While conventional therapies can be essential and effective with few side effects, it’s nice to know about the natural thyroid treatments that also support proper thyroid functioning. Before selecting a specific thyroid treatment plan, learning more about the various types of thyroid problems can explain why there are so many different approaches to getting one little gland back on its feet!
Under attack: inflammatory conditions of the thyroid gland
Part of the normal immune response, inflammation is an important protective mechanism of the body. Unfortunately, this important tool can sometimes go out of balance, being used when its not needed. When this immune system attack is targeted at the thyroid gland, an inflammatory thyroid disease can develop.
Some types of thyroid inflammation
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Acute, sub-acute or chronic thyroiditis
- Post-partum thyroiditis
The most common condition in this inflammatory family is known as Hashimoto’s disease. It is a kind of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland due to an autoimmune attack, a type of disorder when the immune system gets out of control and attacks the body as if it were infected when it’s not. It often requires lifelong treatment.
Any inflammation of the thyroid is referred to as thyroiditis and can occur for short or prolonged periods of time. Some causes of thyroiditis can be infection, too much stress or having just given birth. These conditions can sometimes be overcome quickly but some people may require long-term thyroid treatment.
What’s important to understand about all inflammatory conditions of the thyroid is that they can cause both over- and under-activation of thyroid hormone production. As a result, the treatment can very simple for some people but a combination of several medications will be needed to help treat others.
Calming the inflamed thyroid
With this changeable picture of both too much and too little hormone, thyroid treatment for inflammatory conditions requires close medical supervision. A doctor will sometimes provide anti-thyroid drugs to calm the gland during times of over-stimulation. These can include carbimazole, methimazole and propylthiouracil.
When the inflammation is caused by an infection, antibiotics are an important part of thyroid treatment. Other times, the inflammation is “sterile,” or without any infection. In this case, some anti-inflammatory drugs are useful for helping to calm the gland. With regular blood tests, it will be clear if the thyroid treatment has been effective and when it can be stopped.
While some people with inflamed thyroid glands go on to fully recover their normal function, many require supplemental thyroid hormone in the form of levothyroxine. These treatments may last for several months, several years or a lifetime. Fortunately, the treatment is a simple replacement of the missing hormone, making it have little-to-no side-effects.
Essential thyroid-supporting supplements
Fortunately, some people may only need a little extra iodine in order to get their thyroid back in working order. This natural thyroid treatment can come from food sources such as dairy products, eggs and soy sauce. It can also come in the form of a simple liquid iodine supplement. Taking this in conjunction with a great multivitamin can ensure that all systems are go.
While not directly linked to thyroid hormone production, vitamins and minerals are important to have in adequate quantities in order to ensure all bodily processes, including thyroid hormone production, are in working order. A nutritional supplement including vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to make sure all hormones can be made properly.
Black walnuts, kelp and Irish moss are natural remedies that are recommended for people dealing with hypothyroidism. Eleuthero, on the other hand, is an herb that can be used in any thyroid treatment as it’s suitable for people who have either too much or too little hormone.
Conventional can also be essential
When the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormone even with good supplementation and remedies, people are often prescribed a synthetic thyroid hormone medication such as levothyroxine, also known as L-thyroxine, to treat their hypothyroidism. For sufferers of hyperthyroidism, a suppressive medication such as carbamazole may be required. If the side effects of excess thyroid hormone persist, there may also be a need for medications to control things like palpitations.
In may cases, natural thyroid treatment can help improve the function of the gland but it may not always be enough on its own. Thyroid medications can be essential and even life-saving and have very few side-effects. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about combing natural remedies with your prescription medications for optimal thyroid health.
A truly complete thyroid treatment plan should include dietary changes, nutritional supplements and plenty of exercise. Although this may feel like a lot to undertake, including even a few of these changes can make great strides along the path of recovering full thyroid function.