Do You Have Hypothyroidism? Then You Might Actually Have Something Called Hashimoto’s!

black and white photo of woman in hat
black and white photo of woman in hat

Is your immune system attacking your thyroid? It could be if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Have you ever walked into your home and completely forgotten the code to your alarm? The beeping gets faster and faster as you frantically type in numbers that kind of, sort of feel right. Even as you desperately search your mind for the right answer, a part of you is completely incredulous. How can something that was supposed to protect me suddenly turn on me like this?

Your home alarm system isn’t your only guardian that may be accidentally betraying you. We all rely on our immune systems to destroy germs and pummel the common cold when it comes to visit. However, your immune system isn’t always so smart. If it perceives an enemy, it attacks…even if that enemy is actually a friend, like your thyroid.

Do You Have Hypothyroidism?

If you’ve been feeling exhausted, depressed, cold, and can’t lose those stubborn ten pounds, you might have gone to your doctor for a blood test and received a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. That means your thyroid is not producing enough T3 and T4 hormones which regulate your metabolism. No wonder you feel tired! (Learn more about the thyroid.)

Chances are your doctor simply handed you a prescription for synthetic thyroid hormone and sent you on your way. In fact, it is highly likely that you have a specific type of hypothyroidism called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Introduction to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, damaging it over time so that it produces less and less of the very important T3 and T4 hormones. Hashimoto’s is the most common form of hypothyroidism in the United States and is six times more likely to be diagnosed in women rather than men. It also tends to appear in middle age, which is why so many postmenopausal women feel exhausted and begin to wonder if they are “lazy, crazy, and finished.”

There is still a lot we don’t know about Hashimoto’s, but it is clear that there is a genetic component involved. It tends to run in families. I believe my mother may have had Hashimoto’s and several other autoimmune conditions that were never diagnosed and that may have led to her early death.

We also know that certain triggers can cause the immune system to go on the attack. One of the biggest triggers is your diet, specifically gluten.

In future blog posts I will go into more detail about the relationship between gluten and autoimmunity. For now, it is simply important to know that if you have hypothyroidism you should definitely get yourself tested for Hashimoto’s.

It may come as a surprise, but many doctors don’t test for Hashimoto’s. The reason is that they will treat Hashimoto’s the same way they would treat any other type of hypothyroidism – with synthetic hormones. Personally, I believe it is extremely important to figure out if you have Hashimoto’s, because it will go a long way towards explaining why you feel so lousy. It will also allow you to begin making a plan to manage your symptoms without being reliant on synthetic thyroid (which doesn’t work for every woman).

Empower yourself with knowledge and ask to be tested for Hashimoto’s. You can also get the tests done yourself without going through your doctor by visiting a third party lab. If you need help figuring out which tests to schedule and how to schedule them with a third party lab, please contact me.

Dr. Joni Labbe

About Dr. Joni Labbe

Dr. Joni Labbe is a board-certified clinical nutritionist specializing in science-based nutrition with a focus on women's health issues. She has successfully helped pre-menopausal and menopausal women regain and maintain their health since 1995. Dr. Labbe is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Thyroid & Menopause Madness and It’s Not Just Menopause: It’s Your Thyroid. She is also a professional speaker, radio personality, fitness expert, and former host of “Healthier Way With Dr. Labbe.” Dr. Labbe is one of the country’s leading authorities on thyroid disorders, including Hashimoto’s disease. Dr. Labbe has also authored numerous articles and blogs on health, nutrition, and thyroid health, as seen in Naturally Savvy, Thyroid Nation, and Fox News. She is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Doctor of Chiropractic, and has post graduate training in Functional Neurology, Functional Endocrinology, Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis, and earned a Diplomate and Fellow in Nutrition from the American Association of Integrative Medicine.

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