As the daughter of a track coach and psychologist, health and fitness along with mind body connection were always part of my lifestyle. I’ve read most every book available about how to eat right and maintain good health. At first I read these books in a quest for answers to my own health challenges and passion to understand the human body but I continue to read and learn for my patients’ needs as well.
My education background has always included nutritional studies but I got involved with a group of weight loss doctors training in purification programs and natural wellness and was intrigued by the results they were getting with the their programs. I also spoke with many thyroid experts about the function of the thyroid, why it slows down, and why most people today are in a fight-or-flight condition of adrenal overload.
I was continually presented with female patients that were concerned they couldn’t lose weight because of thyroid issues, and that, more often than not, they were right. I’d been learning how to take care of the thyroid and treat the epidemic of thyroid disorders. I saw a direct correlation between balancing the thyroid and significant weight loss success. In fact, the women who took steps to balance their thyroid naturally lost just as much weight as a person without a thyroid disorder.
I also loved the fascinating information about accessing fat-burning hormones and methods used to help balance the adrenals and the thyroid, and that’s when I got excited about implementing protocols with my own patients.
For so many people, purification programs or nutrient repletion of deficiencies is an eye-opening experience. At first, people don’t want to hear about changes they need to make to address their health issues because most are still looking for a quick fix. There is no quick fix, but I find that once my patients understand their personal program—and commit to doing it right—it’s far easier than they think. When I attended the Institute for Functional Medicine conference medical doctors new to natural medicine strategies were absolutely stunned at the results using nutritional programs over drugs.
Personalized nutritional programs balance the entire body. Once people start seeing their pounds and inches melting off and they realize they’re no longer eating junk and packaged foods, and they feel good and they’re getting their energy back, their digestion improves and their migraines are going away, they’re so thrilled that they’re hooked for life.
My Journey to Thyroid Balance
As I mentioned earlier, my specialties as a healthcare professional, and the approaches I use with my patients, are an outgrowth of what I learned in the process of overcoming my own health challenges. I’ve had three uterine surgeries, two miscarriages, and a thyroid tumor. All those situations led me to look for answers and better solutions because my traditional medical practitioners attributed the problems to causes that didn’t make sense to me.
The three uterine surgeries resulted from the fact that my uterus had an unusual shape. The best doctor among Harvard’s OB-GYN fertility specialists said that one surgery would fix the problem. Unfortunately, that surgery wasn’t successful, and another surgery was required. After having two miscarriages, I found out from a different OB-GYN that the surgeries hadn’t been done right, so that doctor performed still another surgery. That’s when I found out that the second surgery had caused a great deal of scarring. I had been trying to conceive for three years during that time without knowing about all the scar tissue caused by the second surgery.
With each uterine surgery, more drugs and hormones were involved (this was a huge stretch for me), and the miscarriages followed; all of this compounded my stress. I suspected that my thyroid had been affected and, over the course of a year, had twice asked my OB-GYN to check my thyroid. I was told that it was normal—but it wasn’t normal.
When I started having difficulty with breathing and swallowing, they finally diagnosed a seven-centimeter tumor in my thyroid. I was originally told that I had cancer, but the tumor was ultimately determined to be benign.
I believe the drugs, synthetic hormones, adrenal overload, improper removal of mercury fillings and the stress related to having two miscarriages were the originating source of the tumor. Science has shown us that over 90% of all diseases are emotional in nature. The mind-body connection cannot be ignored.
Every doctor I saw said I would need my thyroid removed and would have to take Synthroid for the rest of my life. I wasn’t willing to accept that prognosis. At one point, I went to see my endocrinologist and said point blank that I didn’t want to be on medications for the rest of my life, but all I got was resistance. I am not aware of very many thyroid patients who ever get off their medication. I refused to be in that situation.
I had done a great deal of training and research with thryoid/adrenal/hormone experts who were getting great results by balancing female hormones. I shared some of this information about natural approaches to helping the thyroid to heal. My endocrinologist and PA both insisted that nothing else works and that surgery and Synthroid were my only hope.
I found that claim to be absolutely false. I underwent a test called Spectracell to diagnose nutritional deficiencies. It turned out that four of the five nutritional deficiencies I had at the time were thyroid-related minerals and other nutrients. Within two weeks of targeted supplementation and getting my body back in balance, I felt considerably better and for the first time in a couple of years could tell my thyroid had started healing. I changed my diet, started doing the cleanse process, and my thyroid came back online. I used to have nodules all over my thyroid, and most of them have disappeared and have stayed gone. At no time did I take Synthroid.
My endocrinologist and PA didn’t have anything to say when I went back and still had my thyroid. They were looking at the thyroid scans from the hospital and kept saying they didn’t see how it was possible that I still had my thyroid. They said they’ve never seen anything like my case. They had described my thyroid as “peppered” with nodules. I was grateful to my surgeon that he allowed me my wish of keeping as much of my thyroid as possible. Only the tumor was surgically removed, but through nutrition and diet over time the numerous nodules disappeared or shrunk to the point where they didn’t even see a reason to biopsy them. “We just don’t normally see this,” the endocrinologist said.
I simply smiled.
What I knew from my research was that the thyroid nodules are fed through hormones. Bringing my body back into balance, harmonizing my hormones so the nodules wouldn’t grow, and supplying my thyroid with the nutrients it needs to function properly were all key for me.
When the thyroid doesn’t have the nutrients it needs, it can’t function the way it was intended. It can also get stressed as a result of putting harmful things in the body. When I began this journey, my diet wasn’t the best, I was drinking too much coffee, was stressed out, had a great deal of inflammation, and different organ systems and glands were starting to break down.
Once I keyed into the fact that my body was in severe stress and committed myself to getting better, everything fell back into rhythm. I was able to balance my thyroid using nutrition, not medications. I felt so fortunate to have found the answer to my problems before it was too late.
Hormonal Balance and Women’s Health
Today one of my missions is to help other women return their bodies to natural hormone balance so they can finally lose weight, reverse infertility, do away with PMS, gracefully (as possible) go through menopause and so much more.
I’ve incorporated into my practice the techniques of of some of my favorite medical experts who are balancing female hormones in natural ways, and without the use of bioidentical hormones. The techniques basically involve helping a woman’s brain to communicate with her body and start producing her own hormones. With that approach, she doesn’t have downstream hormones slowing her own hormone production over time, which would lead to a negative feedback loop, providing short-term relief without solving the problem.
We now regularly use the Spectracell test with our patients or other functional medicine tests that allow us to determine root cause. My goal is to get to the source of the problem. Whether it was caused by the adrenals, thyroid, ovaries, GI tract, pituitary, or hypothalamus, I find out which organs needs to be supported and then bring it back into balance.
Hormone Balance—a Case Study
A 43-year-old woman had been struggling with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) for over thirteen years. Since the PCOS was preventing her from ovulating regularly, she had adopted children based on the assumption that she was unable to conceive on her own.
Depending on the patients history I may recommend a salivary hormone profile. It’s a total female hormone panel, and we do it to obtain a baseline so we can address any issues that need treating.
The salivary hormone profile isn’t a part of traditional Western medicine protocols but is commonly used in functional medicine. Western medicine usually only checks a woman’s hormones on days three and twenty-four. As Dr. Janet Lang would say, that’s like watching two clips of a movie and trying to decipher the meaning—it’s not enough information. The salivary hormone profile shows the full cycle of how estrogen and progesterone behave. If, for example, a woman is ovulating and her estrogen rises too high and is not coordinated with progesterone the likelihood of a miscarriage is increased.
In this woman’s case, I did a full salivary panel, but realized that we needed to address other issues as well. She had high cholesterol and high triglycerides. She’d been steadily gaining weight, and she was starting to have more cardiovascular risk factors. In other words, she was in need of a comprehensive treatment plan.
I cleaned up her diet, instructed her on how to eat healthy meals, and cleaned out the organs that support metabolism as well as the liver to address the cholesterol and triglyceride issues. Then I placed her on a supplement that supports her own natural hormone production. After following our Lifestyle Program for thirty days, she came back a few months later and announced that she had conceived.
She hadn’t been trying to get pregnant, she was quite shocked when she learned that she was. Her OB-GYN said that this patient had not been ovulating normally for years prior to our program. Unfortunately, she lost the baby possibly due to her age (40”s). But she was ovulating normally and still does to this day, and her cholesterol and triglycerides are back in balance, and she lost the weight she needed to lose. She couldn’t have been happier with her results—and she’d only been on a 30-day program.
Just as with my own story, the earlier a woman is able to seek help and obtain solid answers to these kinds of health issues, the greater the likelihood of success.
Some of our patients with thyroid disorders have had results as dramatic as mine. We’ve even had patients with recently diagnosed Hashimoto’s disease, a disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, resulting in inflammation and an improperly functioningf thyroid gland, experience great results. After thirty days on our cleanse, when we have repeated the thyroid antibody check, the levels have been dramatically reduced because we’re bringing their body back into balance which, in turn, starts to heal the thyroid.
Most of our patients who are taking Synthroid—some for eight or more years—have had to ask their doctors to lower their dosage. Most patients can tell when their energy levels and metabolism starts working again, and they can feel when their medications are no longer balanced. We monitor that closely to be sure they speak with their endocrinologist to get their dosage lowered when they need to. Most endocrinologists in our area do a great job of keeping track of the blood work and retesting their patients anyway, so our results are usually in line with those follow-ups.
My mission in life is to help heal people naturally. I’d like to see more people open up to alternative options for true health. I suspect that most people don’t think they have a choice when it comes to their health. We see so many people turning to pills and drugs, and they don’t understand that there are other options; they just accept Western medicine as the only way.
So many people are caught up in a lifestyle that revolves around getting up, going to work, raising a family, and constantly being stressed out. I see a large number of people who are on overdrive and who aren’t living their lives in a conscious manner—and they are paying a high price for it. Part of my mission is to communicate that an essential component to getting healthy is realizing that a state of health is part of our true nature—it’s who we really are. Granted, some people need medication for one reason or another, but many people are taking medicines unnecessarily, and at a great price.
I love working with people who truly want to get healthy—who want to make a difference in their lives and want to enjoy a better quality of life. We all create our own heaven on earth, and I’d like to help people create that for themselves and feel better while they are doing it.
Dr. Kristy Clinton-Hodges has been practicing in Austin since 2000 and is dedicated to learning the most current health information and techniques that allow her to better treat her patients. She and her husband, who is also a health and fitness enthusiast, love to hike, travel, and care for their pets. Dr. Kristy Clinton-Hodges is also an avid reader and a student of Yoga. But the greatest blessing of her entire journey was the adoption of her son in 2013. More to come on this amazing journey soon.