramps
  • dry skin
  • decreased libido
  • joint pain
  • menstrual irregularities
  • infertility

Getting a definitive diagnosis can be difficult but the typical first step is a full blood screening.  In general, this includes the following:

  • TSH
  • Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb)
  • Thyroglobulin (TGAb)
  • T4 (Thyroxine)
  • T3 (Triiodothyronine)
  • Free T4 and Free T3
  • Reverse T3 (rT3)

Many medical practitioners will not generally include the test for antibodies (TPOAb and TGAb), mostly because it will not change the course of conventional treatment. However, a positive test for antibodies does indicate that the body is undergoing an autoimmune response - which is the root cause of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Other diagnostic tests include performing an ultrasound scan on the thyroid to check for abnormalities in the tissue.  Additionally, biopsies of the thyroid gland can be done.

Cause of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis differs from thyroiditis by root cause. It is an autoimmune condition – the body's immune system is attacking thyroid tissue or some aspect of it's function. So, in essence, the thyroid gland is the victim. Regaining the health of the thyroid gland depends on resolving the issues with the immune system.

Three conditions must be met before an autoimmune condition develops:

  • There must be a genetic predisposition. Having the genes for a particular disease doesn't mean that you're going to develop it but it does result in a higher risk if other conditions are met. Consider it as a weak link to good health.
  • There must be an environmental trigger to turn on the gene. This could be stress, food sensitivity, environmental toxin, heavy metal contamination, nutrient deficiency, parasites or gut infection.
  • There must be increased permeability of the gut lining.

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