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Find the Right Thyroid Doctor

Updated on November 2, 2014
As a patient you should feel comfortable with the thyroid doctor that provides your care. In some cases more than one doctor may be necessary.
As a patient you should feel comfortable with the thyroid doctor that provides your care. In some cases more than one doctor may be necessary. | Source
Prescription meds are always part of the treatment regiment.
Prescription meds are always part of the treatment regiment.

Countless patients with thyroid disease can live a full and healthy life with the right medical care

Locating the right thyroid doctor when you have any kind of thyroid disease is extremely important in getting the right treatment and living a full life with this disorder. If you find the correct physician a patient has the opportunity to live instead of simply existing with a sometimes debilitating disease.

Thyroid disease and disorders such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis or Graves Disease is manageable with the right medical care. Some of these conditions are chronic, lifelong ailments. Managing the medical treatment to keep the symptoms under control is the ideal situation.

The right care starts with the correct diagnosis and management of the condition. Find the right doctor to help ensure this takes place. These are some things to consider when looking for "Doctor Right".

Thyroid disease is not easy to treat

A number of physicians believe this disorder is easy to diagnose and simple to find the right treatment regime. This is a myth and certainly untrue. Although there is prescription medication prescribed to replace missing thyroid hormone or control overproduction of these same hormones, getting the formula “just right” for each patient is difficult. This is a daunting task because no one formula fits every patient. Lots of individuals taking meds experience changes to their original chemical structure and makeup which on some occasions require tweaking meds.

The medical specialist focused on treatment of this disorder is an Endocrinologists. These are not easy to find and because care is for your lifespan they have a large patient load without lots of turn over.

These are physicians who also focus on disorders like diabetes and other similar health issues.


Symptoms of this disease mimics lots of other medical conditions. Therefore, countless patients are sick for a long time before the final diagnosis is made. Laboratory and diagnostic tests are generally used to confirm the diagnosis of diseases related to the thyroid.

Indicators generally surround abnormal heart rate, extremely high or low body temperature, infertility, bowel and bladder movements out of the ordinary, trouble swallowing, changes in voice, rapid weight gain or loss, shaking hands, uncontrollable sweating, feeling cold all of the time and many more.

Classifying these symptoms under a thyroid condition is typically only realized when the gland is physically abnormal. A malformed organ in throat is characteristically brought to the attention of medical personnel by patient observation or complaint.

After diagnosis

After determining the gland is malfunctioning in some manner, a doctor needs to formulate a plan of action to correct the failure of the gland to function properly. This could include medications or even surgery.

Most physicians use some form of medication to alter the body's irregular production of the hormone. Depending on whether an over or under production is being performed by the body determines what type is adequate. Dosages vary from patient to patient. Quite often persons experience changes within their body which require an altering to the original dosage.

Thyroid medications

In nearly all cases when medication is provided in order to determine if the dosage is successful, a patient waits anywhere from 4-6 weeks. After 4-6 weeks laboratory tests are repeated and an adjustment is made if necessary. After adjusting the medication another 4-6 weeks will pass and the process is repeated.

As long as a patient is on thyroid medications routine laboratory tests are performed to assure an adjustment is not needed and everything is working as expected. After getting a correct dosage testing is repeated every three months.

Additionally, there may be other factors playing a role in whether or not treatment is successful. For an example, patients that acquire Graves Disease and are smokers run the risk of medications being ineffective as well as making the condition or symptoms of any disease related to the thyroid worse. This is especially true for Graves Disease patients that have symptoms that have an effect on the eyes.

Medications are for life

This is a medication taken for the rest of your life. It's importance cannot be stressed enough. Understand this is a gland responsible for your heart rate, digestion, body temperature, eye sight and other vital functions. Getting the dosage just right is vital. Never miss a dose to keep the levels continually the same and assure medications are working as directed.

Thyroid issues and pregnancy

Pregnant patients are exceptionally difficult to treat. A number of the medications used to treat the condition are harmful to the baby and its development. In addition, lots of women experience thyroid problems following pregnancy that was never seen prior to having the baby. Hyperthoidism is extremely common following pregnancy.

Thyroid problems that follow a pregnancy make it difficult to lose weight, make a patient have trouble sleeping and keep a patient extremely tired most of the time. Heart palpitations, shaking hands and abnormal bowel movements are also complaints doctors see.

Thyroid difficulties such as, hyperthyroidism, thyroiditis and hypothyroidism are all possible following pregnancy. Countless patients have issues related to this disease for the rest of their lives even if no problems existed beforehand.

If you are pregnant and have thyroid related diseases or symptoms make certain your OBGYN provides the care you need or directs you to a doctor that works with your OBGYN to design a strategy for care. Find the right thyroid doctor to assure your pregnancy and thyroid disease are both treated successfully.

All thyroid medications are harmful to the fetus. Therefore, it is extremely important to discuss pregnancy with your doctor beforehand.

Newborn thyroid issues

It is possible for the baby to develop the same issues as mom. The hormone responsible for regulating the thyroid gland is not able to distinguish the difference between mom's and baby's. Therefore it is possible damage to the infant's thyroid gland or its effectiveness will occur. Most pediatricians aware of mom's issues will check immediately after birth to assure everything is okay with the little one.

Not all doctors are capable of performing thyroid surgery

Numerous patients with thyroid connected diseases need surgery in addition to prescription meds. The gland is generally removed partially or entirely which makes medication adjustments necessary yet again. The thyroid hormone is something you cannot live without and these patients take the replacement medication for the rest of their lives in nearly all cases.

Removal of the diseased gland is generally performed by an Ear Nose and Throat doctor that has a specialty in this procedure. This is an extremely delicate and dangerous procedure that could potentially create disastrous affects if done incorrectly. Make certain that the surgeon you select specializes in removing thyroid glands and has a successful track record of this particular type of surgery.

Doctors remove a portion of a unhealthy organ in the hopes of the body adjusting hormone regulation without much help from prescriptions. The likelihood of surgery correcting the ailment without the aid of meds is unlikely. Though, it will help patient's feel better in nearly all cases and use less medications in some.

Patients are usually placed in the Intensive Care Unit following surgery and a hospital stay is required. Find a doctor that performs thyroid surgery on a regular basis, several hundred each year, with extensive experience in this type of surgery and any complications that could possibly occur.

Get a second opinion

Second opinions are great for any patient considering surgery. Removal of the organ is a serious procedure and other options may be available for patients as an alternative.

Doctors that are comfortable with a second opinion are a bonus. Any doctor that is not comfortable with his diagnosis being confirmed by another doctor should be reconsidered as a resource for treating a these types of conditions where surgery may be involved.

Not all patients are cared for by one doctor

As a patient suffering from thyroid disease you typically find you need more than one doctor to take care of your illness. One example is pregnancy. Pregnancy requires care for the baby as well as the mother. Someone with heart disease as well as hyperthyroidism will need a Cardiologists as well as a doctor for their thyroid care.

Patients that experience eye symptoms associated with Graves Disease will need to seek care from an Ophthalmologist as well as a thyroid specialist. The Ophthalmologist will treat the medical conditions disturbing the eyes while the other physician regulates thyroid hormones.

Endocrinologists are auto immune specialists and are the primary doctor used by patients with this type of disease or symptoms. However, in the United States there is a shortage of available Endocrinologists for patients that need them. Nearly all specialists that provide care do not provide primary care as well. This means you will need a thyroid doctor and a primary care doctor to meet your medical needs.

The list goes on and on depending on what type of medical care is needed for a patient and what doctor can or cannot provide it. It is extremely important to find the right thyroid doctor for patients that need more than one doctor. Doctors that can work together can make treatment successful in nearly all cases.

In conclusion

These are a number of things to consider when finding the right thyroid doctor for anyone suffering from any form of thyroid disease. Living a full and healthy life is important and the right doctor can make this happen.


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    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for sharing this... I tested low the last two times and they just want to blow it off saying I'm still in the normal range and it makes me upset because more and more I'm reading that people go undiagnosed for years because some docs refuse to treat it. The fact that I can no longer lose weight even if I diet is a big indicator but they ignore that when I tell them. I guess they think I'm lying. I finally gave up trying to lose weight because it never resulted in any weight loss. It just made me feel like a failure and hopeless. I wish I could find a good doc that will work with me. Voting up, useful.. thank you :)

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 5 years ago from Texas

      I tried to read your hub, What to do when diagnosed with a Thyroid Condition, but it said it has been removed. I hope you'll re-post it.

      I've had Hypothyroidism for at least 20 years. Probably longer, but that is when I found out I had it. There is so much they never tell us about it. For instance, I just found out people with this condition shouldn't eat broccoli. I love broccoli, so I wish they had told me about this much earlier.

      Also, I'm just now finding out more about parathyroids, and how they can affect your health, too. My cousin had cancer in one of hers and had to have several glands removed. It's scary to know how much I DON'T know. I think you're right about looking for the right doctor. That's what I'm doing now. Thanks for writing this!


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