Are Thyroid Medications Lifelong?
Most physicians and endocrinologists will say that in Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism is irreversible and ends with complete thyroid cell damage, leading to a lifelong requirement of thyroid hormone medications. However, this isn’t true! It has been reported that thyroid function spontaneously returned in 20% of patients with Hashimoto’s.
These individuals will return to normal thyroid function even after thyroid hormone replacement is withdrawn. (1,2)
Studies show that once the autoimmune attack ceases, the damaged thyroid has the ability to regenerate. Thyroid ultrasounds will show normal thyroid tissue that has regenerated, and the person will no longer test positive for TPO Antibodies. (3)
This regeneration may often be missed in adult patients because they are assumed to have hypothyroidism for life and antibodies and ultrasounds are not usually repeated after the initial diagnosis.
Most cases of hypothyroidism in the United States, Europe, and Australia are caused by Hashimoto’s, yet many people do not know that they have it.
In addition to the ultrasound and TPO antibodies, a test can be done by administering TRH (Thyroid Releasing Hormone), which will cause an increase in T3 and T4 if the thyroid has recovered. This test will help determine if the person can be weaned off thyroid medications safely. (2)
While this information is readily available in the scientific literature, most physicians do not attempt to administer TRH in an effort to see if patients could be weaned off of their thyroid medications.
What Else Are They Missing?
When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2009, I was told that there was nothing I could do other than take medications for the rest of my life, in increasing doses, as my thyroid continued to burn itself out…
Conventional medicine has yet to recognize the impact of lifestyle modifications that can slow down, halt or reverse thyroid antibodies. While a lot of this information is available in the scientific literature and some progressive naturopaths, chiro’s, nutritionists and alternative medicine practitioners have begun implementing it with great results, these experts are often unattainable to the average Hashimoto’s patient due to their extremely high costs.
Additionally, skepticism often keeps patients from reaching out to alternative practitioners. I can’t blame them…I too have been taken advantage of, swindled, and promised the world by unethical practitioners who prey on sick people who just want to feel better.
This is why I, as an established clinical pharmacist, decided to take on lifestyle interventions as a personal mission. I wanted to not only get better myself but to also bring this information into the mainstream to help others with Hashimoto’s. I hope that my background and experience will encourage people to take a second look.
People are recovering from Hashimoto’s every day. Some of them are recovering by accident and some on purpose. I have been researching lifestyle interventions for Hashimoto’s for the past several years and hope that this blog, my books (Hashimoto’s: The Root Cause and Hashimoto’s Protocol), and your own research will give you the tools to find and treat the root cause of Hashimoto’s so that you too can get better—on purpose!
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I wish you all the best in your healing journey!
PS. You can also download a free Thyroid Diet Guide, 10 Thyroid friendly recipes, and the Nutrient Depletions and Digestion chapter for free by going to www.thyroidpharmacist.com/gift. You will also receive occasional updates about new research, resources, giveaways and helpful information.
- Nanan R, Wall J. Remission of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in a Twelve-Year-Old Girl with Thyroid Changes Documented by Ultrasonography. Thyroid. 2010;20(10):1187-1190. doi:10.1089/thy.2010.0102.
- Davis T. Pathogenesis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (chronic autoimmune thyroiditis). Uptodatecom. 2017. Available at: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/pathogenesis-of-hashimotos-thyroiditis-chronic-autoimmune-thyroiditis. Accessed September 7, 2017.
- Takasu N, Komiya I, Asawa T, Nagasawa Y, Yamada T. Test for recovery from hypothyroidism during thyroxine therapy in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The Lancet. 1990;336(8723):1084-1086. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(90)92567-2.