- Hypothyroidism is a condition in which thyroid gland is under active and produces too little thyroid hormones (‘hypo’ means ‘less’)
- When levels of thyroid hormones are abnormally low, it results in slowing down of metabolic activities inside the body.
- Hypothyroidism may be divided into two categories:
- Primary Hypothyroidism: Generally hypothyroidism occurs due to a problem (pathology) in the thyroid gland itself, in which the gland produces much less thyroid hormones than normal. Causes may include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disorder where the body’s own immune system starts attacking the thyroid tissue), Thyroid failure following iodine therapy or surgical treatment of hyperthyroidism, goiter like hypothyroidism: caused due to prolonged intake of iodine deficient diet and congenital hypothyroidism: Inborn (from birth) thyroid defect.
- Secondary Hypothyroidism: In a few cases, hypothyroidism may also result due to a problem in the hypothalamus or the pituitary rather than the thyroid itself. This type of hypothyroidism caused by deficient production of TSH by the pituitary is known as secondary hypothyroidism.
- Decreased levels of thyroid hormone causes the bodily functions to slow down. In mild thyroid failure, patients often do not show any obvious symptoms and thus may not even be aware of their condition. But if left untreated symptoms begin to show.
- Some of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are weakness, lethargy and fatigue, weight gain despite poor appetite, hoarseness of voice, cold intolerance, constipation, excessive bleeding during menses, decreased heart rate and pulse, and sometimes high blood pressure. Facial expression becomes dull, speech is slow, eyelids droop. The person loses interest in work or environment (hence hypothyroidism may be mistaken for Depression) Skin becomes dry, coarse, scaly and thick and nails become thin and brittle. Hair becomes sparse (thinning of hair), coarse, dry and lusterless. There may be muscle cramps and stiffness, pain in joints and goiter (an abnormal swelling in the neck caused by an enlarged thyroid gland). Mood swings, forgetfulness, slowed thinking and slow speech can also be presenting symptoms.
- Severe form of hypothyroidism is known as Myxedema.
- Severe form of hypothyroidism in infancy is known as Cretinism.
- Hypothyroidism beginning in childhood is known as Juvenile Hypothyroidism.
- Laboratory investigations: Thyroid Function tests
- Serum TSH level are increased but it may be normal or low in some cases (secondary hypothyroidism). Serum T3 and T4 levels are decreased.
- Resin T3 uptake test, Radioactive iodine uptake and Free Thyroxine index are decreased.
- High level of Serum cholesterol, liver enzymes, and creatinine kinase, antibodies against thyroperoxidase and thyroglobulin.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) and Echocardiography (ECHO) may be required to see involvement of heart. X-ray chest may be needed to detect lung involvement.
Hypothyroid patients consult homeopathic physician in three different situations
- Pre-hypothyroid state – Unexplained weight gain with a cluster of other symptoms. Blood test reveals normal or slightly increased TSH.
- Hypothyroidism confirmed but not started allopathic medication
- Hypothyroidism confirmed and already taking allopathic medication regularly
In all three situations, aim of constitutional homeopathic treatment is to restore the health in totality – that is, to set right the inner imbalance presenting in the form of disturbed general health, clinical signs and symptoms of the disease and abnormal lab reports.
In case one and two, constitutional homeopathic treatment is started and improvements can be seen in general health, along with clinical improvement in signs and symptoms. Periodic thyroid profile will help monitor the normalizing the hormone level.
In case three, patient is advised to continue his allopathic treatment and start constitutional homeopathic treatment side by side. Improvement in general health and clinical improvement in signs and symptoms can be assessed regularly. Positive changes in periodic thyroid profile will indicate the need to reduce allopathic dosage gradually. As the improvement in signs and symptoms is evident and thyroid hormones show normal levels, allopathic medications can be withdrawn and a vigilant eye is kept on further changes. Periodic thyroid profile is repeated to see any rebound sickness and confirm complete recovery.
A common notion is that you have to continue allopathic medicines for thyroid problem throughout your life. And this is mentioned in many allopathic literatures that “while the symptoms of hypothyroidism are usually corrected within a few months, many patients may need to take the medication for the rest of their lives.” But with constitutional homeopathic treatment, there is no need to take life long treatment for hypothyroid problem.
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