Common QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Topics below in alphabetical order. Search first for your more pressing topic. Also get the REVISED STTM BOOK! Learn, learn! YOU are your own best advocate!
Why do I see adrenals mentioned on this thyroid website or from others?
Because a large percentage of patients find themselves with adrenal dysfunction thanks to T4-only treatment or no diagnosis thanks to the lousy TSH lab test. See symptoms of poorly functioning adrenals here.
What steps do I take to find out if my adrenals are affected?
1) Do the Discovery Steps on the Adrenals page, and there’s even more in Chapter 5 of the revised STTM book. 2) If your answers are suspicious, the next important step is a 24 hour cortisol saliva test, NOT blood, which you can order here. Serum blood cortisol does NOT give the right answer.
My doctor says my cortisol saliva results are normal. Are they?
What do I need to avoid before doing a saliva test?
When possible, it’s all here.
Can I treat what I think is low cortisol without doing the 24 hour saliva test?
Only with great risk. High cortisol can have the same symptoms as low cortisol, and you treat each differently. You can order a saliva kit here without a prescription—see My Med Lab.
Can I treat my low cortisol without HC (hydrocortisone with the brand name of Cortef)??
We’ve learned that treatment depends on the saliva results. Serious low cortisol seems to need HC, but in a certain way. Moderately low cortisol can be helped with Adrenal Cortex (ACE), but in a certain way. Some with only low morning can be helped with the T3CM. There is wisdom in all this.
Why do I have depression and what can I do about it?
Low Free T3 can be implicated in depression. Read this. Low cortisol can make the depression worse.
Is it true that my anti-depressant can make my hypothyroid worse?
Yes, with some anti-depressants. And that is also true of higher doses of lithium.
Why would natural desiccated thyroid be better for me?
Where can I talk to others about desiccated thyroid?
The Natural Thyroid Hormones group, plus a combined Thyroid and Adrenal group, linked from here.
How is desiccated thyroid different than Synthroid or other T4 meds?
Why did I feel worse on desiccated thyroid or T3?
Summary is right here and it’s TOTALLY correctible. i.e. it’s not about either being wrong for you!
What desiccated thyroid brands can I take?
What about adding synthetic T3 to synthetic T4?
Patients report better results with NDT, but if you want to use the two synthetics, go for it! We still attempt to get the free T3 towards the top of the range.
DETOXING, CHELATION, CLEANSES to remove heavy metals:
Is it best to wait until I am no longer hypo and feeling good on natural thyroid before I do any heavy metal detoxing/chelation or cleanses?
Detoxing heavy metals seems to cause two things in us: rising RT3, and/or adrenal stress. It’s individual. So it’s best to make sure we don’t have low cortisol before detoxing. If we do have low cortisol as revealed by saliva testing, we give ourselves cortisol in the right way. If we have good adrenal function when we decide to detox, we support our adrenals with adaptogens. And finally, many of us have to lower NDT and raise T3 while detoxing to stop the RT3 rise.
My doctor is clueless! What do I do??
1) See if your doctor is teachable about what patients have learned on this page. 2) Order the STTM books for him, then tell the receptionist to deduct it from your bill. 🙂 3) Be prepared to find a much better doctor.
How do I find a much better doctor so I don’t have to be alone in this?
Be patient, persistent and dedicated to find a much better doc.
Do I need an Endocrinologist?
Only if you want to stay sick. See link above.
FDA and DESICCATED THYROID:
What’s going on with desiccated thyroid and the FDA?
Explanation is here.
Why does my hair keep falling out?
It’s explained here.
What is Hashimotos disease?
What’s the best way for me to treat my Hashi’s?
Answer found here. It’s about going gluten free for ‘most’ and using certain supplements and strategies. Even iodine use has HELPED Hashi’s patients, contrary to the poor info you can hear from others.
I have Hashi’s and sometimes I feel really hyper, and other times hypo. Why?
Answer found here. It’s about the attack!
Is it true that Selenium can help me with Hashi’s?
Answer found here, next to last paragraph. Because yes, it has lowered anti-TPO.
What labs do I need to find out if I have Hashi’s?
Answer found here, third heading down.
Any other questions about Hashi’s, including avoiding gluten for many, can be found here.
Is iodine right for me?
Can I just start supplementing with iodine?
Patients have found it wiser to do the Iodine Loading test first to see if needed. Info here.
Why are some people so adamantly against iodine?
Because… 1) some people are more into “strong opinion” than all the huge amount of patient experiences and success with iodine use. 2) some had a bad reaction because they didn’t learn about the companion nutrients to be taken first. Join the iodine groups and ask questions.
Why is iron so important?
All the reasons are talked about here. Without adequate, we will tend to have issues raising NDT or T3.
If iron is important in order to raise NDT or T3, is anything else?
Yup. Read about both iron and cortisol here.
What labs should I be asking my doctor for and why?
Can I order my own lab work?
Yes. Link above this.
What?? It’s NOT about falling in the normal range??
Why does my iron, my Vitamin D, my B12, or other nutrients go too low?
For most of us, it’s explained here.
PREGNANCY and HYPOTHYROID:
- Learn about it here.
What is Reverse T3?
Answer found here. It’s an inactive hormone and needs to NOT be high.
How do I know if my RT3 is too high?
By looking at the ratio between your Free T3 and Reverse T3 lab (done at the same time). That ratio can be figured out here. More info there as well.
Why do my sex hormones get messed up?
Because sex hormones, thyroid and adrenals are all a part of the endocrine system. So if one part gets messed up, it can affect the other parts in many, tho not all.
Do I treat sex hormone separately from thyroid and adrenals?
Nope, we do them all.
What is PCOS?
SUPPLEMENTS and OVER-THE-COUNTER:
- What supplements do other thyroid patients take? To see examples, go here. There is a also an excellent chapter on supplements and good foods in the Revised Second Edition book. Read about selenium here.
- Do the adrenal and thyroid glandular extracts I see in health food stores have sufficient hormones in them to be of use? To some degree they do, and can be worth a try in a pinch. But most all of them either don’t have enough, or are not consistent from bottle to bottle, or have other ingredients you may not want long-term in order to take enough to feel better, or contain adrenaline, which you do not want. One OTC adrenal support to consider is Isocort.
STILL FEELING BAD:
Why am I still fat, depressed, having problems, and more while on my thyroid treatment??
Why would someone be on T3-only instead of desiccated thyroid?
Too much RT3 and the important need to lower it, though many lower it by being on a small dose on NDT with T3.
Is it okay for me to be on T3 long-term, or even for the rest of my life? Y
Yes, some have noted, if they need to be.
I’m on T3 and a high dose, yet I still feel bad with hair loss, fatigue, etc. Why?
The answers are on this page for the vast majority of us.
Why do I not tolerate T3?
Same as right above–the “this page”
Does T3-only have an side-effects?
Yes. In many, it has raised the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, which can lower sex hormones. Patients counter that by raising their bioidentical sex hormone treatment. Do work with your doctor! This is just information.
How do I dose T3-only?
NOT 5-6 times a day, as we used to think. We dose it according to your body’s signs and symptoms that you need each dose i.e. when we start to feel sluggish, or heartrate goes up, or BP goes up, etc. So many start with a morning dose, then do the second and third (or subsequent doses) as their bodies tell them it’s time to take it. For many, the latter is approximate every fours hours, but can vary. Dosing only 3 times a day instead of 5 has proven more beneficial for many.
My doctor says once my thyroid is taken out, I’ll just be on one pill. What is that and does it work?
Usually, surgeons are going to put their patients on Synthroid or Levoxyl…and patients aren’t happy. That’s why they will fight to put on NDT after the surgery, but also need to make sure their adrenals are ok.
Where do I learn all about thyroid cancer and it’s many angles?
This page shows all the different pages about thyroid cancer. STTM has excellent info!
Why does this site criticize the TSH lab test?
Why does my TSH lab result say I’m hyper (i.e. it’s very low)?
We have noted that when getting ‘towards’ our optimal dose of NDT or T3, our TSH lab test will fall below range. That is not hyper. A suppressed TSH lab test with Graves disease is hyper. That is different from our suppressed TSH.
But what if I have a very low TSH with hyper-like symptoms?
That is where we test the Graves antibodies, or if we know we are hypothyroid without Graves disease, the hyper-like symptoms can be from having inadequate iron or a cortisol problem.
What if I have a very low TSH and a low free T3?
That is one of the best ways to pay attention to the TSH, we have found, because it can point to hypopituitary or be in the hyper swing of hashimotos. See above.
Does a low TSH lab result cause bone loss or heart problems, as my doctors warns me?
Again, unlike Graves disease which can cause those problems, our low TSH does NOT. To the contrary, our optimal dose of NDT or T3 (which happens to results in a very low TSH) has IMPROVED our hearts and bone.
T4-ONLY MEDS LIKE SYNTHROID:
Why do patients say that T4 meds like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Oroxine, etc. don’t work? I feel better on them! (or I don’t)
Read more here.
THE STTM WEBSITE and BOOKS:
Why the books?
Patients requested the books because it’s easier to keep up with the information than facing a computer screen, and they can take it into the doctor’s office and get better response from their doctors. Second, some of what is in the books is not on the website, and vice versa. They compliment each other. P.S. watch for humor in the Glossary of the revised STTM book
What’s the difference between the revised STTM book (STTM I) and the STTM II book?
Answer right here.
Are there t-shirts, caps, business cards and other items I can get to spread the word to millions who still linger on T4?
Right here. You can even order business cards to spread the word to others! The very small profits help with upkeep of this website.
WHERE CAN I TALK TO OTHER PATIENTS?
Is there a place to ask questions?
Is there a Stop the Thyroid Madness facebook page?
Yes. Right here.
MORE TO LEARN
Where can I go to see a lot of what’s on the website?
Lots more listed on the site map.
How can I keep up with anything Janie adds to the Stop the Thyroid Madness website?
WHO IS JANIE BOWTHORPE?
Janie is simply a thyroid patient just like you who lived an absolutely miserable life on T4 for years. And because she’s rebellious and a fighter, and thanks to the internet, she found out about desiccated thyroid. It hugely changed her life. Janie started the yahoo group Natural Thyroid Hormone users the same year, 2002 which still exists today as an alternative to the Facebook discussion groups.
And from the NTH group plus other groups she created or has been associated with, patients gained an immense body of information about better labwork, adrenal fatigue, low iron, low B12, gluten issues, and so much more. It was so profound that Janie created this patient-to-patient website, Stop the Thyroid Madness™ in Dec. 2015, then the books, as a way to educate patients who in turn can take the information into their doctors offices. And it’s working, doctor by doctor! In fact, the information on STTM is where many other “advocates” get their information (but aren’t going to tell you so. lol)
But we still have a long way to go. Luckily, it’s the Mothership of Reported Patient Experiences, i.e. Stop the Thyroid Madness, which is creating change everywhere because it’s totally based on years of reported patient experiences.