Having Thyroid Symptoms Problems? You Might Not Need an Endocrinologist

Having Thyroid Symptoms Problems? You Might Not Need an Endocrinologist

Having thyroid symptoms problems? Your first inclination might be to find a hormone specialist, or an endocrinologist, to get a diagnosis or a treatment plan. Endocrinologists diagnose, treat, and manage several different conditions that affect your endocrine system, including your thyroid.

The specialty of endocrinology is an incredible one and like all specialists, endocrinologists go through years and years of training to take care of the specialty’s most complex conditions. And as with all specialties, conventional medicine is great at treating you if you’re severely sick, a very complex case, or needing complex interventions.

Where they may fall short is two-fold: if you’re feeling very symptomatic, but aren’t needing or wanting prescription intervention, OR if you’re feeling symptomatic, but your lab values fall within your clinic’s reference range.

Let’s talk first about when you do need to seek out an endocrinologist for their valuable opinion and speciality.

When you DO need an endocrinologist: collaborative care

Even with functional medicine, we realize there are collaborative reasons to intermingle with our conventional colleagues. Endocrinologists have great perspective on complex conditions: they have seen the range of disease severity and have a good idea of where you as a patient land on that spectrum. They can help us rule out the worst possible scenarios and give all involved the peace of mind that utilizing natural medicine is the best option for you. 

With their broad and vast experience, endocrinologists are also important for giving you and your integrative practitioner a second opinion on a diagnosis that just isn’t responding how we think it should to natural treatments. They can help us answer the question: is there something else going on here?

When you need more complete integrative care, and not just endocrinology

Yes, you need the labwork an endocrinologist would order, but you if you’re having thyroid symptoms problems, you also need a bigger, more holistic perspective.

I fully believe that endocrinologist know A LOT—but whether they just don’t have time for OR don’t see a need for comprehensive testing, I’m not quite sure. In conversations between patients and endocrinologists, I’ve heard “we don’t need to know your T4 levels because your TSH is within normal range” or “cellular hypothyroidism isn’t a real condition” or “I’m not running your thyroid antibodies because your TSH isn’t abnormal.”

All of those comments can a) be damaging to patients who are looking for support and b) lack the perspective needed to help treat a condition that might not be a full blown disease yet.

Your hormones (ALL of them) work intertwined, so understanding the full thyroid picture is very important. Many endocrinologists monitor your thyroid function with just a TSH, which in functional medicine we know fails to give information on how your body is actually responding to that TSH value. If your TSH is fine, but thyroid output (T4 & T3) is low or your cells aren’t utilizing the hormone correctly (Reverse T3), we can target the specific block in the thyroid hormone cascade, most commonly without prescription needs. 

Endocrinologist also don’t typically run ‘screening tests,’ meaning running thyroid antibodies without an abnormal TSH, or blood nutrients such as iodine ,iron, zinc or selenium (all of which we know are important for thyroid health).

Why does having a more complete picture help with thyroid symptoms problems?

We believe having the information, at least 1 data point, is very important to understanding your long term health. We’ve found Hashimoto’s thyroiditis several times in patients who do not have abnormal TSH values. What’s important here is that while it may not be impacting their TSH today, the autoimmune disease will destroy their gland until it’s no longer functional in a few decades. We focus on what to do today to help elongate the life of your gland. 

That’s the overall goal of functional, integrative medicine: to treat potential issues NOW, to prevent bigger issues and disease later. We can help if you’re dealing with thyroid symptoms problems, whether you have an endocrinologist or not.

Learn more about what we can do to support you and your thyroid here.

How to Prevent a Hangover (And Hangover Remedies, Just in Case)

How to Prevent a Hangover (And Hangover Remedies, Just in Case)

Alcohol isn’t the enemy (though it does have surprising health implications). If you choose to imbibe, do so responsibly—and if you accidentally drink a little too much, know that there are a few things you can do to help get your body back in balance. Bookmark these hangover remedies, especially for the long weekend ahead!

Pre-Drinking Tips to Prevent a Hangover

Prevention is the best medicine, as you probably have heard. So start here when you know you’ll be drinking more than usual, and you’ll be more on your way to avoiding a hangover all togther.

1. Drink Water Alongside Your Alcohol

It’s an old adage that actually rings true: Drinking water before, during, and after you imbibe helps your body process alcohol. It keeps you hydrated (alcohol is a dehydrator), and gives your liver time to metabolize the alcohol. We recommend at least two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume—and make sure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach too.

2. Skip Premade Mixers In Favor of Homemade Drinks

Yes, it’s a little more work to make a margarita from scratch, but that extra effort is worth it to your body. Premade mixers are often chock-full of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, artificial coloring, and other unnecessary ingredients that add to the load your body has to process (and it’s already working overtime on the alcohol).

3. Eat a Good Mix of Fats and Protein Before Drinking

You want to eat a good mix of fats and proteins before (and after) drinking. More than likely, you just got a lot of carbs and sugars from the alcohol. 

The purpose of eating more fats and proteins before drinking will be to slow down gastrointestinal (GI) motility, allowing more time for your liver to process what you’re about to consume. If your GI motility is slower, the alcohol won’t immediately be available in your bloodstream, causing more of a trickle of alcohol into your system.

RELATED: 5 Surprising Ways Alcohol Impacts Your Health

While Drinking Tips to Prevent Hangovers

While you’re drinking, utilize these tips to ensure you’ll be set up to recover well the next day.

1. Use Fruit In Place of Artificial Sugar

Speaking of made-from-scratch drinks, choosing fruit as a sweetener for your beverages instead of artificial sweeteners is a great way to help balance out the alcohol. Fruit is naturally high in antioxidants, which neutralize the destructive molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive oxygen molecules which damage DNA and cell membranes. They’ve been linked to a wide range of diseases and are thought to be one of the chief causes of aging.

Because alcohol itself can facilitate cell damage, including fruit in your cocktail won’t make your beverage a healthy drink—but it can help cancel out some of alcohol’s effects.

2. Avoid Alcohol In Plastic Bottles

Alcohol often lives in its container for longer than other products we consume, whether that’s on the shelf or in your liquor cabinet. That’s why choosing alcohol that’s bottled in glass instead of plastic can actually have a positive impact on your health.

Glass is more impermeable than plastic, making it better for long-term storage, and less likely to leech anything into the alcohol itself.

Plus, plastic is potentially hazardous to your health in other ways. To make plastic hard and shiny, manufacturers often use bisphenol-A or BPA, a compound that has come under fire for its toxicity. BPA is an endocrine disrupter, which means it can disrupt normal hormone function and lead to a slew of dangerous health issues. For instance, studies have linked the compound to breast cancer.

If bottles are exposed to heat (like sitting out in the sun), they’re more likely to break down and release BPA faster. Instead, skip the plastic and choose glass alcohol bottles.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Drinking Healthier

Post Drinking Hangover Remedies

1. Eat a Good Mix of Fats and Proteins

No, you’re not seeing double: Eating after drinking is another way to help prevent a hangover. It can help to stabilize your blood sugar and provide nutrition for your body to recover. High sugar and carbohydrates from alcohol will make your blood sugar go on a roller coaster, and on top of that, the alcohol takes more energy to process through the liver.

You’ll need to eat fats and proteins for both blood sugar stabilization as well as the actual nutrients from the food (think B vitamins, amino acids, etc.) to help the liver process.

2. Pop an Activated Charcoal Pill

Metabolism is going to probably be done by middle of the night so from a medical perspective doing anything to boost it in the morning is a moot point—but we see the allure.

Try activated charcoal internally the night before bedtime to help bind the alcohol up and decrease hangovers.

3. Add Other Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino Acids to Your Morning-After Routine

We all know that alcohol is especially hard on the liver. Taking a supplemental liver and antioxidant support  can help decrease inflammation, support your liver to do its job, and replenish antioxidant nutrients that can be depleted with alcohol consumption.

As an additional way to support liver metabolism, try also adding in amino acids, milk thistle, NAC, and a good B complex.

Some of this information was originally published in an article on This Organic Girl, where Dr. Cassie Wilder was interviewed.

The Benefits of Membership at MIMC

The Benefits of Membership at MIMC

Proper health comes from close, continuous collaboration with your health care team. Often times there is not just one root-cause of your concerns, as your body is all interconnected—when one system slows down, it can impact the rest. Finding and correcting all the pieces to your puzzle takes time and dedication from both you, and your care team.

And while natural methods, and lifestyle interventions are the best way to reverse and prevent disease, they often need more time to work to get you back to feeling like yourself again. That’s why we offer membership plans at MIMC—plans that allow the time and space for your success.

Why a Membership Model?

Working together with your care team, we will develop a plan—including nutrition, natural medicines, exercise, mind-body and more—that is customized to your lifestyle and needs. We’re there for you when you need additional support, recipe recommendations, or a kick in the pants and our continuous collaboration allows for frequent updates to your health plan based on your progress.

That’s why we offer membership at MIMC, so you have access to your care team without worrying about the cost of each individual visit, message, or phone call.

Health and healing is also not just about leaving your doctor’s visits with a bag full of supplements or prescriptions. We believe that 90% of health and healing is what you do outside of your time spent with us in the office. We just don’t have enough time in an hour-long appointment to scratch the surface on the importance of the foundations of health.

With membership, you’ll gain access to your care team in an unprecedented way AND you’ll have access to resources that help you dig in and do some honest reflection about what foundations of health are strong in your life and which ones need a little extra support.

That’s what membership can offer. But let’s break it down even more.

Benefits of Membership at MIMC

Comprehensive Initial Assessment

You’ll get a detailed 90-minute intake and physical exam with your doctor to get to the root cause of your concern.

Unparalleled Access to Your Care Team

Members get unlimited direct messages with providers through our HIPPA compliant app. Our providers reply with thoughtful, thorough responses to actually address your concerns in between visits. This gives you the space to make adjustments to your treatments with the insight of professional practitioners, all from the comfort of your home.

Follow-Up Visits

Follow-up visits that 30-60 minute visits enable you to review lab work, get your questions answered, and receive further support from your care team.

Only the Best Medicine

Unlike other providers, our team is trained in integrative and functional medicine, meaning they take the time to listen to you, take a root-cause approach to diagnosing your concerns, and utilize nutrition, herbs, lifestyle changes, and cutting-edge testing to not only reverse and prevent disease, but to help you thrive.

Advanced Diagnostics

Our functional testing allows us to dig deeper and uncover the root cause of your concerns.

Discounts on the Best in Medicine

Physician-grade supplements and personalized botanical formulas, all from the most reputable sources, are at your fingertips. Plus, you’ll get a discount on lab work and at our medicinary.

Convenience of the Internet

We are a fully digital practice, with online scheduling, access to medical records, and refill requests.

FSA & HSA Eligible

MIMC’s membership meets FSA and HSA requirements, meaning you can reduce your out-of-pocket costs easily.

Access to MIMC’s Exclusive Membership Community Group

Your membership with us is more important than just the visits you have with your care team. We truly believe that with the right guidance, information, and resources, YOU will be the one healing yourself.

That’s why we also offer members exclusive access to our online membership community group. This group offers:

  • In-depth resources on specific topics such as thyroid health, adrenal support, and age-specific hormone support.
  • Detailed courses, like Foundations of Health, that will help you advance to the next level of health and healing.
  • Mini-lessons from our providers on topics that you can’t get enough of!

Membership Gift Boxes

With your membership comes special gifts from our office, including MIMC swag (cute stuff, we promise), better personal care items, limited edition supplements and teas, and more.

The Opportunity to Be Part of a Community

Yes, you’ll get exclusive access to our online community, but you’ll also have the chance to get to know all the team members in our office. We’re a small but mighty team and you’ll get to know everyone from our admin team to the practitioners on staff. Soon, your doctor appointments will be like visiting old friends—no stress or trauma here!

Learn more about membership here, and give us a call if you have any questions—we’re here to help.

Common Causes of Constipation + When to See Your Doctor

Common Causes of Constipation + When to See Your Doctor

Dr. Cassie smiles while taking the heartbeat of a patient with a stethoscope.

Constipation is a common issue we hear about from patients. Whether it’s ongoing or it’s a new symptom for you, constipation is likely not the root cause. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at what causes constipation—and how you can get relief. Keep reading for things to evaluate to treat your constipation, and when you should see your doctor.

Common Causes of Constipation

Lifestyle Causes of Constipation

Lack of water: Yeah, we know, we know. Everyone has already told you to drink more water. But it merits repeating: We recommend 80-100oz per day, minimum, to keep your body hydrated and your bowels moving. Increase that amount if you’re sauna-ing, working out, eating more fiber/protein, or feeling symptoms of dehydration (headache, dry skin, feeling dizzy or tired, dark colored urine, dry mouth). 

Lack of fiber: Not eating enough fiber can be a cause of constipation, and you’ve probably heard it before. But make sure you’re adding fiber to your meal plan if you’re feeling constipated (more on supplements for this in another article).

Irregular routines: Similar to traveler’s constipation, you brain needs to know the toilet is available to use to send signals to your bowels. If you feel like your BMs become regular again once you get into a routine—this is why!

Medical Reasons for Constipation

Hypothyroid: Mixed with other symptoms, low thyroid hormone could be slowing your bowels down. T3 is the energy that drives all cells. If you’re low in T3, your bowels may not have the ‘energy’ needed to push things through. 

Long-standing gut dysbiosis: Your intestines have their own network of nerves that help push things along. Conditions such as SIBO, bacterial food poisoning, and poor microbial diversity in the large intestine can cause the migrating motor complex to become inflamed and ultimately damaged. If your intestines don’t have the nervous system stimulation to move things forward, you’ll notice more constipation. 

Traumatic brain injuries, back/spine injuries or surgeries to the abdomen: Back to that migrating motor complex—if you’ve had damage to the pathway that the brain takes to the intestines, this can affect your bowel habits, slowing them down. This takes a little more of a holistic approach since you’re not just treating the intestines, but the whole pathway—and it’s a reason to see your doctor.

Low stomach acid: You have a reflex that connects your stomach to your intestines—when you eat food and your stomach fills up, it signals to your bowels to push things through. As a baby, this reflex is very apparent but as we get older, things like stress, toxins, nutritional choices, and exercise (amongst other causes) can make this reflex less apparent. A commonality amongst these root causes is low stomach acid production. The creation of stomach acid is a huge part of the signaling process between your brain and bowels and if you’re not producing enough that signaling can get slower, causing constipation. 

When You Should See Your Doctor About Constipation

If any of these medical reasons feel like they fit your health picture, it’s time to see your doctor. If you know you have a pre-exisiting condition that could be contributing to constipation, check in with your practitioner to get a better sense of why your BMs aren’t consistent.

If you’ve tried all the lifestyle changes we recommend and you’re still struggling (pun intended), it’s also time to see your doctor. And a holistic practitioner or integrative medicine doctor is going to be your best bet at getting to the root cause. We’re here to help, if you don’t have a team willing to listen to your symptoms and take them seriously.

Ask Me Anything with Dr. Cassie Wilder

Ask Me Anything with Dr. Cassie Wilder

Dr cassie sits on a gray couch in her medical clinic

In our new series, you’ll get a chance to ask one of our practitioners alllll the questions on your mind. We sourced these initially from Instagram, so keep an eye out for the next round to get your question answered by an MIMC staff member!

Q: How much sleep do I *actually* need?

Q: Is caffeine bad for you?

Q: Do you have a baby formula you recommend?

Q: After an iron infusion, what’s your long-term treatment to keep levels balanced due to heavy periods?

Q: What’s your all-time favorite supplement?

Q: What are you doing for postpartum recovery?