When I first started Unbound Wellness two and a half years ago, it was to share my healing story with Hashimoto’s. I wanted to give practical tips, share my personal experience, and of course, post delicious recipes. Regardless, there are still so many questions to be answered about Hashimoto’s!
First, what is Hashimoto’s? It’s an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the thyroid as if it were a foreign invader. This leads to hormonal imbalance of the thyroid hormone, degradation of the thyroid tissue, and a whole other host of symptoms.
It’s no walk in the park, and as someone who has had it for nearly 10 years, I’ve had a lot of questions myself. So, I’m answering the Top 10 Most Asked Hashimoto’s Questions that I receive, right here!
1.Is it possible to address Hashimoto’s naturally?
Yes, yes, and yes! While I always recommend seeing a doctor as well (see below), that doesn’t mean that that’s the only option. There is so much you can do naturally and holistically to support your health.
When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I had no idea that natural options even existed. I thought there was no point, and that medication was the only answer. Though many do indeed need medication as an other tool for healing, improving your general health status is still always a good idea!
So what are the steps you need to take to address Hashimoto’s naturally? I have an entire blog post about how I addressed Hashimoto’s naturally here.
2. What kind of doctor should I see?
Typically, we’re all used to going to an endocrinologist to address our Hashimoto’s, and that’s not wrong. This is honestly the best choice to get a diagnosis, get tested, and get covered by insurance. It’s so important to see a doctor, listen to their advice, and continue to follow up with them. However, an endocrinologist alone isn’t always necessarily going to help you address Hashimoto’s naturally.
When it comes to zeroing in things like heavy metal toxicity, adrenal fatigue, gut healing, and really addressing Hashimoto’s naturally, you need to be working with a functional medicine doctor. These doctors work on helping you address the entire system, and your body as a whole, rather than just masking symptoms. Typically, I recommend that people consider seeing both an endocrinologist and functional medicine doctor.
Functional medicine doctors aren’t easy to find, but they’re completely worth it. You’ll find my personal recommendations and advice on how to find one here.
3. What kind of thyroid tests should I ask for?
Typically, conventional doctors just test your TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone. This is really only one piece of the puzzle and cannot tell you much about your status with Hashimoto’s. Rather, you want to ask for the following…
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Free T4
Of course, there are other functional tests you can get like gut health testing, etc. For that, I would really work with your doctor one on one to see what you need personally. These tests can get expensive, so you really want to make sure that it will help your specific case before just testing anything.
4. How do I address “x” symptom? i.e. brain fog, hair loss, weight gain, etc.
This is one of the most common questions that I get, and with good reason! The list of symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s disease is incredibly lengthy. From hair loss, to brain fog, to dry skin, to fatigue, to weight gain, and more… there’s a lot to deal with.
So, how do you address all of the symptoms? It’s a good question… but not the right one.
In order to address the symptoms, you have to address the entire system and focus on healing the root cause of your Hashimoto’s. Cherry picking symptoms doesn’t address the root of the problem and often only finds quick relief, rather than lasting healing.
Working with a functional medicine doctor to address my Hashimoto’s holistically, and doing the work to change my diet and lifestyle is what allowed me to address each symptom.
5. Can I ever get off thyroid medication?
I get this question often, and have asked it myself many times. Here’s the thing… there’s nothing wrong with getting help from thyroid medication if you need it. In fact, if you have enough damage to your thyroid from Hashimoto’s, it’s dangerous to be without thyroid medication. That’s not to say that everyone stays on thyroid medication forever, but it’s your main focus should be improving your overall health… not just getting off of a pill.
Never take yourself off of your thyroid medication. If you want to learn more about the potential of this, talk to your own doctor first and foremost. Every situation is different, and being without thyroid medication can be life threatening to many. Check out this posts for my own thoughts on this.
6. How do I find the root cause of my Hashimoto’s?
There’s no easy answer to finding your own root cause of your Hashimoto’s. Likely, it’s more than one thing. For me, there were multiple factors that came into play with my Hashimoto’s like stress, diet, gut health, genetics, heavy metals, and more. Finding your root cause takes time, diligence, and a lot of patience.
The best way to start finding the root cause is working with a doctor, and educating yourself on what you need to be looking for. Educate yourself on Hashimoto’s, on gut health, on hormones, on adrenals, on heavy metal toxicity, on all of it. You may not have to worry about all of it, and it may still take you a very long to figure it all out, but education and collaboration with a good functional medicine doctor are the most effective strategies.
For more information on this, we did a whole episode of my podcast on finding your root cause.
7. Is AIP really necessary to heal?
The autoimmune protocol is designed to help autoimmune sufferers find relief from their symptoms by cutting out immune stimulating foods, and focusing on healing foods. The autoimmune protocol template was huge for me in my own journey, and in the lives of many with Hashimoto’s.
However, it’s not necessarily perfect for everyone. Though I highly recommend doing your own research on the autoimmune protocol and giving it a try, I recognize that it’s not the perfect solution for every person with Hashimoto’s.
Regardless, if I’m just speaking from personal experience, I would not be the person I am today if it were not for following an AIP template!
8. Why is gut health so important? How do I heal my gut?
Compromised gut health is said to be one of the main triggers in all autoimmunity. The majority of our immune system is located in our gut, so if that becomes damaged, we open ourselves up to a whole host of problems. Poor gut health also opens us up to food intolerances, infections, and more that only complicate the issue.
When it comes to actually healing your gut, the journey looks a bit different for everyone. However, here are some basic steps that need to be followed to heal your gut…
- Optimize your digestion
- Remove inflammatory foods, infections, and parasites
- Replace with healing foods
- Reinoculate the gut with good bacteria
- Repair the gut lining
- Zero in on lifestyle changes, stress reduction, sleep, etc.
- Reintroduce foods mindfully and slowly
When it comes to diet, I created an e-book, The 30 Day Autoimmune Makeover Guide that features 30 days of meal plans, meal prep guides, recipes and more! Diet may only be one piece of the puzzle of healing, but this e-book really makes it a lot easier to follow!
9. What lifestyle changes should I make?
This is an amazing question, and such a necessary task if you want to heal long term. Here are a few of the lifestyle changes to consider making…
- Focusing on self care and stress reduction
- Zeroing in on sleep
- Switching to cleaner body care and non-toxic beauty products
- Shifting your mindset towards healing and health in general
- Focusing on healthy movement and exercise
10. How can I “stay on the wagon”?
How do you stay the course with all of this? It seems like so many steps, and can indeed be very overwhelming.
Here’s how I stay on track… I remind myself why I’m doing it. I remind myself that I am making these positive changes to heal, to feel better, and to show up more in my life. For myself, for my family, for my readers, and more.
Change is not easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to wake up 20 minutes earlier, switching to a new job, or changing your entire diet and lifestyle. None of this is easy. However, remind yourself why you’re doing it, and that it’s completely worth it.
Have more questions?? Please feel free to email Unboundhealing @ gmail dot com to have your question answered on my podcast! This is the best way to make sure that you receive the best answer possible!