- If you have been diagnoses with hypothyroidism, your doctor will most likely prescribe levothyroxine--a thyroid hormone pill--to be taken once a day. Because certain types of foods can interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine, you should take your pill in the morning, at least 20 minutes before breakfast, if possible. This will allow for the maximum absorption of your medication into your blood. You will have to take the medication indefinitely, as there is no "cure" for the condition of hypothyroidism--only supplementary treatment. After a month or two of taking the medication, your doctor will order more blood tests to measure the levels of thyroid in your system. At that time, he may adjust your dosage based on the results of your blood work.
- Hyperthyroidism can be treated with oral beta blockers, including propanolol or Inderal. Taking these medications can reduce or eliminate some of the symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism, including tremors and palpitations, but they will not cure the condition or reduce the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood. If you have sustained hyperthyroidism, your doctor may prescribe medication to inhibit your body's production of the thyroid hormone. These medications include methimazole and propylthiouracil, and they can have side effects which include itching or a rash. Other, more serious side effects are rare and include liver inflammation or a white blood cell deficiency. If you notice a yellowing of your skin, sore throat or high fever while you are taking these medications, call your doctor immediately. He will want to perform blood tests to rule out the possibility of these side effects.
- Another treatment for hyperthyroidism involves administering radioactive iodine which is absorbed by the thyroid, killing the excess cells. This treatment generally takes between one and two months to work, and the medication is administered orally in a hospital setting during a series of visits. Because other cells of the body do not absorb iodine, the treatment is considered safe, and all radioactivity disperses from the body within a matter of two to three days after treatment. In the case that the medication destroys too much thyroid gland, the patient may be put on hypothyroidism medication indefinitely following the treatment.
One final option for treating hyperthyroidism is surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. This option may be suggested for patients unable to tolerate other forms of hyperthyroid treatments. Risks of surgical removal of the thyroid gland include damage to the voice box nerves or removing too much thyroid, in which case the patient would have to be put on levothyroxine for life.
Alternative Remedies for Hypothyroidism
- While it is common medical practice to keep a patient suffering from thyroid dysfunction on thyroid hormone medication for the rest of her life, holistic practicioners may be able to wean a patient off of thyroid medication over time by prescribing a special diet, supplements and stress therapy. Because iodine is necessary in the production of thyroid hormones, kelp, dulse and bladderwrack may be used to boost a patient's natural iodine levels. The amino acid L-tyrosine, about 500 mgs a day, can also help to increase thyroid hormone in the system. Patients with hypothyroidism should avoid soy-based products, which can block the absorption of thyroid hormone.
Alternative Remedies for Hyperthyroidism
- If you have an overactive thyroid gland, you may benefit from several holistic remedies, including acupuncture, massage and homeopathy to calm an over-stimulated thyroid gland and balance your overall body chemistry. Herbal remedies include bugleweed, motherwort and lemon balm. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, getting at least half an hour of exercise every day and practicing meditation or yoga may also help to reduce your thyroid's output of hormone. Speak to your physician or alternative medical practitioner about how you may benefit from holistic remedies.