Thyroid Treatment: 


Doctors usually prescribe the synthetic T4 hormone levothyroxine to treat hypothyroidism. For many people, this treatment leads to excellent recovery and works well.  Popular brands include Levoxyl and Synthroid.  Even when their labs are normalized using synthetic hormones, many people do not return to feeling well and energetic. Research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in February of 1999 found that a majority of patients may feel better on a combination of hormones. On that basis of that study, more doctors are also adding synthetic T3 (liothyronine). Alternative physicians tend to prefer Thyrolar, Armour, or Naturethroid, drugs that include both hormones, T3 and T4.  There are no large scale comparing natural and synthetic  thyroid hormones.


I have found that some people with borderline thyroid function and symptoms of fatigue and cold extremities do very well on a supplement of iodine and selenium.




In addition to using medicines to address or fix thyroid imbalances, I invite my patients to consider what factors may be contributing to their thyroid dysfunction.  Any time you consider medicines, you should also consider how you can support your body better so that hopefully you can gradually come off of the medicines.  In the case of thyroid imbalance, I generally consider whether the immune system is overactive and whether nutrition is adequate.



Normal Labs but Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:


Many patients, particularly women, have been frustrated because they have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism but normal labs. They are not able to get treatment because their doctors are not comfortable prescribing hormones in this case.  It remains a controversial question is whether symptoms of a disturbed thyroid should be treated when  lab values are normal.  Several popular books written by doctors now advocate treating these people with thyroid hormones.  Currently, there is insufficient evidence to say whether this is beneficial or dangerous medically, though many patients report feeling better when treated.   We know that over treatment with thyroid hormones can cause bone loss, so it is very important to proceed with caution. 


As ever, individualized treatment is best.  It is important to check for adrenal imbalance and problems with insulin regulation.  I do not feel it is dangerous to  supply thyroid hormones at a low level and follow closely.  This often allows patients to feel more energetic while making lifestyle changes to address underlying health imbalances.  It is important to check thyroid hormone levels and to monitor for bone density loss when treating with thyroid hormone.


Thyroid testing

Thyroid treatment

Normal Labs but Symptoms of Hypothyroidism: