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Talking to Your Doctor About Hypothyroidism

You have a unique medical history. It is important to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with hypothyroidism. You can take an active role in your care if you talk openly and regularly with your doctor.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask to have anything you don't understand repeated, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

If available, bring all your radiology records (thyroid ultrasounds, nuclear medication thyroid scan and/or uptake), lab tests of thyroid function, and treatments. Plan ahead and contact previous doctors to collect and gather this information to bring it with you. Bring a current medication list with names and doses.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Other Medical Problems

  • Could my hypothyroidism be caused by another, more important health problem?
  • Will hypothyroidism cause any other health problems for me?
  • Could my hypothyroidism be passed on to my children?

About Treatment

  • Which medication will I need to take?
  • Are there any symptoms or dangerous side effects that I should report to you?
  • 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 medication interact with any other medications or dietary supplements that I'm taking for other conditions?
  • Is it safe for me to get pregnant and breastfeed while taking thyroid medication? Will I need a change in my medication dosage during pregnancy?
  • Are there any other treatment options? What about alternative and complementary approaches to treatment?
  • Do I need to worry about gaining weight? Can you refer me to a registered 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?

About Outlook

  • What is the possibility of my thyroid returning to normal function?
  • How often do I need to see the doctor for follow-up care after my thyroid hormone level is normal?
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References:

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 February 20, 2017.
Hypothyroidism in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated July 12, 2016. Accessed February 20, 2017.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated May 2014. Accessed February 20, 2017.
Last reviewed February 2017 by James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2015

 

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