If you’re having symptoms of Graves’ disease after thyroidectomy, the problem may not be Graves.
July 14th, 2016
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck that is responsible for most of the systems in the body. When it goes out of whack it produces a multitude of negative side effects and symptoms.
One disease that wreaks havoc on the endocrine system is Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. With Graves’ disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid causing the thyroid to overproduce thyroid hormones, resulting in hyperthyroidism.
Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism or overactivity are
Hot / Red Hands
Causes of Thyroid Disease
Some researchers believe that thyroid disease may begin with hormones like estrogen. When estrogen becomes dominant in the body, it pushes progesterone down and increases the bodies inflammation response. What causes estrogen dominance? Estrogen can get out of control when the body becomes stressed. So, it’s important to keep stress levels down, eat properly and exercise. In fact, some doctors say that with proper nutrition, rest and exercise some thyroid diseases can be reversed or at least very well controlled. For some patients though, Graves’ disease needs more effective medical intervention, like surgical reduction or a complete removal of the thyroid. Some patients elect to have radioactive iodine treatment to destroy or “ablate” some of the thyroid tissue in the hopes that the thyroid gland will cease the overproduction of hormones that cause a hyper state.
Thyroidectomy is said to end Graves’ disease, however, yet for some patients, having their thyroid removed may not be the end of their symptoms.
According to Dr. Kresimira Milas, “once a patient has their thyroid removed there is less than a one or two percent chance of the grave’s disease returning.” Dr. Milas said, “after surgery Graves’ disease is essentially cured, the thyroid is gone so the immune system has no target, and so the grave’s disease is gone in that respect.”
However, some remaining thyroid tissues that surround the voice nerve or the parathyroids can grow back sufficiently enough to cause an overactive thyroid state again. This is why it’s important for thyroid patients to follow up with their endocrinologists for blood work that would detect a recurrence of Grave's disease in that one or two percent of patients.
So, if only 1 or 2% of patients can have a recurrence of Grave's disease, why do patients still have symptoms?
Unfortunately for many patients even after Graves’ disease has been surgically controlled, they still have symptoms of the disease. This is true for most thyroid patients regardless of what thyroid disease they may have. The problem is when patients explain their symptoms to their doctors they’re left feeling unheard and often times made to feel as though they are “hypo”- chondriacs instead. Pun intended. These symptoms are REAL, but, not for the reasons patients think.
Patients may unknowingly be blaming their thyroid symptoms on the wrong cause. Once a patient has had their thyroid ablated or completely removed, they are considered surgically hypo and require daily thyroid hormone replacement. So, while your grave’s disease is gone, you are now thyroid-less and that is a whole new condition in and of itself. Being without a thyroid can also cause hyper symptoms, leaving patients to believe they still have Graves’ disease or that their immune system is attacking other parts of their body. But the real culprit is less sinister and quite surprising.
Most patients with thyroid disease do not produce enough stomach acid, and when you are hyper you are getting too much, while patients who are now hypo are likely not producing enough. When patients don’t produce enough stomach acid the body cannot absorb nutrients or break down protein. When proteins are consumed, your stomach uses the stomach acid and enzymes to break it down into amino acids, these are the essential building blocks your body needs to nourish various parts of your body. But if you don’t have enough stomach acid these proteins are not broken down or absorbed. I liken this to a car that is not cared for, when it has deficiencies like a dirty fuel filter, no gas or not enough coolant in the radiator, it will knock and ping and show signs of the deficiency. Just like the human body, when it doesn’t get enough nutrients the systems of the body cannot perform their functions optimally causing negative side effects and often times painful symptoms. This new side effect is call avitaminosis. It’s a real condition that causes a multitude of side effects that mimics Graves’ symptoms.
These Symptoms are Your Body’s Way of Getting Your Attention
Unfortunately, doctors don’t treat patients nutritionally, they treat you structurally, so they do what they can and this often leads to prescribing more medications that only mask the root cause which is nutrient-deficiency. So, while thyroid patients are eating healthfully they are literally starving because the nutrients are not being broken down or absorbed. This deficiency leads to a landslide of symptoms that patients and doctors cannot explain. Symptoms like fatigue, excess hair shedding, brain fog, muscle aches and pain, and much more. In fact, many patients even report having, leaky gut syndrome, acid reflux, GERD, heartburn or even IBS, inflammatory bowel syndrome.
Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid -
· Acid reflux
· Bad breath
· Weak hair and nail
· Hair loss
· Dry skin
The irony here is that while a patient’s body is starving for nutrients, even with a normal diet, it has an amazing capacity to convert everything to weight gain, another unfortunate side effect. I guess the old adage is true when your dieting and your body thinks it’s starving it won’t lose weight. So, what can you do about it? There are a few things that you can do to help improve stomach acid and help your body replenish the nutrients it’s deficient in.
How to address Low Stomach Acid –
While there are some natural remedies to help with low stomach acid, they are not cures and there is no scientific evidence to show how much they improve it. But as always check to see what is right for you before trying any of the following.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother– Mix 2 tbsp. with ¼ cup of warm water and a tsp of honey. Goes down easy and tastes pretty decent.
2. Digestive Enzymes– You can get a good “OTC” digestive enzyme. Dr. Axe recommends taking two tablets before a meal and suggests that you can take this in addition to the Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother.
3. Chew Your Food Thoroughly and Eat Smaller Meals – By chewing your food thoroughly, at least 30 times, you can aid your body in better digesting. And by eating smaller meals you utilize the stomach acid more effectively.
Because people with hypothyroidism have problems with their digestive tract, they also have difficulty in absorbing minerals, in addition to breaking down food in their stomach. And without proper nutrient supplementation, hypothyroid patients have been seen to complain about the way they feel, oftentimes leading to overmedication, which can lead to hyperthyroid symptoms, that mimic graves’ disease. Symptoms like rapid heart rate, night sweats, anxiety, insomnia, and so on.
The following nine minerals are needed for thyroid support, along with their roles in support of thyroid gland performance.
Without these minerals, the body cannot function properly and it cannot convert T4 to T3 adequately. There are, however, more essential vitamins that are needed in addition to these minerals and thyroid hormone replacement, vitamins A, B-12, thiamine, vitamin D, riboflavin, and vitamin C that patients require in order to rid themselves of negative side effects that interrupt their quality of life.
If patients really want to see an improvement in their thyroid symptoms it’s important to make sure that the nutritional needs are being met. Just medicating with thyroid hormone or synthetic thyroid hormone (like levothyroxine sodium) can result in a less than satisfactory treatment of hypothyroidism.
There are multiple supplements currently on the market to help patients improve energy by focusing on the thyroid, but most don’t contain all the nutrients or minerals thyroid patients need to really feel a difference in their energy, stamina, and overall well-being. But there is one that does and it’s making waves across the world. ThyVita®is an innovative support in thyroid treatment and is GMO-free, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, and Vegan-friendly with no added animal hormones. It not only supports your thyroid, but it was created specifically for patients with and without a thyroid!
ThyVita® provides total body support, it not only supports healthy thyroid function in those who have a thyroid, it helps the body convert T4 to T3 more effectively in those who don’t. In fact, ThyVita is achieving remarkable results not only in thyroid patients but also patients with diabetes and fibromyalgia. It even helps decrease inflammation in the body, helps your body absorb nutrients, and some patients report their C-Reactive protein levels have decreased and the only change in their diet was ThyVita®. To learn more about ThyVita® you can visit their website at www.ThyVita.com
If you’re not sure why you’re having symptoms be sure to speak with your doctor and get tested for your thyroid function. If you’ve already been diagnosed talk with your doctor before starting a homeopathic remedy or vitamin supplement.
Learn More Here: Danielle Lin Health Radio
Dr. Axe – 5 Steps to Naturally Heal Low Stomach Acid
Dr. Kresimira Milas MD - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtRb2AOemB4
Albion Research Notes No. 26. Vol. 4
Rebecca Ireland – Life After Thyroidectomy - ©2018