Getting to the root of poor health symptoms is foundational in functional medicine. That’s why, with my low thyroid patients, I spend so much time working to identify the factors lurking under the surface that are causing inflammatory harm. This can be anything from poor diet to toxic exposure or even infections. However, when it comes to infection, things get more complicated. I’m not talking about viruses and bacteria; parasites are often a primary factor in low thyroid cases.
While many people think that parasites are only a problem in malnourished third world countries, the CDC estimates that at least 1/3 of Americans are infected with parasites. However, current screening methods miss most parasites, and conventional doctors rarely test for parasites, especially in low thyroid and other autoimmune conditions. This is what you need to know if you suspect parasites might be behind your low thyroid symptoms.
1. Leaky Gut
A signature of most low thyroid cases (over 90%) is a condition called leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Damage to the gut allows pathogens and undigested food to pass into the bloodstream, triggering a chronic immune system response.
Parasites can trigger the gut damage leading to intestinal permeability, and therefore, food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Symptoms might also include chronic fatigue, pain, brain fog, poor digestion, and more.
2. Trouble with Testing
There are a variety of parasites that could be plaguing you such as worms, amoebas, and protozoa, and most tests will not detect any of those. While some practitioners take a general approach to treating parasites, I feel it’s important to know what I’m dealing with so treatment is successful. Specialized labs offer DNA testing for gut microbes that help identify the specific bugs in your gut. These tests offer a better chance of identifying the exact parasite that is behind thyroid symptoms.
3. Targeted Treatments
Parasite cleanses are a general approach to eradicating infections. While that can absolutely work for some people, by using advanced testing, we have a better opportunity to design tailored approaches. Once the parasite is eradicated, there is more work to be done. Parasites cause damage that can perpetuate problems even after the infection is dealt with. It’s critical to identify not only the parasite but also the secondary conditions that need support to heal. Different treatments work for different parasites; thus, while general parasite cleanses can sometimes help, I prefer to figure out the specific type of parasite through advanced testing.
If you suffer from hypothyroid symptoms and you have not completed comprehensive testing to identify parasites or other thyroid-related infections, you could be missing the key to regaining your health. Our clinic uses the most advanced diagnostics to help our patients uncover the root of their symptoms so that their treatments are effective and successful. Don’t waste any more time suffering without hope. There are options that can turn your thyroid symptoms around and give you your health back.