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.

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 Disease Revealed

Thyroid Disease RevealedThe first episode of The Thyroid Secret is titled “Thyroid Disease Revealed”. In it, Dr. Izabella Wentz begins by discussing how she didn’t get the answers she needed from her doctors to properly treat and reverse her condition. She talks about her struggles with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. She discusses the pain, confusion, and hopelessness of being stuck with a disease that seemingly would never get better. The Thyroid Secret documentary is a result of her digging for the information she couldn’t get from her doctors. It’s the information she used, and that you need, to improve your thyroid condition.

In “Thyroid Disease Revealed”, Dr. Wentz describes what the thyroid gland is and what it does. She talks to experts about the various different thyroid diseases, their various symptoms, and the treatments that most of us will encounter in conventional medicine. She then goes on to talk about so many things that your doctor never told you.

For example, she mentions that most thyroid patients are never told the cause of their illness, just that their thyroid isn’t working right. That was my experience. I didn’t even KNOW what a thyroid was and what it did when I was diagnosed. I didn’t know why I got Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. All I knew was that I had to take a pill every day for the rest of my life to survive. Dr. Wentz describes many patient experiences similar to my own in this episode. It really illustrates that we’re not alone in fighting this disease.

Dr. Wentz also talks to several thyroid patients, some with Hashimoto’s, some with Graves’ or other diseases. Their experiences are so relatable, I almost cried. Dr. Wentz really hit home when she said “It feels like your freedom is taken away.” I personally have experienced that feeling and I think many of you have, too. But, with the information she has uncovered by using herself as a guinea pig, she has helped so many to improve their lives, mine included, with her interventions.

She states that you have to be your own advocate. You have to take control of your health because doctors will often shut you down, simply because they don’t know what you’re going through. Most doctors treat the symptoms, not the root cause. This cookie cutter approach doesn’t work for most of us.

Root causes of thyroid problems, including nutrient deficiencies, food allergies, inability to handle stress, inability to handle environmental toxins, leaky gut, and chronic infections are also discussed. Dr. Wentz touches on the three main factors why Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and thyroid problems in general are on the rise: genetic susceptibility, toxic foreign substances, and immune stressors.

She ends “Thyroid Disease Revealed” by stressing that the drive to heal must come from you. No one, except another thyroid patient, will know exactly what you’re going through. Your loved ones may not want to or know how to support you. So, you have to take the reins yourself.

What You Should Know About Your Thyroid

What You Should Know About Your ThyroidI was recently alerted to a blog post by Dr. Jeffrey Garber entitled “What You Should Know About Your Thyroid“. While much of the information in this article is already on my website in various places, this article does a great job of compiling it into a concise, easy read that will be very helpful to those new to thyroid issues. Topics covered are: explanation of what the thyroid is and what it does, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Grave’s Disease, thyroid nodules, and diagnosis and screening. It’s worth a quick read.