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Friday, October 19, 2007

Your disease is not your fault: Oprah on Thyroid Disease

From Mary Shomon:

If you already have a diagnosed thyroid condition -- and you also heard Dr. Christiane Northrup say recently on Oprah's TV show that "your symptoms are actually your soul's way of bringing deeper issues to your attention," then I'm here, as a thyroid patient advocate, to tell you that your thyroid disease is NOT your fault, despite what Dr. Northrup says.

Here's what else Dr. Northrup has to say about thyroid disease:
"In many women thyroid dysfunction develops because of an energy blockage in the throat region, the result of a lifetime of 'swallowing' words one is aching to say. In the name of preserving harmony, or because these women have learned to live as relatively helpless members of their families or social groups, they have learned to stifle their self-expression....It's no coincidence that so many more women than men have thyroid problems. Thyroid disease is related to expressing your feelings..."

Thousands of women, for example, developed thyroid problems because they lived downwind of the Chernobyl nuclear plant after its accidental release of radiation. Were those women stifling their self-expression? What about women exposed to thyroid-damaging perchlorate by drinking contaminated water here in the U.S. Are they swallowing their words, or swallowing contaminated water? Many women develop thyroid conditions after having a baby. Are those new mothers unable to express themselves, or are their out-of-whack post-partum hormones expressing themselves? What about women with thyroid cancer? Will exercise, nutrition and sex fix their thyroid problem?

Thyroid disease results when heredity and genetics, autoimmunity, environmental exposures, viral infections, and hormonal shifts come together in a perfect storm to trigger a dysfunction. And while emotional and physical stress, as well as nutrition and lifestyle, can play a role creating a climate receptive for -- or fighting against -- most diseases including thyroid conditions, these factors are only part of a larger, complicated puzzle.

Oprah is the richest and most powerful woman in television, one of the richest women in the world, and has a humanitarian and media platform that reaches billions. She is, to many, the ultimate example of an empowered woman. And Dr. Northrup is a best-selling author and "celebrity" doctor on television. What do you think? Did Oprah and Dr. Northrup each develop thyroid disease because they have spent "a lifetime of swallowing words" and stifling "self-expression?"

Explaining the symptoms of a thyroid condition, what women can do to reduce their risk of developing thyroid problems, explaining how women can get tested, giving them the confidence and courage to insist on testing even if their doctor, HMO or insurance says no, and then explaining how to interpret the confusing results -- THAT would be doing what America's women really need.

Mary Shomon's advice: Take the advice you get from doctors on television talk shows with a big grain of iodized salt...

Read blogger Mary Shomon’s source blog post.

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