Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is caused by under active production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. It is a very common but often overlooked condition with symptoms that include fatigue, weight gain, slowed heart rate, constipation, irritability, sensitivities to cold, mental depression, slowness or slurring of speech, drooping and swollen eyes, swollen face, recurrent infections, increased allergic reactions, headaches, hair loss, brittleness of hair, female problems (such as heavy menstrual flow, painful periods, and premenstrual tension), decreased immune functioning, and calcium metabolism problems. In children, hypothyroidism can also retard normal growth and development. If undiagnosed and untreated, hypothyroidism can cause or contribute to many other recurring or otherwise non-responsive health problems.

What To Consider

Hypothyroidism can be caused by food allergies, B vitamin deficiencies, lack of iron, lack of digestive enzymes, liver disease, hormone imbalances, and/or parasites. All of these factors need to be screened for and addressed before lasting relief can be achieved.

Sulfa drugs and antihistamines can exacerbate hypothyroidism symptoms. In addition, if you are on thyroid medication, increase calcium supplementation to reduce the risk of bone loss.

Caution
Low thyroid function may also be due to Hashimoto's disease, a condition in which the body becomes allergic to its own thyroid gland and forms antibodies which attack it, thus lowering thyroid hormone output. If you suspect you are suffering from Hashimoto's disease, consult a physician immediately.

The Broda Barnes Home Thyroid Test
The following simple test was developed by Broda Barnes, one of the first physicians to recognize the widespread incidence of hypothyroidism. Place a thermometer by the side of your bed before you go to sleep. In the morning before getting out of bed, lie still and place the thermometer under your armpit for 15 minutes, then check your temperature. A temperature below 97.5 F may indicate a problem with the thyroid gland. Take the temperature in this manner for three days, except for the first few days of the menstrual cycle and the middle day of the cycle, and calculate the average temperature. If it is consistently low, it is an indicator that your have hypothyroidism. The lower your body temperature is, the greater your degree of hypothyroidism.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Eat an organic, whole foods diet, emphasizing foods that are naturally high in iodine such as fish, kelp, vegetables, and root vegetables (such as potatoes). Also, increase your daily consumption of foods rich in vitamin B complex, such as whole grains and raw nuts and seeds, and foods rich in vitamin A, such as dark green and yellow vegetables. But avoid foods that slow down production of thyroid hormone, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, broccoli, turnips, kale, spinach, peaches, and pears.

Nutritional Supplementation
Organic thyroid glandular extracts can help restore normal thyroid function, but should only be used under the supervision of your physician. Other useful nutrients include vitamin A, vitamin B complex, essential fatty acids, iodine, kelp, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Herbs
Mild cases of hypothyroidism can be helped by herbal bitters such as gentian or mugwort, while constipation due to low thyroid function can be improved by yellowdock, butternut, or cascara sagrada. St. John's wort can also be helpful.

Homeopathy
Calc carb. in a dose of 1M once a day is very useful for treating hypothyroidism and improving overall thyroid function.

Hydrotherapy
Contrast application of hot and cold water packs applied daily can help stimulate thyroid function.

Lifestyle
Regular aerobic exercise can play an important role in helping to regulate thyroid hormone production.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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