In medicine, accurate diagnosis is essential for selecting the most effective course of treatment for a patient.
Naturopathic treatment for thyroid dysfunction
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is commonplace in the management of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), except for autoimmune thyroid issues like Hashimotos, which have a clear cut diagnostic criteria that show up clearly on lab tests.
Countless patients with hypothyroid symptoms are dismissed because their lab values don’t fit within the narrow diagnostic criteria established by standard thyroid panels (e.g. TSH screening). Others are given prescriptions for thyroid hormone replacement, a blanket approach that fails to address the underlying causes of hypothyroidism.
Patients with hypothyroid symptoms but “normal” TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels according to the standard thyroid panel, may be told that nothing is wrong with their thyroid gland and sent on their way. Some are handed prescriptions for thyroid hormone replacement. This one-size-fits-all approach to managing hypothyroidism ignores the multitude of factors that influence thyroid function and may even worsen symptoms in some patients. At best, it does patients a disservice, and at worst it could be considered sheer negligence.
The standard thyroid panel is problematic for several reasons:
- It usually only tests TSH and T4 levels. There are many factors involved in optimal thyroid function, and TSH and T4 don’t tell the whole story. To obtain a clearer picture of a patient’s thyroid health, our Melbourne naturopaths can refer you for testing with additional markers such as free T4, free T3, and reverse T3 (rT3).
- The “normal” ranges for TSH and T4 vary from lab to lab. This inconsistency can confuse patients and hinder the implementation of effective treatment.
- The lab ranges for TSH, T4, and other thyroid markers are based on values collected from people who go to labs for testing (usually individuals struggling with health issues). Thus the “normal” ranges for TSH and T4 are based primarily on a sick population. For this reason, our naturopaths use functional ranges rather than standard ranges when assessing the thyroid status of our patients.
Thyroid physiology is complex and regulated by input from multiple endocrine glands, the immune system, the gut, and many cell-signalling molecules. Malfunctions in any one of these components can cause hypothyroid symptoms. For patients with hypothyroid symptoms whose lab results defy the conventional definition of thyroid dysfunction, our naturopaths dig deeper and help you identify the five common patterns of thyroid dysfunction that are missed by standard lab tests. Our practitioners can refer you for more comprehensive thyroid testing; help you to restore thyroid health by addressing the underlying causes and how to successfully correct dysfunctional patterns; and use diet and lifestyle interventions, as well as herbal and nutritional supplementation.
Underactive or Overactive Thyroid
If you have an underactive or overactive thyroid, call us on 8528 2079 for effective natural thyroid treatment at our Melbourne Natural Wellness Clinic.