How Esther Avoided a Hashimoto’s Flare-Up

Can you stop or avoid a Hashimoto’s flare-up? This winter, unlike the last several, Esther did NOT have a Hashimoto’s flare-up. In this episode, she will tell you how she avoided it and give you her process. There was not one sole thing, but rather multiple things that all came together to give her the best winter in years.

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095 // How Esther Avoided a Hashimoto’s Flare-Up

Can you prevent Hashimoto’s symtpoms and flare ups? Today, I’m sharing how I managed to avoid a Hashimoto’s flare-up. While I can’t legally claim to have “prevented” it, I can share my personal experience and give you my exact process.

For the past several winters, I consistently experienced flare-ups, leading me to discover my Hashimoto’s diagnosis and begin my healing journey. Despite some progress each year, flare-ups persisted—until this winter.

I noticed early signs of a flare-up and intensified my efforts, resulting in no flare-up this winter. While there isn’t one specific solution, a combination of strategies made a difference for me. If you want to hear my first flare-up story, check out episodes 27, What is a Flare and What Can I Do? and 28, My Flare-Up Story.

Flare-ups are when Hashimoto’s symptoms worsen, either temporarily or permanently. My flare-ups manifested as painful, itchy skin rashes, affecting my legs, extremities, and torso, disrupting every aspect of my life. The discomfort was constant, making everyday tasks challenging. I also experienced fatigue and depression, likely exacerbated by the physical discomfort.

Managing a flare-up involves addressing multiple factors, and I’m thrilled that my approach worked this year. Here are the three steps I used so you can apply them to your situation.

Step One: Look for Flare-Up Patterns

The first step I took in managing my Hashimoto’s flare-ups was identifying patterns. I realized that my symptoms consistently worsened every winter, starting around October or November and gradually subsiding by April. This pattern indicated that something winter-related might be triggering my flares.

I considered several possibilities: lower vitamin D levels, cold weather, and dry indoor air. To address these, I installed whole-house humidifiers and kept a bedside humidifier to combat dry air. Living in Minnesota, cold is inevitable, and with a house full of males who naturally run warmer, I couldn’t keep the thermostat too high. Instead, I layered up with long johns, sweatshirts, and fleece pants, ensuring my clothing was both warm and skin-friendly.

I also checked my vitamin D levels and found them lower than desired, so I increased my supplementation aiming for a level of around 80. Despite these efforts, my symptoms persisted, indicating that these factors alone weren’t the sole triggers. Identifying patterns and addressing obvious triggers was crucial, but it became clear something else was going on.

That was when I first sought a diagnosis. After finding out I had Hashimoto’s, I could move to step two.

Step Two: Address Hashimoto’s Root Causes

The next step in managing my Hashimoto’s was addressing the root causes. After my diagnosis, I focused on reducing overall inflammation and supporting my detox pathways to eliminate toxins. Since the thyroid produces hormones that the liver processes, I prioritized liver support. (I use the Protandim Dual Synergizer.)

Understanding the connection between autoimmune issues and gut health, I began addressing my collagen levels. Collagen is crucial because 90% of our body’s tissues are made up of it, including the gut.

I found a unique activating collagen supplement that activates my body’s collagen production, replenishes it, and prevents its breakdown. This supplement includes ten types of collagen, more than most of the collagen supplements on the market. It’s the first—and as far as I know, the only—collagen that activates the body to produce more collagen. I’ve seen other products claiming similar benefits, but this one had the science and studies to back it up.

Supporting my skin, my primary symptom, and improving gut health were essential steps. Despite these efforts, I wasn’t fully symptom-free, but I continued to make progress by addressing these foundational aspects of my health.

Step Three: Expert Help for Your Flare-Up

After realizing I wasn’t progressing as much as I hoped, I decided it was time to expand my healthcare team. As the CEO of my health, I knew I needed experts in their fields to guide me effectively. So, I sought out a nurse practitioner who resonated with my values and approach to health.

During our first meeting, it was clear she understood my desire to address root causes rather than just managing symptoms. She examined my case with fresh eyes, providing a perspective I couldn’t achieve on my own. After reviewing my labs and medical history, she suggested several strategies.

First, she recommended further anti-inflammatory measures in my diet and advised me to boost my vitamin D levels even higher than my initial target of 80. Given the seasonal pattern of my symptoms, she wanted to ensure my vitamin D levels were optimal.

Additionally, she prescribed a medication I hadn’t previously considered: low-dose naltrexone (LDN). While typically used to treat addiction, LDN has shown promise in reducing autoimmune symptoms at low doses. Although its off-label use for autoimmune conditions lacks extensive published research, thyroid-specific medical communities like Paloma Health recognize its potential benefits.

LDN functions as an immune modulator, helping to reduce inflammation and possibly increasing endorphin levels, which could positively impact mood and quality of life. It’s associated with various improvements, including reduced thyroid antibodies, improved energy, better sleep, and reduced depression.

As we wrapped up our visit, we both acknowledged that I wouldn’t know if her advice worked for a while. As she said, “you always get better in the spring. We’re not going to know if these things work until a year from now.”

Now, a full year later, I can tell you, it worked!

How Can You Avoid a Hashimoto’s Flare-Up?

This was the first winter without a flare-up sidelining me and causing me to feel less-than myself.

Having my life back is an incredible feeling. I could concentrate, go through my day without constant pain, burning, or itching. I could be present in any situation. Both my energy and mental health were better than other flare-up winters.

I am so grateful for this progress, and I want the same for you. I want you to have your life back.

1. Look for patterns and address what is obvious.

2. Identify and work on root causes. Go through the free Hashimoto’s Decoded course which will help you do this.

3. Expand your team and get outside help. Book a Hashimoto’s Health Session to get started.

Esther Yunkin, RN speaking to a woman holding a coffee mug. Both seated on a couch.

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