Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroxine hormone. Low thyroxine levels result in a decrease in metabolism and often result in a wide collection of other symptoms. Some common symptoms are weight gain, depression, constipation, constantly feeling cold, fatigue, and low libido. Conventional treatment for hypothyroidism is to give thyroid hormone boosting medications, which can be effective for many, but often results in long-term complications.
Treatment for hypothyroidism with acupuncture (and East Asian medicine generally) is individualized. Because the symptom presentation for hypothyroidism can be so diverse, we focus our treatment to look at the root cause that makes a person’s thyroid function poorly. Take, for example the common symptoms of fatigue and feeling cold. When combined with loose stools or abdominal bloating this pair of symptoms typically points to compromised gut function, which often impacts thyroid health. In this case our treatment focus would be to support digestion, whereas if there were no loose stools or abdominal bloating we would take a different focus. The overall idea is that the treatment should be directed to the issues that cause a person’s thyroid gland to function poorly. This is typically either digestive, autoimmune, or stress-related, and acupuncture helps with all three.
Additional work during the acupuncture treatment can focus on treating specific symptoms or problems if they are upsetting your quality of life. We’ve written extensively on how acupuncture can treat depression, weight management problems, or other digestive problems like constipation. As mentioned above, these can all be problems for people with hypothyroidism, but of course, if those symptoms are not present (or are not distressing) then more time can be spent dealing with the root cause.
If you have been struggling with hypothyroidism, make sure your provider is taking a holistic look at your care. If you have questions, schedule your consultation with us today!