Functional Medicine for Hypothyroidism

Causes, Symptoms, & Effective Treatment Options

Introduction

Hypothyroidism is a common thyroid disorder characterized by an underactive thyroid gland, leading to inadequate production of thyroid hormones.

Led by Dr. Kayla Milano, explore the causes, symptoms, home remedies, treatment options, and our specialized functional medicine approach to managing hypothyroidism effectively.

A woman touching her neck where her thyroid is.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in regulating metabolism, energy production, and various bodily functions.

As a result, individuals with hypothyroidism may experience a wide range of symptoms related to slowed metabolism and impaired thyroid function, making functional medicine for hypothyroidism a key player in targeting the root causes of your symptoms. 

Causes of Hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism can be caused by various factors, including:

 

  • Autoimmune thyroiditis: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, characterized by autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid gland, leading to decreased hormone production.
  • Thyroid surgery or radiation therapy: Surgical removal of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy) or radiation therapy to treat thyroid cancer or other conditions can result in hypothyroidism.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as lithium, amiodarone, interferon-alpha, and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, can interfere with thyroid function and lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Iodine deficiency: Inadequate intake of iodine, a key nutrient required for thyroid hormone synthesis, can lead to hypothyroidism, particularly in regions with iodine-deficient diets.
  • Pituitary or hypothalamic disorders: Dysfunction of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, which control thyroid hormone production by secreting thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), respectively, can result in hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism can cause a wide range of symptoms, which may vary in severity among affected individuals.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

 

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Cold intolerance
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Constipation
  • Muscle aches and stiffness
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Hoarseness
  • Depression or mood changes
  • Memory problems
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate)

What should I try at home before seeing a provider for Hypothyroidism?

Before seeking medical advice for hypothyroidism, individuals can try several lifestyle modifications and home remedies to help manage symptoms and support thyroid health.

These may include:

 

  • Healthy diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can provide essential nutrients needed for thyroid function, such as iodine, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D.
  • Iodine-rich foods: Including iodine-rich foods such as seafood, seaweed, dairy products, and iodized salt in the diet can help support thyroid hormone synthesis in individuals with iodine deficiency.
  • Stress management: Practicing stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or tai chi can help lower stress levels and support thyroid function.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, can help boost metabolism, improve energy levels, and support overall well-being.
  • Avoiding goitrogenic foods: Limiting or avoiding foods known as goitrogens, such as soy, cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), and millet, may help reduce the risk of thyroid dysfunction in susceptible individuals.

Best Treatment Options for Hypothyroidism:

Functional medicine for hypothyroidism aims to restore thyroid hormone levels to normal and alleviate symptoms.

Treatment options may include:

 

  • Thyroid hormone replacement therapy: The standard treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking synthetic thyroid hormone medications, such as levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl), to replace the deficient thyroid hormones.
  • Regular monitoring: Monitoring thyroid hormone levels through blood tests, such as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3), is essential to adjust medication dosages and ensure optimal thyroid function.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption can support thyroid health and improve overall well-being.

Our Process for Treating Hypothyroidism:

We specialize in the comprehensive evaluation and management of hypothyroidism to help individuals achieve optimal thyroid function and improve quality of life.

Our approach with functional medicine for hypothyroidism involves a thorough assessment, including a medical history, physical examination, thyroid function tests, and evaluation of symptoms and risk factors. Based on the results, we develop personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s specific needs, goals, and preferences.

Our team of experienced endocrinologists, nurses, and healthcare professionals collaborates closely with each patient to initiate thyroid hormone replacement therapy, monitor thyroid function, and optimize medication dosages as needed.

We prioritize patient education, empowerment, and support throughout the treatment process to ensure the best possible outcomes and long-term success in managing hypothyroidism.

Functional Medicine for Hypothyroidism: Final Thoughts

Hypothyroidism is a common thyroid disorder that can significantly impact quality of life, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals can achieve symptom relief and improve thyroid function.

By understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, individuals with hypothyroidism can take proactive steps to manage their condition effectively and improve overall well-being.

With our comprehensive approach to treatment, we are dedicated to helping individuals with hypothyroidism achieve optimal thyroid health and regain control of their lives.

We are currently accepting patients worldwide.