IN THIS ARTICLE
If you have hypothyroidism, see your doctor once a year so your condition can be closely checked and your treatment adjusted, if necessary.
Be sure to take thyroid hormone medicine correctly. Talk with your doctor if you don't understand the reason for taking medicine regularly or if you think you have any side effects from the medicine. You usually need to have regular blood tests to determine whether you are receiving the correct amount of thyroid hormone.
Children with hypothyroidism also need to see a doctor regularly because the amount of thyroid hormone medicine they need changes as they grow. Untreated hypothyroidism in infants and very young children can have severe consequences. As soon as you think your child is able to understand (usually around age 9 or 10), teach him or her about hypothyroidism, the importance of taking medicine correctly, and why regular health checkups are important.
Some health food stores in the United States sell "natural" forms of thyroid hormone. The quality and effectiveness of these natural agents are unregulated. Some may not work at all. Others may have an active ingredient that does work but that may be dangerous to certain people.
Thyroid hormone medicine is the only effective way to treat hypothyroidism. In most cases, thyroid hormone medicine:
Thyroid hormone medicine does not cause side effects if you take the correct dose.
What to think about
People who have hypothyroidism need treatment with thyroid hormone medicine. Depending on the cause of their hypothyroidism, they may need treatment for the rest of their lives.
Taking certain supplements, such as calcium or iron (or both), at the same time as thyroid hormone medicine may reduce the amount of thyroid hormone medicine absorbed by the body. Take calcium supplements at least 4 hours before or after taking thyroid hormone medicine.8 Also avoid taking iron supplements at the same time as thyroid medicine.
Talk to your doctor about whether you need to change your dose of thyroid medicine if you also take birth control pills or other hormones. You may need to take more thyroid hormone medicine than you would if you were not taking these hormones.9
Follow-up visits with your doctor are important to make sure that you are taking the correct dose of medicine. Most people have blood tests 6 to 8 weeks after starting treatment. After thyroid hormone levels return to normal, thyroid function tests are generally rechecked once a year.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies