Because my mother has Graves’ disease (an immune system disorder that leads to an overproduction of thyroid hormones), I assumed my symptoms might be thyroid-related, too. Despite my natural gravitation toward functional medicine doctors, it made sense to go directly to an endocrinologist.
After running a blood test, I learned my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels were high and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, initially causing an excess of hormones (hyperthyroidism), and eventually blocking the thyroid from producing enough hormones (hypothyroidism).
The endocrinologist prescribed me medication to help stabilize my TSH production, but I still had questions: where was the inflammation coming from? Why was my body attacking itself? These weren’t questions the traditional medical community could (or would) answer for me, so I went back to my wellness roots and sought guidance from a functional medicine doctor.
On my second visit, I was tested for thyroid antibodies: the results showed not only that my thyroid was malfunctioning, but that my body was actually attacking its own healthy cells. Rather than slapping a pill bottle Band-Aid over the symptoms, I worked with the functional doctor to find out why.
The first step was an elimination diet, to get rid of and slowly reintegrate potentially triggering foods into my diet. I discovered that I’m sensitive to gluten, dairy is not my friend, and kale—of all things!—was causing the hives. Turns out, consuming too many raw, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, et al), was actually aiding my body in the attack against itself.