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Mary Shomon

Oprah to Talk About Her Thyroid Issues on Tues. October 16th Show

By October 15, 2007

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Oprah Winfrey Thyroid Problem It looks like Oprah will address her own health issues in a show airing on Tuesday, October 16th. You can see the promo online here at her site. I'm glad to see that Oprah is finally going to bring up the topic of thyroid disease on her program. It's something I've hoped to see for quite a while. I'll be interested to see what Oprah has to say about her own health situation, and no doubt her focus on the topic will bring much-needed attention to a long overlooked health problem.

But I have to say, that while I know that Oprah has regularly featured menopause expert Dr. Christiane Northrup, I'm quite concerned that Northrup may be the only expert Oprah features on the show, especially if they're going to to talk about thyroid disease. Northrup is a major promoter of soy for women in perimenopause and menopause, and at her website and in her book "The Wisdom of Menopause," she regularly dismisses the various medical studies that show soy's negative effects on the thyroid, and instead says that they are wrong. Her evidence? Northup points to studies funded by the soy industry and paid consultants.

Northrup herself is a heavy soy user, and, suprise surprise -- she's hypothyroid.

Northrup also believes that we women are to blame for our thyroid problems, because, as she says at her website, "In many women thyroid dysfunction develops because of an energy blockage in the throat region, the result of a lifetime of 'swallowing' words one is aching to say. In the name of preserving harmony, or because these women have learned to live as relatively helpless members of their families or social groups, they have learned to stifle their self-expression." Adds Northrup: "It’s no coincidence that so many more women than men have thyroid problems. Thyroid disease is related to expressing your feelings..."

Does Oprah seem to be someone who has spent a lifetime of "swallowing" her words or stifling her "self-expression?"

I've long felt that Dr. Northrup's "advice" on thyroid disease -- not to mention her advocacy for soy -- actually causes more problems than it helps for some women -- and Oprah may not be immune.

If this "eat more soy" and "you brought it on yourself" theory of thyroid disease is the sort of information that Oprah and Dr. Northup plan to share, I'm going to be especially disappointed. I guess we'll have to tune in to find out.

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

Comments
October 17, 2007 at 9:14 am
(1) Brenda Mikel says:

Oprah, I lost my husband two months ago and my health is suffering. My kids want you to hear our story of how my husband was killed by our bull and how the community (130) people came to help us harvest. Please contact me as I’d love to tell you our story. I loved your show–I have thyroid problems in our family. You met my sister-in-law–Brenda Mikel –Narciso Rodrigez pattern maker. I also saw Jerry Seinfeld on your show and he is a friend of Brenda’s. Our community is great and our story was in every major paper in the state.

Brenda Jo Mikel Grinnell, IA

October 18, 2007 at 5:26 am
(2) Lori says:

I just want to say that i am a thyroid cancer sufferer. Anyone that has thyroid problems shouldnt blame themself.. I think dr Northrups approach is unrealistic and I think she should think about what damage her words could cause rather than shouting her mouth off.

October 18, 2007 at 1:02 pm
(3) Laura says:

I hope that Oprah uses other experts with this. This is from Dr. Northrup’s website…
Which comes first, the depression or the low thyroid? I suspect they occur simultaneously. While one does not cause the other, per se, it appears that similar emotional or behavioral patterns—such as learned helplessness or not believing you can have your say—may predispose you to both low thyroid and depression. (On the other hand, an overdeveloped will and the exertion of one’s intellectual will without acknowledging “higher will” or “higher power” can result in hyperthyroidism; an example is the mindset, “I don’t care what my body is telling me, I’m going to do it anyway.”)
For me, this is why it’s important to seek a second opinion and research the disease. I wish Dr. Northrup would stick to the facts and not state her opinion.
Doctors DON’T KNOW what causes thyroid disease. It is NOT anyone’s fault if they develope the disease. Seeking treatment is the most important.

October 18, 2007 at 1:04 pm
(4) Laura says:

Sorry, the above comment, the second paragraph is the quote…

October 19, 2007 at 7:07 am
(5) Stephanie kim says:

I think that Oprah’s treatment of this subject is ridiculous but it doesn’t surprise me given what Dr. Phil said about thyroid problems. The best thing to do is to comment on her website. If enough people complain maybe the issue will be brought to her attention?

October 19, 2007 at 9:27 am
(6) Valerie says:

I think there is some truth to what Northrup is saying. We as women HAVE been socialized to keep quiet but I think it is irresposible to present that as the only cause. I do feel better when I take care of myself (yoga, massage, chiropractor,pampering etc) but that does not mean I will be stop watching what I eat and stop taking my synthroid and wellbutrin either!

October 19, 2007 at 9:48 am
(7) Shari Solomon says:

I know a woman who had hypothyroid and she tried caring for it alternatively. She had no energy, her voice was always raspy and tired. One day I spoke with her and didn’t recognize her on the phone. I asked what had happened to her. She said she went on thyroid medicine and feels great! It was a miracle what happened to her! Her voice was TOTALLY different, I have never experienced such a change medicine could make in someone. She sounded like a different person, young, energetic, happy. I couldn’t get over it. THis taught me a huge lesson the power of what medicine can do for someone who needs it. I believe we owe it to ourselves to lead as happy, productive lives as we can and sometimes we need help. Not everyone has the money and time to take a month off pampering oneself and life goes on in the meantime. But we must do what we can to feel better by taking appropriate medication and then by feeling better we can look to the lesson that our soul may be trying to teach us, if we need to learn to speak out, to speak up for ourselves. It will be much easier to do this if we are no longer depressed and tired too.

October 19, 2007 at 10:42 am
(8) CB says:

Ok, while I do believe that illness is ultimately entwined with the mind, the emotions, the spirit, etc, thyroid disease is most often just one manifestation of general autoimmunity. You can’t just buck up and mentally decide that your body will no longer behave in self-destructive ways; you have to take some action too! I have been quite successful at holding my Hashimoto’s at bay by following good advice for anyone with any kind of autoimmune condition: dietary elimination of wheat (if not all gluten-contianing grains), cow’s milk (I get away with hard cheeses now and then), and soy products (they are horrible for everyone, esp. children), and the daily intake of 200 mcg of selenium in the form of selenomethionine(along with other standard vitamins and minerals). The reason more women than men develop thyroid disease is not cultural; it is largely due to hormones. Ever notice how perimenopause with it’s changing ratio of estrogen to pregesterone often factors in to the development of autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, MS, lupus, and more? And how about cancer? — this is often related to unopposed estrogen (too little natural progesterone)which can accurately be called, “primo cancer food,” and by general inflammation brought on by all these allergies (incl. to the self, i.e. autoimmunity), which hogs all the attention of the immune system whose job is to eliminate cancer cells before they become problematic. I don’t mean to ramble :) I just mean to speak up, like I always do despite my “social condition” called female thyroid disease…. I am a post-grad student of both holistic nutrition and an energy healing modality called Reiki.

October 19, 2007 at 1:06 pm
(9) Pat says:

Northrup has been a quack for over 20 years! Don’t listen to her! She has made her fortune handing this new age crap! She is not supported by anyone with credentials.!!!!

October 19, 2007 at 2:00 pm
(10) Julia says:

I think they need to be put in their place.Is there a way that someone can start a page or email that we can all sign saying we disagree with them and then send it to them after?

October 19, 2007 at 2:18 pm
(11) Sue says:

What makes Oprah the authority on thyroid problems. My teenage years were during the 60′s — and we never suffered from a lack of self expression. In my extended family — on my mother’s side — there are seven of us with diagnosted thryoid problems. I am sure my mother was also hypothyroid, as she had difficulty shedding weight. Unfortuantely, for her the tests were not readily available before she passed.

Even though Oprah may be the most powerful woman in the world — I have lost respect for her. She needs to find truthful answers instead of relying on her “friends” for objective information.

I guess in her world, I should be able to put my feet up, relax, have someone cook all my healthy meals for us — and then magically my hypothyroidism would disappear and I would lose the 30 pound gained!

October 19, 2007 at 4:47 pm
(12) PaTrica dolce Taylor says:

What a bunch of complete hog-wash! My husband is hysterical with laughter. I am the most vocal and assertive women he knows. I think he wishes sometimes I “Didn’t always have an opinion.”….lol Just the opposite. I have had to learn over the years how to “shut my mouth.” I’ve heard all that psycho babble crap for the past few years. Mostly coming from unstable people that certainly don’t have the personal credentials to give me advise. I mean most of these people have really f-upped lives and personal and/or professional instability. Folks, when are you going to said to the rich celebrities in your lives. “Will you ever, fook off.” Billionaire Oprah with her personal trainers and personal chefs. Millionaire Barbara Streisand lecturing us about energy usage when she burns more energy in one year up at her former Malibu home then I will comsume in a lifetime. And the latest hypocrite. Our former V.P Al Gore flying around the world in his corparate jets from speaking engagement to his several mansions.
Wise the fook up people. Take advise from people you know and admire who are living their lives with integrity and honesty. It is insulting for Oprah with all the resources that money can buy to put on a program with that bull-shite psycho-babble horse manure. Voice your objections. Rise up and tell these people to “Shut the fook up.”
My predictions of what science will tell us in the next few years:
Just like Ulcers, heart disease and many other illnesses that the medical profession has gotten wrong,(by the way, I admire and look up to the long hard road that physicans take to become medical doctors and I believe in many ways they are doing the best that they can. Their not God and the science just isn’t there yet. There are some bad apples like all professions. Just make sure you tell them they are fools and move on to another physican. They are providing you a service and they work for you and your satisfaction.) I feel we are going to discover in the future that many of these autoimmunity diseases that predominately effect women is tied to endocrine enviroment disruption. Whatever that may be…steorid (meat & milk) chemicals or vaccines. Most effected women over 40. (Lord knows what was in those 1959-1963 vaccines.)I am not an anti-vaccine advocate. I am glad I received them. But, I do believe for some individuals these vaccines or chemicals we have been exposed to effects some individuals endocrine systems and they have an almost (antibody attacks) allergic reaction to their system. That my prodiction and be aware you read it here first.
Now go out, shout and show these morons that your THROATS work JUST FINE!
Sincerly;
PaTricia dolce Taylor

October 19, 2007 at 9:49 pm
(13) Rose says:

Oprah needs to find Jesus Christ and quit litening to these foolish people. This is a real problem and her show could have made a difference in making people aware of it. I lost my thyroid to cancer and you know all the problems I face daily. It is a shame that she gaines the whole world but will lose her soul.I no longer watch her shows because they have become foolish and without any quality.

October 19, 2007 at 9:53 pm
(14) jenniferc says:

that oprah is so full of crap!!!!

I have thyroid cancer and a total removal of my thyroid. I am certainly not swallowing my words!!!

Give me a break Oprah!! You are starting to sound like Tom Cruise with his comments about Brooke Shields.

October 20, 2007 at 11:28 am
(15) Jacque in NM says:

I’m with you gals…I have watched Oprah because I thought she was a very intelligent, well-informed person who wanted to share “useful” information as well as spread her generosity…I think Oprah is in denial about her condition…there is no doubt that stress reduction is critical to treating hypothyroidism but telling us that we bring it on ourselves by swallowing our words…geez! give me a break….I’ve lost respect also!

October 20, 2007 at 5:15 pm
(16) annagudjonsdottir says:

I have not seen this show, but I think beleive there are many reasons for this condition,and I believe stressful live plays a big role. I would like to get some advice on what food is good, to getter better health, when your thyoride is low. I am one of the exeptions that are too small, so I wonder if there is any “fattening” food I can eat?

October 20, 2007 at 10:38 pm
(17) Margie says:

Oprah sways her beliefs and life changes with the next guru that comes along. It’s a good thing she was never responsible for children. They would have no real core values.

I’m with the person who wants to sign and petition or write letters. Can someone tell us what to do? This information is totally dangerous. My grandmother had the same thyroid condition that I do and we certainly don’t have the same circumstances in our lives. Oprah and the nutty advisor need a wakeup call.

October 22, 2007 at 10:23 am
(18) Laura says:

Oprah’s problem is in “swallowing” what Ms. Northrup (and others) are feeding her.
Oprah needs a dose of reality and to climb down off her pedestal. Along with nice big slice of Humble pie.
Have a great week !
LauraB

October 24, 2007 at 9:45 am
(19) Jessie Simpson says:

I also watched Oprah’s specific show on thyroid because I saw it advertised. I was very disappointed. I think you will see another on how she has had to consutlt Real Dr’s to get better soon enough. We all know what was said was garbage. Oprah’s weight has fluxuated for years as her thyroid has began to fail. Her month off without stress probably made her feel a better but it won’t last as we all know. Let’s she if she is honest when it totally shuts down and she has to do what the rest of us do. Search like crazy for a doctor who has had a wife, daughter or even themselve, with first hand experience to know that the blood work won’t show any think until you are almost dying.
Only time will tell.

October 30, 2007 at 12:31 am
(20) Mary says:

Wow! such anger I read in all these comments! Well I am angry too… but for a different reason. I, for one, am angry that I took thyroid replacement prescribed by a doctor for over a decade and I did not need it! I would have LOVED to have had the information presented in Dr. Northrup’s book to go without wheat (as my aunt had celia sprue) or try no dairy or take supplements and minerals or whatever before I started the downward spiral from taking thyroid replacement drugs… Three antidepressants to get me OUT of a major depression that I did not have at ALL before starting thyroid replacement! Not including the 50 lb weight gain! I had never had a weight problem in my life before manmade synthetic thyroid replacement drugs! Now I look back and think, I bet that initial lab test was an error!!!

This issue is complex and goes both ways… it isn’t fair to criticize Oprah and Dr. Northrup because their views do not match your experience. Because there are many different thyroid experiences out there… To be INFORMED and EDUCATED… that is the savior of this condition. A woman or man with education and knowledge about any issue concering their body, their soul, their mind, their spirit, will be able to find their path to healing. It is not right to criticize what might work very well for another person. We are not all created the same! Look at the birds! A hummingbird eats sugar water and nectar from flowers.. cardinals love safflower seeds, chickadees love black oil sunflower seeds, finches their niger seed, etc, etc, etc. Why would any of us think our body types would all be the same? And they would all need the same treatment for a thyroid condition? What works for one may not work for another! I feel sadness for the way we women criticize eachother. These women are not our enemy. Ignorance is.

November 15, 2007 at 11:04 pm
(21) PaT says:

Mary (last entry):
You are missing the whole point of the negative comments. I don’t think anyone would argue that stress and emotional well-being doesn’t effect our health or that we shouldn’t try alternative treatments. I have done all of the above. So have most of the women on these pages. The point of the negativity is that Dr Northrup presented THE ENTIRER PROBLEMS of Thyroid conditions as an emotional/stress condition. NOT AS A MEDICAL CONDITION. Which it is. I hope and pray a natural, inexpensive and OTC product helps millions of thyroid suffers. That is the point of the anger. The presentation of a condition as an “ONLY IN YOUR HEAD,” type of show. Maybe YOU didn’t need thyroid drugs because you didn’t HAVE a thyroid problem. Pershaps it was something else. (by the way there is antibody test for celiac disease and if any of you out there have relatives with a particular autoimmune disease I would 1st start there.) Millions of us would really be in trouble if we didn’t have this inexpensive synethic product, because our bodies has stopped producting it. What do you think would happen to your birds if their water was polluted or the seeds they ate were sprayed with chemicals. Well, I already have the factual documented answer for you. They get all sorts of endocrine problems and some die. And not easily solved by feeding them the proper food and water; the damage is already done.
Pershaps you CURED your Thyroid problem because it was all in YOUR head.
PaT

June 27, 2008 at 10:01 am
(22) PL says:

I hope someone reads this comment of mine.

I just went to this ‘Quack Doctor’s’ site,
Christana Northrup a so called MD.

To join this site, you have to purchase a newsletter for 1 or 2 yrs…OR, they let you get 1 FREE one SENT to your home.

I am NOT giving out my home address to this IDIOT! It’s all about MONEY isn’t it Northrup?
IF I join up now, I’ll have to get PUSHY letters and emails about purchasing those fanatic newsletter’s of yours….

You can’t even get in the website to read certain issues…it’s a ‘elusive member’s only’…such bogus crap…

I hope she reads this. If you were truly a DOCTOR…you’d be doing this for FREE. What happened to the Doctor’s Moto? Eh?

Amazing, just amazing. But if a woman that claims to be a Doctor says it’s OUR FAULT for being Hypothryoid or Hyperthryoid because
We Do NOT express ourselves openly, it’s all in our throat area, or tell people who have this illness to eat Soy Products…she herself has got to be on drugs….What kind? I have no idea, but I imagine she get’s a great ‘way out’ delusional ‘high’.

She is one scary woman. Setting us woman back to the Dark Ages.
Shame on you, Northrup, you just want Money!

You’re a hypocrite.

August 23, 2008 at 6:38 am
(23) BJ says:

I am hypothyroid, I have been taking medicine for 7 years. I don’t believe that it is the cure for the disease. I do know that when I forget to take my meds, I am in a slump by afternoon. I have read many articles and several books, but how do you get your doctor to listen to what you are saying. “I am still not the way I used to be.” I am glad that Oprah has brought attention to the thyroid, because most doctors seem to shake it off. I am sure if they had the problem they would take a better look at the blood tests when they come back.

September 20, 2008 at 4:37 am
(24) Lisa Collins says:

Dear Oprah, I am a single parent in the military. I have Graves. I had a treatment of radio iodine. I AM STILL HAVING PROBLEMS. Weigth gain also. My Doctor has no clue. I think we need to open this up.
Make this a wide disscon.
Thanks
Lisa Collins

October 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm
(25) judy mason says:

I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism for the past 22 years. Hashimoto’s disease to be more precise. What has helped me immensely in dealing with it is taking 100 mgs of iron daily and synthroid.75mgs. I also work with the fast food industry and that helps to keep me mentally and physically active. Although I have gained weight over the years, I must say I feel extremely healthy and I credit this to my daily intake of iron. All the best Oprah.

Love and respect,
Judy

December 31, 2008 at 1:10 am
(26) Sarah says:

I love Patricia Taylors answers. Wow…she expresses how I feel. You have given me more incite Ms. Taylor then that horrible Oprah show I watched. Thanks for the insight!
Sarah

January 30, 2009 at 12:30 am
(27) trush says:

The Dr. Christiane Northrup and Laura Bushnell are both a little crazy, with thier half-ass advice.
Run from these wackos of Woowoo!

September 9, 2011 at 11:28 am
(28) Tiffany says:

Laura Bushnell is a whack job who tells everyone that she channels the virgin mary. (the virgin mary is a myth)
Bushnell is a con artist from idaho,,run from her!!
She LIES and LIES and LIES!!
Oprah is another idiot!!

stupid stupid people!!!

October 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm
(29) MollyHorse says:

I saw Laura Bushnell in person one time, at a book signing.
She is a complete phony. The heavy makeup, the plastic surgery gone bad, and years of starving herself,,Bushnell looks weird.
She scared half the audience off in the first few minutes.
My friend had a reading with her that weekend, and she said it was a very bad reading. She feels stupid she wasted almost 300 dollars(!) for an hour with Bushnell.
Live and learn!
So many phony psychics out there, they just want to be famous.
It seems lying is the way to fame for these people.
SAD>

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