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Mary Shomon

What Do We Know About Oprah Winfrey's Thyroid Problem?

By September 17, 2007

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BREAKING NEWS, DEC. 2008: Oprah Winfrey Says She Weighs 200 Pounds: Claims Her Thyroid Condition Made Her Afraid of Exercise, The Six Reasons Why Oprah Winfrey Doesn't Have to Weigh 200 Pounds

BACKGROUND: Read all of Mary Shomon's About.com Thyroid site coverage of Oprah Winfrey's thyroid condition here.

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Last week, daytime diva Oprah Winfrey told ABC Good Morning America host Robin Roberts that she "blew out her thyroid" at the end of last season, due to stress. Now, the October 2007 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, features more specifics on Oprah's recent thyroid problems, in her own words.

In her "What I Know for Sure" column (page 380 in the magazine, or read it online), Oprah writes about why she needed to give herself a break this past summer. She explains:

"My body was turning on me. First hyperthyroidism, which sped up my metabolism and left me unable to sleep for days. (Most people lose weight. I didn't.) Then hypothyroidism, which slowed down my metabolism and made me want to sleep all the time. (Most people gain weight. I did! Twenty pounds!)"
Oprah describes being exhausted and numb by the end of her show's season in May, but she needed to spend the month of June in South Africa with the students at the school she founded. She then cleared her schedule and spent the month of July in Hawaii, where, as she puts it, she "actively worked at doing nothing."

She describes her health regimen during that time. "I took vitamins. Drank soy milk. Munched on golden flaxseed. I ate only fresh foods..." According to Oprah, after 14 days, she started to feel her "self" returning, and by the end of the month, she was feeling better, and says her "physical health improved..."

What sort of thyroid problem does Oprah have? Is she getting the best possible treatment? What's next for Oprah? Find out my thoughts on Oprah's thyroid condition.

My Thoughts on Oprah's Thyroid Condition

While Oprah has not released information on her current thyroid diagnosis or treatment approach, what Oprah describes sounds very much like a classic flare-up of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease, and the most common cause of an underactive thyroid. In Hashimoto's, antibodies slowly destroy the thyroid gland's ability to produce thyroid hormone, which is essential to metabolism and energy. With Hashimoto's thyroiditis, it's not uncommon for someone to go through a brief period of hyperthyroidism -- a "last gasp" of the thyroid, so to speak, as it is failing -- before the thyroid slows down for good and becomes chronically underactive (hypothyroid).

The onset of autoimmune thyroid problems and hypothyroidism is especially common in women who are, like 53-year old Oprah, in perimenopause or menopause. Unfortunately, many women in this age group are told that complaints such as fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss are symptoms of depression or menopause, instead of a thyroid condition.

I'm not confident, however, that Oprah is receiving the best possible advice for her health. First, I have to wonder how long Oprah may have had an undiagnosed thyroid condition. It's possible that her thyroid problems may go farther back than just this summer, given some of the health challenges she has shared, including her very public battle to control her weight. Difficulty losing weight is a well-known symptom of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, even in the early stages before it develops into full-blown hypothyroidism.

Also, Oprah describes in the magazine article that part of her health regimen is to drink soy milk. Actually, for someone suffering from autoimmune thyroid disease, many experts would caution against soy due to soy's potential for negative effects on thyroid health. Soy in concentrated forms can actually act as an antithyroid agent, slowing down the thyroid. U.S. Food and Drug Administratino (FDA) soy experts Drs. Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan, protested the FDA's own health claims for soy, stating: "There is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones found in soy, including genistein and equol, a metabolize of daidzen, demonstrate toxicity in estrogen sensitive tissues and in the thyroid...Additionally, isoflavones are inhibitors of the thyroid peroxidase which makes T3 and T4. Inhibition can be expected to generate thyroid abnormalities, including goiter and autoimmune thyroiditis." Many physicians would recommend that Oprah avoid soy given her thyroid condition, and if she wants to eat soy products, to use only fermented soy products like tempeh and miso. According to Michael Barbee, author of Politically Incorrect Nutrition, "the fermentation process alters soy in such a way that the natural toxins, antinutrients, and goitrogens are neutralized, and the isoflavones are made beneficial--or at least, less harmful."

What's Next?

More than four years ago, I urged thyroid patients around the nation to contact Oprah's producers and encourage them to put together a show on the epidemic of overlooked, misdiagnosed hypothyroidism in America's women. While thousands of letters and emails were sent, that show on thyroid disease never materialized. Meanwhile, Oprah has continued to cover topics such as fatigue, perimenopause, menopause, depression, low sex drive, infertility, fibromyalgia, anxiety, panic disorder, and weight gain at great length, without any mention of the major role a thyroid problem can play in each and every one of these health challenges that women commonly face.

Now more than ever, I urge Oprah to consider covering a topic that has become a very personal one for her -- hypothyroidism. It's no surprise to my readers that I frequently bemoan the lack of media attention for thyroid disease. And strangely, even though the woman referred to as "the most influential woman in the world" has now gone public with her own hypothyroidism, we STILL have an inexplicable lack of media interest in her announcement, as noted by Bob Condor in the Seattle Post Intelligencer today.

Meanwhile, millions of woman across America, and millions more around the world, struggle with exhaustion, depression, weight gain, low sex drive, PMS, high cholesterol, difficult menopause, body aches/pains, hair loss, infertility, and other life-sapping symptoms, without getting the proper diagnosis and treatment they deserve.

Oprah's own health situation presents her with an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By dedicating even one episode of her powerhouse show to the problem of undiagnosed, undertreated or improperly treated hypothyroidism -- and hopefully, covering it in a realistic way, and not the breezy "easy to diagnose, easy to treat" mythology promoted by some doctors -- Oprah has it in her power to dramatically improve the health of millions of women worldwide -- and even save lives that will otherwise be lost to this condition and its debilitating side effects.

We have raised up our voices, pleading with doctors, experts, the media, and even Oprah herself, to give more attention to the plight of people with hypothyroidism. Oprah has received our letters and emails -- thousands of them. And she now knows first-hand the personal struggle involved in having a thyroid condition.

Let us hope that she will turn her struggle into an even more positive opportunity to increase awareness, and transform the health of millions. As for me, I am confident that Oprah will do the right thing.

Read all of Mary Shomon's About.com Thyroid site coverage of Oprah Winfrey's thyroid condition here.

Photo of Oprah Winfrey, June 2007: Peter Kramer / Getty Images

September 18, 2007 at 8:41 am
(1) isma says:

I have a thyroid problem for years as well, but it is getting better and better through a special type of yoga. Pranayam yoga from Swami Ramdev. His Yoga is practised now in India via tv and worldwid .It cures more than 140 illnesses. Thyroid is one of it. Swami Sri Ramdew had been in the states for several times. His yoga however is free . If you go on this website you will find free yoga training and more information http://www.pypt.org/index.html This is the UK link for his site . Thank you for reading..

September 18, 2007 at 1:37 pm
(2) Dawn says:

I swear I am being slowly killed. My doctor continues to lower my thyroid replacement medication based on lab testing alone. I have NO gland since it was removed nearly 20 years ago. Any ideas on where I can turn? I need a physician who will listen to me!! I am really scared of what this new dosage of levothryoxine (.88mcg) is going to do to me. That dosage is less than someone with an entire gland or partial gland would be given. I live in Seattle and like my doctor otherwise but need someone who can think outside the box. I see myself looking like a overgorged slug before Halloween is here.

November 29, 2011 at 8:26 am
(3) PAM says:

I also have had my gland removed last october – I take 150mg of thyroxine but take something called thyroid helper, I actually live in Australia and buy it from the USA
JUST GOOGLE Thyroid helper and it will come up from the wellness centre, what it does is convert t4 to t3, I take 3 a day. Plus I take pure Q10, this really helps with energy and pain. It works for me, it is the best I have felt.
Hope you feel better

September 18, 2007 at 4:35 pm
(4) nyscof says:

Interesting that Oprah’s symptoms cleared up somewhat when she was in Hawaii where no fluoride is added to the drinking water supplies. Fluoride is known to disrupt thyroid function, according to the first published review of fluoride/thyroid studies presented in the March 2006 National Research Council’s fluoride report (chapter 8)

Chicago, Illinois, where Oprah lives and works is fluoridated. Even if she doesn’t drink the tap water, she inhales and absorbs fluoride via showers and baths.

Let’s help us all by getting fluoridation stopped:

Take Action to End Fluoridation

Online Petition to End Fluoridation and call for a Congressional Hearing


Sponsored by the Fluoride Action Network http://FluorideAction.Net

September 19, 2007 at 12:45 pm
(5) Tonya says:

I have been suffering with Hypothyroidism that I know of for the last 2 to 3 years and I feel hopeless. I workout and watch what I eat and I still can’t lose weight. I am in the Navy and if I can’t get help, I will probably be discharged. People always say just back away from the table, but that is so far away from the truth. I’m always tired. And they act as if I sit around and eat junk food all day.

November 30, 2011 at 2:56 am
(6) Tonya says:

what medication r u on? i was on levothyroxine, generic for Synthroid..they switched it to Armour Thyroid, i take generic and works just fine..it has both T3 and T4. Synthroid or its generic version has only T4. I found that despite my TSH reaching a normal level i felt, sluggish, my weight was up and simply just flushed..it was due to the fact that my body was not converting the t4 in synthroid to t3. so I am taking a medication that has both! big time difference. i have also lost 10 lbs since starting a few weeks ago without doing anything major..tell ur doctor that despite treatment u are not feeling better. push push push them! some docs dont do other treatments..bring up armour thyroid even say a relative or friend had to use it and u want to try it to see if it helps..ppl r simply ignorant n dont understand the effects of the condition or even certain medications..it is frustrating..ignore move on and find the best medicine for u! good luck!

September 19, 2007 at 5:26 pm
(7) Carole says:

I too have suffered from hyperthyroidism with secondary weight gain. I too after much research on and offline that this is a topic that is monumental and affects alot of people who are not even aware they have a thyroid condition. Doctors should routinely check thyroid levels (T3, T4, TSH) as they do CBC’s and Blood Chemistry levels. I bet alot of other conditions that get diagnosed such as depression, menopause etc are brought on by high or low thyroxin levels. Come on Oprah…..this is a MUST DISCUSSION; I wrote to you on your website a few years ago about this topic and never heard anything back. It’s time to come out of the closet on this most importantly topic.

September 19, 2007 at 9:54 pm
(8) Sherii says:

Thyroid sucks! I wish every doctor would take a long look at it and re-study what they are missing! Pay attention, traditional doctors;;;;;;;

September 21, 2007 at 12:38 am
(9) teresa says:

I too suffer from very low throid problems. Matters of fact when the dr i was going to at the time found it, he said i should have been dead. He showed it to a co-working dr. They both said they had never saw anyone with as low a count as mine. It was 3?? some low. Later because of it, i liked to have died. I spent a month in Bapt. Hospital in NC where they started me on 300 milligrams of throid medicine in a liquid. I was in a coma for a week. They told my family if i lived that first night i might make it. Well i did, thank God. But i can’t loose any weight. They now have me down to 150 milligrams hoping it would give me energy since i was somewhat straightened out but it is hard. I was talking out of my head. I was talking in my sleep of which i never had. I could just sit down and go right to sleep. I know how bad it was now but at the time i didn’t. The first dr. that found it started me off on just 50 milligrams because he said too much could cause your heart to maybe have a heart attack because it was to speed up my body. I had got to the point i said i was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I said i wasn’t even worth buying a bullit and shooting. He told me a throid problem can kill you. That it has a lot to do with other body functions. My kidneys shut down. I was in bad shape. Im better but im not well.

September 21, 2007 at 3:33 am
(10) MARILYN says:

I have hypothyroidism. My husband realized this from my symptoms and found an excellent dr. for bio identical hormoines. Basically the two of them saved my life because I was having really serious symptoms. It messed up my lipids, blood pressure, energy, all the metabolisms, weight, heart rate, body temperature and I think eventually I would have died, but some dr. would have siad I had a heart attack. If your body temnperature is not above 98.2, the various metabolisms are not working properly and it’;s down hil form ther. The best test is the thyroid challenge test. You get injected with thyroid release hormone which tells the pituitary to tell the thyroid to release thyroid hormone. If the thyroid is released right away in amole amounts, the thyroiud stimulating hormone that the pituitary sends to the thyroid gland should be about 10—mine was 32— I stqrted on T4 and T3 bio identical-next test Iwas 29 -raised the hormones-then 27–then 22 now 18– we are aiming for at least 11. My husband took the same test because he had toruble keeping wight on and his was 11–so he just has very efficient metaqbolism and since he does alot of hard gym workouts needs a lot of calories. But the establishment is very archaic about thyrouid treatment., Also synthetic thyroid is reaqlly bad news.

November 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm
(11) Oliver says:

I like to share that bioidentical hormones are made in the lab like the regular thyroid hormones, one difference is that they have different fillers. There is no patent on regular thyroid hormones, so the hormone itself is the same as the one in our body, the pill itself also contains feelers which some people may be allergic to. This is sometimes some people do better with some brands, or bioidentical than others. Drawback, regular prescription thyroid hormones do not come with T3and T4 in one pill and they are not personalized to the exact dose you need.

September 21, 2007 at 4:10 am
(12) Mercedes says:

As I read your comments, I see myself as I was over a year and a half ago. Fatigue, ballooning weigh (over 265 lbs) and all the rest. Having a good doctor who LISTENS is a must. Teresa, you were really on the verge of death. 300 + tsh? I was only 123. Here is I recommend for you all. As age creeps upon us, health is one of the biggest issues we have to face. I started to take vitamins, complexes, and plus on the side vitamin A, B, E, omega-3 and such. But what really boosted me was CO Q 10. This enzyme that helps the body to turn food into energy. It has to be built up in you first. But then you feel like never will tire out. I’m full of energy and life once again. And my mind works better too. (well some disagree with this. Haha)
About the eating right part.
Your body craves certain things without you realizing it why.
Before my treatment started I had visions of salty purple onions dancing in front of my eyes. Later found out onion has Thyroid boosting qualities. How many of you have the urge to go to a farm and try to get freshly milked cow milk? I had. My vitamin D and Calcium was low. Let your body guide you. You might not know why you suddenly want something so badly your mouth waters up just thinking about it.
Best for you all.

September 21, 2007 at 5:33 am
(13) mercedes says:

As I read your comments, I see myself as I was over a year and a half ago. Fatigue, ballooning weigh (over 265 lbs) and all the rest. Having a good doctor who LISTENS is a must. Teresa, you were really on the verge of death. 300 + tsh? I was only 123. Here is I recommend for you all. As age creeps upon us, health is one of the biggest issues we have to face. I started to take vitamins, complexes, and plus on the side such as vitamin A; E; omega-3 and such. But what really boosted me was CO Q 10. This enzyme that helps the body to turn food into energy. It has to be built up in you first. But then you feel like never will tire out. I’m full of energy and life once again. And my mind works better too. (well some disagree with this. Haha)
About the eating right part.
Your body craves certain things without you realizing it.
Before my treatment started I had visions of salty purple onions dancing in front of my eyes. Later found out Onion has Thyroid boosting qualities. How many of you have the urge to go to a farm and try to get freshly milked cow milk? I had. My vitamin D and Calcium was low. Let your body guide you. You might not know why you suddenly want something so badly your mouth waters up just thinking about it.
Best for you all.

September 21, 2007 at 6:16 am
(14) valerie says:

I suffered with hypothyroid for 4 years–saw 3 endos who said it was “my age” because I was 50 and my tests were low normal (very low normal). Bloated and depressed, I sought the help of a naturopath and in 4 months I am symptom free, lost the weight (10 pounds) and my thyroid lab tests are normal (not that they matter). Alternative medicine worked for me. I feel alive again.

September 21, 2007 at 6:22 am
(15) Jo Brown says:

I am a UK sufferer and have been for the last 7+ years. Had tests for intolerance of thyroxine, but they are still trying to get me to increase dose. Cannot cope with side effects of drug, so would be realy interested in the comment by Valerie September 21, 2007 @ 6.16am on what ‘naturopath’ she went on. Jo

September 21, 2007 at 6:56 am
(16) Susan says:

Make sure your doctors are using the newest TSH range as many doctors and laboratories fight doing so.

September 21, 2007 at 7:47 am
(17) Susan says:

(sounds like an oxymoron,I know)

I was diagnosed in 2000 and the diagnosis changed my world!! I lost 55 lbs., my brain fog vanished, my crisp vision returned, my beautiful blonde hair got fuller, I have so much energy! I’m back!!!!
It was almost overnight after finding the right doctor. Ladies my advice is simple, be proactive and if your intuition tells you you’re not up to par yet, put your “RUBBY SLIPPERS” on, and get to the next doctor that perhaps is better versed in thyroid disease!
Then know your number…Being “in range” is not good enough! Some doctors are satified to see your TSH in range but perhaps your optimum TSH (while still in range of course) needs to be higher or lower. As for me I know my TSH needs to be just under 1 to feel like a million bucks! I can now immediately reconize when my numbers are not where they need to be for me! Be in tune with your body.
Do not give up!

September 21, 2007 at 8:19 am
(18) Mary says:

You are right that thyroid conditions are ignored. I work with medical records in a disability program and decisionmakers rarely consider thyroid issues to have any effect on functioning. Because I am hypothyroid, I understand the lab results much better than most of the people I work with. I think most people, including reporters, don’t cover this because they don’t understand the wide-ranging effects the thyroid has. If you mention heart or brain or kidney or liver, they get it because the function is a bit more straightforward. But, let’s face it, there are a lot of MD “experts” who don’t really get it either and that may be even more of a problem.

I think referring Oprah to some good doctors would be a big step in getting her to do a show on the topic. If she is properly treated and can feel better and lose weight in spite of a stressful schedule, she will consider the dr responsible for her treatment a “guru” and make it a topic for a show.

September 21, 2007 at 8:33 am
(19) Margaret says:

How about also mentioning how dental amalgam (mercury “silver” fillings) play a huge role in autoimmune diseases, Hashimotos included.None of these diseases (MS,Lupus,Hashimotos,Alzheimersand the list goes on) were around until the start of using amalgam All of the symptoms of thyroid disorders are also the same symptoms as mecury poisoning. I just had all of my mercury fillings replaced, a nickel based crown replaced and a root canal extracted. The day my last amalgams were removed my hot flashes stopped. My body temperature returned to NORMAL. I have reduced my thyroid meds. My period that I lacked for only 1 in a year (I was tested and I was NOT menopausal) returned in 3 weeks. I can now sleep peacefully. I do not get up 3 to 4 times to go to the bathroom if I drink after 6 pm. I am currently chelating and will do so for a long time but the way I feel is absolutely amazing. Some may think I am a crackpot but what I say is true. There is an excellent movie preview on http://www.rooted.tv called quecksilber (mercury amalgam) and and another preview on the dangers of root canals.

September 21, 2007 at 8:40 am
(20) Kara says:

I think it is so funny that Oprah says she was feeling more like herself after one month. I have been on this hellish journey of trying to feel like myself again for a year now, and I haven’t achieved it yet. I don’t think she is being completely honest with us, if she is, I want to know exactly what she did to feel better so I can try it!

September 21, 2007 at 9:22 am
(21) Jennifer says:

I was diagnosed 8 years ago and found much comfort and wisdon at Mary’s web sites and books. I use to be a big “Oprah” fan and was proud of her ability to educated others with her show. One day, shortly after I was diagnosed, I was watching Oprah and she was talking about Taking Control of your Weight… I don’t remember the situation exactly, but a lady from the audiance said something about Thyroid disease, and the problem she has will loosing weight and Oprah replied, “That’s nothing that a pill can’t cure”. I was shock and so disappointed that I haven’t watched or supported her since. Maybe she will take the time now to become educated about the lovely effects Thyroid disease has on a persons over-all health.

September 21, 2007 at 9:26 am
(22) Jenny says:

I have hypothyroidism and have always read that one cannot really attribute more than a 5 pound weight gain to having a slow thyroid, which is why I question Oprah saying that she attributes her 20 pound weight gain to the disease. I am only going by what I have been told by my doctor and what I have read. My mother and I both have hypothroidism and neither of us have had the kind of weight gain that Oprah claims. Actually I thought her friend Gayle said that Oprah gained all of that weight in Africa because she ate bread and potatoes. Does anyone know if hypothyroid can really cause THAT much of a weight gain???

November 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm
(23) laura says:

I gained 40 pounds in 4 months, a month later I was diagnoised with Hypothyroid disease. I got very sick very fast. Overnight I was a walking zomby, I woke up tired and went to bed at 6pm tired. I could barely function at work. I had only been married for a year and my husband thought I was crazy.

September 21, 2007 at 9:28 am
(24) Sally Di Marco says:

I have been trying for the past several months to adjust to several brands of synthetic thyroid medication without much success.

I cannot tolerate even the smallest dosage (12.5 mcg)every four days of the medication. I experience severe stomach distress and develop all the symptoms of a hyperthyroid condition. The Dr. started me on 50mcg of synthroid and I ended up in the ER with chest pains and other medical concern.

I am desperate to find an alternative means to treat the disease. The disease has caused my lipid levels and blood pressure to escalate. I am depressed because of the situation with the medication and as my Dr. puts it, “no one has problems taking synthroid and other synthetic related thyroid drugs.”

Please contact me if you know of any other alternative ways to treat the disease. Thanks.


November 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm
(25) Michelle Chiew says:

Try looking at your adrenals first. If your adrenal function is compromised then your thyroid won’t be able to handle the optimum dose of thyroid medication. Why? Because your thyoid and adrenals work together like peas and carrots. Think of your adrenals as the gas and your thyroid as the flame. Without enough gas the thyroid (flame) won’t ignite. Adding thyroid meds to an already compromised metabolism due to adrenal fatigue and you load an already stressed system. To metabolically repair from adrenal fatigue so that you can handle thyroid meds you need to cut sugar, coffee and refined carbohydrates. Serious adrenal fatigue may need to be treated with adrenal extract or hydrocortisone. The T3 thyroid hormone ‘activates’ with cortisol/normal adrenal function. With compromised adrenal function you will get lingering hypo symptoms and an intolerance to thyroid meds. Good luck!

September 21, 2007 at 9:31 am
(26) andrea says:

Good analysis of Opera.

She is surrounded by her trusted advisors. They influence her to look in specific directions and see their favorite helpers.

After the first inital finding then the true search for help may begain. There is so much informmation out there.

We all have to search out help and it takes time even for Opera to sort throught all the advice and try things out one at a time to see what happens.

We are our own reseach subjects.

I hope someone she trusts gives her Mary’s book or she find it herself.

I am grateful for the help I have gotten from Mary and her site.

Search on…

September 21, 2007 at 10:01 am
(27) Robbie Riley says:

I too have thyroid problems and have
gained weight. With Hypo, you are so
tired that you don’t feel like doing
alot of physical exercise. I take 75 mcg of Synthroid and diagnosed with Hasimoto’s. Good luck Opra!

September 21, 2007 at 10:26 am
(28) Kris says:

I have been doing lots of research since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism 10 years ago. I have not been a well person since my diagnosis, even after colosal weight gain, being medicated with synthroid, various antidepressants, high cholesteral medication, etc. I have gone off all presecription drugs over the last 9 months. I have also learned that cortisol plays a huge role in thyroid function. A person really should take a cortisol spit test before being put on any thyroid medication to see what condition her adrenal glands are in relation to the stress in her life. Adrenal failure is a very real medical condition that accounts for a lot of the same symptoms as hypothyroidism. DHEA levels are also very important.

Before considering going on any thyroid medication, ask your doctor for a cortisol spit test to check for adrenal fatigue/failure. You may be surprised at what you find.

September 21, 2007 at 11:39 am
(29) Brenda says:

I can see how Oprah would feel better after 1 month. When I first started levothryroxine, I was extremely tired and I started to feel much better. And each time I had to get my dosage changed, it felt great. But I never felt as good as I did before I was hypothyroid until I found a doctor that would add Cytomel.

September 21, 2007 at 12:24 pm
(30) Ruth says:

I have Graves and had my thyroid removed 2 1/2 years ago. 3 Endo’s later I am still educating my current Doc.
It is very frustrating telling my story
to a Doc who just looks at me like
oh well, Currently taking Synthroid
(Not the generic and getting by.)
I have found natural alternatives to be a great help and have found them myself after lots of research.
My experience has been to take a few days to recup after a busy schedule.
I doubt if Oprah is really Hypo with
autoimmune aspects her new found energy is going to stay with her. It is a daily challenge to stay in balance.

September 21, 2007 at 12:26 pm
(31) Kathy says:

I really hope that Oprah, who can dedicate a whole show to the “Are you wearing the wrong bra?”, can find it within herself to do a show on thyroid disease. The benefit to the millions that suffer with thyroid disease would be extraordinary!

September 21, 2007 at 1:49 pm
(32) Sienna says:

Thank you Mary and all of you for this site!!! it has been my only incourgment.I am on my 7th + year with Hashimotos and im 44 years old now.I have had Far to many years of doctors and my husband telling me its all in you head get over it.it hurts when I tell the people you trust most that I dont want to feel like this but I cant help it.I vaguly remember what it was like to REALLY feel well.I Need to stay strong.

September 21, 2007 at 4:41 pm
(33) Julie says:

I have Graves, lots of trouble; Armour thyroid is my best helper. Synthorid has a preserative in it that I am allergic to, same as in cheap red wine, pickles and slim jim type snacks. I had to change my doctor to find out about Armor, it was easy to change even in my complicated health care plan. Don’t put up with an under educated doctor.

September 21, 2007 at 5:19 pm
(34) Dawn says:

Bottom line;
Thyroid dysfunction is different in every body, ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work. Everyone wants to be helpful and offer up what works/worked for them, but it doesn’t happen that way. As far as Oprah is concerned; she is a strong-willed and strong opinioned person. If she is convinced that her view of thyroid issues is correct (as in, it was a minor inconvenience, nothing that a month long vacation on my private estate in Hawaii can’t fix) then not one or one hundred thousand voices are going to change her mind. Think about it. Her approach to success and life has been to ‘will it to happen’ and so far, for her, it has. So I’m sure from her point of view, anyone else with thyroid issues is just a weak-minded mamby pampy who needs to suck it up.
For once, Miss O is wrong. (Gasp!)
I for one am a bit over the idea that everything Oprah says or touches must be venerated. She’s just a human like the rest of us.

September 21, 2007 at 5:47 pm
(35) Amee says:

I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and i am 21 years old, does anyone know what type of diet i should be on or any foods I should stay away from? Also is there anyone that has been diagnosed with thyroid disease and still was able to have children?

September 21, 2007 at 5:55 pm
(36) mum says:

Come on Ophra u are the person now to get the message out there for the thyroid as i have suffered for 12 yrs i respect u and look up to u so come on tell the world and the drs and there has to be more research on this and different ways to combat this crippling disease.

September 21, 2007 at 8:36 pm
(37) Mary Reed says:

I was (finally)diagnosed with Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency in 1992, at age 44, and put on Hydrocortisone (the most natural form of cortisol replacement). In 1989 I had asked previous Endo to check my thyroid, and he said I was ‘low normal’. Had major ups and downs thruout the years, finally going into complete brain fog and fibromyalgia pain syndrome before being diagnosed hypothyroid in 2001. Within a week of going on natural Armour Thyroid (don’t let pharmacy do a substitution!) most all of my body pain disappeared. I am VERY upset about the fact that if I had been properly diagnosed with low thyroid in 1989 I might never have had to go on cortisone steroids for my adrenals! Have had massive weight gain thru the years, due to the meds. Like everyone else says, I was so tired that I couldn’t exercise or do anything else (except eat!). However, in 1998 I started to work out with a trainer at my husband’s insistence. I STILL don’t enjoy it, but I stand straighter and have better muscle tone and good bone density. I continue to work out twice a week. The BEST thing I have done for myself has been to realize that I can NOT be a workaholic any longer. When I am tired I need to stop and rest–not tell myself that I will ‘catch up’ later. You must learn to say “no” to your husband, kids, friends, etc. If YOU don’t take care of yourself, no one else will–as they are all too busy with their own challenges! I will be 60 in January, and just keep trying to do my best. In July I went on the Medifast diet program and lost 17 pounds in 6 weeks, without getting a headache or being hungry–a first for me!!! This quick weight loss (with no bad side effects) has FINALLY given me the incentive to keep with it. I don’t even WANT to cheat on the diet.
***MY FINAL CHALLENGE: to find the bio-identical thyroid meds that I have heard people talk about.***CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH THIS??? I know about bio-identical hormone replacement, but not for thyroid and adrenals! HELP!!!!

September 21, 2007 at 10:34 pm
(38) Gail says:

Marilyn….you wrote above about the “thyroid challenge test”. I am totally unfamiliar with it, and though you give a very good descriptions, is there a website, or, someplace we can go for more information on it? Also, I wonder how a person can find info on doctors who are familiar with it?
Thanks so much for this enlightening message.

September 21, 2007 at 11:20 pm
(39) Kim says:

Amee-I have had Hashimotos disease, since 2002, and am on Cytomel & Levathyroxine every day, as far as prescriptions. I have been told not to have anything with SOY, because it makes the thyroid even worse. I also stayway from anything “white”, white bread, sugar,potatoes,pasta,ect. Eat lots of veggies, fruit, and I like berries! (strawberries,raspberries,blackberries, blueberries). I make smoothies with vanilla slimfast powder & rice milk (instead of cows milk). You can get almond milk or rice milk in the natural foods dept. Neither of these need to be refridgerated, and come in a carton box, that I do keep in the fridge, so it is cold like milk. It really tastes good too! Eat lots of chicken,turkey,& fish. You’ll feel much better & sleep better. The minute I start eating unhealthy, I start to feel tired, but don’t sleep at night, I have no ambition during the day. I also take a vitamin everyday, and as far as the hair loss!!! I am a Salon owner, which gave me the stress, that gave me the Thyroid problem in the first place, and I still have lots of hair loss! I think the product “Nioxin”, is the only thing that helps. Most salon should have herd of Nioxin Products, or can order it for you! Good luck & please try to find these milks at your grocery store.

November 29, 2011 at 8:02 pm
(40) Laura says:

I have the same regement that you have with great results, also when I start cheating I feel terrible almost immediately. My doctor also has me on a iodione supplement (Idoral).

September 22, 2007 at 4:05 am
(41) Jo says:

So pleased to know I am not on my own at taking 12.5mcg every third day, as Sally D’Marco, comment 20 September 21, 2007@9.28am, is also having same problem with synthetic medication and taking 12.5mcg every fourth day. In the last 7+ years I have had all tests going, tried all synthetic brands of medications and have found one which I find I can tollerate a small amount. Unfortunately this comes only in 50mcg, so I have to cut it into four. I have also tried lactose free and armour, but have more of a severe reaction to both of these. It effects my sinuses and the middle of my face goes numb. I was told by the Doctor this could be dangerous. I get the same reaction with synthectic meds if I take too much. Would like to try a homopathic treatment, but as I am retired and now 63 money is the issue.


September 22, 2007 at 11:28 am
(42) tammy says:

FYI, not only does Oprah have a thyroid problem, but her best friend Gayle has one too. She said this on her XM radio show a couple of days ago.

September 22, 2007 at 12:54 pm
(43) Jo says:

Hi Jo,

i am interested in communicating with you about the thyroid medication intolerance.
Please contact me at sdimarco@bccc.edu.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


September 22, 2007 at 3:40 pm
(44) Dorie says:

I have had hypothyroidism for about 6 years. Before I was diagnosed I like everyone else knew that I was going downhill. I had never gained weight without eating, all of a sudden I put on 8 lbs. and I went to 3 endos who all said “oh your TSH is fine, around 3.5″. I was 43 at that time. PS. about 8 months after the weight gain started my TSH went to 25 and I crashed. I also had and still have weakness in my legs that can not be diagnosed which I take ultram every day for. I went on the Wilson’s syndrome plan for 5 weeks this summer and boy did that knock me out. Do not go on this plan unless you are told of the negatives which I read his book 2 times and my doctor advised me it was safe. Well, the time released cytomel does NOT work well. Please if you are reading this stay away from Wilsons. It may work for a mere 20 percent of the people that go on it but it put me in a big decline. My body could not assimilate the time release cytomel that they put you on and I put on another 8 lbs eating about 800 calories a day. My cortisol level has been checked and I am producing 8 times the normal level. I am going to a Dr. Lee at Columbia hospital in NYC soon and he is a thyroid/adrenal specialist so I am praying he will help me. After I gained the 8 lbs. from my body producing the stress hormone cortisol I went off the Wilsons diet fast. I am back on my old meds armour thyroid and regular cytomel. I do believe Oprah could also have an adrenal problem. It seems the more stress you are under the more weight albiet water weight you gain. I think Oprah needs to lighten her work load before it begins to kill her. I hope any of my info might be of help to any other hypo’s = please do not go on that Wilsons program without knowing it can backfire and make you a lot worse than when you started. Goodluck and you can email me to talk at doxy3m@aol.com

September 22, 2007 at 8:48 pm
(45) Penny says:

I started to have the fatigue, body pain, no sleep, sudden weight gain etc., about 7 years ago. I was “within range, but the bottom of range”. So Dr. did nothing. Went to see endo. and I have a goiter. Started on levoxyl 50 mcg. and got terrible heart palpatations and chest pain. Thought I was having a heart attack. The hypothyroid raised my LDL so much I did have a complete blockage in my heart. I am down to 25 mcg. levoxyl and this still does not do the whole trick. I don’t know what else to do.

September 22, 2007 at 9:36 pm
(46) Inez says:

I too nearly died from hyperthyroidism. In 2003, I suffered for nearly 11 months with varying “symptoms” of menopause to include the night AND day sweats as well as what was initially diagnosed as early stage rheumatoid arthritics. I literally lived in my doctor’s office and had every test imaginable, without any diagnosis. Every day was a major struggle, walking and breathing became increasingly difficult. Prior to the onset of my hyperthyroidism, I was a moderate walker;putting in 2 or more miles at least 4 times a day. I got to the point where I could not walk at all. My joints ached and I literally could not breathe and I would sweat profusely. My chest hurt and my heart rate elevated and accelerated to the point that my chest could be visibly observed moving up and down with each heartbeat, I was extremely nauseous and I walked like an old person of 80 or 90 years of age. When I sat, I needed assistance in getting up. I sweated profusely ALL the time. Finally, in November, I checked myself into the hospital.When I arrived there, my blood pressure was 210/180 and my heart rate was all but off the chart. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days; again getting tested and “treated” for phantom heart disease, stomach ailment and hypertension. When I was released, I went home with 2 medications for heart problems, one for hypertension and one for my nausea. This all took place the week of Thanksgiving. On the Monday following Thanksgiving, I went to a former doctor who diagnosed me with a potential case of hyperthyroidism. I was bed-ridden until the 2nd week of December as I underwent first the test and then the treatment for hyperthyroidism. I have no functioning thyroid gland.
I tell my story whenever I can to impress upon people the seriousness of not being properly diagnosed for either hyper- or hypo- thyroidism. I received the radiactive treatment the first week of December anad was able to get out of my house for the first time on Christmas Day. After the treatment, my body functions began to return to normal; but in late January, I went into hyprthyroidism and began thyroid replacement treatment with Synthyroid.
Yes, the inability to lose weight is a terrible burden that I struggle with daily. But, with the help of my nutritionist, I’ve managed to lose about forty pounds.
National attention has to brought to bear on this deadly medical problem.

September 22, 2007 at 11:15 pm
(47) Kyrie says:

I’m sorry to hear of Oprah’s latest round of health problems. She badly needs to read the book “The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food” by Dr. Kaayla Daniel. More than 70 years of studies link soy to thyroid disorders, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Oprah is jeopardizing her health with those soymilk and blueberry shakes. Worse, she may be drinking Revival shakes as recommended by Dr. Christiane Northrup. They contain high levels of isoflavones , which damage the thyroid.

September 23, 2007 at 11:14 am
(48) Jo-Ann Clark says:

This is the best roundtable discussion on thyroid problems that I am aware of.
I am 63 years old. I was diagnosed with a low thyoid problem around my menapausal years. I thought all the hot flashes, sleep problems and fuzzy thinking were from menapause. When I first started on synthroid my legs would just give out on me. Then I started to have a balance problem and sometimes walk like a duck. I have had three MRI’s with no results or answers to my balance problems which get worse every year. I also have a sinus problem and a fullness feeling in my face. My temp. is usually around 97. I was recently put on a higher dose of synthroid and for four months or more now all my joints ache especially my fingers and knees. I have had a cortizone shot in my knee because of the pain and now it is getting stiff. I am loosing my med. insurance soon. This balance problem keeps me from being able to work. It is making me old. My mind feels young~body not doing so well. Why is it that so many thyroid patients need to diagnose themselves?? All the doctors want to do is take a TSH test, give you a pill and say “Now you will be fine”. I have been to many doctors in different clinics and hospitals with no help. I am not Fine and I don’t like it! From this discussion, I have a feeling that many of my problems are thyroid related. Does anyone else have balance problems? Maybe the yoga will help. I was on the “pill” for many years and then on HRT during menopause. (for the sweating, foggy thinking and sleep problems). I wonder if any research has been done on this in regards to thyroid problems. Thanks for all the discussion and comments!

September 23, 2007 at 8:10 pm
(49) Dorie says:

Hi Jo-Ann, this is Dorie writing, my post is the 4th one above yours. I have extreamly weak legs around my calf muscles. Bi-lateral. It has made me almost house bound. I am barely 50 and am desperate to find answers. I’ve been to at least 20 different doctors, endo’s, orthopedists, rhumatalogists, nuerologists, osteopaths etc. They really can’t give me a clear cut answer. I also have the bad sinus headaches but I have read that hypo’s have a lot of problems with their sinuses. Many many mysteries. I hope in my life time I can get some real help. I see a dr. soon at a center for thyroid/adrenal conditions = I am praying he can help answer some of my questions. Pls feel free to write to me at doxy3m@aol.com. Good luck, Dorie

September 24, 2007 at 5:33 pm
(50) Sally says:


Several of the posts mention bio identical hormones for treating thyroid conditions. Can someone explain to me what bio identical hormones are and how are they used in treating thyroid conditions? What type of Dr. deals with this type of medication. As I stated in a previous post, I am allergic to thyrosine (T4) synthetic products. Perhaps bio identical hormones would be worth investigating. I can be reached at sdimarco@bccc.edu. Thanks.


September 26, 2007 at 6:20 am
(51) Carla says:

Jo-Ann Clark,

If you read this, have your doctor do blood tests for pernicious anemia. The first noticeable symptom (after fatigue) is usually a problem with the legs (weakness, pain, imbalance).

I have both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and pernicious anemia, though the pernicious anemia went 12 or 13 years undiagnosed, and I now have permanent painful nerve damage in my lower legs.

Pernicious anemia is another autoimmune disease which you can read about online. In a nutshell, the body develops antibodies to intrinsic factor, a protein secreted in the
stomach, which binds with vitamin B12 to make it absorbable by the body. B12 is the only vitamin which cannot be absorbed ALONE by the body. B12 is vital to nerve function and red blood cell production. Treatment is simply injecting liquid B12 yourself into the
buttocks monthly. One or two percent of people age 60+ have it, but it can strike in your 20s. Risk factors are Scandinavian or Northern European descent, long-term use of anti-inflammatories, fair skin, and type A blood. It often goes hand-in-hand with

It may not be the cause of your leg weakness, but it’s EASILY diagnosed and treated, and doctors always think of it LAST.


September 28, 2007 at 7:38 am
(52) Mary says:

I’m not sure why the only comments are allowed after the Oprah article, because I wanted to comment after the article on frustration. One of my problems, along with weight gain, was brain fog. My mind had gotten slower and slower and this started around 52, when severe stress knocked me from borderline into full hypothyroidism. I’m on medication but still experienced the brain fog and, as a lawyer, this was career threatening. I looked into an Ayurvedic herb called Rhodiola Rosea. After reading a book on the subject written by a physician named Brown, I was ready to try it. Honestly, within a week, my mind began rapidly moving back to normal functioning, where it is today. I would highly recommend that anyone with slowed brain function due to hypothyroidism look into this herb, which was tested extensively in Russia and other countries like Sweden for about 50 years so it is quite safe.

September 28, 2007 at 8:11 am
(53) Margaret says:

I mentioned the HUGE connection between amalgam and thyroid disease. No one who has posted has even commented on this. I am surprised that this is being overlooked. The cause for your problems has to found, you can discuss how to treat it and what will make you feel better but the real question is why do you have a thyroid disease. As one poster already said she never felt as good as she did before she had thyroid disease. You will never feel 100% as long as you have the 3rd most toxic substance known to man in your mouth. Look at the closeness between your thyroid and your mouth. Look at where your teeth are and where your sinuses are. Look at where your teeth are and your pitituary is.I am a living breathing walking talking testimony of feeling a huge improvement in my health by getting rid of my mercury fillings. Mercury settles into organ in your body and it accumulates it is a slow poisoning. When the body can not tolerate it anymore you then start to have disease sent in. My body temperature turned NORMAL after the last of my fillings were taken out, My BRAIN FOG is decreasing rapidly, my HOT FLASHES ceased I sleep well at night I have ENERGY now. I am begging you to listen and to consider what I am saying. I wish that someone had told me about this years ago before I started to feel so miserable.Mercury depletes selenium and glutathione levels in your body. These two substances reduce your risk for cancer and help to rid your body of heavy metals. Mercury causes food allergies (how many here are food allergies?),allergies in general, carpal tunnel,frozen shoulders, diabetes, low blood sugar,tingling in hands and feet, tremors,memory problems,digestive problems the list goes on and on. This is a site that will show you the symnptoms of mercury poisoning see how many you have. http://www.mercurypoisoned.com/symptoms.html
For those of you that say that they already had them removed the next question is did you chelate the heavy metal out of your bdoy? If not you will still have problems. Those of you that don’t have the metal fillings did your parents have them? The mercury passes throuigh the placenta to the baby. Have you had flu shots or other shots that contained thimerasol (a mercury preservative?)
Please, please, please consider what I am telling you, it will save your health.

September 28, 2007 at 11:16 am
(54) Jo-Ann Clark says:

Thanks Carla and Dorie ~`

September 28, 2007 at 8:03 pm
(55) Penny says:

This is a very interesting discussion. I watch Oprah everyday, but haven’t read her magazine, so I didn’t know what was wrong with her, but had told my husband she looked different this year, like she was sick or something. I have hashimotos as do two of my three sisters. I have tried everything, Synthroid does not work for me or one of my sisters. Our TSH just continues to climb. Gerneric T4 will keep my numbers okay, but that’s it. Does not relieve my symptoms. I had to change Dr’s recently, and as usual my TSH was high. I asked him if he would prescribe me a little Cytomel (T3). To my surprise, he did. I was taking 125 mcg T4 and he added 25mcg Cytomel. It hasn’t relieved all my symptoms by any means, but I lost 15 pounds without even trying. That is the first positive thing I have had happened with any med other than T4. Armour made me feel awful, even though I know it’s been a lifesaver for some, we are all very different and I guess my liver doesn’t do a very good job of converting T4 to T3. I’ve been dealing with this for 14 years and am so happy to have something positive with my weight happen. I gained 40lbs in one month before my Dr checked my thyroid, and this was while I was doing a job where I got a lot of exercise and had previously been enough to keep my weight down to a reasonable level. I had given up on trying to loose weight, but now have hope. I guess what I’m trying to say is everybody is different and what works for one person doesn’t work for another, but you have to keep searching and it is hard to get a good Dr. to treat thyroid problems. Most just want to give you Synthroid and then accuse you of not taking your medication when your TSH continues to climb. Good luck to everyone. It is a tough battle.

October 11, 2007 at 8:25 am
(56) Pam says:

I can’t believe if Oprah had Hashimotos disease she would not have been diagnosed with it. She must have the best doctors money can buy. I think just as with anyone who has lost a tremendous amount of weight, she has started adding bad habits back in and has gained some weight. That weight is just waiting to come back on. (read “Rethinking Thin” by Gina Kolata) That may be really why she is not doing the show. I have been on synthroid for over 10 years and just recently talked my doctor into Armour Thyroid. I have not seen any change in my weight. If you have hypothyroid and you have lost weight without trying you are a very lucky person. Of course now everybody in Hollywood will have thyroid disease and it will be a big deal, after we have suffered for so long. Maybe they will give us answers. I didn’t know about the soy.

October 11, 2007 at 11:04 am
(57) Patty says:

I thought Oprah looked puffier in the face and eyes this year, and I had noticed even last year that her neck looked like it had a bulge in it (possibly a goiter?)


October 11, 2007 at 11:20 am
(58) Michelle says:

Really I wish that Oprah would do a Special about the many Thyroid Disorders that actually happen to many of us. I was diagnosed this past summer & even expecting my 3rd child now. Ever since my diagnoses its been a trip doing many blood tests & even now being pregnant I have to go in for a repeat vaginal ultrasound since the age of the baby is still unknown. Since my LMP & the previous ultrasounds don’t seem to be going hand in hand..its still unknown how far along I could be and can’t be given a EDD yet, until the baby is visiable to calculate the age and everything.UGH!

October 11, 2007 at 2:39 pm
(59) Rosalia says:

I could be any one of you. Weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, ridges in nails, always cold, on and on. The worst part of all this is dealing with drs. who look at you like you only want it for a quick weight loss. As a result of not being listened to I have had half my thyroid removed. I went to one endo who immediately offered me antidepressants. It doesn’t matter if doc is male or female -they don’t listen or treat the whole person. They refuse to look at the new ranges. My personal opinion is that the medical profession is not getting rich from thyroid problems. I take 100mcg of levoxyl and a 30 day supply costs about $10.00. Nobody is going to get rich from that, however, many of the other problems that could result such a diabetes resulting from being overweight is far more lucrative. I’m sorry for being so jaded, but I had one doctor tell me it was “unethical” for him to give me thyroid medication, another say, you are not “grossly obese”. I have a purple belt in Tae Kwan Do and have not lost one pound. When I bring my membership card to doctor to prove that I am physically active – they don’t even acknowlege the effort. Perhaps too if more men were afflicted with thyroid problems it would be better addressed.

October 11, 2007 at 7:33 pm
(60) sue says:

There are aloy of comments on hypo..what about us hypers?? It has ben a rollercoaster for almost 3 years..I refuse to have zapping that American Drs want to do, so I control mine with tapazole..doing pretty good..found out mnay foods affect thyroid.I hope Oprah will do a show on ALL thyroid trouble. Anyone else out there hyper, and taking drugs only?

October 15, 2007 at 4:19 pm
(61) Jamie says:

I was diagnosed as hypothyroid after the birth of my third son,in 1996.I was only 26 yr & the lab tech taking my blood commented on hypothyroidism as being a “old persons disease” and how unusual it was for me to have it
After beginning Synthyroid,I lost over 50 lbs and have kept it off for almost 12 yrs.( and a 4th child)
I wish there was more public attention and better information given to thyroid disorders.
I belive it would get more awarness out there if Orprah would do a segment on thyroid disorders.
As it turns out-I am adopted-my biological father and several members of his family all suffer from thyroid disorders so I am assuming it is a inheritated conditon for me.

October 18, 2007 at 1:01 pm
(62) Kellie Laney says:

And any one who wants to have bettr than excelent care. I had cancerous nodules in my thyroid 14 years ago. I had my thyroid removed. I have been on thyroid meds for 14 years and yes it is very important.
I love my doctor. He is the best in Texas and I bet the best in the USA.
He keeps me on my toes with complete care and takes an interest in my life.
I would recomend him to each and everyone of you because he knows his stuff. He is president of the thyroid society, he has many famous patients and i can’t say enough about him.He is the best. People fly in from all over the world to see him. I have seen them their. I live5 hours away and go to see him twice a year an will not change till one of us dies.
I would love tosee Oprah go to him for a 2nd opinion only because I adore her and want the best for her.
Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld is his name,
713-795-5750 is his number. Please call and make the trip. Your thyroid is a very important part of your body and you all deserve only the best.
I pray Oprah will call him for a 2nd opinion and may be some one else.
God bless all of you

October 19, 2007 at 2:53 am
(63) Carol says:

I wish Oprah would do a show on misdiagnosed chronic Lyme Disease (and coinfections), as well as electromagnetic hypersensitivity, since that’s what she really has, but even Oprah’s doctors are clueless.

October 19, 2007 at 9:15 am
(64) Marcella says:

Despite having many similar symptoms, plus an obviously enlarged neck, I was told that I was menopausal. It tooks years to finally be diagnosed with a rare and agressive form of thyrid cancer (Hurtle cell), which had just started to metastasize. One doctor told me that an untreated chronic thyroid condition caused the cancer, much like a colon polyp can turn cancerous if left untreated. Although Oprah’s condition will now bring much needed awareness of thyroid diseases, to be “recuperating” for a month in Hawaii is a bit absurd. Two years later, I’m still dealing with the after effects of treatment, and I’m at work every single day fighting my condition!

October 19, 2007 at 10:15 am
(65) Shannon Woodman says:

These comments are truly a blessing. I have suffered from thyroid disease for years… without knowing.. but my doctor said to me once to often, Shannon you must lose weight, i said.. what am i suppose to do.. stop eating.. i dont eat that much, he asked if i had my thyroid checked, i said.. i dont know.. he did.. and called the next day, and put me on med.. that was the best thing that had happened to me.. lost weight, started feeling good.. But then i started to lose weight too much, i ate and ate, and still losing.. people thought i wanted to lose, but i didnt.. I became to skinny, i got tired.. i couldnt think straight.. I didnt know what was going on.. I went to bed.. on friday, and didnt wake up until Mon… MY husband said… call the doc, something is wrong with you… I had no Idea i slept the whole weekend.. I lost those three days.. and still can not remember a thing.. I called and an appt was made.. My husband took me.. and i got there sign in.. sat down, they called me to the desk.. and said my appt was for the next day. i said i am sorry, i will be back tomorrow.. they said.. NO stay, and called me in right away… I got in the room.. and curled up in a ball.. fell asleep.. the doc came in, and the next thing i know.. i am in the hospital… with my daughter sitting across from me.. crying.. i didnt know the day, date year.. who was even President. Nothing.. they thought i had a stroke.. i was in the hospital for 2 weeks..I was in my forties looking like 80… The doctor wouldnt let me go home.. and i cried.. He looked at me.. and said.. Until we find out what is wrong with you.. you will stay.. Do YOU want to die.. because Shannon that is exactly what will happen.. I took alot of test.. and finally they found out what was wrong.. it was my parathyroid… i had a tumor.. I went to the U of M hospital.. had surgery, and now i feel better, still on the med.. but people beware, your thyroid controls your whole being.. its tricky, but deadly.. Do Not let this go unnoticed.. its so important.. if you have signs of anything out of the ordinary, have it checked.. you could be saving your life.. People think you are crazy, when its your thyroid… this is an important topic that needs to be addressed…

October 19, 2007 at 10:16 am
(66) Nancy says:

Sue, I am a hyper too! I was diagnosed back in 1983 after my hyperthyroid sped my heart up so fast that I passed out and stayed out for 3 days. I went through 2 sessions of radiation therapy which finally killed off too much of my thyroid so I have been on levothyroxine now for 24 years. I have gained (and lost) weight but found that exercise did help with weight loss. Right now I have gained weight and am too tired to exercise but the drs tell me that my levels are ok.

October 19, 2007 at 11:58 am
(67) Ginger says:

I just found out I have an underactive thyroid and have been on medicine for 2 months. I am still very weak, my legs ache and have put on a lot of weight. I am taking 50 MCG of Levothyroxine, but I am still not feeling any better.

October 19, 2007 at 1:32 pm
(68) Moira says:

These comments are so interesting. I have had hypothyroidism for many years – I don’t have as many problems as some of you have, but (no matter what I do), I always have fatigue, very little energy, and weight and sinus problems. I had never heard that thyroid problems could affect the sinuses – this is great information for me. I have often wondered at the lack of information on thyroid. My big concern is that, now that Oprah is involved, she will dramatize the whole subject (as usual), emphasize the “weight” problem, and everyone a few pounds overweight will want to be on the band wagon. Unfortunately, over the years I have realized that “weight problems” are the only problems people remember about thyroid – their eyes glaze over if you mention the thousand other problems that sufferers go through. We need the medical profession to get serious about this subject. I was so pleased to read all of your comments, and send my very best wishes to you all.

October 19, 2007 at 4:22 pm
(69) JUDY FARMER says:


October 19, 2007 at 4:38 pm
(70) Sarah Bryan says:

I too have thyroid and graves.and so much more i was 17 yrs old when i had surgery.still in lots of pain ,so sorry all you out there just like me.I never knew thatam 59 and everyday its a drag for me. Sarah Bryan

October 20, 2007 at 1:23 am
(71) PS says:

I had my entire thyroid removed five years ago and while my thyroid levels are good now and stay that way, I take TONS of calcium (6 600 mg. per day) and TONS of potassium (8 per day). I continue to see a endocrinologist twice a year and have lab work done quarterly to check my levels…my calcium levels seem to fluctuate pretty often. Has anyone else had this problem?

October 20, 2007 at 3:40 pm
(72) Sandra says:

Thank you, Mary! Yes, we all tried to ask for Oprah’s help many years ago with discussing this disease as well as the sky-rocketing rate of thyroid cancer (thyca). We reminded her to cover it when she had on celebrities that were known thyca surviors like Rod Stewart and Joe Piscopo (males)and Graves suffers like Gail Devers! So, how could she be so naive? And, how is it someone with access to excellant healh care who has been fighting their waistline forever never got a thyroid panel done before? (Unbelievable, really.) Then Oprah finally gets her thyroid checked. And, she’s suddenly found an “expert” none of us who have been battling this illness for years ever heard of with an opinion so far off base from the scientific evidence that it is outlandish! (Maybe even blasphemy — equating “soul” with thyroid! Would that change the prayer to “God have mercy on my thyroid?” Would you same “that music has “thyroid?” No.

Since both Northrup and Oprah are presumably hypo, we can be charitable and chalk this nonsense up to “brain fog.” Except, it’s a public dis-service when someone with such notarity and fame spreads disinformation about a disease that will kill if it’s not properly treated.

Here’s my solution — money talks. And, there’s a lot of us “thyroid suffers” out here. So we can best send a message to Oprah (and her sponsors) that’s she’s been irresponsible on this matter by BOYCOTTING the show and the products it sponsors for a month. Make it February during the “sweeps” when Nielson is doing the ratings to really illusrate the point. Turn off Oprah to send a message she’ll get — that is, “check the facts, girlfriend, before you go out preaching a false gospel.”

BTW, for real wake up call about how thyroid disease is viewed by the general public, go read the blog on runners world where they all brag they aren’t “fat” even though there on thyroid meds. Of course, they are also running 60 miles a week — a little obsessed?

March 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm
(73) Phil says:

I have to agree. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis seems most logical for Oprah, although I am not so sure how “cured” she is. I caught a glimpse of a recent episode and noticed how puffed up she looked like she was holding a lot of water.

I would not be surprised if she had a dash of Hashitoxicosis, with a side order of Graves’ Disease as she described the shakiness usually attributed to Graves’ and the ups and downs she describes appears to be more like the battle when one has Graves’ and Hashi’s at the same time than if one had Hashi’s alone.

I see a good dose of RAI for Oprah followed with a national thyroid campaign and a best selling book about thyroid in the near future.

And Oprah, stay away from soy! Thyroids just hate that stuff.

March 20, 2008 at 8:09 pm
(74) Lisa says:

I’ve been fighting Hasimoto hypothyroidism for 10 years now & my neck feeling very tender & throbing. It hasn’t always ached like this before & my thyriod levels are at a 2, so I know they’re okay. Has anyone had pain in their neck because of their thyriod? If so, what do you do about it?

October 7, 2008 at 9:24 am
(75) Cristina Garza says:

My sister became diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease since last year. She has been suffering thyroid problems since she was in her teenage years but was misdiagnosed with hypothyroidism instead of Hashimoto’s. She went to Mexico and was told to take higher doses of a thyroid medication by a friend she met and she is a Dentist and told her she had been going with a great endocrinologist who made her better. Well , if you know, in Mexico you can automedicate. My sister was feeling great with the medication….until she went to Dr. Valadez office in Dallas, TX. She saw the nurse practitioner at his clinic and later received a call from the office stating she needed to head back as soon as possible. My sister was worried because she had had blood work done. To find out the Doctor accussed my sister of taking the Thyroid medication because she was not comfortable with her self image (my sister had done breast reduction due to back pain, which we found out is one of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s back pain) and that she was trying to kill herself because her TSH levels were high. Ok she had gone to the doctor to talk about the new medication and see how it was working , she might of taken the medication without a Doctor’s supervision only a month before she decided to see this Doctor. Well he wanted to commit her to a MENTAL INSTITUTION. She called me crying. I was in Georgia at the time, if not the Doctor would of heard from me. Well she did some research and found doctor Devries in Dallas. He is from the Netherlands and I went with her to the Doctor. I was worried another lunatic was going to commit her in a Mental Institution. As soon as I met Dr. Devries I left the room because I realized that he really cared about my sister’s health and was very comforting. He has Hypothyroidism, His wife has Hashimoto’s and his step daughter as well. He stated that in the Netherlands, before placing a person in a Mental institution they check for thyroid problems. Yeah my sister had depression, back pain, she slept a lot, and that ovarian cyst disease, which is a big sign for Hashimoto’s. Well to find out her TSH came back NORMAL, so why was she having all this symptoms… because she has Hashimoto’s. Her thyroid was leaking the liquid and not distributing it throughout her body. Her antibodies were up to the roof. It was the first time any doctor checked for her antibodies. And her reflexes on her feet were horrible. Finally we had found someone COMPETENT to know what is wrong with my sister. Who has been overweight since her teenage years and eats healthier than I. I weigh 130 and she 240. She is 31 years old and it took 15 years to find someone who knew what to do about it. He placed her on synthroid at way higher doses than any person would. She is taking 175 micrograms right now at one point she was taking 200! was she trying to kill herself before when Dr. Valadez said so? NO! she felt better because she needed the hormone. Dr. Devries is monitoring her intake and she is currently taking those higher doses. To attack the antibodies in a way and then for everything to be normalized. First year of treatment… don’t stress about losing weight, meeting new people, starting a new relationship. Don’t. Because unless you have Hashimoto’s you will know how hard many things are. He was very understanding it made me cry of joy to find someone that will finanlly help my sister have a normal life.

December 10, 2008 at 11:39 am
(76) Mary Ann Gilleon says:

I am a 62 yr old woman who has just been diagnosed w/ Hashimoto’s disease after asking my doctor to test my thyroid levels due to a recent weight gain (even though I have started working out 4-5 times a week at a gym!)& it’s NOT muscle weight, it’s FAT! I was referred to an endocrinolgist who found several “nodules” & did biopsies that were benign. He recommended no “meds” (ie. levothyroxine) and to return in 3 months for follow up ultra-sound and that my recent weight gain has NOTHING to do with my thyroid problem! I am not considering a second opinion but I do not know what good that would do if there is nothing I can do at this stage to treat my condition & control my weight gain.

December 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm
(77) Bonnie says:

C’mon, Oprah! COVER THIS ON YOUR SHOW. I am so sick of people telling me to put the fork down, work out more, and all of that. I am sick of fighting with doctors who want to shove anti-depressants down my throat.

We are all exhausted to begin with, so fighting the ignorance about thyroid disease is one more uneeded step.

Telling people that she stopped all of her meds to sip soy milk while on vacation just put a bunch of un-knowing new comers to this disease at risk. Oprah says a book is good, people read it… look at the Kindle, even. Her voice is so powerful and I wish she would use it for all of us that continue to go unheard.

December 16, 2008 at 11:16 am
(78) Torre Shanks says:

I wonder what Dr. Oz’s viewpoint is on thyroid disorders? He seems fairly up to date and open to alternative and complementary treatments for all types of conditions and diseases. I think a great show would be Oprah, Drs. Oz and Roizen, and Mary Shomon! That would be a show millions of people would watch and want more information about. Maybe beforehand Dr. Oz would be willing to do a little research and see what alternative practioners as well as mainstream docs have to offer that actually works! Load the audience with patients who have different forms of thyroid disorders and are receiving various treatments. Different treatments really do work for different patients. (I’m currently taking “Nature Throid” which is an Rx just like Armour for Hashimotos. Like Oprah, I was “pre-Graves” before Hasimotos) Actually, like one of the previous comments, I think I’m both: swinging back and forth and probably still have Graves,too) If someone wants to find the origin of their thyroid disorder by exploring their “loss of voice” or other mind/body causes, great… but probably a good idea to seek medical treatment at the same time! (Kind of reminds me of when all Docs thought ulcers where the result of stress……later to find out the cause is a bacteria)
On another note, anyone of you readers having eye problems, specifically eyelid/excessive blinking and difficulty keeping your eyelids open or other eye problems due to their thyroid condition? I’d appreciate any feedback you can give on that particular subject at totorre@aol.com. Thanks and take care!

December 16, 2008 at 9:43 pm
(79) Grace says:

Hello All,
This is my first time ever on a blog, I am 60 years old. Tfound out that I had hyp about 10 years ago, I was a runner and blew outme right knee and was in for total knee replacement I was as the hospital for blood test for pre-op, I did not get home before I was called to come back that there was a problem, my levels were so low they were afraid that I would not wake up. My thyroid is barley functional, I had that necular test, there are suppose to be 1,000′s of bright light in the little butterfly, mine had 3. Needless to say the Tech could not believe that I was walking around. Sooooo … I started the synthetic drugs (Synthroid and the like) I spent 5 years on that Merry Go Around … Finally a friend of a friend told me the only drug that worked for here was the natural product called ARMOUR it only effects the T3 so I ended up adding a small dose of synthroid for the T4. I do not understand why Dr’s are so resistant to natural products, I do not mean the over the counter Armour is a prescription. Worth consideration. Best to all, Grace

December 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm
(80) Carol Roberts says:

I’ve been Hypo for years. I’m 56 and still trying to get straightened out. I’ll do good for awhile then I’m either up or down. I finally decided to go to an Endo, because my regular doc didn’t know what she was doing. Also the pharmacy messed me up by switching me back and forth on generics and synthroid. Don’t ever let anyone do this to you.
In the beginning when I was diagnosed I thought I was going crazy. My mind was racing, I couldn’t sleep, I was really depressed. I was also going through the change. The Dr. first prescribed antidepressants before she got my blood work back. She then called and said I had no thyroid hormone left in my body. She said it was no wonder I was so depressed. In between the thyroid problems and menopause my dr. has prescribed me several different antidepressants including Paxil which is very addictive. I do not take anymore. She also thought I was bi-polar and put me on depacote. I’m not bi-polar. I don’t take that anymore either. The fact that my meds weren’t adjusted right was why I felt so depressed. Now I have a record of depression, that will be on my medical record forever, all because of thyroid problems.

Anyway right now I’m feeling great, I’ve lost weight and have more energy than ever. Best of all I’m not depressed.

I hope Oprah will get treatment for her thyroid disease. Either synthroid or Armour. This disease will not go away with rest and relaxation. She will end up having a heart attact or something serious without the right meds.

Maybe someday when Oprah starts getting the right treatment, she’ll have some of us on her show. The publc needs to know about thyroid disease.

December 28, 2008 at 5:43 pm
(81) Brittney says:

I’m 14 years old and i have hyperthyroidism. I really don’t know what it is because when my doctor talks about it i don’t understand half the stuff she tells me and when i try to find information about it on the internet its really no help either. In the past few months I’ve gained 25 to 30 pounds and i can’t stand that it’s affecting me this much. Every 2 to 3 months i go for a blood test and they always call my mother back with the results and she never tells me. They should call me with the results so I’m updated on whats going on in my body but i don’t know anything. Can anyone help me understand what this is?

January 13, 2009 at 11:52 pm
(82) Patricia says:

I have had symptoms for hypothyroid for many years. I am now waiting to hear back on my blood tests. My Mom, grandmother, etc. had it. I have decided to be proactive and started researching it on my own and taking action. I have drastically cut back on my intake of fluoride, both in my toothpaste, I use non fluoride Toms from Maine and by drinking Poland Spring Water. It has the lowest fluoride levels that I have found, and no chlorine. I also take Omega 3s in fish oil form and flax seed form, as well as eating Wild Alska Salmon in the can, sardines and herring. I have eliminated soy, which I used to drink a few times a week. I have pretty much eliminated all processed, aka junk food. But I still cheat, a little…life is to be enjoyed, just in moderation. I have fresh fruits out at home in the kitchen constantly, and nibble on sesamee seeds, dates, etc. I eat mostly steamed vegetables. I stay away from raw broccoli, cabbage, strawberries, and some other fruits and vegies that slow the thyroid. I am currently fine tuning by switching over to organics, as non organic produce contains high levels of fluoride besides all the other cell damaging toxins. I eat ginger, I buy it in the delli in a candied form, and as a preserve. I admit this one takes some getting used to, but on a wheat toast with japanese green tea and lemon it revs up my metabolism. I get 8 hours of sleep and now actually wake up rested. I usually get in a half hour walk most week days. I feel great, no more constantly tired, fuzzy brain, signs of depression, and I lost over 10 pounds. I also supplement with glucosomine chondroitin for my joints. Vitamin b12, B6, Magnesium-Calcium combination, a good multivitamin and CoQ10. Next I am going to try a tai Chi class or a yoga class as these eliminate stress which adds to thyroid problems. A lot of the help I found on Dr. Andrew Weil’s site. Mostly I googled, cross referenced and gave it a try. The results have been amazing. I hope this info helps someone else, too.

January 14, 2009 at 7:48 pm
(83) Anjet says:

Why does she say she does not need to take thyroid medication if she has Hashimoto’s? I do not understand that.

January 14, 2009 at 10:30 pm
(84) rita says:

i have hashimotoes meaning iv been hyper and hypo. im 55 yrs old and have suffered for 15 years. I weigh 106 pds. when my thyroids are low my weight has never been higher than 109 and when i was very hyperthyroid it was not lower than 98 pds. so i cant relate to Oprah or any one else with the weight issue. my doc said with thyroid problems the weight change is usually 5 to 10 pds. i think the depression is what adds the weight on or the loss of weight.

March 27, 2009 at 11:57 pm
(85) carol partain says:

i have a 20 year old daughter with hashimotos dis.and recently found our she has a gland. problem bad sudden weight gain 60 lbs worth. in less than 6 months. i can not find a doctor to help her. all we hear is dont eat so much and she is not. i need help to help her. any doctors or nurses who read this please email me carol

April 2, 2009 at 1:57 pm
(86) TINA EURESTI says:


May 16, 2009 at 9:18 pm
(87) Christine says:

I have been fighting with docotors over the last five years and haven’t gotten anywhere. I was almost ready to get on a plane and go to see Oprahs doc in Texas. He treats the symptoms not the numbers.I am so sick of feeling bad and having a doc tell me to exercise when I tell them that I am severly exhausted.Where do these doc’s hide?

June 8, 2009 at 3:57 am
(88) Jenn says:

Hi Everyone,
I am so greatful for these comments, I felt so alone with what I was going through until now. I have had health issues since well, puberty I guess when I went from a normal healthy 10 year old to a chubby depressed 12 year old almost overnight. I never knew what it really felt like to be young and have curves not chunks on my body until last fall when my life was okay except for some marriage stressers- go figure. I had some silver fillings that were decaying in my mouth replaced with white, I had stopped grinding my teeth at night due to lack of other stressers previous also. I had somehow dropped aout 75 ibs to a weight of 140! Never thought I Would see this.
Now walmart had run out of the 3 month supply of generic armour thyroid I had been taking… I wonder if that had something to do with it now since I had to take the actual thing?
So last Feb, I lost my job, my Hubby started traveling for work purposes over seas, I start grinding my teeth again from stress at night in my sleep. Two more fillings start falling out ( silver ones) Ladies, I feel worse now than I have all year and my thyroid reading went from a 2 to a 6? I have massive back pains and spasms, fibromyalgia symptoms, joint pain, dizzy, carpal tunnel, hot and cold spells, anger swings, depression , insomnia,foggy headed, ect, worse of all, I have gained close to 20 ibs back in the last 2 to 3 months!!! I can’t tell you how devastating it is! Worse, my Dr. had to give me steroid injections for the back pain so I wrestle hunger cravings. People who have not seen me since I lost the original seventy ibs say , ” hey you lost weight!” I just want to strangle them and say what are you talking about? Can’t you see I put on 17 pounds? Isn’t it terrible? I joined a gym and swim, I clean 3 houses a week, I clean horse stalls, I feel like it’s about killing me but I am back to before, like the last 27 years of my life, well after the first ten, I cannot lose weight, only gain and it is accompanied by old lady syndrome. I almost wish I never lost the weight and felt better last fall because it was such a tease I look in the mirror and wonder if it was real. On the other hand, it is hope. IT CAN HAPPEN! It can be balanced, there is an answer somewhere. I pray it is revealed soon!

June 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm
(89) Natt says:

Yes i do agree Oprah should atleast talk about Thyroid Disorder. It really sucks because i’m only 17 and i have Hyperthyroidism. It really affects me big time, because when others is going shopping i’m forced by my body to stay home and rest. I want to go out but eventually i will end up with junk food and tv fearing that i might just breakdown with extreme fatigue on the streets. And to top it off i have migraine hereditary and i’m also going to depression. Wow, what a ‘great’ teen life i’m going through.

July 14, 2009 at 11:04 am
(90) patricia olsson says:

i have trouble with a low thyroid and my vitamin D runs low and i have skin problems.
now i have sleep apenia i think all of these.
problems go with the thyroid high cholestrol.
feelin tired and moody nerve problems itwould.
be nice if something could help with the.
health problems that go with the thyroid

September 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm
(91) pharper says:

i believe she has a eating problem not thyroid. lack of self discipline

January 4, 2010 at 3:43 am
(92) Busola says:

I don’t have thyroid disease, but I read all your stories and sincerely, my heart goes out to all of you. I can’t begin to imagine what you all go through on a daily basis. I admire you for your strength and courage.

January 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm
(93) sharon says:

I also have Hoshimoto’s and have heard that I should not drink “tea”. If anyone has any information on this please let me know. Thanks

January 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm
(94) Sharon says:

It’s now 2010 and I saw Oprah on tv yesterday. She looks worse than ever, especially with periorbital swelling. I wonder if she’s been screened for secondary hypothyroidism? That’s what I looked like facially before I insisted my doctor put me on a combo of T4/T3. (Armour thyroid is CONTRAINDICATED for secondary hypothyroidism.) I had ended up in the hospital on just T4. On the synthetic combo, my grinding depression lifted in 3 days, and I lost 15 lbs. of fluid in 3 weeks. This after years of being told my below-normal TSH with all the overt signs of hypothyroidism was “fine”.

June 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm
(95) Beth says:

Gals, guess I’ve joined the thyroiditis club! Approx 2 yrs ago at age 58, I started complaining to both my MD & my GYN about my continual weight gain, fatigue, joint pain, loss of concentration, etc, etc. They both blamed it on menopause and “you’re not getting any younger”! Well, my medical doctor finally tested my thyroid and my Free T-4 was normal (1.45), BUT my Free T-3 was slightly high (4.7) and the other tests were off the charts – TPO very high (68) and TSH extremely low (.045).

4 weeks ago, the MD prescribed 50 mg Propylthiouracil 3x daily. (Also Prednisone for 2 weeks – but am off it now). My latest tests showed both Free T-4 & T-3 in normal ranges, but now my TPO is 107 and TSH .013. Seems like those numbers are getting worse, NO?

Any and all suggestions of treatment will be greatly appreciated. I’m tired of feeling lousy. At 60 I’m NOT ready to feel OLD! Thank you so much!

June 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm
(96) Shamimah says:


It has been a year now since I found out about my thyroid disorder. Being bornn with a blood disorder,it didn’t click right away to me that the way i was feeling was because the Mastestro had decided to be lazy and send the wrong notes. I was so tired that i would say to myself if i dont sleep in the next 5 mins i will die. i will pass the numbess, the itchiness, hair loss, putting on weight etc… on my first blood test It was pretty high and i was prescribed with Syndroid (0.5mg) A year later i am still on the same dose and that because i did a lot of reseach and read a lot about it to find out that taking Iodine supplement helps a lot. Oprah felt better when she was in Hawaii and that probably because she was close to the ocean. I am taking Kelp (iodine supplement) and i feel much much better.. hair falling less, lost weight, I sleep better.. les tired(mind i will always feel tired because of my blood disorder, nothing can be done about it). For all of you who suffers from the Thyroid disorder, check this site Iodineplus2, women institute. You will be supprised how much supplement of Iodine can help. I workout 4 times a week, if I can do it you can do it.. good luck to you all

December 8, 2010 at 8:50 am
(97) MStainforth says:

Hi, it’s amazing to read everyone here.

I think I started suffering from thyroid disorder in my late teens and this became chronic with the birth of my daughter. After five years of misery, I had a blood test done for thyroid. The doc didn’t read it and said I was fine. I was not, my chest was bright red like an apple from an infection I couldn’t shift. I had a raft of every worsening symptoms. I was 27. Two years later I went back again with another infection that left me in agony. The doctor accused me of being ignorant as I hadn’t done anything about the blood test results showing I was hypothyroid. The incompetence wasn’t mine.

For the next five years I tried unsuccessfully 3 times, to take levothyroxine. Even on a low dose I felt no better but had lots of contraindications. I decided to go without and try ‘natural’ over the counter solutions. After 18 months, I had lost my job (despite being a very clever lady) from symptom effects, have lost all my money and my credit is not worth a damn. I have no one I can turn to or lean on when my symptoms make it hard for me to manage myself. And no, being on the terrible medication known as levothyroxine was not a better option that this.

And that’s a big point, the disease is a Catch-22 – the illness makes it very hard to manage your own condition but you must. In desperation I came to forums like this one. I have now found a source of Nature-throid into the UK and I’m starting to self medicate. My doc has refused to support the treatment. Natural Dessicated Thyroid (NDT) is not allowed in the UK. You can only have synthroid T4.

I know it works for some very few people, but I am like the many others for whom it doesn’t do a thing. I was dying. And now I’m not, hopefully. But I’m also now terrified that a doctor could try to lock you up for trying to help yourself with medication. It is the worst sort of authoritarian oppression – it’s a regime against the ill. Yet, there are so many of us telling them what we feel. Why do our voices not matter. ‘Out of the depths I cry to thee’ but they fall on deaf ears.

To note if you are in the UK, the ‘TSH’ test is terrible in comparison to the USA. There you need a count of about 3 to be borderline and higher than that is moving to chronic for treatment. In the UK you must be at 10 to even be considered borderline.

If you are reading this and you don’t have a thyroid condition. Please understand that there are no words in this whole world that can express the terribleness of the condition.

My symptoms included severe breast and ovarian pains to the point of hospital referral, joint pains to the point of not being able to move, IBS, painful bladder, constant infections I couldn’t fight, terrible brain fog and memory loss to the point of amnesia for both short and long term memory and the inability to write or read anything due to fatigue (without the NDT, I wouldn’t be writing this), severe depression, inability to cope with problems, severe fatigue and need to sleep, aching muscles, eye pains, ringing in my ears, hair loss and brittleness, eyebrow loss, excessive dry skin, loss of motivation, oxygen hunger as no breath is enough, 2.00am hunger pangs suddenly bursting in on you that can make you double up, being tearful and emotional, vertigo and vibration eye/light sensitivity), and water retention in legs and severe dizzy spells.

An interesting one not often mentioned is ‘zoning out’ literally not being able to hear someone talking to you – your mind just freezes mid conversation, your not thinking of something else, it’s not distraction but actually the inability to process the data coming in, and you know sometime has passed but you have no idea what was said, despite looking someone in the face. You have to ask for them to repeat themselves and they often think you are rude or distracted. But you are neither, your brain has paused all processing activity for usually 3 or 4 seconds before reengaging. This is usually when you have to concentrate and the more you do the more frequently these bouts of brain pause occur, getting closer together the more tired you get. This symptom is not one I’ve read about but a very sharp girl I used to work with noticed this aberration in a colleague of mine who was receiving levothyroxine and mentioned I did the same odd thing, after I disclosed to her that I’d just been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

An important symptom you should look for is heart rate. Mine at rest was at 117 bpm. Tachycardia – the doctor never checked on this issue which is life threatening if left untreated in its own right.

Since being on NDT, about 90% of my problems are now correcting. I’ve had two periods without pain, my IBS is gone, I’m sleeping better, my joint pains are gone. My brain fog is less but not brilliant. My heart rate is down to 80-90 bpm depending on the the test relative to the taking of the meds. Well within normal adult parameters.

Without forums like this and the ability to share experiences, women are left in the clutches of an establishment that wants them to be silenced. At no point did my doctor ever tell me that hypothyroid is a life threatening condition. Or that without treatment I could die. But it is and you can.

Oprah Winfrey is an essential mouth piece for the disease and with the threat to NDT from the FDA which will cost lives if this travesty is allowed to continue, I must question how she can stay so silent.

September 17, 2011 at 9:35 am
(98) Patricia says:

At this point I have tears running down my face with joy and relief for a change!

I have just read so many of your stories and am moved and relieved! Because I am not going mad and I am worth something.

MStainsforth: you have lifted my spirits and written about everything that I feel. I do feel that British GP’s dismiss thyroid conditions and are very dismissive of your own symptoms and stories when you talk to them.

I still don’t know where to go from here with my condition but thank you for insight as it helps a lot.

Thanks X

December 8, 2010 at 9:02 am
(99) MStainforth says:

Just a quick note I forgot. Iodine is a thyroid stimulant. It makes your poorly working thyroid work harder thereby reducing symptoms because you are making it work harder. This can damage your thyroid and increase the speed of burnout, so be careful. For mild symptoms this may help however – and kelp is easily available.

Iodine supplements shouldn’t be mixed with thyroid hormone replacement, as it will interfere with this process. Synthroids and Natural Dessicated Thyroid are a hormone supplement that provides the hormone your thyroid cannot produce.

The easiest way is to think of the hormone as water on thirst whereas iodine is a stick used to prod the gland into running faster.

May 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm
(100) Maria says:

Please help me , help mw my younger sister. She has had 3 different drs. look at her, different tests on her. One said she had thyriod problems, But she’s down to 80lbs, She can’t keep food down. She is nothing but skin and bones no muscle mass on her. Please help me, she is 54 yrs of age. I am at my wits end I am the oldest,59. And I have my mother that is 80 that I care for. I don’t know what to do. Please help me, please. Thank you, Maria.

November 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm
(101) Oliver says:

You said one of her doctors said she has a thyroid problem, she should ask her doctor to trest her. You or somebody may have to help her and take her (it sounds like she is very weak) back to that doctor and follow up. Do not wait.

September 17, 2011 at 9:06 am
(102) Patrica says:

I am 38 years old and have battled with an underactive thyroid since I was 30 years old. I am truly at a loss now and am looking for advice.

Whilst over the years my doctors, I say doctors as I have seen a few in my practice simply beacuse once my levels are within the recommended spectrum they feel that I should be fine but I am simply not. I am exhausted continually, lacking energy, motivation, and bacause of this so low that if feel worthless.

I have never had maximum energy infact never any and I feel that I truly just force myself through every day as I know things have to be done. In the last year and a half I have persisted with my doctor to be told over this period that I am suffering from Depression and a hormonal imbalance so at present I am taking:

150mg of Levothyroxine
30 mg of Citalopram (For my Depression)
And Rigevidon the birth control pill (For hormonal Imbalances).

Is there a magic answer?

I have altered my diet, it was never bad but I have excluded foods that are detremental to the thyriod function.

I try to exercise believe me but lets say I do a five mile walk in the morning to try to lift my spirtis, I end up having to sleep for hours after to recharge as it is that physically draining.

I feel like I have lost my 30′s and time with my 13 year old daughter as I can’t go a full day without stopping. I want to but when I push myself I end up over exhausted and emotional.

Where do I go from here? I just seems to be pills and more pills with no move forward?

Would love to hear peoples thoughts and advice!

Thank you X

November 29, 2011 at 9:41 am
(103) ibivi says:

Depression is the catchall for many symptoms unfortunately. If you have a thyroid condition as well things get very tricky. I complained to my doctor about unusual symptoms I was having and she often told me that it was probably as a result of depression. When she finally determined that I had hypothyroidism based on my lab results she said that I had the condition for at least a year before it showed itself in tests (subclinical). So it wasn’t just depression after all. Some thyroid conditions require taking medication for the rest of your life. Don’t fret about that. It is better to be symptom free than to suffer the symptoms of thyroid imbalance. Lifestyle changes and counselling can help make you feel better as well. There are many sites online which can help but talk to your doctor about additional assistance for your issues. Take care.

November 29, 2011 at 9:10 am
(104) ibivi says:

It really amazes that someone of Oprah’s resources (financially and otherwise) still insists on diagnosing herself. I’m not even totally sure that she was ever properly tested for her thyroid and TSH levels. She withholds certain details but continues to talk about having a “thyroid” condition. I don’t believe that lifestyle changes are enough to correct a serious thyroid imbalance. Subclinical symptoms are often misdiagnosed. Many doctors won’t treat you until you test in the abnormal range for TSH or T3 and T4 levels. Every time Oprah talks about thyroid issues a big disclaimer should appear on the screen advising viewers to always seek medical advice. Watch Dr Oz instead. At least he knows what he’s talking about.

November 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm
(105) Val says:

I think you are giving far to much importance to Oprah Winfrey,

I believe that you should get a show together with people that are sure they have the illness. Oprah Winfrey blows hot and cold her symptoms seem sketchy and not very credible to me. It is no good her toying with the idea until she needs to make a few more million, milking it for all its worth.

The people that are truly ill with thyroid need action now!

Get real people that do not have to be paid millions of dollars to make a show. That to me would be more credible with real people. Thankyou.

February 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm
(106) Monarch says:

MARY SHOMON — YOU SHOULD PUT A SHOW TOGETHER for Thyroid month, with a medical team of doctors and patients.



May 28, 2013 at 4:11 pm
(107) maheen says:

hi, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism with tsh 19.91. Since 4 years i am taking Euthyroid 100 mg daily. i had 2 abortions with normal thyroid reports. but was diagnosed with torch infections( cmv and herpes igg positive & igm negative) and also with hormonal imbalances i.e
lh 2.14 & fsh 6.72 prolactin 12.5 estrogen 71 and progestrone 1.32 in 2nd day of periods.
And after month and 7 days before starting periods lab test shows testotrone .30. Glucose level 104. tsh 2.1, prolactin 24.and my weight is 69kg

Doctor gives me now himalaya evecare and cabergoline and 3 months homeopathic treatment for infections.

Can any 1 tell me that i can get & sustain healthy pregnancy and normal baby with this thyroid condition.

September 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm
(108) Kbswampy says:

I an 38 yr old woman and I have been diagnosed with hoshimotos thyroiditis since 2008. My hormone levels are watched as I go for blood testing every 6 months. My levels are still normal as of now but since my body is attacking my thyroid I will eventually have to go on meds for the rest of my life. I was just wondering if you think it’s possible that a root canal that I had done ten years ago could have caused my autoimmune disorder (hoshimotos)? I’ve researched online that keeping a dead tooth in your mouth can cause health problems such as autoimmune disorders. If it is, could be a possibility, should I have the crown pulled or is it even too late for that since I’m already doomed with this incurable disease anyway?

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