Vitiligo may increase thyroid disease risk, new vitiligo treatment may help

Vitiligo may increase thyroid disease risk and a new vitiligo treatment may help improve the skin discoloration caused by the disorder. Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis found that thyroid disease is a common comorbidity in vitiligo patients. The authors noted that, “thyroid disease has been suggested to be associated with vitiligo… the outcomes of prevalence studies on thyroid disease in vitiligo vary widely.”

Vitiligo may increase thyroid disease risk

The researchers carried out a literature review and selected over 48 studies, which included 24,000 vitiligo patients. Of the selected studies, 33 reported thyroid disease prevalence among patients, 19 reported autoimmune thyroid disease, and 38 reported thyroid antibodies.

Overall, 15 percent of vitiligo patients had thyroid disease, 14.3 percent had autoimmune thyroid disease, and 20.8 percent tested positive for thyroid-specific antibodies.

Patients with vitiligo were 1.9 times more likely to have thyroid disease, 2.5 times more likely to have autoimmune thyroid disease, and 5.2 times more likely to test positive for thyroid-specific antibodies than individuals without vitiligo. The risk of thyroid disease increased with vitiligo disease duration.

The authors wrote, “Clinicians should be aware of the increased risk of thyroid disease in vitiligo patients and should be attentive [to] symptoms of thyroid disease. [However] to recommend… screening of autoimmune thyroid disease in euthyroid vitiligo patients more research on prevalence, cost-effectiveness, and burden of the patient is needed. Hence, future research of good methodological quality, with differentiation of vitiligo types and the use of standardized outcome measures, is recommended.”

Vitiligo skin discoloration improved with unique treatment

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have improved a technique to transplant pigment cells, which can help repair damaged discolored skin areas found in vitiligo. The new technique is less painful than traditional treatment that cuts into the skin to obtain the cells for transplantation. In the new treatment, cells are harvested from painless blister-raised skin and then transferred to the areas missing pigmentation to help restore natural pigment.

Dr. Amit Pandya, developer of the new technique, said, “This provides new hope for patients with vitiligo. The unique aspect of our procedure, which no one else in the world is doing, is the formation of blisters as the source of donor cells combined with laser surgery to prepare the grafted areas. The older method of cutting the skin leaves a scar.”

The procedure is done by applying a heat lamp to an area of the thigh to form a blister. With the help of a syringe, the cells are extracted from the blister and are later transplanted to the affected area. Dr. Pandya explained, “It doesn’t even hurt. It feels like something is sucking on your skin. Then using heat lamps we’re able to form blisters about the size of a dime.”

Blistering leaves pigmentation, which over time fades away. The extracted cells are then added to a solution in a syringe and added to the affected area. Dr. Pandya said, “The best candidates have improved with previous treatments, but have reached a standstill in which they are neither improving nor worsening.”

Many patients will see at least 50 percent improvement in skin pigmentation, but results are not guaranteed. The new pigmentation may be slightly lighter or darker, but this can be adjusted with phototherapy.

Aside from new vitiligo treatments, Dr. Pandya is also working on a possible cure for vitiligo by working closely with vitiligo registries.



Top 13 Signs That You May Have a Thyroid Disorder

Top 13 Signs That You May Have a Thyroid Disorder

There are a number of possible thyroid diseases and disorders, and the two of the most common thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism (when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs) and hypothyroidism (when your thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones).

Other diseases include goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland), thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules (lumps in the thyroid gland) and thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland).

According to the American Thyroid Association more than 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime, and these are many millions of people.

Hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism and although the two disorders are closely linked, they have several important differences that affect diagnosis and treatment. Here you can find a guide to the top 13 signs that you may have a thyroid disorder:

1. Fatigue and sleep disorders

Hypothyroidism – Fatigue is the number one symptom in hypo. You feel that you want to sleep all the time, or you sleep more than usual but still feel tired and exhausted with no energy. if you suffer from Hypothyroidism please read my other post about: 8 Natural Remedies To Treat Hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism – some people with hyperthyroidism find it hard to fall asleep, and therefore they feel tired or exhausted. This is because overactive thyroid can cause insomnia due to rapid pulse and anxiety which can make it hard to fall asleep or even wake you in the middle of the night.

2. Weight changes

Hypothyroidism – You have a weight gain or you find it very difficult to lose weight. This is one of the top symptoms in hypo. I have already written a few articles that will help you to lose weight by increasing your metabolism and by eating these foods.

Hyperthyroidism – You may be losing weight although you eat the same amount of food as usual, or even losing weight while eating more than normal due to increased appetite.

3. Mood and mental changes

Hypothyroidism – You feel unusually depressed, sad and feeling down. This is because too little thyroid hormone affects the levels of serotonin in the brain. You may also find that your mind is not sharp and that you have poor concentration or poor memory or general brain fog.

Hyperthyroidism – hyperthyroidism is more associated with anxiety or panic attacks, or you feel that you cannot relax. Also too much thyroid hormone can cause difficulty concentrating.

4. Bowel problems

Hypothyroidism – you have severe or long-term constipation. This is one of the top most common symptoms and is due to the changes in hormone level production that can cause a slowdown of digestive processes.

Hyperthyroidism – you have diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

5. Muscle or joint problems

Hypothyroidism – you feel a sudden numbness, tingling or pain in your limbs. This is because producing too little thyroid hormone can affect the signals sent from the brain and spinal cord throughout the body. You may also feel general muscular or joint stiffness, pain or weakness, or have tendonitis in the arms and legs. If you suffer from joint stiffness and pain you can read my previous article on how to make cayenne warming oil for joint, muscle and arthritis pain relief.

Hyperthyroidism – can also cause a variety of muscle or joint problems, such as difficulties in holding objects with hands, or reaching arms above the head or climbing stairs.
6. Irregular periods, fertility and libido problems

Hypothyroidism – your periods are heavier, longer, more frequent and more painful. You may also suffer from infertility, low sex drive and hormone imbalances such as PMS.

Hyperthyroidism – you have shorter, lighter or infrequent periods. You may also suffer from infertility (both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can interfere with ovulation, which impairs fertility).

7. Hair and skin changes

Hypothyroidism – your hair becomes dry and brittle and falls out easily. This is because too little thyroid hormone disturbs hair growth cycle. You may also have an unusual hair loss in the outer edge of the eyebrow or other body parts. Your skin might be dry due to slowed metabolism and your nails are brittle.

hyperthyroidism – can also cause hair loss typically just on your head and thin and fragile skin.

8. Body temperature

Hypothyroidism – your hands and feet are cold, or you feel cold and have chills, or your body temperature is consistently below 98.5 F (37 C).

Hyperthyroidism – you sometimes feel too warm or sweat excessively.

9. Cholesterol Issues

Hypothyroidism – you have high cholesterol levels, especially when it’s not responsive to diet, exercise or medication.

Hyperthyroidism – you may have unusually low cholesterol levels.
10. blood pressure

Hypothyroidism – it is estimated that people with hypothyroidism have two to three times the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Hyperthyroidism – systolic blood pressure rises (the upper number in a blood pressure reading) However, diastolic pressure usually stays the same or goes down a little.

11. Heart rate

Hypothyroidism – You may have slower heart rate. The heart rate is modulated by thyroid hormone, so with lower levels of thyroid hormone the heart rate is typically 10-20 beats per minute slower than normal.

Hyperthyroidism – your heart may be beating too fast or you you have heart flutters or palpitations.

12. Neck enlargement (goiter)

A goiter is any enlargement of the thyroid gland. You may feel swelling or lump or discomfort in the neck or a hoarse voice. Goiter can occur both in hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

13. Risk factors: Family History, age, gender and smoking

Some people are more likely than others to develop thyroid problems. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to susceptibility of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Family history – if you have a family history of thyroid problems, you are at a higher risk of having a thyroid condition yourself.

Gender and age – thyroid diseases are more prevalent in females, especially the elderly population. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.

Smoking – one component of tobacco smoke is cyanide, which is converted to thiocyanate, which acts as an anti-thyroid agent. The most dramatic effect of smoking on the thyroid is its association with hyperthyroidism. According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1993 smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop Graves’ disease (a swelling of the neck and protrusion of the eyes resulting from an overactive thyroid gland).

So if you suspect you may have a combination of some of these symptoms, you may want to visit your doctor who can diagnose hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by testing the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, you can read my other post about 8 natural remedies to treat hypothyroidism.


ral practitioner (GP) or you were referred to an endocrinologist who is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to hormones. If you were checked by a GP, then I would go to see an endocrinologist who has an in depth knowledge about hormonal issues can can dig further in to find if there is any problem.




Modeling After Thyroid Cancer: The Reminder I Got From a Photo Shoot

Ashley looking down behind a tree branch

One year ago I was in between surgeries on my thyroid. I’ve thought a lot about the kind of person I’ve become since then.

I remember how terrible the lead up to the first surgery was — I was between finals, acting on set for a few student films and pretending nothing more stressful was going on in my life.

I remember the fear I felt after the first surgery, when I heard the right half of my thyroid was cancerous and how I’d need that second surgery to remove the other half, as well as a treatment of radioactive iodine.

Photo by Elsa & Co. Photography

I like to describe myself as an entertainer — I went to school for filmmaking but am constantly looking for opportunities to act, sing, model and perform. I was so worried when they sliced open my neck all of those opportunities would go away.

I was scared they would damage my vocal chords so I could never sing or project on a stage again. I was scared the scar on my neck would get me turned down for various modeling and acting opportunities. I was scared the dependence on medicine every day would prevent me from being able to make films in case I got too tired from needing to change doses based on my body’s needs.

This year has been a whirlwind. Last summer was a mix of constant fatigue and pain and having my body accept what is now the new normal.

Ashley looking off to the right and pulling on her hair wearing a mask
Photo by Elsa & Co. Photography

I made my way across the country to Los Angeles for my fall semester and managed (successfully) to take classes, hold an internship and explore a new place. This first step helped me realize that maybe I shouldn’t have been as fearful as I was.

At the beginning of 2016 I made my way to the Pacific Northwest and, even though I was still a bit tentative, decided I needed to pursue those things that made me happy. Armed with my supportive family, boyfriend and dog, I started throwing myself into every opportunity, and it helped, a lot.

I recently got some photos back from a shoot where that scared girl was able to show confidence and happiness. I was nervous my photographers would notice my scar, but instead I received compliments on my hair color and makeup application. No one mentioned the squiggle on my neck.

Photo by Molly Joy Photography

Those pictures reminded me how strong I am and how my battle scar shouldn’t and won’t stop me from achieving what I want to. Only my lack of trying can do that. I know dealing with this condition will be a life-long issue, but I can’t let that stop me from doing all the things I want to do. I refuse to let it.

Photo by Molly Joy Photography
Ashley with closed eyes with a black background