What Triggers Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Flare Ups?

What Triggers Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Flare Ups?

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid and can lead to hypothyroidism. The symptoms of a Hashimoto’s flare-up can vary from person to person and people with the disease can experience changes in their symptoms over time. Here, we’ll outline the causes, symptoms, and management of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis flare-ups.

What’s a Hashimoto’s Flare-Up?

A Hashimoto’s flare-up is a period of worsening and intense symptoms due to an added stressor on your immune system. Because these flare-ups can be different in different people, they can present themselves as numerous symptoms with moderate intensity, or fewer symptoms with high intensity. 

Symptoms of a Flare-Up

While symptoms can vary, there are many reported signs of a Hashimoto’s flare-up, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation 
  • Dry skin
  • Puffy face
  • Muscle aches
  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia
  • Low mood or depression
  • Irregular or heavy periods 
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

It’s also important to note that a Hashimoto’s flare-up can cause your body to go into a hyperthyroid state, which means your thyroid is overactive. If this happens, you can experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Heat intolerance
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety

What Triggers Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Flare-Ups?

Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish between a Hashimoto’s flare-up and a flare-up of another autoimmune disease. Many emotional and physical things can trigger a Hashimoto’s flare-up, like the ones listed below:

  • Physical triggers
    • Viral or bacterial infection
    • Hormonal imbalance
    • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Emotional triggers
    • A significant change, like a move or a career shift
    • Depression
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Managing Flare-Ups

Treating and managing your Hashimoto’s flare-ups is possible, but it means that you’ll have to make some lifestyle changes. Make sure to talk with your doctor about your symptoms and which lifestyle changes will be best for you. Here are some things you can do:

Take Your Medication

In many cases, hypothyroidism requires medication. Make sure to take yours every day and as instructed. 

Eat Fresh, Whole Foods

Inflammation increases the autoimmune reaction, so make sure to follow an anti-inflammatory diet that includes lots of vegetables and greens, organic meats and stay away from processed foods and foods that have added sugar. 

Watch Your Iodine Levels

Iodine is a mineral that your thyroid uses to make thyroid hormones. A high intake of iodine, which can come from using too much table salt or eating processed foods, can negatively affect your thyroid. Stick to a low-iodine diet as much as possible.

Take Supplements

It’s important to give your body what it needs to support thyroid function. Make sure you’re supplemented enough with selenium and vitamin D to avoid going into a hypothyroid state caused by nutrition deficiencies.

Reduce Your Stress

Along with being a trigger, stress can also hamper your ability to care for yourself as you normally would. Make sure to take time for yourself and relax when needed. Other ways to reduce stress include going on walks, venting with a friend, staying off social media, and getting enough sleep.

Learn More About Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis with Baptist Health

Understanding Hashimoto’s and how to treat flare-ups all begins with having a discussion with your physician. If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of a Hashimoto’s flare-up or would like to learn more, find your nearest Baptist Health physician and schedule an appointment today. If this is a true medical emergency, please dial 911. 


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