The thyroid is a gland in the body located at the bottom of the throat. The gland produces two hormones – thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These two hormones are responsible for normal cell functioning in every part of the body. If the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, it can lead to hypothyroidism.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
When the thyroid gland malfunctions or stops working normally, it leads to an underproduction of hormones that result in a wide range of health problems. This is called hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a chronic health condition which means that it cannot be cured. However, in cases where the underlying cause of an underactive thyroid is another health condition or the result of taking medication, hypothyroidism may be reversible. Discontinuing the medication or treating the underlying health condition can allow the thyroid gland to start functioning normally again.
In cases where the condition is genetic or the thyroid gland is damaged, hypothyroidism can be treated. It is recommended to visit a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to treat the condition and learn more about hypothyroid treatments.
How Is Hypothyroidism Treated?
Hypothyroidism is commonly treated with hormone replacement therapy. The treatment introduces synthetic hormones into the body to fulfill the function of the hormones that should be produced by the thyroid gland. It therefore does not actually treat the thyroid to produce more hormones but rather gives the body the hormones it needs to encourage normal cell function.
A blood test is performed to determine the required dosage f the medication. The test checks current hormone levels in order to find out how much replacement hormone is needed for optimal cell function. It can however take time to find the right dosage for a specific patient. Dosage depends largely on how much of the two hormones the thyroid gland is producing on its own and how much needs to be replaced with the synthetic or man-made hormone.
Treatment is commonly lifelong because hypothyroidism is a chronic health condition that cannot be cured. This means that hormone replacement therapy will need to be taken for the rest of a patient’s life. A blood test will be taken every year to ensure that the dosage is still correct.
A reduction in the symptoms of hypothyroidism should be noticeable within a couple of days of starting hormone replacement therapy. Most notably, increased energy levels and reduced fatigue or tiredness. Weight loss may also be noticed within a couple of weeks of starting treatment.
Are There Natural Treatments For Hypothyroidism?
Some vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements may stimulate the thyroid gland and increase hormone production. Vitamin B12 supplements are recommended for hypothyroidism to help heal the damage that has been done by the condition.
However, it is important to note that these supplements do not replace the hormones that the body needs or cure hypothyroidism. It is not recommended to stop hormone replacement therapy and take a herbal supplement or other alternative treatment in place of the prescribed medication. It is always advisable to talk to a doctor before taking any vitamin, mineral, herbal or other supplements.