Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis vs. Hypothyroidism: What’s the Difference?

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis or HypothyroidismHashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism are two related but distinct thyroid disorders that often get mentioned together. Both conditions can affect the thyroid gland and lead to similar symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, and cold intolerance. However, they have different causes, diagnostic processes, and long-term implications. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism to help you better understand these conditions.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: An Autoimmune Disorder

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. This chronic inflammation gradually damages the thyroid, leading to decreased production of thyroid hormones, namely thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). This condition is more common in women than in men and tends to run in families.

Hypothyroidism: A General Thyroid Hormone Deficiency

Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is a broader term that refers to an underactive thyroid gland, regardless of the underlying cause. It can result from various factors, with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis being one of the leading causes. Other causes of hypothyroidism may include thyroid surgery, radiation therapy, medications, or congenital issues.

Diagnosis: How They Differ

  1. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diagnosis: To diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, doctors often perform blood tests to measure levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and specific antibodies like anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and anti-thyroglobulin (TG). Elevated levels of these antibodies, along with an elevated TSH and low T4, indicate Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
  2. Hypothyroidism Diagnosis: For hypothyroidism, the diagnosis is generally based on TSH levels alone. Elevated TSH levels are a clear sign of an underactive thyroid. Doctors may also consider measuring free T4 levels to determine the severity of the condition.

Symptoms Overlap

One reason Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism are often confused is their shared symptoms. Both conditions can lead to:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cold intolerance
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Constipation
  • Depression and mood changes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain

These symptoms can make it challenging to distinguish between the two without proper testing.


Treatment for both conditions typically involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy, such as levothyroxine. The goal is to restore thyroid hormone levels to normal and relieve symptoms. However, there are some differences in the approach:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: In Hashimoto’s, treatment focuses on managing the autoimmune response and preventing further damage to the thyroid gland. This often requires lifelong thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
  • Hypothyroidism: When hypothyroidism is caused by factors other than autoimmune disease, such as surgery or medications, treatment may not need to address the autoimmune aspect. In such cases, the treatment goal is simply to provide the body with the necessary thyroid hormones.

Long-Term Outlook

Both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism can be managed effectively with medication. With proper treatment, most individuals can lead normal, healthy lives. However, it’s important to note that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a lifelong autoimmune condition that may require more vigilant monitoring.


In summary, while Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism share some common symptoms, they have distinct causes and diagnostic processes. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the immune system’s attack on the thyroid gland, whereas hypothyroidism is a broader term encompassing an underactive thyroid gland due to various causes. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help individuals with these conditions lead fulfilling lives, but it’s crucial to understand the differences to receive the right care. If you suspect you have thyroid issues, consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.

Top 5 Struggles People With Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Have While Working

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, causing it to become inflamed and unable to produce enough hormones. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating. For people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, working a job can be a real challenge. Here are the top five struggles that people with this condition may face:

  1. Fatigue: One of the most common symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is fatigue. This can make it difficult to get up in the morning and have the energy to work a full day. People with this condition may find themselves needing to take frequent breaks or feeling exhausted by the end of the workday.
  2. Difficulty concentrating: Another common symptom of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is difficulty concentrating. This can make it difficult to focus on work tasks and complete them efficiently. It may also lead to forgetfulness, which can be frustrating for both the individual with the condition and their coworkers.
  3. Mood changes: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can also cause mood changes, including depression and anxiety. These mood changes can make it difficult to deal with the stresses of work and interact with coworkers and supervisors.
  4. Workplace accommodations: People with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may need accommodations in the workplace to help them manage their condition. This could include things like flexible work schedules, extra breaks, or the ability to work from home. It can be challenging to navigate the process of requesting and receiving these accommodations, and some people may be hesitant to do so out of fear of discrimination or stigma.
  5. Finding the right treatment: Finding the right treatment for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be a struggle. This may involve trying different medications and doses to find the one that works best. It can be frustrating and time-consuming, and it may take a while to find the right treatment plan.

Overall, working a job with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be a challenging experience. However, with proper treatment and accommodations, it is possible to manage the condition and have a successful career.

5 Symptoms of Thyroid Issues In Women

The thyroid is a very important gland in your body. It basically controls every single cell, from your digestive system to your reproduction system. When it malfunctions, it can make your life miserable. While most Hashimoto’s patients typically suffer dozens of symptoms, there are five major symptoms of thyroid issues in women that can alert you that your thyroid is not working as it should.

These symptoms are caused by an underactive thyroid that is not releasing enough thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) for your body to function properly. The condition is called hypothyroidism and most hypothyroidism cases are tied to the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. For more information on what the thyroid is and how it works, check out my article, “What is the Thyroid?”.

Before we discuss those 5 pesky symptoms, I’d like to remind you that if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about treatment. They will help you come up with a treatment plan to lessen or relieve these thyroid symptoms.

5 Symptoms of Thyroid Issues In Women

5 Symptoms of Thyroid Issues In Women - Weight Gain

Weight Gain

When your thyroid is underactive, it slows your metabolism down. The end result is weight gain. It doesn’t matter if you stick to the perfect diet and exercise plan, you can still gain weight because your metabolism is working against you.

This can be very distressing, to work hard at losing or keeping the weight off and seeing no results. I’ve experienced that, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Once my doctor adjusted my medication and my TSH levels returned to normal (I do best between 1 and 2), I was able to make progress on weight loss.

If your doctor is able to help you get to healthy TSH levels and you’re still experiencing weight gain, you may want to review your diet and exercise plan with your doctor. Additionally, you may want to find a functional medicine doctor to discover the root cause of your weight gain and address it.

Cold Intolerance

Cold Intolerance

Cold intolerance is often one of those symptoms of thyroid issues in women that flies under the radar because many don’t realize it’s connected to their thyroid. They brush it off as just the way their body works. The thyroid functions similarly to a thermostat and when the thermostat goes wonky, you’ll have problems maintaining a correct temperature.

There have been times when the thermostat was at a comfortable 74 degrees Fahrenheit at work and I was wearing a winter jacket. Sometimes, it was so bad, I’d go into the thermal room, set at a balmy 104 degrees, with my winter jacket on and drink hot coffee for ten minutes. Yeah, that’s a major sign something’s wrong.

Many times, if you’re suffering from cold intolerance, you’ll find if you take your temperature that it is lower than the normal 98.6. When I’m severely hypothyroid, my temperature is often in the 97s.

Because of this cold intolerance, people suffering from hypothyroidism are at risk for hypothermia, so take precautions. Bundle up if you’re cold or adjust the thermostat to a more comfortable level, if you can.

Hair Loss

Hair loss or hair thinning can be one of the most distressing symptoms of thyroid issues in women. Seeing large clumps of hair come off in the shower or in your hair brush can be disconcerting.

Quite often, once TSH levels return to normal with proper treatment, hair issues resolve, though that might not always be the case. If you still suffer from hair loss at that point, it may be another issue, like iron deficiency or menopause, and you should talk to your doctor.

Irregular Periods

Irregular Periods

A lot of women are diagnosed with hypothyroidism later in life. In fact, my mother wasn’t diagnosed until her mid-forties. At that time of life, irregular periods can be a possible sign of menopause. But, it can also be a sign of thyroid problems. It would be best not to assume and get your thyroid checked out if your periods are irregular.

5 Signs of Thyroid Issues In Women - Fatigue


Fatigue is one of the symptoms of thyroid issues that you just can’t ignore and one I’ve struggled with a lot. There’s nothing worse than wanting, or having, to do things and not having the energy to do them. We’re not talking about feeling a little tired. We’re talking about overwhelmingly low energy, like the inability to get out of bed, that a good rest won’t make go away.

This is a clear sign that there’s something wrong with your thyroid. When experiencing this symptom, you should request a TSH test, Free T4 test, and Free T3 test from your doctor or endocrinologist. Your TSH is likely high and your meds need a dosage adjustment.

In Conclusion

We hope this article helped you recognize the 5 symptoms of thyroid issues in women and provided you information to help you talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you found this article helpful, please share it with others you think might benefit from it.

If you’d like to learn more about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, its root causes, and how to treat it, check out “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause” by Dr. Isabella Wentz. The knowledge in that book has impacted my life positively and I hope it will yours as well.

The Thyroid Secret: The Truth About Toxins

The Thyroid Secret: The Truth About Toxins“The Truth About Toxins” is the fourth episode in The Thyroid Secret documentary. This episode discusses the big impact that toxins in our environment have on our thyroids and thyroid disease. It is estimated that we come in contact with over 80,000 different toxic chemicals every day in such things as food, makeup products, and our cars. That was quite a shocking statistic to hear.

Our thyroid, which is programmed to take in nutrients, instead starts taking in toxins we’re exposed to, making us sick. Possibly even triggering autoimmune disease. When toxins enter our body, our cells go into danger mode, slowing or even shutting down to protect the body. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the Ukraine in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Studies have shown that nearly 80% of the children in the area have developed thyroid problems. And there is an epidemic of thyroid cancer around Fukushima, as well.

Dr. Wentz mentions several of the different common, every day toxins we come in contact with, some you wouldn’t even suspect. They include plastic bottles, dental amalgams, fire retardants, parabens, thalates, pesticides, off-gasing of bromine from new cars. Even some of our food contains toxins. Dr. Wentz states that high fructose corn syrup can contain mercury and rice is high in cadmium and arsenic.

Several suggestions are given to help detoxify the body of specific toxins. Cilantro oil and selenium can both detoxify the body of mercury. Liver detoxification can help with chemical sensitivities. Other suggested therapies include milkthistle and infra red sauna. (Always talk to your doctor before starting any sort of detox!)

This episode, “The Truth About Toxins”, was eye opening. I never realized just how many toxins we are subjected to on a daily basis. If you’re concerned about how toxins in your environment are affecting your Hashimoto’s, you definitely must watch this episode.

If you have found this post helpful, please share it and spread the word!

The Thyroid Secret: Unknown Thyroid Therapies

The Thyroid Secret: Unknown Thyroid Therapies“Unknown Thyroid Therapies” was the episode that really started to dive deep into the details of what can help heal your thyroid disease. I got a lot out of this episode and am planning on implementing many of the treatments suggested, provided I can get my doctor on board for some of them.

Dr. Wentz has done a lot of research on sites such as PubMed and has discussed innovative treatments with experts in various medical fields. A lot of this research is not publicized and as the name of the documentary alludes, it remains a secret to those who need it the most. She reveals many of them in this episode.

Most doctors simply prescribe Synthroid or Levothyroxine to treat Hashimoto’s. And that may help many people with Hashimoto’s. But many people continue to have annoying symptoms even on thyroid replacement. For those people, it would be beneficial to determine if they have trouble converting T4 to T3. If they do have trouble, the addition of T3 (Cytomel, etc) may improve Hashimoto’s symptoms.

One of the most interesting unknown thyroid therapies that is currently being studied is low dose naltrexone (LDN). Low dose Naltrexone helps to balance the immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in the gut. It essentially turns off the cells that cause autoimmunity. The great thing is that there are very few side effects to this treatment. Dr. Wentz goes into great detail about how it works. This treatment, of course, requires a prescription from your doctor. This is one I’m going to explore with my endocrinologist! If you want to try it, you’ll have to coordinate closely with your doctor as well. As you heal, your regular dosage of thyroid hormone may cause you to go hyperthyroid, so you’ll need dosage adjustments.

Dr. Wentz is a big proponent of Functional Medicine.Throughout the documentary, Dr. Wentz interviewed many practitioners of Functional Medicine. It is a medical discipline that addresses the underlying causes of disease instead of just treating the symptoms. It involves treating the real causes instead of putting band aids on the problem. If your current doctor is not helping you to treat the root cause of your disease, a doctor that practices functional medicine may be a good option.

Other briefly discussed topics in this episode include stem cell research and low level laser therapy. This episode alone made watching the documentary worth it. I now have a plan of attack to get my Hashimoto’s into remission and I’ll be referring back to this episode often.

We hope this summary has helped you and given you some information to use on your own journey to remission.

If you have found the information in this post helpful, please share it and spread the word!

The Thyroid Secret: Thyroid Misinformation & Misdiagnosis Machine

Thyroid Misinformation and MisdiagnosisThe second episode of The Thyroid Secret is titled “Thyroid Misinformation and Misdiagnosis Machine”. In it, they discuss the myths and misdiagnoses that surround Hashimoto’s and thyroid disorders in general. I’ll try my best to summarize it below.

Dr. Wentz identifies five stages to autoimmune thyroid disease:

  1. Genetic predisposition. You don’t have the disease, but are predisposed to developing it.
  2. Development of autoimmune reactivity to our own thyroid gland. Our thyroid begins to be attacked by our immune system and we start to develop symptoms.
  3. Subclinical changes. We start to see changes to lab markers and more symptoms.
  4. Overt hypothyroid symptoms.
  5. Progression to other autoimmune conditions.

Most people with Hashimoto’s aren’t diagnosed until they’re in the fourth or fifth stage, when symptoms are really evident. So, they usually don’t even start treatment until then as well. And, of course, conventional medicine only treats the symptoms and doesn’t prevent progression of the disease to the fifth stage. Hardly anyone questions why conventional medicine is quick to destroy or remove the thyroid as part of treatment instead of treating the root cause. Many patients are not told about the autoimmune factors of their disease either.

Many of you know from personal experience that when your Hashimoto’s flares up (when the body is attacking itself), things go haywire. You’re suddenly “allergic” to many different things you didn’t have a reaction to before. The problem is, if you don’t treat the root cause of your disease, you can’t promote true healing. The attack against your body will continue. This can lead to other conditions including vision problems, balance problems, alopecia, psoriasis, eczema, Crohn’s, etc.

Throughout this episode, patients discuss their symptoms and struggles, from fatigue to depression. Many of them were misdiagnosed and prescribed anti-depressants or other medications that didn’t help their condition. They were told it was all in their heads. They were told their lab results were “normal”. Well, you can have normal TSH and still not have your hormones be normal. Doctors should running labs for not just TSH, but for Free T3, Free T4, and Reverse T3 to get a whole picture of what’s going on.

It can be devastating when thyroid misinformation and misdiagnosis keep patients suffering instead of healing. Nearly 80% of people diagnosed as bipolar have Hashimoto’s and when properly treated, symptoms go away. It’s tragic how many issues related to mental health could be prevented when the cause is hypothyroidism. Personally, my doctor told me he suspected I was bipolar. I told him I never had manic episodes. I insisted it was my thyroid. He gave me medication that not only didn’t work, but compounded my problems. When he finally properly treated my thyroid, my issues went away.

The antithyroid antibodies implicated in Hashimoto’s are as follows:

  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO Ab)
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies (Tg Ab)

Near the end of the episode, there was a discussion on how a change in diet can help with Hashimoto’s issues. Grass fed red meat can help with anxiety. Protein for breakfast can help sugar levels. Getting off gluten, as well as taking Zinc, can help with anxiety too.

The episode ended by discussing how Hashimoto’s antibodies can be found in the brain. They can cause ataxia and Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy, a rare neurological condition associated with Hashimoto’s. Again, changing your diet can help with this as well as treating the root cause.

I really related to the patient interviews in “Thyroid Misinformation and Misdiagnosis” and I’m sure you will too. I really got a lot of good information out of this episode.

The Thyroid Secret Documentary is Live!

The Thyroid SecretI have been watching The Thyroid Secret documentary by Dr. Izabella Wentz. She has gathered many experts to discuss the many thyroid disorders and diseases, symptoms, patient struggles, and treatments. She opens up about her own experience, from being undiagnosed for over 10 years to her frustrating attempts to develop treatments and go back into remission. Many of you, and myself included, can certainly relate to her experiences.

She discusses how conventional medicine seems to know so very little about thyroid disorders. In addition, conventional treatments focus on just treating the symptoms rather than identifying and treating the root cause. Without treating the root cause, patients have a rough road trying to get back into remission.

The Thyroid Secret Documentary

The Thyroid Secret is in 9 parts, each part focusing on a different aspect of thyroid disease.

Thyroid Disease Revealed – Dr. Wentz discusses her own personal experience with Hashimoto’s and talks to other thyroid patients.  She discusses what these diseases are with several experts and reveals how they affect the body.

The Thyroid Misinformation and Misdiagnosis Machine – Dr. Wentz discusses myths and mystery surrounding Hashimoto’s, Graves’, and other thyroid disorders. She fills in the missing pieces of what your doctors rarely tell you about these diseases (mainly because they don’t know!).

Unknown Thyroid Therapies – Conventional medicine relies on thyroid hormone replacement and sometimes destructive, thyroid killing “treatments”. Dr. Wentz discusses other little known treatments to reduce inflammation, support your thyroid, and get you into remission.

The Truth About Toxins – We come in contact with toxins every day. This episode discusses how a toxic environment can affect our thyroid gland.

Healing Thyroid Disease With Food – Food can exacerbate your inflammation or help heal it. Learn how you can use food to help heal your thyroid disease.

The Stress Sickness – Learn how stress can keep you ill and how your adrenals factor in to your thyroid disease.

Motherhood Interrupted – Thyroid disease can often cause infertility or problems with pregnancy. This episode discusses hope for women with thyroid disease who want children.

Healing From Within – Learn how to discover the trigger to your thyroid disease and reverse the disease.

The Thyroid Success Stories – Dr. Wentz presents several patients who have successfully reclaimed their health.




Oh, The Pain, The Pain…

When you have Hashimoto’s, sometimes you just wake up in pain. Everything hurts. It’s a soreness that sometimes feels like you overdid it working out, but you didn’t work out because you’re too tired, hurting, etc to do so. Sometimes, it’s more than just soreness, it’s a burning pain… inflammation. Today, it’s a bit of both. I woke up several times during the night with pain in my back, pain in my arm, pain in my wrist. Sadly, I am used to this. I want to get to a point where my Hashimoto’s takes a backseat and I’m NOT used to being in pain all the time. Ibuprofen manufacturers will mourn that day. Wouldn’t that be nice? 🙂

I’m on my third day without Prilosec and I’ve had no major heartburn or acid reflux episodes. I did have a few “uh oh” moments that I thought would turn into major pain, but they didn’t. I’m pretty sure now that chocolate is a trigger. *sigh* Dairy might be too, but I still need to experiment a little with that to see.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause

In other news, look what came today! I love Amazon. I ordered this Friday night and it arrived today… Yes, on Sunday! 🙂 I hope this book holds some answers for me. I’m hoping I can make some changes in my life that will minimize Hashimoto’s impact and allow me to do more and enjoy more. If you would like to order your own copy, click here. (Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates program and get a small commission if you purchase through my link.)

I am going to spend the day reading this book and coming up with a game plan for my own “lifestyle intervention” for my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.