Hypothyroidism is a condition in which there is a deficiency of thyroid hormones in the body. Hypo means under or below or less. Therefore, hypothyroidism means an underactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is responsible for the release of the thyroid hormones and an underactive thyroid causes lack of thyroid hormones in the body.
Location and function of Thyroid gland
To be able to understand this disease, one must know what thyroid gland is and what are the functions of the hormones that are released by the thyroid gland.
Thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland situated just below the Adam’s apple and above the place where the two collar bones meet. One cannot feel a normal thyroid. It is only when the thyroid gland gets enlarged that one can feel it. The one and only function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormones. These thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism of the whole body. The metabolism of the body is the process which indicates the way the body uses energy.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
In areas where Iodine is adequate, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Thyroiditis means inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the problem occurs when the natural immunity of the body starts attacking the body organs or systems itself instead of protecting them from foreign invaders.
- Viral infections or other respiratory disorders may also sometimes cause hypothyroidism.
- Certain medicines may also cause hypothyroidism. A medicine called lithium used to treat psychiatric disorders has been known to cause hypothyroidism.
- Radiation therapy for some cancers may also induce hypothyroidism.
- Treating hyperthyroidism with anti-thyroid medicine can also cause a shift from hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism.
- Some people may be born with an underactive thyroid gland
- In some cases, the hypothyroidism develops during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Fatigue- the patient feels tired and fatigued easily. The stamina for work goes down and is unable to work his or her normal routine.
Obesity or weight gain- the patient starts gaining weight despite eating little. In some cases, the weight gain may not happen but the patient finds it difficult to lose weight even after keeping a strict exercise and diet regimen.Dryness of skin - the skin of the patient remains dry and rough
Hair loss- hair fall is often seen and may be quite easily noticed by patients.
Constipation- the bowel movements are also altered and one feels constipated or unable to pass stool easily.
Depression-one tends to feel low and depressed for no rhyme or reason. Even if one does not have any problem in life, one feels sad and low.
Disturbed menses- in females the menstrual cycle gets disturbed. The periods may be scanty or delayed.
Irritability- there is increased irritability and one gets irritated at trifles
How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
The correct diagnosis of hypothyroidism depends on the following:
You should tell your doctor:
- About changes in your health that suggest that your body is slowing down
- If you’ve ever had thyroid surgery
- If you’ve ever had radiation to your neck to treat cancer
- If you’re taking any of the medicines that can cause hypothyroidism— amiodarone, lithium, interferon alpha, interleukin 2, and maybe thalidomide
- Whether any of your family members have thyroid disease
Physical exam:- The doctor will check your thyroid gland and look for changes such as dry skin, swelling, slower reflexes, and a slower heart rate.
There are two blood tests that are used in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism - TSH AND T4
The mainstay of Allopathic system of medicine is to keep providing thyroid hormones artificially for the rest of the life of the patient. The deficient thyroid hormones are supplied on a daily basis. This practice of giving thyroid hormones on a daily basis has some major disadvantages. On the one hand, this forces the patient to keep taking medicines for the whole of their lives. This is not only costly but cumbersome too. At the same time, it breeds a sense of illness in the patient when the medicine is to be taken lifelong.
The best option remains that of Homeopathy. I can confidently say from my experience in Homeopathic practice that Homeopathy is best holistic therapy for hypothyroidism. Homeopathic medicines have been known to correct the imbalance in the thyroid hormones in a very mild and subtle manner. The homeopathic medicines for hypothyroidism are purely natural in origin and have no side effects at all. They are able to improve the functioning of the thyroid gland permanently. Once cured, one has no need to take medicines and can live a disease free as well as medicine free life.
Foods to avoid
- Calcium-enriched foods (juices, cereals, etc.)
- Milk and milk products (cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt)
- Soybean (tofu, soymilk, etc)