Over the past two years, I have been on a healing journey. It started with me sick in bed for ten days with shingles. It then moved on to a Hashimoto's diagnosis and multiple food allergies.
From there I've been steadily climbing up out of the pit.
It's been hard.
And slower than I'd like.
But I have made significant progress.
My recent bloodwork showed that my thyroid antibodies are actually diminishing! I'm so thrilled about that. Seriously thrilled. My TPO (thyroid peroxidase) is down to 72. It should be below 34, but it was closer to 200 not that long ago. So, yippee!
I'm so excited with the progress I've made, that I actually feel like remission is within sight.
Many people ask me what to do about Hashimoto's. Especially those who have been newly diagnosed. Today I'm sharing some of the tips and resources I've given to others via email or in-person.
Here are my best Hashimoto's tips and resources:
Hopefully there's something here that you find helpful. It is an awful thing to deal with, especially in the early stages when you are feeling so bad and don't know what to do about it!
Remember that Hashimoto's isn't really a thyroid issue. It's an immune system issue.
One of the main things to remember is that Hashimoto's isn't really a thyroid issue, it's an immune system issue. So, while medication can be helpful (I'm taking it and it's given me more energy – hooray), it's not going to address the immune system or root cause.
The main problem is that the body is inflamed, and we need to try to reduce or eliminate that inflammation in order to improve Hashimoto's symptoms.
Remove gluten (my most trusted resources say this is necessary for everyone with Hashimoto's. Even if tests don't show that it is an issue for you).
Gluten is known to aggravate the immune system in those with Hashimoto's. For some people, removing gluten is enough to make them feel ten times better (you need at least three months to tell). If you don't feel better off gluten, then there is probably something else causing inflammation as well, but gluten should not be added back in.
Find a Doctor who Practices Functional Medicine
If possible, find a doctor that practices functional medicine. In general, they will search for the root cause of any health issues, rather than simply medicating and moving on. (Not to say they don’t offer medication, just that they also look further.)
Check the functional medicine database to see if there is a doctor in your area.
Address Leaky Gut
People with autoimmune diseases usually have leaky gut issues. In fact, it has been said that you can't have autoimmune issues without leaky gut.
The gut needs to be repaired for improvement to occur. Food particles leak out through the gut wall and cause all kinds of inflammation in the body, which provokes the immune system. It's an awful thing to think about! But needs to be addressed.
Leaky gut can also contribute to a myriad of food sensitives and intolerances.
To heal the gut, you need to remove problem foods (which you can find via an elimination diet and/or food allergy test – the food allergy test I had was called IgG ELISA – it tests immune system response to foods). Keep the offending foods out for a number of months and consume lots of homemade broth and other healing foods (and probiotics).
Here is a good run down of leaky gut and what to do about it.
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is very helpful for a lot of people. I found it to be a little too low-carb for me (and you need to be careful of going too low-carb when you have thyroid issues). It's worth looking into though as a place to start.
Many others suggest a less strict approach than the AIP, but a diet that still eliminates most of the biggest offenders.
Check Vitamin D levels
Most people with Hashimoto's are deficient in Vitamin D. It's worth getting that checked so you can supplement accordingly. I was really low and have to take 5000IU of vitamin D a day.
Having compassion for yourself is essential. Speak kindly and treat yourself with care. Have an autoimmune disease is really hard. There's a lot of guilt involved as well as physical symptoms.
Don't underestimate the impact that harsh thoughts and self-talk have on you. It can take some time to learn how to be kind to yourself. But with practice, you can do it.
A great book on this topic is: Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
The internet is full of helpful information regarding Hashimoto's. There are also many great books too. It can take some time to wade through it, but you'll definitely find some gems and see a pattern emerge. With time you will learn more of what works for your specific circumstances. This is a very important step. especially if you are yet to find a good doctor.
The Thyroid Pharmacist – this lady is brilliant and has lots of good info (check out her Thyroid Bundle here).
The Hypothyroid Mom – her Facebook page is also really encouraging. It's helpful to see others dealing with the same thing and know you are not the only one!
And last, but not least, this is a good article to share with loved ones to help them understand what you are going through.
There is hope!