Does Hashimoto's come out of nowhere?
For many, being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s comes after a long road of trying to pinpoint what has been causing a constellation of symptoms that could include fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, joint pain, constipation, and dry skin.
Inevitably, the question arises: What caused the autoimmunity and did it just happen all of sudden?
Conventional medicine offers no solution to reverse autoimmunity and instead focuses on managing symptoms. However, I’ve seen autoimmunity be reversed and believe that the body has an incredible ability to heal itself when put in the right environment.
The whole concept of autoimmunity challenges a very linear concept of disease that has dominated conventional medicine in modern history. Therefore, to understand the process that could result in autoimmunity, we need to let go of the desire to have one clear answer and instead start to answer this evolving question in terms of interconnectedness and complexity.
In my view, autoimmunity develops over time and represents a perfect storm of the interaction between our genes, leaky gut, and a trigger (or triggers). With this filter, we can start to see how genetic inheritance combined with early childhood antibiotics, a typical American diet and then the stress of a pregnancy, for example, can all combine and manifest as Hashimoto’s.
Looking at chronic issues in this way is a radical approach because it means there isn’t one single intervention or drug that we can enlist because the root cause is multi-layered, multi-factorial and completely unique to you and your story. Still, this is exactly where the hope and opportunity lies. Leaky gut can be addressed. The immune system can be supported and stimulated. Triggers can be investigated, healed and/or removed.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (and I’d add this applies to other autoimmune conditions too), the following questions can help create a timeline to start to identify your unique combination of genetics, influences on gut health, and triggers:
Do you have family members with thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune conditions like SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, Celiac, or Crohn’s disease?
Do you have a history of repeated antibiotic use? A diet high in processed foods (either now or in childhood)? Were you born via C-section? Were you breast-fed? Did you have frequent infections as a child?
Have you been exposed to any toxins? Any significant infections (this can be I never felt right after having mono, for example)? Did symptoms start at a specific age? Were there any significant events that happened at that time? Post-pregnancy, trauma or grief of any kind? Other stressors?
I urge you dear one, as you undergo this line of inquiry, to maintain a sense of lightness and curiosity. I say lightness not to downplay the gravity of what may be going on, but instead to try and avoid blame. This isn’t about finding fault, but instead trying to shine a gentle light in potentially dark places in order to allow the opportunity for transformation and healing to occur.
With warmth and kindness,