Published on 06-19-2008
What is your experience treating hypothyrodism and hyperthyrodism.
I know it is also related to menopause.
What herbs are helpful.
Any information how to treat it will be helpful.
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comment by "ChadD" (acupuncturist)
on Jun 2008
Both hyper and hypo thyroidism can be helped with acupuncture and associated therapies (most particularly herbal medicine). Before I get into some treatment concepts however, there is a part of your question that deserves some discussion.
Thyroid problems are not related to or caused by menopause. Thyroid symptoms may worsen due to the hormonal changes brought on by menopause, but thyroid issues are just that and menopause is a separate condition all together. In fact, many women have thyroid issues but are improperly treated by their doctors with estrogen and the like as the symptoms are similar to menopause. They generally do not improve at all, or to a significant degree because their underlying issues are going unnoticed and untreated.
Some general guidelines:Thyroid Disease Menopause Age Can strike anytime, but most commonly found in 1 in 8 women between 35 and 65, and nearly 20%, 1 in 5, of all women over 65 Menopause most commonly begins around ages 45-50, with perimenopausal symptoms sometimes starting as early as 35-40 Similar Symptoms Exhaustion, Brain Fog, Poor Memory, Depression, Lethargy, Changes in Mood or Energy, Skin Changes, Hair Loss, Changes in Hair Texture, Change in Libido/Sex Drive, Sleep Disturbances, Increased Anxiety, Nervousness, Heart Palpitations, Irregular or Missed Menstrual Periods Symptom Differences If you are having neck pain, visual disturbances, swelling of arms/legs, loss of hair from eyelashes or eyebrows, extreme weight fluctuation, these are probably more likely to be thyroid- related symptoms. If you are having hot flashes/night sweats, or vaginal dryness, these are probably more likely to be related to menopause. Getting Tested Ask the doctor for a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test as a starting point. Ask the doctor for a FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) test to evaluate your estrogen levels.
From an acupuncture perspective, first - as with any condition treated by Chinese Medicine - the western diagnosis is irrelevant from a treatment point of view. You need to look at the patient's overall signs and symptoms and come to an overall TCM diagnosis to effectively guide your treatment. Treating directly off of western condition names violates the entire tenet of Chinese Medicine - that is to treat the "patient" not the "condition". The more you look at what the patient is presenting with and base your treatment off of that, the better focused your treatments will be and the better the patients response.
For menopausal syndrome you should start by looking through our acupuncture for menopause section. This will give you many of the common TCM diagnoses that apply to women with the symptoms of menopause. By following this way it will not matter from a treatment perspective whether the person has thyroid problems, menopause problems, or a mixture of both.
From a TCM perspective, in general, hyperthyroid issues result from a yin deficiency of some nature (Kidney, Liver, etc.) and hypothyroid results from a yang deficiency of some nature (Kidney, Spleen, etc.). For most conditions there will at least be some Kidney disharmony involved.
In my practice I largely utilize the Tam Healing System which combines some of the standard TCM points with other points based on western anatomical/physiological understandings and/or confirmations. For most thyroid conditions I use points based on an overall TCM pattern and then focus acupuncture and/or tuina as appropriate on the following points - the huatuo of C6 (thyroid gland), C7 (parathyroid glands), SI 16, GV 22, ST 9, KD 3, PC 7. You can follow the links to the individual point pages to get an idea of why we use those points - and the C6, C7 areas are worked on with deep tuina. We use tuina for a few minutes in the neck area, etc. at the start of the treatment and then a while longer after all the needling is finished and they have been removed.
Herbal wise there are many herbs that can be helpful within TCM. For yang deficiency (hypothyroidism) two of the more common are Rou Gui and Fu Zi. They are found in the widely used formula Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan. For yin deficiency (hyperthyroidism) Sheng Di Huang, Shan Yao, and Shan Zhu Yu are commonly used. A popular formula is Liu Wei Di Huang Wan.