What To Do During A Hashimoto’s Flare Up
Hi, everyone! Welcome back to our discussion about chronic illnesses. If you’re just joining the conversation, let me catch you up!
In 2016, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, commonly called Hashimoto’s Disease. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune thyroid disease that causes your immune system to target and destroy the thyroid’s hormone-producing cells.
It’s one of the most common autoimmune diseases in the United States and unfortunately, it’s not a disease that you can simply ignore. If left untreated, Hashimoto’s Disease can lead to trouble swallowing, depression, reduced mental capacity, and even heart failure.
While Hashimoto’s is a manageable disease with lifestyle changes and thyroid medication, victims of this disease may still experience flare-ups.
Flare-ups are a period of worsened or intensified symptoms caused by an added stressor to an already compromised immune system. When it comes to Hashimoto’s specifically, a flare-up may cause victims of this disease to experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism and major disruptions in their everyday routine. Factors that can trigger a Hashitmoto’s flare-up include gluten, stress, toxic chemicals, exposure to certain metals, and more.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s flare-ups include fatigue, insomnia, muscle & joint aches or pain, inflammation or puffy face, constipation, unexplained weight gain, and so on. You can find a more comprehensive list of symptoms here: 5 Hashimoto’s Flare Up Causes.
What To Do During A Hashimoto’s Flare Up
Realizing that you’re having a Hasimoto’s flare-up is the first step in healing. It’s important to recognize the signs of a flare-up and take healing action before any symptoms worsen and/or cause permanent damage to the thyroid and other parts of the body.
Having personally gone through countless flare-ups, I’ve had to really focus on finding solid tips and tricks for dealing with the many symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease. Here are my top ten tips for what to do during a Hashimoto’s flare-up:
Drink Plenty Of Water
With any autoimmune disorder, it’s important to drink plenty of water. During flare-ups, the immune system is working extra hard to cleanse the system of toxins, and drinking water can help flush the system at a faster pace. Increasing your water intake can also improve thyroid functioning and reduce common flare-up symptoms such as dry skin, dry and flakey hair, and rashes.
Since my diagnosis, I am always on the lookout for ways to manage my symptoms. When it comes to a dry and flaky scalp, I’ve found several natural remedies that work wonders for rejuvenating the hair.
Get Some Fresh, Clean Air
Two very common symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis are brain fog and forgetfulness. When you’re experiencing these symptoms, the best thing to do is get some fresh air and clear your head. Meditating, making lists, setting reminders, and taking breaks often are also good ways to reduce these symptoms.
Breathing in smoke, dust, or other particulates in the air is never a good idea during any autoimmune disease flare-up, making it a good idea to seek fresh and clean air during times of increased symptoms. You may also want to avoid construction zones, lighting scented candles, and cleaning very dusty parts of the home until the flare-up has subsided.
Level Out Your Blood Sugar
For victims of Hashimoto’s disease, imbalanced blood sugar levels can lead to the improper release of insulin in the body. This can cause severe spikes and drops in blood sugar and eventually lead to chronic hyperthyroidism issues. During a flare-up, you can promote proper functioning of the thyroid by leveling out your blood sugar. You can level your blood sugar out by:
Grab A Healthy Bite To Eat
A thyroid flare-up can be caused by many environmental factors, the most common being an unhealthy diet. During a flare-up, it’s important to eat healthily and avoid triggering foods that may cause inflammation, acid reflux, or indigestion. This means removing salt, sugar, and gluten from the diet and adding in more easily digestible vegetables, fruits, and superfoods.
Many victims of Hashimoto’s disease maintain a gluten-free meal plan or follow the autoimmune protocol diet (AID). These diets include a multitude of foods that promote proper immune system and thyroid functioning. For more on what to eat and what foods to avoid, check out The 7 Best Foods For Autoimmune Disease and the 10 Worst Foods For Autoimmune Disease. To me, following a gluten-free diet is absolutely essential, and it’s #1 on my list of healthy habits that are non-negotiable.
- Exercising regularly
- Managing carb intake
- Consuming plenty of fiber
- Managing stress levels
- Drinking plenty of water
Do A Quick, Easy Workout
Hashimoto’s flare-ups are known to cause weakness, soreness, and muscle and joint pain. To reduce these symptoms, you can:
- Do yoga
- Go for a light walk
- Perform breathing exercises
- Go for an easy swim
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep can promote proper thyroid hormone production as well as improve the health of the immune system. You can get a good night’s sleep by:
- Limiting caffeine intake
- Exercising regularly
- Sticking to your sleep schedule
- Eating healthy
- Limiting screen time/social media
- Drinking caffeine-free tea before bed
Here are 10 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep that can help you.
Focus On Stress-Relief
Chronic stress is one of the most common triggers of any autoimmune disease flare-up. Worry and stress put undue pressure on the whole body and can lead to tiredness, weakness, irritability, and even improper hormone production. When experiencing a Hashimoto’s flare-up, try these stress reduction techniques:
- Get a massage
- Take an Epsom salt bath
- Go for a walk
- Take a break from work
- Spend time with pets
Take Your Probiotics
Without proper management, Hashimoto’s disease can have some serious side effects on your digestive system. These side-effects include leaky gut, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and even degradation of the stomach lining. Taking probiotics during a flare-up can help reduce these symptoms and promote the creation of new, healthy cells while protecting these cells against autoimmunity.
Get Your Essential Vitamins And Nutrients
Proper nutrition is key when it comes to dealing with autoimmune flare-ups. Essential vitamins and nutrients that can reduce symptoms of a Hashimoto’s flare-up are:
- Vitamins E, C, D
- Vitamins B9 and B12
Remove Environmental Triggers
As I mentioned earlier, there are a plethora of environmental triggers that can bring on a Hashimoto’s flare-up. These triggers can be anything from dust particles in the air to the food we eat. This is why it’s important to be able to identify these triggers before risking your health.
When going through a flare-up, be sure to review the list of environmental triggers and remove as many as you can from your general environment. This will speed up your recovery while reducing the risk of worsening active symptoms or developing additional symptoms.
Going Through A Flare-Up? First Things First, Don’t Panic!
So if you’re dealing with an autoimmune flare-up, I see you! It can be daunting, scary, embarrassing, and tiring, in addition to a plethora of other emotions and feelings. So, during those bad flare-ups, just remember that you’re not alone! For more info about autoimmune diseases, be sure to head on over to Chronic Illness under the Health tab on my website. Here, you will find information about the different autoimmune diseases, their symptoms, how to avoid flare-ups, and more!
And lastly, I’d love to hear from you guys how you manage your own flareups? If you have any amazing tips, leave them in the comments below!