One of the first questions that I ask when I get sick is Why? What did I do wrong? What did I eat wrong? How did this happen?
While there aren’t always answers, wanting to know the root of the problem is just human nature. AND it is a good instinct as long as we don’t spend a lot of time laying blame on ourselves that causes more stress and anxiety.
When you read about Hashimoto’s, you often hear that we need to find the root cause. Root cause often feels like just a buzz word to me. Something that is floating around out there that is impossible to grab.
I wanted to know my root cause, but I wanted to know what I was even searching for. What exactly is a root cause?
Basically, what I found was that the root cause was the real reason for my illness. My fatigue, my inability to have a coherent thought (let alone talk sensibly), my wonky digestive system and my anxiety were all symptoms. It isn’t that I didn’t know this, especially as a practitioner, but most of these symptoms we have a medication to treat.
But treating the symptoms is exactly the problem I ran into when talking to my doctors about it. They wanted to give me an antidepressant. I even tried them for a short time. They wanted to give me a pill for IBS…tried that and it didn’t work. I wasn’t about to go on anti-anxiety meds after the ½ of an Ambien I took once and didn’t wake up for 24 hours.
The reason these things didn’t work was because we weren’t actually fixing the problem. We weren’t addressing the root cause.
Let me tell you a story about me. When I was much younger, I was VERY heavy (teetering at 300 pounds). I had major back issues. When I went to the orthopedic doctors, all they wanted to do was give me pain medication. I took what they prescribed because I didn’t know any better. What I found was that I couldn’t function well and with 3 young children at the time I needed to function or my house wouldn’t stay standing! I also noticed that while the medications made me sleep, I could still feel the pain coming through. I also couldn’t do much without being in pain while I was awake.
My doctors were treating the symptoms because they told me they could find nothing wrong with my back…not that they really tried to find out. It wasn’t until I went to a chiropractor out of desperation that my problem was even addressed. He took one look at me and told me I had a bulging disc. An X-ray and CT scan confirmed this. He went on to help me with my nutrition (not that I listened that much about this at the time) and showed me WHY I had the pain and what I needed to do to fix it. Once I followed his recommendations, things got better. We were addressing the root cause which was the disc that was messed up.
Hashimoto’s is no different. Back pain is much easier to find a cause for, but it is the same idea. There are a lot of reasons that people end up facing this disease. Hashimoto’s is a problem with our immune system. The immune system starts believing that the thyroid is a toxin and needs to be attacked. This attack leads to the breaking down of thyroid cells which can actually destroy the thyroid.
Because there are so many things that can affect the immune system and the thyroid itself, it can be difficult to find the root cause. Even with focused effort it can take 9 months or more. But when you hit it, you know. Sometimes it’s the gut (which always needs to be fixed in Hashimoto’s anyway), sometimes it is stress, sometimes it is low levels of vitamins and minerals and sometimes it is a food we are eating.
It is best if we can find someone who can help you find what is driving your Hashimoto’s. But, the REAL key is learning to talk to your own body and listen for the answer. I am learning in a much deeper way recently that my body talks to me loud and clear. I just have to stop and hear what she is saying. Listen to your gut…it will help you along the way!
Until Next Time,