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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Updated on August 4, 2011

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) frequently go hand in hand, as it's not uncommon to find a person who has both conditions. The reason for this is because chronic fatigue syndrome always involves stressed out adrenal glands, and most people with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis also have weakened adrenal glands, although sometimes it isn't extreme enough to classify someone as having chronic fatigue syndrome. In either condition, the overall goal should be to strengthen the adrenal glands. And some people with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis need additional support to assist them in restoring their health, as the immune system and possibly other areas of the body need to be addressed as well.

What Causes Both Hashimoto's Thyroiditis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Although I just mentioned that weakened adrenal glands is the primary cause of chronic fatigue, as well as in many cases of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, let's look a little bit deeper into how this actually happens. There are numerous factors which can lead to weakened adrenal glands:

Factor #1: Dealing with chronic stress situations. Our adrenal glands were designed to handle acute stress situations. Unfortunately, they can't handle chronic stress over a prolonged period of time, which many people deal with. So when someone deals with chronic stress on a frequent basis and does a poor job of managing it, over time this will weaken the adrenal glands. While it's not feasible for anyone to completely eliminate the stress in their life, most people can do a much better job of adapting to it, which will help to minimize the harmful effects stress has on our adrenal glands.

Factor #2: Eating a lot of refined foods and sugars. Whenever you eat a refined food, it raises the blood sugar levels and causes the hormone insulin to be released by the pancreas in order to lower the blood sugar levels. After this happens, the blood sugar levels come crashing down, and the hormone cortisol is released from the adrenal glands. When this happens frequently, and the adrenal glands have to constantly secrete cortisol, this will also lead to weakened adrenal glands. So the obvious solution to fix this problem is to reduce the amount of refined foods and sugars you eat on a regular basis. If you find this difficult to do, you might need some herbal support. A great herb which not only helps to remove sweet and carbohydrate cravings, but also helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, is Gymnema. You just need to make sure you purchase a high quality herb, and it's best to consult with a healthcare professional for recommendations on the dosage you should take so that you receive optimal results.

Factor #3: Getting insufficient sleep. Not getting sufficient sleep each night over a long period of time will also stress out your adrenal glands. You should be receiving a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, and many sources recommend getting 8 to 10 hours of quality sleep. Of course if your adrenal glands are already compromised then it might be difficult to achieve this, and you might need to take some nutritional supplements and/or herbs on a temporary basis to help you sleep better until the adrenals become strong again.

Factor #4: Physical or emotional trauma. Although most adrenal gland problems slowly develop over a long period of time, sometimes a traumatic event can actually trigger an adrenal gland problem. Even though the adrenal glands were designed to handle acute stress, sometimes the physical or emotional trauma is too much for them to take.

Keep in mind that both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis take a long time to develop. So when someone develops weakened adrenal glands due to one or more of the factors listed above, it still will take quite a bit of time for either condition to develop. The way this can cause Hashimoto's to develop is that weakened adrenal glands will in turn compromise the immune system, thereby improving the chances of the person developing an autoimmune condition. Weak adrenal glands also puts the body in a state of catabolism, which essentially means the body is breaking down. In order to slow down this process, the thyroid gland will reduce the amount of thyroid hormone it secretes, which ultimately leads to the hypothyroid condition. This, combined with the autoimmune response, is what leads to the development of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

As for how this can develop into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, if the weakened adrenal glands are unaddressed, then they will continue to get stressed out, until they are in a state of exhaustion. This state of exhaustion is what ultimately leads to CFS. So one should understand that there are different levels of "adrenal fatigue", and it's not until the adrenal glands are completely exhausted until one can be labeled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Can Hashimoto's Thyroiditis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Be Cured?

If you seek treatment from an endocrinologist, or most other types of medical doctors, chances are you won't be able to restore your health back to normal. In fact, most medical doctors have no idea how to cure Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and most label Hashimoto's Thyroiditis as being incurable. So if you want any chance of restoring your health back to normal, your best bet is to consult with a holistic doctor who specializes in endocrine disorders. Such a doctor will be able to determine the underlying cause of the problem, and they will put you on a natural treatment protocol to help with your condition.

On the other hand, most medical doctors will just recommend lifetime symptom management through medication for both of these conditions. For example, most people who are diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis will be told to take either synthetic or natural thyroid hormone for the rest of their life. This is true even though the malfunctioning thyroid gland usually isn't the direct cause of the disorder. In most cases nothing will be done to address the adrenal glands or the immune system.

The same concept applies with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Since most medical doctors don't know how to effectively treat this condition, they will usually just prescribe drugs to the patient to help manage the symptoms, which usually isn't too effective of an approach. The sad part is that in many people, both of these conditions can be cured by following a natural treatment protocol under the guidance of a competent endocrine doctor.

What Will A Natural Endocrine Doctor Do?

A natural endocrine doctor will most likely recommend tests to help determine what is causing the problem. Since the adrenal glands will be involved in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and most likely will be involved in Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, they probably will look to evaluate the adrenal glands. An Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) is one example of a test that will accomplish this, as this requires four different saliva samples taken at different intervals throughout the day, and gives the cortisol levels for each of these times. It's common for someone who has adrenal problems to have low cortisol levels in the morning, when they are normally supposed to be at the highest levels.

The natural doctor might perform additional tests based on your symptoms and other factors. Some examples include a hormone panel to determine if you have a hormonal imbalance, and tests for nutritional deficiencies are also commonly recommended. This of course is in addition to any blood tests you have already received, as if you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis you probably have had some thyroid blood tests. The natural endocrine doctor will look at all of these tests, and will use these results along with other factors to come up with an individualized treatment plan to help restore your health, assuming this is possible.

In summary, millions of people have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And while most of these people will follow the advice of their medical doctors, more and more people are turning towards natural treatment methods to restore their health back to normal. Although not everyone can have their condition completely cured through natural treatment methods, many people can still receive some great benefits which will help to minimize their symptoms and optimize their health. So at the very least you might want to consider consulting with a natural endocrine doctor to see if you're a good candidate for natural treatment methods.

For more information on how to treat hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis through natural treatment methods, please visit my facebook fan page, Natural Solutions for Graves Disease and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis at

Video: Hashimoto's Thyroiditis & Natural Treatment Methods


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      C. 6 years ago

      What is a natural endocrine doctor and where does one find his/her service?

    • carolyn a. ridge profile image

      carolyn a. ridge 6 years ago

      WOW! Your article makes great sense; I just had never thought of it this way. Knowledge is power !! Thanks for sharing.