Talking to Your Doctor About Hypothyroidism
Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with hypothyroidism. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.
General Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring a friend of family member with you. It helps to have one more person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write your questions so you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more info. You have a right to know.
Plan ahead and collect your radiology records, lab tests, and treatment records to bring with you.
Bring a current medicine list with names and doses.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Other Health Problems
- Could my hypothyroidism be caused by another health problem?
- Will hypothyroidism cause any other health problems?
- Could my hypothyroidism be passed on to my children?
- Which medicine will I need to take?
- Are there any symptoms or side effects that I should tell you about?
- How soon after I start treatment can I expect to have a normal level of thyroid hormone?
- How will I know if my thyroid hormone levels are stable?
- How soon will I start to feel better?
- Will my thyroid medicine cause problems with any other medicines or supplements that I am taking for other health problems?
- Is it safe for me to get pregnant and breastfeed while taking thyroid medicine? Will I need a change in my dose during pregnancy?
- Are there any choices to treat this? What about alternative and complementary approaches?
- Do I need to worry about gaining weight? Can you give me the name of a dietitian or someone who can help me control my weight?
- Should I take my thyroid pill with food or on an empty stomach?
- Does it matter if I take my thyroid pill in the morning or at night before bed?
- Will my thyroid start working normally again?
- How often do I need to see the doctor after my level is normal?
Jonklaas J, Bianco AC, Bauer AJ, et al. Guidelines for the treatment of hypothyroidism. Thyroid. 2014 Dec;24(12):1670-751.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism. Updated August 2016. Accessed May 20, 2019.
Hypothyroidism in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115914/Hypothyroidism-in-adults. Updated July 20, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2019.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2019.
Last reviewed March 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review BoardJames P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 5/20/2019