Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: mainstream and functional don’t agree

Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis is a very common condition of low thyroid hormone function. Treatment by a mainstream physician will be very different than by a functional (integrative) medicine physician. You deserve to know about both.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto first described it in 1912. It is thyroid gland inflammation. Another name is chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an adult disease, reportedly 5-10 times more common in women than in men.

Initially, something stimulates the thyroid gland to over-produce thyroid hormones (a hyperthyroid state). Then over time this inflammation blocks the thyroid gland from producing enough hormone, resulting in low thyroid function (hypothyroidism).

Here is a little more on how this works. As you may know, blood tests show elevated antibodies that block the function of target thyroid-specific proteins such as thyroperoxidase and thyroglobulin. These antibodies develop because T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell involved in inflammation, invade the thyroid gland to cause silent, painless inflammation. This inflammation gradually destroys the thyroid tissue so that ultimately there is little to no thyroid hormone being produced. This hypothyroid person then experiences the symptoms of low thyroid function.

The basic symptoms of low thyroid function may include:

  • Sensitivity to cold; hands and feet often cold

  • Feeling tired in daytime when sitting or at rest

  • Unwanted weight gain; morning puffy face/swollen eyelids; water retention

  • Constipation, abdominal bloating or colitis symptoms

  • High blood cholesterol; high blood pressure

  • Memory/concentration impairment; often confused, depressed, or early dementia

  • Depressed mood or anxiety upon waking

  • Dry or slow-growing hair or nails/excessive hair loss; acne, eczema, psoriasis