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Thyroid Problems Specialist
Dr. Rainer Fischer of the European Integrative Medicine Center
offers a variety of treatments for thyroid problems to residents of Scottsdale, Arizona.
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Thyroid Problems Q&A
by Rainer Fischer, ND
What Is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped piece of tissue in front of the neck, just above the collarbones. The gland uses the mineral iodine to produce thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland affects many body processes, including metabolism and hormone production, so when the thyroid isn’t working properly, it can affect many other areas of the body. For example, thyroid hormone is necessary for the manufacture of the sex hormones progesterone and growth hormone.
What Are the Primary Thyroid Problems?
Thyroid problems typically fall into four categories: too much thyroid hormone, too little thyroid hormone, thyroid cancer and “other,” which includes problems like goiter or thyroid nodules. High thyroid, or “thyrotoxicosis,” can cause severe weight loss and a rapid pulse. Low thyroid, or “hypothyroidism,” is probably the most common problem and tends to occur primarily in women, especially after pregnancy and menopause. Goiter typically results from iodine deficiency.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism typically develops over several years. As the level of thyroid hormone in the blood drops, you may feel sluggish and tired. Other symptoms are primarily related to a slowing metabolism, such as feeling cold and having a slow pulse. Hypothyroidism can cause depression, weight gain, muscle weakness, constipation and joint and muscle pain. Low thyroid can also cause hair loss and dry hair and skin. Hypothyroidism often leads to fertility problems in women and can affect the menstrual cycle.
How Is Hypothyroidism Treated?
Although naturopathic doctors may prescribe thyroid hormone for patients with low thyroid, other treatments also help. For example, nutrition can be a major factor in thyroid problems, especially if the diet is low in selenium, folic acid and iodine. Stress can affect the thyroid as well. Naturopathic doctors use treatments such as acupuncture to restore and improve energy, vitamin and mineral supplements, homeopathic medicines and herbs that support the thyroid and improve its function.