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Treatment of hypothyroidism

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Since hypothyroidism is caused by the lack of thyroid hormone in blood, the line of treatment is as simple as the introduction of the deficient thyroid hormone into the patient’s body. The most commonly used medication is Levothyroxine, which is a synthetic form of thyroxin (thyroid hormone). Doctors usually prescribe the lowest dose that would bring the TSH level to a normal range as well as reduce the symptoms effectively. In case the patient is suffering from heart disease or is older, the doctor starts with an even  smaller dose of Levothyroxine.

A patient suffering from hypothyroidism requires a lifelong therapy. Only patients suffering from a condition called transient viral thyroiditis is treated for a stipulated period.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

The patient should complement his regular treatment with proper nutrition. He may also use herbs like Green tea (Camellia sinensis); Coleus (Coleus forskohlii); Guggul (Commiphora mukul); and Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) as supporting therapies. However, these should be consumed under proper medical supervision.

Some other alternate treatments include:
  • Homeopathy
  • Contrast hydrotherapy (hot and cold applications) to the neck and throat
  • Acupuncture
  • Therapeutic massage
However, these should not be used to replace the conventional treatment without medical supervision.
Important things to remember during the treatment for hypothyroidism:
  1. The patient must continue with the medications even if the symptoms go away.
  2. During the start of the treatment, the hormone levels should be checked at an interval of two to three months. However, during the later stage of the treatment, the thyroid hormone levels should be monitored at least once every year.
  3. If the brand of thyroid medicine is changed, the patient must intimidate the doctor and get the dosage checked.
  4. The most effective way of taking the thyroid medicine is in an empty stomach. It should be taken one hour prior to any other medications. Thyroid hormone should NEVER be taken with calcium, iron, multivitamins, aluminum hydroxide antacids, colestipol, or other medicines that bind bile acids, or fiber supplements.
  5. The patient on hypothyroidism treatment should always be careful about the symptoms of increased thyroid activity (hyperthyroidism) such as: rapid weight loss; restlessness or shakiness; and sweating. Under such circumstances, the patient should contact the doctor immediately.

One extreme case of hypothyroidism is Myxedema coma. It is a medical emergency that occurs when the thyroid hormone levels in the body becomes dangerously low. Under such circumstances, the patient is treated with intravenous thyroid hormone replacement and steroid medications. Some patients may even require supportive therapy like oxygen, breathing assistance, fluid replacement as well as intensive-care nursing.

Next page: Diet for hypothyroidism

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: April 16, 2012

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