This week marks the second installment of Thyroid Thursday, a weekly series in September to support Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Today, Fern Olivia describes what’s associated with the increased rates of thyroid disease and cancer…especially amongst women. Remember to leave any thyroid or health-related questions that you would like her to answer in the comments section below. Read on to hear more from Fern!
Why are more people, especially women, struggling with thyroid health today? And why is thyroid cancer on the rise?
In 2016, the National Cancer Institute estimated 64,300 new cases of thyroid cancer, which is the eighth most prevalent type of cancer, right above kidney cancer and leukemia. You probably know someone with a thyroid disease or cancer, maybe even a few people. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re part of a ripple effect of empowerment, and this article may change your life.
So please, read on and share this information with everyone who may benefit.
Experts don’t always know what causes each individual case of thyroid cancer, when a malignant tumor or nodule builds up in the thyroid. But like other cancers, we can agree that changes in the DNA of your cells seem to play a role. These DNA changes may include changes that are inherited as well as those that “happen as you get older.” But what does this even mean? And why are more and more young adults and children being diagnosed with these cancers?
We carry DNA from our biological parents, and these genes may be turned off, especially when we live a clean lifestyle with minimal stress. Oftentimes, however, these genes turn on or become expressed. And from my work with hundreds of clients with thyroid disease and thyroid cancer, I’ve seen a pattern of triggers from a major trauma or life incident, to a cancer onset somewhere else in the body that results in weakening the immune system, and most commonly, major chronic stress on the glandular system and microbiome.
According to Raphael Kellman, M.D., founder of the Kellman Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine, thyroid disease and the microbiome, the bacteria balance within the intestines, are intricately intertwined, and imbalances can set off a cyclical reaction. And until recently, this very important connection has been overlooked.
This may be precisely the reason you may still feel terrible even while being on the thyroid hormone replacement your doctors may have given you. If the microbiome isn’t being healed and strengthened, the thyroid condition may persist and eventually, if the immune and glandular systems have had a recent trauma or the body has been exposed to significant radiation exposure, thyroid cancer cells may turn on.
In functional and integrative medicine, contrary to the Western medicine model, the emphasis is always on healing the gut (intestines) and balancing the colonies of bacteria that live there called the microbiome. Trillions of bacteria live on us and in us with the largest concentration located in the intestine, where 70 percent of our immune system also lives.
In practical terms, when the bacteria that make up our microbiome are healthy and thriving, so are we. Dysbiosis, or imbalances and overgrowth of unfriendly strains of bacteria, can throw things off, contributing to health and immune issues — including cancer.
So, how did the imbalances happen?
Many of us were given antibiotics as children, and oftentimes we weren’t given high strains of probiotics to counter the effect. Overmedicating with antibiotics and antacids destroys microbial populations. Environmental toxins, pesticides, heavy metal exposure, and chemicals in beauty and cleaning supplies also take a major toll, which is the reason I created Ajai Alchemy, a conscious, eco-sustainable beauty brand that actually works to heal your body on a cellular level using pure essential oils and zero chemicals.
Everything we put in and on our bodies can positively or negatively affect our health. Poor diets of sugary foods, refined carbs, GMOs, gluten, pesticides, and chemical additives cause pathogenic strains to flourish. Over time, the gut is weakened and disease manifests within the physical body.
There are two main reasons more people, especially women, are struggling with thyroid health today, and why thyroid disease and thyroid cancer have become more prevalent.
First, our bodies are out of balance. We’re being hit with so many chemicals and toxins that simply didn’t exist generations ago.
Parabens, carcinogens, heavy metals, and GMOs are all bombarding our bodies, and our immune and lymphatic systems can’t keep up!
Then add adrenal fatigue into the mix, which is affecting so many more women today because we have an unbelievable amount of added stress to be wonder women. On top of the chronic stress of always trying to be perfect, our poor eating habits have caught up to us and weakened our digestive system to a point where we see food allergies pop up all over the place. Years of oral contraception have thrown our hormones out of their natural rhythm, and we are finally just seeing now how altering our hormones for years was not really a smart choice.
Our thyroid is the major control center in our bodies, so clearly when we are so out of whack due to the stress placed upon us by our environment, work, and toxins that have taken over our endocrine system, we just can’t keep up. Our bodies go into survival mode, just fighting to find a little bit of balance.
The second reason is a bit more subtle and often something that your doctor may have never presented to you. Many women and men have the fear of communicating their needs and desires, feel unheard at work or in their relationships, or feel afraid to do what they really love and express themselves creatively.
Why does this matter when we are talking about the thyroid?
I have noticed in my practice that many women have manifested thyroid conditions because of a long pattern of not speaking up or feeling blocked creatively. Often, I’ve seen clients who were physically or emotionally abused and have held the trauma inside, afraid to speak up, and even repeating the same situations again, feeling unworthy of being heard, or asking for and receiving the love and support they truly desired.
Are you experiencing something similar? Have your physical symptoms slightly improved with nutrition, lifestyle shifts, or medication, but you just can’t seem to feel 100 percent better? Can you recognize any areas of struggle in your life where you’ve been unable to speak your ideas and truth without being judged, shamed, or criticized? Do you find yourself allowing others to speak without expressing your voice because you are afraid of what they may say or how they may perceive you?
We are approaching a major shift in global consciousness, one in which we are beginning to speak our empowered truth about our intuition, our gifts, and our needs. Thyroid conditions and thyroid cancers have been showing up more and more frequently because we are being called upon to raise our consciousness and become leaders in this world. Our bodies are literally saying “Hey, this blockage here, I’m sick of you not being true to you, I want you to finally speak up, it’s not OK to be silent about what has happened to you, it is time for you to clear the past trauma and become your powerful, confident self!” and it’s about time we listen!
Your emotional health certainly helps shape the way your body functions, right down to a cellular level, and science is now catching up with what ancient medical modalities have been explaining for years. Chinese medicine has forever loved to focus on the emotional relationship of the organs, and in many illnesses, successful treatment of conditions and ailments lie in the resolution of emotional issues. Along with other ancient healing wisdom modalities including Ayurveda, the science of life, Kundalini yoga, and Pranayama, we can really begin to start understanding how the physical and energetic body are connected.
Intrigued? You can learn more about my one-of-a-kind thyroid support method in my mindbodygreen course and dive even deeper with me and the world’s leading thyroid healing experts in my upcoming Thyroid Yoga teacher training happening in L.A. this fall and streaming globally.
*This post was written by Fern Olivia and originally published on mindbodygreen. Photo: Alicia Panetta, Blue Velvet Studios.