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The first step to heal Hashimoto's thyroiditis: Understanding the disease

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

I often ask myself: "How did you manage to reverse your Hashimoto’s disease symptoms?" I'm not going to lie to you, it was not easy. But today, I can finally look back and cheer myself up: "You did it, Anaïs. You thought it was impossible, but you did."

Of course, there are much more serious illnesses and I consider myself lucky to live with an invisible illness that I can control. However, invisible does not mean non-existent, so the pain is real for many of us.

So how did I return to health? The first step is simple: to understand the mechanisms of Hashimoto's disease.


What is Hashimoto's disease?

As I often explain, Hashimoto's disease is a condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The main symptoms that people with Hashimoto's face are: extreme fatigue, weight gain, depression, anxiety, dry skin, cold extremities, hair loss, swollen and puffy face, etc. In short, a slow metabolism with physical and psychological consequences.


How to detect Hashimoto's disease?

The disease is detected with the presence of thyroid antibodies: anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (anti-Tg).

When thyroid antibodies are detected, it means that there is an inflammation on the thyroid gland caused by the immune system. In Hashimoto's case, the immune attack slowly destroys the thyroid. As a result, the thyroid is no longer functional and struggles to secrete thyroid hormones. That is why thyroid hormone therapy such as Levothyrox, L-Thyroxin, Euthyrox will be a great support in case of hormone deficiency.


For my personal case, my blood results indicated a high level of anti-TPO with more than 1,000 U/ml (normal rate: below 30 U/ml) and TSH at 2.67 mIU/l (normal rate: 0.4 at 4 mIU/L). So my thyroid function was not affected and the hormone replacement treatment did not really help me (although it clearly supported my thyroid). In my case, the main focus was simple: to reduce the autoimmune inflammation.


What are the causes of Hashimoto's disease?

The development of Hashimoto's disease can occur only if:

  1. Genetic predisposition: The disease is transmitted genetically, so if one of the parents carries the gene, it is possible that the child inherits it. It is important to get tested if one of your (biological) parents, uncles, aunts lives with the disease. Same recommendation for your children, if you live with this condition.

  2. Leaky gut: The intestinal lining is damaged so bacteria and toxins can leak into your bloodstream and cause an autoimmune response.

  3. Triggers of Hashimoto's disease: This topic is quite sensitive, because we can find multiple triggers. It could be nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, stress, emotional shock, viral infection, etc. The goal for people affected by Hashimoto's condition is therefore to identify triggers of the disease with their general practitioner, endocrinologist and health practitioner.


Anatomie de la glande thyroïde
Anatomy of the thyroid gland

Triggers of Hashimoto's disease?

As I said earlier, Hashimoto's triggers can be multiple and complex. And this can be the most difficult part for people affected by Hashimoto's. So I'm going to share my personal example with you to make it easier. It took me some months to identify all my triggers, but I did it (so if you find yourself in this situation, no worries, you can do it!).

I was deficient in vitamin A and D. I also had a low iron level, hormonal imbalance (estrogen and progesterone), emotional shock, chronic stress and Epstein-Barr virus infection.

As you will understand, triggers can result from different infections (bacteria, virus, intestinal), nutrient deficiencies, food allergies (gluten, lactose, egg, histamine), but also from psycho-emotional factors (such as stress, trauma, etc.).


In my opinion, the most important is to accept the disease and to have a trust-based relationship with both your doctor/endocrinologist and natural health practitioner to research your Hashimoto's triggers. Plus, stay positive and be patient with yourself!

Anaïs Damour

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