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10 Thyroid Treatments

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There are different options in treating thyroid disorders, and these are the ten synthetic and natural treatment options that one can consider.

There are two common kinds of thyroid disorders, and these are hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

As they are different conditions affecting the same gland, they are treated with different types of prescription medication. Apart from prescription medication, though, there are also various ways to treat thyroid problems naturally and holistically.

If you do suffer from any thyroid condition, then you might want to take a look at your options – both synthetic and natural – to find out the best course of action that you can take to minimize symptoms and improve your condition.

Prescription Medication

Different types of prescription medication are prescribed depending on the type of thyroid disorder.

Hyperthyroidism, for example, causes the body to produce excess thyroid hormones, causing unwanted symptoms. The condition and the symptoms are treated with the following:

1) Beta Blockers

BETA-BLOCKERSInitially, individuals with hyperthyroid are prescribed with medication to immediately treat symptoms brought about by excessive thyroid hormones – such as palpitations. Typical drugs prescribed for symptoms like these are beta-blockers like metoprolol, atenolol, and propranolol.

While these do not alter thyroid hormone levels in the bloodstream, they help increase metabolism by counteracting the effects of thyroid hormones released into the bloodstream.

2) Antithyroid Drugs

Antithyroid drugs such as methimazole and propylthiouracil work by accumulating in the thyroid tissue and blocking excess production of thyroid hormones.

Propylthiouracil or PTU converts T4 hormones to T3 hormones, which are metabolically active. While these prescriptions medications are effective, they can suppress the bone marrow’s production of white blood cells, which can be dangerous to the body.

3) Radioactive Iodine 

Radioactive iodine or isotope iodine 131 is a one-time treatment which is taken in liquid or pill form. The iodine treatment is an ablative form of treatment that destroys active and over-producing cells in the thyroid. Radioactive iodine treatment is localized within the thyroid because only thyroid cells pick up iodine in the body. This form of treatment has been used for fifty years already.

While it is safe, it is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women, as well as those with eye disease.

4) Levothyroxine (T4)

LEVOTHYROXINETreatment for hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is also different from hyperthyroidism.

Because the body does not produce enough thyroid hormones, it must be aided in order for it to produce the right amount. Today, synthetic levothyroxine (T4) is prescribed to patients.

T4 is a stable form of thyroid hormone, which is naturally converted to T3 – the most active thyroid hormone in the body - within the bloodstream. Dosage for T4 vary depends on a variety of factors such as age, weight, and severity of the condition. The average dose is 1.6 mg of T4 per 1 kilogram of body weight, which is anywhere around 100 to 150 mg of T4 every day.

Children require larger doses per kilogram. While this form of treatment is effective, it only works as long as the patient continues to take the T4, requiring lifelong treatment.

5) Thyroid Surgery

The fifth treatment option is similar for both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Surgery involves the removal of a part of or the entire thyroid.

The severity of the thyroidectomy will depend on the severity of the condition, which will be determined by a physician. Thyroid surgery requires little downtime, and many surgeons send their patients home around twenty-four hours or the morning after the operation. Some partial surgeries are also done as out-patient procedures. This, of course, will depend on the patient’s age and health, among other factors.

Natural Treatments

There are various natural treatments for thyroid disorders, ranging from natural supplements, increased intake of vitamins and minerals, consumption of specific herbs to homeopathic methods such as reflexology and acupuncture. Diet, too, is one way to treat thyroid problems naturally.

These alternatives are slowly emerging into the mainstream market because of the fact that most prescription medication can be costly and can produce possible side effects.

Likewise, most natural treatments are safe, easy to follow and are promote overall wellbeing by improvising body function – not just for that of the thyroid gland. Of course, plenty of natural treatments can be used in conjunction with prescription medication.

Several types of natural treatments are as follows.

6) Herbs

For hundreds of years, man has turned to herbs to cure a wide range of ails and woes.

Kelp for ThyroidToday, we slowly turn back to these natural wonders. There are plenty of herbs to choose from. Dandelion root regulates the function of the liver, which can do wonders for the thyroid gland. Dong Quai or Hsiao Yao Wan, for example, is a Chinese herb that regulates the endocrine system.

Kelp, Iceland, and Irish moss are excellent sources of iodine. Valerian calms the body, helping counteract symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

These are just a few of the many herbs that can benefit the thyroid gland. What’s great about these herbs is that they do not just promote thyroid health, they are also usually used to treat other health problems as well.

Dosage Levels of Some Herbs
Dandelion Root – 500 milligrams/2 cups of dandelion tea, 2 x a day for 6 weeks
Dong Quai – 500 milligrams, 3 x a day for 2 months
Iceland Moss – 1 small dose every day
Valerian – 200 to 300 milligrams before bedtime

7) Natural Supplements

natural supplementSome people may find it hard to look for specific herbs in the market and in turn, turn to natural supplements.

There are various natural supplement brands that come in the form of tablets and pills. These usually contain one potent herb as its main ingredient and several minor ingredients as well.

Some natural supplements contain substances taken from thyroid glands of other animals.

8) Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are also important for proper thyroid function. Here is a list of the important vitamins and minerals that promote good thyroid health:

Vitamins and Minerals for Thyroid Health

Calcium and Magnesium: They should be taken at a ratio of 3:1, respectively as both cannot be absorbed by the body without the other.

Selenium: This is used by the body to convert T4 to T3, which is important for individuals with low T3 levels. A doctor’s consultation is important before taking selenium.

Iodine: Deficiency in iodine can cause hypothyroidism so it is important to take iodine supplements for those who do not get enough iodine in their diet. Caution should be exercised when taking in iodine because getting too much overstimulates the thyroid gland to produce excess thyroid hormones.

B Vitamins: B Vitamins help the body synthesize T4 hormones. They can be taken in the form of standard Vitamin B complex pills.

Vitamin A: The body regularly converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which is essential to keep the immune system healthy. Hypothyroidism hampers the body's natural ability to convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, so it is important to take vitamin A and carotenoid complex supplements. The recommended dose is 15,000 IU daily and no more than 10,000 for pregnant women.

9) Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an age-old form of treatment that is used to prevent and treat diseases as well as improve well-being. This form of treatment is based on the premise that Chi or energy, flows through the body through meridians or pathways.

Illness and pain come out as a result of blocked meridians, so to improve circulation of Chi throughout the body, tiny-hair strand like needles are inserted into specific parts of the body. For thyroid problems, the target areas are usually on the neck points, near the thyroid gland, on the hand, and outside the forearm. Acupuncture can be done on a weekly basis to restore hormonal balance and promote overall health.

For better results, this treatment should also be supplemented with proper diet.

10) Diet

While diet does not readily cure the condition, following a thyroid-friendly diet can improve the condition and health of the thyroid, promoting hormone balance.

Following a good diet also prevents nutritional deficiencies, which are the leading cause of thyroid disorders. Here are some foods that are worth considering: 

  • Omega-3 fatty acids coming from cold-water fishes like tuna, salmon, and mackerel. 
  • Iodine rich foods such as cranberries and seafood.
  • Foods rich in nutrients like green leafy vegetables and fruits

Of course, there are also several types of foods to avoid when suffering from thyroid problems.

Processed and refined foods are definitely first on the list, but there are also some fruits and vegetables that, when taken in excess, can aggravate thyroid imbalance. Here are some fruits and vegetables that should be taken in moderation when suffering from thyroid problems: 

  • Apricots and pears
  • Brussel sprouts and broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Prescription Medication, Surgery or Natural Remedies?

Indeed, there is more than one way to treat thyroid problems. You can choose from any of the treatments, whether they be under prescription medication, surgery or natural remedies. Some people choose not to go to the doctor and take their chances with natural treatments instead.

What is important is that you are fully informed about your options so you can choose the best type of treatment that can work for you.

Next Article: Thyroid Health | How to Boost T3 and T4 Levels