You may have noticed the term “functional medicine” becoming more popular. What is functional medicine, how is it different from regular medicine, and why is it important to know about when managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and high TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)? Functional medicine addresses Hashimoto’s by looking at the root causes rather than masking symptoms with drugs or surgery.
By looking at root causes of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and high TSH, you improve your energy, sleep, vitality, and even libido. This is why seeing a functional medicine doctor for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism can also improve your brain function, gut issues, and hormone balance. Everything in the body works together.
Root causes: Address engine, not engine light
If the engine light of your car comes on, do you find a way to turn off the engine light, or do you investigate under the hood?
That analogy works for functional medicine and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and managing high TSH.
Functional medicine is not about giving you a drug for a symptom, but instead investigating why you have that symptom and working on that instead.
For example, suppose 10 different people have the same complaint, whether it is depression, fatigue, digestive problems, or persistent skin rashes.
Each of those 10 people can have the same symptom, but for 10 very different reasons.
An overgrowth of gut bacteria may be causing depression in one person, while it is a gluten intolerance in another.
With Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and high TSH, it is helpful to look at the underlying causes that led to the development of the autoimmune thyroid disease and address those.
You must know why you have high TSH and hypothyroidism
Until you understand why you are suffering from Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and high TSH, chasing after drugs or therapies can keep landing you at dead ends.
Functional medicine relies on published, peer-reviewed science to help us understand how the body works and where breakdowns occur.
Lab tests, questionnaires, in-office exams, and a discussion about your case history help the functional medicine practitioner learn where the root cause of your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and high TSH lies.
Five common functional medicine root causes
Although different people can have the same symptom for different reasons, functional medicine often finds common root causes. Some of them are:
- Autoimmunity (when the immune system attacks and destroys body tissue). In most people, hypothyroidism is caused by thyroid autoimmunity, which causes high TSH.
- Food intolerances, especially to gluten and dairy
- Low blood sugar
- High blood sugar (insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes)
- Intestinal bacterial, yeast overgrowths, and leaky gut
Addressing one or all of these factors, depending on the person, can help you better manage your Hashimoto’s, lower your TSH, and alleviate not only your thyroid symptoms, but a number of other symptoms as well.
There are no specialties in the human body
The body is a highly complex web in which all systems and parts are related.
The body does not have specialties in the way medicine does. The digestive system — or any other system in the body — does not function independently of the rest of the body.
For instance, if autoimmune disease is destroying the thyroid gland causing high TSH, it’s not just the thyroid you address, but also the immune system. If the gallbladder is acting up, addressing a gluten intolerance and chronic inflammation can sometimes prevent gallbladder surgery.
For instance, with Hashimoto’s and high TSH, it’s not just the thyroid you address, but also the immune system.
Ask my office how functional medicine can help you manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and other chronic health problems.