For people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the most common treatment method is synthetic thyroid hormone. Some medical doctors will recommend natural thyroid hormone, but either way, this is usually a “permanent” recommendation. In other words, people with hypothyroid conditions will be told to take synthetic or natural thyroid hormone daily for the rest of their life. In fact, one of the more common sayings for these people is “Once on thyroid hormone, always on thyroid hormone”.
Without question, there are some people who do need to be on thyroid hormone for the rest of their life. For example, someone who has received a complete thyroidectomy will need to take synthetic or natural thyroid hormone daily. Many people who receive a partial thyroidectomy or radioactive iodine treatment will need to be on thyroid hormone on a permanent basis, although this isn’t always the case. And even some people who haven’t had surgery performed or received RAI will need to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their life.
However, many people who develop hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis don’t need to take thyroid hormone forever. One of the stories I don’t believe I have shared on this website (until now) is that many years ago, my mother was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and she was told to take synthetic thyroid hormone on a permanent basis. Of course if this were to happen today I would have tried convincing her to find the underlying cause of the condition, yada yada yada. But this happened when I was a child, and so I didn’t know what thyroid hormone was, let alone anything about natural treatment solutions for the condition.
In any case, my mother began taking the thyroid hormone, but eventually felt she didn’t need to take it, and so she abruptly stopped. I don’t recommend for people with hypothyroidism to take this approach, as many people would experience severe symptoms if they were to just stop taking their medication. As for my mother, once she stopped taking thyroid hormone she never had to take it again, as she felt fine, her thyroid labs normalized and they remained normal (I honestly have no idea if they tested her for thyroid antibodies, and she doesn’t recall this either since it was so long ago).
One thing I probably should point out is that my mother didn’t have a natural mindset. She smoked a couple of packs of cigarettes throughout my childhood, brought plenty of junk food into the house (brownies, cupcakes, soda, punch, etc.), and we would frequently eat at places like Burger King and White Castle.
I realize this is only one example of someone who was diagnosed with hypothyroidism who was able to stop taking thyroid hormone. And once again, I would not recommend for anyone who is currently taking thyroid hormone to abruptly stop taking their medication. The main point I’m trying to make is that most medical doctors have a “forever” mindset when it comes to hypothyroidism and thyroid hormone. Since they don’t look into the underlying cause of the disorder, and don’t believe it is possible to restore the function of the thyroid gland, the only thing they know how to do is to continuously manage the symptoms.
What they don’t understand is that people don’t simply develop hypothyroidism out of the blue. There is a reason why this happens, and many times the cause can be corrected, which in turn will restore the function of the thyroid gland back to normal. But how about if someone has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? Well, just remember that synthetic or thyroid hormone doesn’t do anything for the immune system component. So when someone is diagnosed with an autoimmune hypothyroid condition, it drives me crazy when they are simply told to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their life, without addressing other compromised areas of the body. If you address all of these other areas and the person still needs to take thyroid hormone, then that’s fine. At least an attempt was made to restore their thyroid health back to normal, and by correcting these other problems (immune system, weak adrenals, mineral deficiencies, hormone imbalances, etc.), you can’t help but to improve the person’s overall health.
In summary, some people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis do need to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their life, and there admittedly are people who follow a natural treatment protocol who still need to take thyroid hormone continuously. On the other hand, many people with these conditions can restore their thyroid health back to normal, and to assume that anyone who is taking thyroid hormone will need to continue taking thyroid hormone on a permanent basis is just plain wrong in many cases.
Ginger S. says
My annual routine test showed TSH level of 6.46. I have always ran high at the 4.5 to 5.0 for the past few years. They recently put me on 25mcg of Levothyroxine and I took it for 9 days with swelling in my hands and ankles, it was so uncomfortable. Then on the 7th day I started getting depression that was not present before. On the 10th day I stopped this medication. I will advise my doctor and also find out the underlying cause because this medication has horrible side effects. I’m hoping I will be ok until my next appointment but I stopped taking it because i have never had those weird thoughts/depression before.
Dr. Eric says
I’m sorry you had a negative experience with levothyroxine. 25 mcg is a small dosage, but you might have reacted to one of the fillers or other ingredients, and so it might be worth trying something like Tirosint, or a natural form of thyroid hormone (i.e. Nature-Throid, WP Thyroid, Armour).
As you said my TSH is 4.6. Can I control it naturally? or Do I have to take medicine? This is my first ever time higher it showed in results. Can I wait for some time and check the results?
Im 25 years old and my thyroid test came back as a 17. I also have a small goiter, which is why my doctor put in the labs. She gave me Synthroid And told me to take it for the rest of my life. I am a bit worried as to how this condition developed in the first place though. I asked and my doctor just dismissively said it could be hereditary.
Dr. Eric says
Genetics can be a factor, but usually it’s not the main reason why someone develops hypothyroidism. While some people do need to take thyroid hormone replacement, I would recommend consulting with a natural healthcare practitioner, as they will try to find out the cause of the problem.
Danny C says
My son appears to have Central Hypothyroidism (caused by a prescription drug) with TSH ~50% through range and fT4 a few % below range. He is currently treating naturally but may have to consider thyroid replacement hormone if unsuccessful.
Am I correct in thinking this is a case where he needs only take TRH temporarily?