Do you suffer from hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism or another ailment that affects the gland that regulates your body’s metabolism, growth, development and temperature? If so, you’re not alone. More than 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association. That’s more than 12 percent of the U.S. population. Many people don’t even know they have thyroid problems.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, often comes with the following symptoms: tiredness, heavy menstrual periods, forgetfulness, weight gain, dry skin and brittle hair, dry throat and cold intolerance. On the other hand, those who suffer from hyperthyroidism, or a thyroid that produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, can have symptoms of irritability and nervousness, tremors, infrequent menstrual periods, weight loss, sleep trouble, vision or eye problems and heat sensitivity.
How can it be treated naturally?
In addition to the options offered by traditional medical care providers, you may wonder if you can treat thyroid naturally. Some patients choose to complement other treatments and medication with natural methods that include massage, acupuncture, nutritional remedies and herbal supplements. More than 38 percent of Americans use complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies for a variety of conditions. Whether you suffer from side effects of thyroid disease ranging from fatigue and weight changes to lack of mental focus — or even just feel stressed from your diagnosis — you may find relief with CAM.
Most doctors recommend synthetic thyroxine for hypothyroidism and treatments like anti-thyroid medication or beta blockers for hyperthyroidism. Natural extracts are available, such as those made from the the thyroid glands of pigs, though they aren’t regulated by the FDA so talk to your provider about what would work best for you. Some thyroid patients also take the natural supplements Biotin and bladder wrack. Biotin is believed to help dry hair, skin and nails, but it can interfere with medical tests, so be sure sure to communicate with your doctor about all supplements you use, especially before undergoing any lab work. Bladder wrack, an herbal supplement made from seaweed that is rich in iodine, has not been studied in clinical trials, so talking to your doctor before adding it to your health regimen.
Although thyroid diseases require lifelong management, you can get symptoms under control and lead a healthy, active and happy lifestyle. Talk to your health care providers about the best approach to wellness for you, including natural options like massage and acupuncture, to help manage the symptoms of thyroid disease or a thyroid diagnosis, as well as any side effects you experience from traditional treatments.
Whether you want to help dealing with thyroid issues or improve your overall health and wellness, Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and massage therapy for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500.