In addition to dealing with the unpleasant symptoms of living with an underactive thyroid gland, a lengthy process of finding the right treatment regimen (and sticking with it for life) follows an underactive thyroid diagnosis. The following five tips on how to deal with hypothyroidism will help you get on the right track for enjoying a lifetime of good health and happiness.
How to Deal with Hypothyroidism: Our Top 5 Tips
1. Take Medication as Directed
Medication, containing either synthetic or extracted hormones to balance the hormones in your body, is the most common and effective treatment for hypothyroidism. One of the most important things to remember while taking thyroid medications is, it must be taken exactly as prescribed.
In order to restore your body’s hormonal balance and regulate your body’s metabolism, natural cycles and circadian rhythm, thyroid medications must be taken exactly as prescribed and at the same time each day. You cannot skip, reduce or increase your dose unless of course, your doctor instructs you to do so. There are a lot of tools available for avoiding any missed pills, from the humble smartphone alarm to the smart pill tracker solution.
For the most consistent and effective treatment results, you should also pay attention to directions regarding whether or not you are supposed to take medications on an empty stomach; food can sometimes affect the way the body absorbs thyroid medications.
2. Be Patient While Finding the Right Dose
Sometimes, it will take a couple of adjustments before you find exactly the right dose of medication to supplement the hormones in your body. Taking too much medication can lead to unpleasant side effects. While starting thyroid medication you may experience side effects such as:
- heart palpitations
- increased appetite
Depending on your medical history and other medical conditions, your doctor might choose to start you on a lower dose of medication for hypothyroidism.
After about a month of treatment, your doctor will want to discuss your progress and will ask you to take a follow-up blood test to monitor the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone in your bloodstream. Depending on these results, you might be given a lower or higher dose.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
Although there is no official “hypothyroidism diet,” eating a well-balanced diet of unprocessed, whole foods will minimize toxins while providing your body’s cells with all of the necessary nutritional tools they need to function efficiently. Focus on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.
4. Talk with Your Doctor about Supplements
Tell your doctor if you take any multivitamins or supplements, as some (including certain herbs, iodine, fiber, iron and calcium) can interfere with hypothyroid treatment. You should also avoid over-the-counter products claiming to be “natural” thyroid treatments; since the FDA does not regulate these products, you cannot really know what they contain.
5. Manage Stress
Dealing with the symptoms of hypothyroidism while trying to find the right treatment for your body can be stressful. Find healthy strategies for coping with symptoms and managing stress. In addition to eating a healthy diet, be sure to get enough sleep and exercise your way to feel-good endorphins with the activity of your choice. Try yoga or meditation classes to calm both your body and mind.
Balanced Hormones for a Balanced Life
Although there is no cure for hypothyroidism, many individuals with under-active thyroid are able to live normal, healthy and happy lives as long as they follow their treatment plans as prescribed.