What Causes Hypothyroidism?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of hypothyroidism we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow hypothyroidism symptoms to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind hypothyroidism consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to hypothyroidism symptoms.  Here are eight possibilities:
  • Megaloblastic Anemia
  • Autoimmune Tendency
  • Fluorosis*
  • Copper Deficiency
  • Low Progesterone
  • Iodine Need
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Hypopituitarism
* symptoms can be very similar

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
excessive thirst
allergies to certain foods
pre/menstrual depression
history of hyperthyroidism
low systolic blood pressure
minor joint pain/swelling/stiffness
acne worse during period
poor tolerance of heat
high serum iron
major fatigue for 3-12 months
adverse reaction to stress
craving for salt
... and more than 90 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of hypothyroidism symptoms:
Cause Probability Status
Hypopituitarism 94% Confirm
Megaloblastic Anemia 30% Unlikely
Iodine Need 20% Unlikely
Autoimmune Tendency 5% Ruled out
Adrenal Fatigue 2% Ruled out
Fluorosis** 2% Ruled out
Low Progesterone 2% Ruled out
Copper Deficiency 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
** Symptoms can be very similar

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Glandular Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about hypothyroidism:
Possible responses:
→ Never had it / not sure / don't know
→ Probably had it/minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem, confirmed
→ Current significant problem, confirmed
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either history of hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Copper Deficiency

There are a limited number of studies that suggest low copper levels may reduce thyroid function.  In cases where hypothyroidism is not responding properly to medication, make sure that copper levels are normal.

Fluoride Toxicity

Though apparently vague and non-specific, most of the symptoms of fluoride toxicity point towards some kind of profound metabolic dysfunction, and are strikingly similar to the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Iodine Requirement

Low iodine intake can cause hypothyroidism in adults.

Megaloblastic Anemia / Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia is associated with other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's disease, a form of hypothyroidism.

Progesterone Low or Estrogen Dominance

Progesterone increases sensitivity of estrogen receptors, and can therefore redirect estrogen activity and inhibit many of unopposed estrogen's undesirable side-effects, which includes interference with thyroid hormone activity.

Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency

A suggestive but unresolved issue is the connection between the thyroid and the adrenal glands.  An altered sensitivity of tissues to thyroid hormone may take place when there is a reduction in adrenal hormones.

... and also rule out issues such as:
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