Friday, February 22, 2013

Stabilizing Thyroiditis Without Drugs

I treat many patients who have thyroiditis, a condition of the thyroid which is more common than you would think.  What is thyroiditis?  There are two types of thyroiditis.  Sub acute thyroiditis typically presents as a pain that begins in the front of the neck near the hollow and spreads horizontally to the base and posterior aspect of the ears.  This can commonly be misdiagnosed as a sore throat because it typically is indeed caused by a virus.  Sub acute thyroiditis is brief and like a virus, the body's immune system will resolve the condition with no residual effects.   Silent thyroiditis, considered to be an autoimmune disorder, typically occurs in women post partum.  Patients can present with fatigue, lethargy, depression, hair loss, weight gain, and low libido.  Silent thyroiditis can resolve itself or more typically, medication is prescribed for this condition.  Nursing mothers should cease breast feeding should they decide to take medication because it is contraindicated in breastfeeding.  Silent thyroiditis  is an acute condition but can reoccur over time or can develop into a chronic condition.   At times, thyroiditis can present in a patient as fluctuating between hypo and hyperthyroidism.   This can occur in patients who are already taking thyroid medication.  An overview of the medication and dosage should be performed as this can commonly be the cause of fluctuation.
Traditional Chinese Medicine views thyroiditis as an imbalance in the body.  In most cases, there is a deficiency of Qi (vital energy) and Blood (the quality of the blood) and this deficiency is treated with the combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal pill formulas.  This treatment is safe, very effective and drug free.  The herbal formulas prescribed will not harm a baby who is  nursing and this treatment allows the mother to continue breast feeding safely.  My own experience with patients is such:  treatment twice weekly for 2 weeks will give significant results.  Continued treatment for 4 to 6 weeks can eliminate the condition completely.
Case Study:  A 35 year old female presented with a diagnosis of silent thyroiditis expressing as hypothyroidism.  She delivered a child 2 months prior and was breastfeeding.  Her chief complaint was fatigue,  bradycardia, minimal lactation, dry skin and brittle nails.  She stated that her head hair was falling out in clumps (which was visible upon examination) and was considering a wig.  Her m.d. had prescribed thyroid medication but she did not want to go this route as she was adamant to nurse her child.  After examining the patient, performing pulse and tongue diagnosis and recording a complete past and present medical history, I determined that this patient was experiencing a deficiency of Qi (vital energy) and Blood (the quality of her blood was deficient).  When the body becomes exhausted and nutrient deficient (as in most cases post partum), blood, fluids and all other necessary factors for proper homeostasis become less than premium in quality.  This deficiency can lead to hormonal imbalances, hence hypothyroidism.  I prescribed a treatment protocol of 2 acupuncture sessions weekly for 4 weeks with the addition of an herbal pill formula (safe for nursing mothers)to build the quality of her blood and boost her immune system.  After 2 weeks, this patient reported having much more energy and less hair falling into the shower drain.  After 4 weeks of treatment, her breast milk was flowing freely, her pulse was a steady 72 and her m.d. encouraged her to continue with my course of treatment.  Her treatments continued once weekly for 6 more weeks.  Her hair ceased to fall out, her nails were healthy, she joined a gym and was happily enjoying motherhood.  This patient has continued care on a monthly basis to maintain good health.
I cannot guarantee these results in every case.   Results vary from patient to patient, but this is one more of the many pathologies that I treat on a daily basis.  Traditional  Chinese Medicine is over 2,000 years old for a reason.


1 comment:

  1. Hey very interesting article. I will look into this further.