Is an infection causing your Hashimoto's?
When you first get your diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, correcting the everyday debilitating or even embarrassing symptoms first is most understandable and a great place to start. When I was diagnosed I was experiencing extreme fatigue, brain fog, a puffy inflamed face, dizziness upon standing, IBS-like symptoms, thinning hair and more. Luckily a lot of these can be addressed with simple diet and lifestyle changes and improvements to the function of your digestive system. However, if you want to go beyond symptoms, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper. This can be an interesting time as you begin to understand your environment and body more and how things can impact its function.
Many doctors will say that there is no way to reverse autoimmune disease and that most of the debilitating symptoms of Hashimoto’s such as fatigue can be corrected with replacement T4 hormone therapy. However, this is simply not true. If you want to restore your thyroid function you need to start looking for your root cause. There could be a number of potential root causes but scientists have found a great deal of evidence that suggests Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is caused by infections. Patients often have positive blood tests indicating a past or current exposure to an infection and can often trace the onset of their condition to a bout of illness. When I looked back at my medical history, I realised that I’d had an Epstein Barr infection (EBV) at 18 years old, which is common in Hashimoto’s, however it took even more digging to find a current and rampant H.pylori infection as well. Even though it was a current infection for me, I have a feeling I’ve had it even longer, possibly since I was 8 years old. I also had other GI infections including Blastocystis hominis - another common one. It’s too simplistic to think that each condition is caused by one and the same infection as everyone else. Therefore testing is necessary.
Common infections seen in patients and the scientific literature include: Bartonella henselae, Blastocystis hominis, Dientamoeba fragilis, Enterovirus, Giardia, H.pylori, Hepatitis C, Herpes Virus, Human herpesvirus 6, Mumps, Rubella, Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Toxoplasma gondii, Yersinia enterocolitica, yeast overgrowths and more. That also doesn’t mean if you get an infection, you’ll automatically get an autoimmune disease. It’s not that simple. Autoimmune disease occurs in vulnerable or genetically susceptible individuals during a perfect storm of several conditions. This can include: your genetic expression, infections, poor digestive function with an absence of beneficial bacteria and nutrient deficiencies and increased intestinal permeability. Other environmental aspects could include chronic stress, sleep deprivation, toxins, and heavy metals for example.
If you have Hashimoto’s and you’re struggling to go into remission with diet changes alone, it’s possible that you may have an infection that needs resolving. It’s an aspect of Hashimoto’s that often gets little attention, however is important to address as they can progress and lead to an increase in symptoms. Identifying and treating infection can result in complete remission.