Hormone Therapy for Your Thyroid
It seems these days that almost everyone could stand to lose a few kilograms. As people concerned about their health, appearance, and keeping up with the kids, we pay particular attention to changes on the scale. If you live an active lifestyle and eat a balanced diet but you just cannot seem to lose weight, the answer may be your thyroid.
Hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid gland – affects women more than men, and it can cause a whole list of unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms associated with hypothyroidism include weight gain, lethargy, fatigue, depression, constipation, and many more. In severe cases, you may lose your hair and have extreme joint and muscle pain and weakness.
If you think that you may have hypothyroidism, it is important to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist. During your appointment, you can discuss your symptoms and they will most likely take a sample of your blood. They will then use that blood to perform a TSH test. TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) is secreted by your pituitary gland and controls how much T4 (thyroid hormone) is released into the bloodstream.
High levels of TSH in your blood, in combination with low levels of T4, indicate hypothyroidism. Depending on your TSH levels and your medical history – including things like a recent pregnancy, illness, and/or other factors – your doctor may recommend that you wait and see if your body corrects the problem on its own and schedule a follow-up visit in a few weeks or months to check your TSH levels again.
If your TSH levels are very high or if you have been experiencing increased levels for some time, your doctor will prescribe hormone replacement therapy. This sounds a lot more involved and invasive than it is. In fact, once you understand what hormone replacement therapy is and how it works, you will feel a lot more comfortable with the prescription and treatment.
Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that involves regularly taking synthesised T4 (thyroid hormones) in pill form. Unlike antibiotics and other medications, there is no simple formula as to how much or how often you should take this medication.
Your endocrinologist will work to assess the proper dosage for you at the time of your visit, but it is important for you to pay attention to how you feel, any persistent symptoms, and any new symptoms that occur between visits.
Helping Yourself and Monitoring Your Dosage
Taking thyroid hormone medication when needed, is greatly beneficial to helping you feel more energetic and healthier. However, this is not a miracle drug. Without changes in your lifestyle, like getting more exercise, cutting down on sugars and stimulants, and eating a more balanced diet, you will not see a huge change in your health or weight.
If you do all of those things, and you are still feeling sluggish, depressed, and/or experiencing any other symptoms, talk to your doctor. You may need to increase your dosage.
On the other hand, changing your lifestyle can often boost your thyroid’s production. Before you know it, you may actually be taking too much hormone medication. As we said before, pay attention to how you feel. If you start to exhibit signs of hyperthyroidism, such as anxiety, trouble sleeping, unexplained weight loss, or increased heat sensitivity, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. You may need to decrease your dosage.
Will You Always Need Hormone Medication?
Some people’s thyroid glands never regain function once it is lost or impaired. Others find that their thyroids begin functioning better again after undergoing hormone replacement therapy for some time. If you keep in close contact with your endocrinologist, you can stay on top of how much medication you need or if you do not need any at all.
Living with hypothyroidism can be simple if you pay attention and keep your doctor informed of all of your symptoms.
If you have questions or concerns about thyroid health make an appointment to see a thyroid surgeon.