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Mary Shomon

An Open Letter to Oprah's Viewers About Thyroid Disease: Your Thyroid Condition is NOT Your Own Fault

By October 16, 2007

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Dear Oprah Viewer:

I have important information for you if you watched Oprah and her guest Dr. Christiane Northrup, talk about health problems, including a condition that both Dr. Northrup and Oprah suffer from: thyroid disease. (A recap of the show, "The Big Wake-Up Call," is online.)

If you have not yet been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, but heard Oprah and Dr. Northrup mention various symptoms -- including weight gain, insomnia, inability to lose weight, fatigue and exhaustion, anxiety, hot flashes, heart palpitations, depression, hair loss, and changes in sex drive -- you may be thinking, "That's me!" And while I don't wish thyroid problems on anyone -- I'm hypothyroid myself, so I know -- if you recognized yourself in these symptoms, and that inspires you to go see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment, then that is a truly positive outcome from today's show. You deserve to feel and live well. And to that end, I welcome you here to my site for information, and am happy to be of help to you in your journey toward wellness.

But if you do end up getting diagnosed -- or, if you already have a diagnosed thyroid condition -- and you also heard Dr. Northrup say that "your symptoms are actually your soul's way of bringing deeper issues to your attention," then I'm here, as a thyroid patient advocate, to tell you that your thyroid disease is NOT your fault, despite what Dr. Northrup says. And while good nutrition, exercise, and self-care are certainly part of overall good health, they are not likely to cure your thyroid condition. (It may have worked for Oprah, but then, she was able to take a month-long vacation at her tropical Hawaiian estate, stop working entirely during that time so she could, as she put it, "actively do nothing," while eating only fresh foods. I doubt most of us could ever aspire to such a luxurious recuperation.)

Ultimately, in claiming to advocate for women's health, Dr. Northrup and Oprah both have inexplicably embraced an extreme -- and, frankly, quite unsympathetic -- view that blames women's lifestyle and emotional life for our health problems, hormonal imbalances, and symptoms.

Here's what else Dr. Northrup has to say about thyroid disease:

"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....It's no coincidence that so many more women than men have thyroid problems. Thyroid disease is related to expressing your feelings..."

Why Christiane Northrup Needs a Wake-Up Call About Thyroid Disease

While Christiane Northrup may be, as the Oprah.com site says, "the woman Oprah calls for help," Northrup is the one who clearly needs a wake-up call. It is irresponsible of her to suggest that an inability to express yourself is somehow responsible for a woman's thyroid condition. Christiane Northrup is doing a serious disservice to women's health by trying to blame women for an already misunderstood health problem.

Is it any wonder that doctors across America fail to take women's thyroid conditions seriously? Because on one end of the spectrum, we have dogmatic doctors claiming that we women are just stressed, depressed and PMSing, in need of an antidepressant or tranquilizer to solve all our problems. On the other end, we have Dr. Northrup -- with Oprah's glowing endorsement -- telling us our lives and emotions have run amok, we're unable to speak out, we're stifling our self-expression, and therefore we're developing thyroid problems as a result.

And Northrup's theory on thyroid problems also overlooks very real, and very serious cause-effect relationships. Thousands of women, for example, developed thyroid problems because they lived downwind of the Chernobyl nuclear plant after its accidental release of radiation. Were those women stifling their self-expression? What about women exposed to thyroid-damaging perchlorate by drinking contaminated water here in the U.S. Are they swallowing their words, or swallowing contaminated water? Many women develop thyroid conditions after having a baby. Are those new mothers unable to express themselves, or are their out-of-whack post-partum hormones expressing themselves? What about women with thyroid cancer? Will exercise, nutrition and sex fix their thyroid problem?

Here's my wake-up call to women everywhere: Thyroid disease is NOT your fault. Thyroid disease results when heredity and genetics, autoimmunity, environmental exposures, viral infections, and hormonal shifts come together in a perfect storm to trigger a dysfunction. And while emotional and physical stress, as well as nutrition and lifestyle, can play a role creating a climate receptive for -- or fighting against -- most diseases including thyroid conditions, these factors are only part of a larger, complicated puzzle.

Women are more susceptible to thyroid disease, as well as most of the more than 80 autoimmune diseases, for a variety of reasons, including the balance of our hormones. Times of hormonal change -- i.e., pregnancy, post-partum, perimenopause and menopause -- are key trigger points for the development of thyroid disease.

Another factor that can affect your thyroid is overconsumption of soy. In an official letter of protest to the FDA, Drs. Daniel Doerge and Daniel Sheehan, formerly the FDA's two key experts on soy, contradicted soy's health claims -- which were approved by the FDA -- saying:

"...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. There exists a significant body of animal data that demonstrates goitrogenic and even carcinogenic effects of soy products. Moreover, there are significant reports of goitrogenic effects from soy consumption in human infants and adults."
Dr. Northrup, however, dismisses the opinions of these experts, as well as the many journal articles on the issue, and instead points to the soy industry's own studies as evidence of soy's safety for women.

What's Really to Blame for Your Thyroid Problem?

Oprah has made it no secret that she's menopausal, as is Dr. Northrup. And the shift in hormones that occurs at menopause is thought to be a key trigger for thyroid problems in women. By the time we're 60 -- Oprah's 53 -- an estimated 20% of all women have a thyroid condition. What do you think? Are Oprah, Dr. Northrup, and the millions of other aging women somehow becoming unable to speak up for themselves? Or is it more likely that the hormonal shifts of perimenopause and menopause are responsible for triggering many thyroid conditions?

Oprah is the richest and most powerful women in television, one of the richest women in the world, and has a humanitarian and media platform that reaches billions. She is, to many, the ultimate example of an empowered woman. And Dr. Northrup is a best-selling author and "celebrity" doctor on television. What do you think? Did Oprah and Dr. Northrup each develop thyroid disease because they have spent "a lifetime of swallowing words" and stifling "self-expression?" Or are millions of talented, successful and outspoken women like Oprah and Dr. Northrup developing thyroid conditions because of imbalances and fluctuations in hormones, and a likely tendency toward autoimmune disease?

Oprah also has adopted Dr. Northrup's recommendations, and become, like Dr. Northrup, a regular user of soy. Both women are now hypothyroid. What do you think? Is soy helping Oprah's health and is it just pure coincidence that she has developed a thyroid condition, just like Dr. Northrup? Or did Oprah -- as well as Dr. Northrup, and other women who add a heavy dose of soy to their diet -- develop a thyroid condition because too much soy had a negative effect on her thyroid function?

America's women watching Oprah are getting a mixed message -- yes, thyroid disease is common, and overlooked -- but, if you believe Oprah and Dr. Northrup, it's also your fault -- and by the way, don't forget to add soy to your diet!

My Message

I can't make it any clearer: Thyroid disease is NOT your fault. It is a result of autoimmunity, environmental exposures, genetics/heredity, and hormone shifts. Yes, stress and diet can play a part in disease-- in fact, thyroid problems are, as noted, sometimes triggered by overconsumption of soy. And there are a number of things you can do that will help prevent thyroid problems -- not smoking is one that comes to mind.

But here's a major wake-up call for Dr. Northrup: a woman can be flawless in her diet, stress management, and self-care, and STILL GET THYROID DISEASE. And it's still NOT her fault!

I don't care if Oprah herself has embraced Dr. Northrup's theory. That is still no reason for any woman to believe that she is to blame, much less that blowing kisses to herself in the mirror, and taking a hot bath before bed will resolve her hormonal imbalances, as Dr. Northrup suggested on the show.

Do NOT accept the blame, and don't think that serious medical problems can be treated by reading romance novels and eating protein at breakfast, as Dr. Northrup advised.

We've lived long enough with the myth that thyroid disease is just an excuse middle-aged women use for being overweight. (A myth, by the way, that is also espoused by another Oprah "expert," Phil "Dr. Phil" McGraw.) We've lived long enough with fatigue, weight gain, depression, hair loss, low sex drive -- all the while being told we're stressed, depressed, and menopausal -- and NEVER getting a thyroid test or treatment until we demand it.

Right now, as many as 59 million Americans -- the majority of them women -- have thyroid disease, and less than 20 million are actually diagnosed. Oprah was one of the undiagnosed -- and who knows who long that was going on before she actually was diagnosed. Yet Dr. Northrup proudly stated on Oprah, that "This show is real preventive medicine. It does far more than all those tests and screening."

Actually, explaining the symptoms of a thyroid condition, what women can do to reduce their risk of developing thyroid problems, explaining how women can get tested, giving them the confidence and courage to insist on testing even if their doctor, HMO or insurance says no, and then explaining how to interpret the confusing results -- THAT would be doing what America's women really need.

Thyroid disease is complicated, hard to diagnose, and no one except the sufferers ourselves seem interested to learn more. But one thing is certain: it's definitely not your fault, and you didn't develop thyroid problems because you failed to speak up or had your self expression stifled.

If you suspect you have a thyroid condition, or you've been diagnosed, the way to be empowered, speak out, and find your voice is to first, abandon any guilt. Then, learn everything you can about your thyroid, find a great doctor who truly understands thyroid disease, get properly treated, take good care of yourself, eat well, manage stress, and get support from people who understand what you're going through.

And remember, take the advice you get from doctors on television talk shows with a big grain of iodized salt...

Live well,

Mary

P.S. And Oprah, if you're reading -- my wish for you is that someday, you realize that your thyroid condition is truly not your fault. And please reconsider all that soy!

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 16, 2007 at 12:46 pm
(1) dyannem says:

I can add nothing to this powerful letter that spoke to the experience of so many of us (stressed out, overweight, middle age, pmsers). Thank you Mary for continuing to advocate for all thyroid patients who have a right to reclaim their health and who have so much working against them in the medical system.

October 16, 2007 at 1:30 pm
(2) Ellen Calarese says:

Amen Mary. Amen! I hate to say it, but shame on Oprah. I’m disappointed.

October 16, 2007 at 1:47 pm
(3) prose says:

Thank you Mary! I sure hope you sent this email directly to Oprah. When I heard about her “thyroid blowout” in the media I was hoping she would shed some light on women’s thyroid conditions, but she did us all a disservice today.

October 16, 2007 at 2:32 pm
(4) stalgia says:

I find Dr. Northrup’s suggestion that thyroid problems are women’s fault appalling, sexist and just plain absurd. Would she contend that the surgery I had to remove my thyroid due to thyroid cancer was my fault and such lack of thyroid was now limiting my self expression? Render unto me a ___ break! What anyone with thyroid problems needs to do, and I don’t buy the idea that thyroid problems are “womens’” problems, is to find a good endocrinologist who will not just look at the lab numbers, will not just prescribe antidepressants or tranquilizers or tell you that your problems are all in your head but will work with you until you feel good. I felt good once on my thyroid medication and although I do not feel good now, I believe I will again with his help and the support of my family and friends. If Dr. Northrup wants a good understanding of thyroid problems and I do not believe this is her specialty, she should read some of the posts on the About.Com Thyroid Board, or Thyroid Chat Pro Boards, or any number of other forums. When I was a child, my mother cooked a lot with soy flour, and we used soy oil every day. Myself and 2 of my sisters have developed thyroid problems. I will never touch it in any form. I think Oprah has copped out by not seriously looking into the thyroid issue, by not considering other viewpoints other than her own and this one doctor who is treating her.

October 16, 2007 at 7:16 pm
(5) Lynnie Lee says:

You are so right! I told my sister yesterday, I didn’t know what was wrong
with Oprah but I thought she had MY
disease. Her FACE looks like she has
thyroid disease……and I can’t believe
she is still on soy products.

October 16, 2007 at 8:41 pm
(6) Jenny says:

Did Oprah mention whether she was put on Synthroid for her thyroid problem? I am wondering how long she will put up with the lingering hypothyroid symptoms from having her TSH kept in the “normal range” before she gets fed up and finally decides to do another show with REAL thyroid experts. ;)

Maybe by posting my comment, I will finally “CURE” myself from having Hashimotos thyroid disease!! LOL!!

October 16, 2007 at 9:01 pm
(7) Susan says:

I suprisingly even had a “naturopathic” doctor tell me my hashimoto’s was due to “anger issues”. Okay – NOT HELPFUL! I asked my medical doctor who is an internist AND naturopath and he said NO – it’s not your fault. The one gal who told me it was – is someone I personally avoid. If you are going to help someone – don’t blame them! Give them hope and encouragement! Thank you for this excellent post and maybe, hopefully, somehow – Oprah will learn -but it looks like the way she’s headed it might be the hard way.

October 17, 2007 at 1:51 am
(8) Katy says:

I have been diagnosed FINALLY with thyroid disease after 15 years of being told I was a depressed, hypochondriac, stay at home Mom and lately , menopausal! Thank goodness I found a wonderful GP and Endo who listened, truly listened, to my symptoms and tested farther than the TSH! My self worth and self esteem hit the bottom of the barrel! If only I had known I could solve all of this by just expressing my feelings. I have always admired Oprah but feel today that she has provided a great disservice to all thyroid sufferers!

October 17, 2007 at 7:36 am
(9) Lisa Rudy says:

Mary – what a wonderful, strong, SANE post! I do have a question, though: all of the thyroid symptoms you list sound almost exactly the same as the symptoms generally listed for menopause… How do you tell the difference?!

Best,

Lisa (about.com guide to autism)

October 17, 2007 at 8:02 am
(10) JennaM says:

Dr. Northrup has the same unhelpful theory about infertility… she actually has the gall to argue that the infertile often have a secret desire NOT to have children and infertility is the body’s way of communicating that secret. Infuriating.

October 17, 2007 at 9:28 am
(11) Laureen says:

“Fault” is an irrelevant concept when it comes to autoimmune diseases. How can it be anyone’s fault that their immune system began attacking another part of their body? If medical science had enough information about autoimmune diseases to determine the “fault,” we’d be a lot closer to curing them.

But “fault” is pretty useless when it comes to most other diseases too, even those really brought on by lifestyle. Because it looks backward instead of forward. Making a change in the future rather than looking back at what was or wasn’t your fault is what’s important.

But this whole concept of fault is even more ridiculous in thyroid disease. EVEN IF there was proof that low stress, fresh foods, exercise and a positive mental attitude prevented thyroid disease, to say its my fault that complications in my life prevent me from having all those is counter productive. Plus some people are just simply more easily stressed than others. It’s not their fault; they’re born that way.

I’m not saying people aren’t responsible for making good health choices, but a lot of it is just the luck of the draw.

October 17, 2007 at 10:16 am
(12) silverside58 says:

I agree that is is useless to assign blame for thyroid diseases or auto-immune disorders.

But let’s not go to the other extreme, and just assume that all these diseases develop in a perfect vacuum all the time.

As someone who works with a lot of women survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, I am astonished how many long-time survivors have these illnesses. As one colleague noted, you can go to a conference, and MOST of the survivors there have one of these illnesses. The key here is chronic and relatively severe stress. Not that everyone who develops a thryroid condition has a stress management issue. But in looking across populations which do suffer from chronic and severe stress for whatever reason, you see a lot of autoimmune disorders popping up. No real “rocket science” there. Although all the details may not be understood, it seems to be generally acknowledged that the immune system is somewhat more suscetible to damage from stress that other systems of the body.

October 17, 2007 at 10:31 am
(13) Mary Shomon / Thyroid Guide says:

Lisa,

It can be hard to tell whether symptoms are menopause, or thyroid-related, because they are seen in both. But because thyroid problems are SO common in women of perimenopausal and menopausal age, and because reproductive hormones (like estrogen and progesterone) will NOT resolve thyroid symptoms, it’s really critical that a woman RULE OUT thyroid before assuming that the symptoms are purely menopausal.

There’s an article that talks about this thyroid-menopause connection, and I have several chapters dedicated to the topic in my latest book, The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough.

October 17, 2007 at 10:58 am
(14) Kabas says:

I rarely watch Oprah. I am sure she is a great person but.. The TV happened to be on her show/channel while I was doing the dishes and as soon as she said thyroid, I stopped to listen. I have Hashimoto’s. I felt that Oprah and her Dr. friend did quite a disservice to many women – those with thyroid disease and those who will now run to their doctors for a possible diagnosis. I only hope that someone more knowledgeable speaks out with the facts – hopefully someone with an audience. Thyroid disease happens to young people too. You do not have to be perimenopausal or menopausal.

October 17, 2007 at 11:28 am
(15) MarphRph says:

As a pharmacist with Hashimoto’s who counsels patients daily about thyroid and other hormone issues (primarily recommending monumental changes in lifestyle choices, including diet, activity and environment), I was appalled while watching this episode of Oprah. I will be mass e-mailing copies of Mary Shomon’s eloquent response to help get this desperately-needed information to (especially) women I know who think that what the latest celebrity-with-a-disease is endorsing and promoting is actually TRUTHFUL. Oprah has become the latest addition to my growing list of high-profile people who see only that which they choose to see and promotes their own “bottom line”, serving no other purpose. They still don’t get it about real health CARE.

October 17, 2007 at 11:33 am
(16) Faith Witherspoon says:

Thank you ladies for the information I do think I have a Thyroid problems and I have seem 2 doctors so far and by reading your letter I am going to find a better doctor and hope that they listen to me. Again Thanks

October 17, 2007 at 11:48 am
(17) Barbara says:

As a health care provider, I was appalled to hear this physician espousing her beliefs about causation. I’m sorry that Oprah endorses Dr. Northrup and that, consequently so many women will buy into it. Thank you for your comments.

October 17, 2007 at 12:21 pm
(18) Margarite says:

Much Thanks! Your letter rings true. I, too , was diagnosed 13 yrs ago with hypothyroidism, and was never told it was my fault. I found the things Dr. Northrup was saying baffling, like listening to the train as it is about to wreck but I can’t look away! It seems that Oprah is looking, searching, for something…for that answer. And, I notice that Bob Green, her trainer has been missing. Oprah should always recommend that viewers take their own physicans advice over her non-practicing tv ones.

October 17, 2007 at 1:06 pm
(19) Shirley says:

Mary,
Very powerful letter you have written to Oprah. Hopefully it will open her eyes and dump Dr. Northrup and find a sensible doctor that knows what they are talking about.
Those of us that subscribe to Mary’s e-letter should start bomarding Oprah’s mailbox, telling her there is another side to thyroid disease and to tell her that she needs to devote several shows (at least) to let the public know about how thyroid disease affects so many people.

October 17, 2007 at 1:11 pm
(20) Lois says:

I have had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for years. It is an auto immune disease, and anyone who looks to Oprah for guidance had better look elsewhere. Dr. Phil? Dr. Northrop? Please. People are being misled.

A recognized endocrinologist or internist will be best able to diagnose, and also assure you that it is not your fault. Blame the victim?

I will add that I am also a Type 2 diabetic, and that there is a link to thyroid disease.

Please do not use Oprah as a credible source for any medical info. She is not.

October 17, 2007 at 4:01 pm
(21) Angelia says:

I don’t have a thyroid condition, and my heart goes out to all of you that do. It must be difficult enough to live with without “experts” telling you it’s all your fault. WOW!! Medical “knowledge” like that makes Tom Cruise look like a medical scholar.

I can only assume that Dr. Northrop is the Surgeon General of Cloud Cukoo Land. Apparently Oprah is their Secretary of State.

October 17, 2007 at 5:01 pm
(22) Anne Middleton says:

One should know that a person may be more likely to have thyroid problems if a family member has thyroid problems. Also some food allergies may aggrivate the thyroid. I have hypothyroidism with a growth on my thyroid and allergies to butterfat, gluten and malt.

All seem to make the other worse. I was told for several years there was nothing wrong and it was in my head. It turned out my thyroid would stop and start again. It finally stopped and stayed that way after feeling the symptoms for ten years. Who knows how long before I started to notice the symptoms.

Also, my doctor told me that you should do the test more than once. It may be fine one month and not the next like me. He said would like women to be tested at least once a year.

I did go through four doctors before I found an internal medicine doctor and a gynocologist I liked.

If you have your doubts look for a new doctor.

October 17, 2007 at 5:14 pm
(23) chelsea says:

Dr. Northrup is appalling, she has similar views on Cblame the patient, blame child abuse with no scientific evidence to back it up–just her “opinion.”
And to the poster above who stated that sex abuse and child abuse leads to all these type of illness, REALLY? what study did you do?Sounds anecdotal to me, i’ve met happy folks(emotionally healthy) with thyroid disorders, and ones with longstanding depression–more anecdotal crap to throw in the heap.I’ve seen not scientific data to support such a claim–just anecdotal sound bites.Depression is a widespread problem within the general population–as one can see from the amount of anti depressant sold–the leading drug sold in the usa. The sad facts are, many children are abused,according to the American Academy of Pediatrics one in six women where abused as children. some develop disease, others don’t.If anyone has read studies by Broad Barnes, MD, you would know more about thyroid illness. To the “child abuse” poster, have you ever heard of “goiter” belt/regions. there are many causes for thyroid disease, it’s those who don’t dig deep and blame it simply on “stress” isn’t that what the medical community said about ulcers but Marshall and Warren showed them them they were wrong! LOL!

October 17, 2007 at 5:42 pm
(24) c says:

Dr. Northrup is irritating! but her message about self blame is not only damaging to those with thyroid issues, but friends and families of thyroid patients, because they may misconstrue Northrup’s opinion as The Gospel and try to make them feel responsible for their health dilemma. She also blames those with CHronic Fatigue Syndrome people that it’s thier fault they have CFS. I like Oprah(well, sort of), but what’s with having this Northrup creature being her pick as an “expert?” Good grief! She could have done a whole lot better asking for the hormone help of Elizabeth Lee Vliet,MD.

October 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm
(25) Cynthia says:

Shame on Oprah and Dr. Northrup. You are so very very wrong about this disease.

Oprah needs to do some research and learn about the disease and then tell the public the truth about this disease.

I don’t understand how she can be such a cold individual. I used to think she was intelligent!

Thank you Mary for all you do. You’re heads above these ignorant people.
Thanks.

October 17, 2007 at 7:21 pm
(26) anon says:

I agree, shame on oprah. I find this extremely disturbing because so many people, women especially, follow blindly like sheep whatever she suggests. What that “doctor” said is disturbing, and oprah endorsing it is reprehensible. How many times must people learn this lesson…just because oprah says it does not make it so.

October 17, 2007 at 8:58 pm
(27) Annie Phenix says:

You are right on target, Mary, as always. I am also sending your letter to Oprah. If a hot bath and a self hug could have fixed my being hypo, wouldn’t that have worked 10 years ago for me and countless other women??? Oprah looked lost and sad on that show about “thyroid.” She is still being victimized and doesn’t even know it. Let’s just all hope she gets Armourized and shouts from the rooftops that this country — this world — is doing a massive disservice to many of its women. Thyroid problems are real and have nothing to do with fault.

Annie Phenix

October 17, 2007 at 9:30 pm
(28) patty neece says:

Hypo is evident on Oprah’s face. Look at the difference in her pictures from last year and the current ones. The show was a joke, and sadly more women will be convinced there is nothing wrong with them, and they will keep shoveling soy into their already ailing bodies. Google ‘soy aliases’ for a list of hidden soy ingredients in your food for a real ‘wake up call.’ The stuff is harder to avoid every day as they slip it into more and more foods. I make everything from scratch and rarely go out to eat because it’s everywhere.

The FDA is like the fox guarding the henhouse. The FDA allowed soy to become known as ‘healthy’ when in fact it is bad for us. It’s big business, plain and simple. Because soy is cheaper than other fats, flours and proteins, it’s easier to convince people that it’s healthy to increase sales, and then it replaces not one, but three different food sources. Because American consumers fell for the sales pitch, we are all suffering.

People like Oprah, who could educate the public, are instead falling victim to mass marketing ploys. Shameful and pathetic. I wonder how much money her doctor guest makes from the soy industry?

October 17, 2007 at 9:36 pm
(29) Kirsten Sharett says:

Thank you so much for this article. This is a painful, disruptive problem and the last thing we need is to hear we brought this on ourselves.

October 17, 2007 at 11:12 pm
(30) Michael says:

Hi.Thanks for your post .Your article make great idea to me.Thanks.

October 18, 2007 at 2:29 am
(31) P says:

Thank you for this wonderful article. Throughout my whole lifetime I practiced healthy diet and exercise. As a former Olympian I knew everything about balancing both my mental and physical well being. My life could be described as a definition of the ‘healthy lifestyle’. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I least expected even though I was in the best years of my life!! I find Dr. Northrup’s comments totally apsurd!!! It is time for scientists to give us acurate answers to our problem instead of making it seem like it is all our fault!!

October 18, 2007 at 7:29 am
(32) dreamie says:

a woman’s problem ?? my whole family has thyroid problems it is genetic for me not because we havent expressed ourselves. and its not just the women.. my uncle had such severe hyperthyroidism he was so tiny and the hormonal imbalanced affected other parts of his body, i remember at one point his eyes were sticking out of his forehead he had several surgeries for it. my cousin he gained like 100lbs over several months, now he is still severaly ill and he is only in his late 30s and has 2 children who might soon be fatherless, all of that started with hypothyroidism.. now he has other problems added to it with his heart. but no wonder he is huge now bcoz of the hypothyroidism. my mom and my aunt had to have radiation down on theirs a long time ago and now they have to take medication for the rest of their life. i got diagnosed with hypothyroidism at 16 but we suspect i had it much sooner but it wasnt discovered because my doctor stated “its impossible to get it at such a young age”.. funny..coz i know a woman whose 2 year old was diagnosed with hypothyroidsm. i dont think she had problems with expressing herself.
saying that its our fault is an insult to me, my family and all the sufferers of thyroid problems. shame on you oprah, bring in the real experts.

October 18, 2007 at 9:11 am
(33) Renee says:

My heart breaks for the people who have been mislead or will be as a result of this information. The emotional pain pouring out of the first guest as she exposed all requesting help, then to be told do go do something nice for herself??? I do not recall any comments of her physical health, nor medications she may be taking. If there is a medical issue occuring at this time, I do not believe she is capable of doing anything for herself. I am praying some caring doctor trys to reach all of her guest from that day. It appeared to me that even Oprah herself glanced at her guest with skepticism from time to time, peeking at her from the corner of her eye. I was diagnosed with many different illnesses, mental and physical, prior to receiving one of hypothyroidism. Her second guest taking seven pills a day, keep it up and she will be as I was 30 plus and bed bound. One year later the doctors can not still get it right with me, but I keep searching. I pray these women do too.

October 18, 2007 at 12:19 pm
(34) Marla M. says:

I was diagnosed two years ago with hypo and I was told soy was good for me before I was diagnosed. Unqualified solicitations like this should be stopped. I am considered an aggressive type personality who doesn’t swallow words so where did my problem come from. It’s in our family medical history, my mother has it, my sister has it and I thought I could escape but sorry, I have it also. Yes, natural hormone is better for me but I had to make an educated decision. Thank you Mary for your support of our “condition”. Saying that hypothyroidism is your fault is like telling parents of a murdered child that God gives you no more than you can bear! PLEASE!!!!

October 18, 2007 at 12:39 pm
(35) Laura says:

I’m so glad I didn’t watch this episode of “Oprah”. I think I would have been fuming mad! How can an “expert” in the medical field say such things?! It scares me that so many women (and men) watch Oprah and take her shows as gospel.
Another thing that angers me is that (I caught a preview of her show) Oprah is broadcasting this as some new information that SHE thinks is important that all women know about. Apparently the countless letters sent to the Oprah show had gone unread. Because it is PERSONALLY happening to Oprah, she makes it a priority to tell all and FINALLY have a show about it.
It drives me crazy!!
But, like Mary stated in her letter, if it brought even the slightest attention to get others to get tested it was worth it.

October 18, 2007 at 2:14 pm
(36) Denise D. Witmer says:

I adore you and I want to be just like you when I grow up, Mary. Just thought I would let you know. Plus, awesome article ;-)

October 18, 2007 at 4:39 pm
(37) thankyouthankyou says:

Mary, you rock. Thank you so much for your work – you’ve reached oceans of people. If only people would just stop watching TV and go online!

October 18, 2007 at 5:06 pm
(38) Dorothy says:

It’s so unfortunate that after many years of trying to get Oprah’s attention to thyroid issues, we get the “swallowing your words” theory. Now, while it’s so very helpful for all of us to be encouraged to be true to ourselves and speak our needs, to expect that this will by itself prevent or even cure thyroid dysfunction is absurd.

Thyroid dysfunction is quite complicated & there is not just one cause (nor treatment)for everyone. We do know that chronic or severe stress triggers changes/hormonal upheavals in the body. There are lots of stress inducers: traumatic experiences, pregancy/childbirth, chemicals, parenting, jobs, chronic unstable disease, self-pressures, menopause, and change, in general. Combine one of these vulnerable states with genetic susceptibility, and your odds of becoming ill increase. I know people who have no trouble speaking their words who develop thyroid dysfunction. I also have known women with the most horrific trauma and neglect experiences imaginable who have no medical health issues.

I wish Oprah would have presented a more balanced show on thyroid dysfunction. When Dr. Oz is on, there isn’t the same sense of underlying emotional distress as the sole cause of health conditions. He may acknowledge the emotional piece but it’s not the whole story. So why is it when we have a show about thyroid disease, which primarily affects women, we get the “you need to express your feelings more openly”? I can’t imagine a prostate specialist on Oprah suggesting that cause/treatment of prostate dysfunction be emotional blockage.

Mary, and so many of us on a smaller/less visible scale have spent much time advocating and educating others regarding screening and treatment, and watching Oprah’s show was such a blow to these efforts. Very disappointing, Oprah.

Post your concerns on Oprah’s site: http://www.oprah.com/community/thread/5147

October 18, 2007 at 7:18 pm
(39) relishca says:

Mary:

I applaud you for taking Oprah to task on what was a disturbing, unbalanced and unreasoned show. I posted a comment on Oprah’s discussion forum (which was critical of the show, but polite and reasoned & included a link to your article here) and the post got deleted. It appears that Oprah’s staff are unwilling to have criticism within their forum; hence, all those “thanks Oprah,” “you’re so wonderful,” “northrup is great” comments on her website are an obvious biased snapshot of the REAL response to her program. It is a shame that Oprah is so ill-advised about the real causes of thyroid and auto-immune disease. It’s bad enough she presented an unbalanced and inaccurate program — now she has to censor the discussion after the fact. Wow. So much for the truth!

October 19, 2007 at 3:33 am
(40) Teri Robert says:

Brava, Mary!

Oprah is probably in one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful position in the world for educating and helping people with their health problems. But she blew it, big time.

Not only did she let her viewers down, she may well have caused us harm by perpetuating myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions.

“The woman Oprah calls for help” indeed! It’s a shame she didn’t have Dr. Oz on this one. I’m all for a holistic approach that incorporates mind, body, and spirit, but let’s have some perspective and balance, please!

As always, yours is the voice of reason, not afraid to speak out when so-called experts are full of nonsense (and their own self-worth.)

Live well, my friend,
Teri

October 19, 2007 at 5:14 am
(41) Adéle, South Africa says:

The saddest aspect of this is the ongoing fight the thyroid patient has with community, family and friends who are ignorant enough to listen and believe in the gospel of Oprah and her “experts”. It is hard enough to constantly fight tiredness, a muffed brain, weight gain etc. without being looked at as a bloody whimp who brought it onto herself. And NO Dr Northrup, I am not one of those who are too afraid to speak my mind. I believe and I insist on the fact that I got a right of speech and a mind I can use on top of that, the day I was born. You and your friend Oprah make me sick!

October 19, 2007 at 6:50 am
(42) L says:

i’m utterly shocked with the statements made by dr northrup and further still with oprah’s “contribution” to the thyroid problem/perception.

i wish to support all that has already been said by mary and all thyroid sufferers.

as to the dr….he needs to be stripped off his license and should go back to the uni where he achieved his degree to study psychology…maybe then he would realise what is wrong with him. he shouldn’t be allowed to practice medicine and definitely be barred from lecturing on the subject. he, obviously, has no clue what causes thyroid malfunction nor can he advise how to treat it.

as for oprah….i used to think the wooman had ‘balls’. i wonder what (or who…) prompted her to say what she did ??? if this is really her opinion, then, perhaps, she needs to lose her bushy her (which will happen if she really suffers from thyroid malfunction…)….maybe then she would realise that no long holiday would come to her aid !!! or was she promised ‘free wigs for life’ ???

i’m angry and appalled and certainly have no intention of watching her shows ever again since, quite clearly, the woman’s opinions are substandard. perhaps when her ‘rating’ goes down to ZERO should would have the decency to apologise to the millions of women sufferers whom she let down so bady.

SHAME ON YOU OPRAH !!!

L

October 19, 2007 at 7:25 am
(43) Cindi Straughn says:

Here’s what I want to know: what was Oprah’s TSH? Her Free T4 and Free T3 and what were her thyroid antibody values? TSH receptor ones too since she mentioned being hypyer. And is she taking thyroid meds now? In other words, I’m not a believer yet…I need more info. But I do think Oprah has done a terrible disservice to women on this issue. And how the heck can a hypo woman “speak up” and “find her voice” when she’s too busy napping from her low thyroid hormone condition (sometimes called TSH NORMAL SYNDROME – haha)? Are these two women (oprah/northtrup) complete idiots? well no…but on this subject, it sure looks like it. How was that for “speaking my mind?”…am i cured yet????

October 19, 2007 at 8:02 am
(44) Julie says:

Thank you, Mary, for being the voice of reason! Oprah has no idea what she’s talking about (as usual) and, like Kimberly in your email newsletter, Orpah basically makes me mad. Thyroid issues are so serious and cannot just be dealt with by taking a vacation! I had thyroid cancer and had my thyroid removed. In the two years since, my meds have had to be changed several times (like now) and until they are balanced again, I suffer – BIG time! Oprah is using fluff and weirdo so called medicine, to deal with a very serious issue. You know what is really bad? A lot of women out there are going to believe her because she’s Oprah.

October 19, 2007 at 9:07 am
(45) THuff says:

Keep writing to Oprah correcting her (and not on her message boards–her and Dr. Phil love to delete negative messages).

Don’t tell this Psychobabble to a newborn baby who was born without a thyroid!

Don’t tell it to me who was diagnosed with a goiter/hypothyroidism at age 19.

And, certainly don’t tell it to me that at age 35, my thyroid is totally dead now.

I’m the cause for the thyroid, EBV and RNP (MCTD/Lupus) antibodies circulating throughout my whole body? Ridiculous!

I’ll bet if Oprah’s South African girls (“her girls”) came down with thyroid problems, she wouldn’t be blaming them!

October 19, 2007 at 9:16 am
(46) Tamara Shurling says:

I am really disappointed that Oprah touted the BS that doctor spewed out of his mouth. I could take a month long vacation to “rest” and I would still have my thyroid problems. I am not one that has ever held my words either. I still cant believe that one, how could you blame a medical condition on not voicing your opinions. I hope for Oprah’s sake she doesnt really believe that guy’s opinions and I hope she does another show to point out that some people get thyroid disease just because…genetics, etc. This is an awful thing to deal with and I hope someone covers it and tells the truth about the disease.

October 19, 2007 at 9:42 am
(47) Donna McCraw says:

I was disappointed that Oprah and Dr. Northrup never mentioned Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in older women. Why is everyone afraid to say this word? Dr. Northrup kept using a certain word for a female body part that starts with “cl”, saying that it needs more attention. Why is it OK to say the “cl” word on TV, but it’s not OK to say “Hashimoto’s”?

My family doc did not tell me that I have Hashimoto’s, he said I had “thyroid failure”. Then I saw an endo, and she didn’t tell me at first that I had Hashimoto’s, so I had to ask her specifically if I had it. She said yes.

Why does everyone find it necessary to dumb down the diagnosis and avoid using the real medical term? If people would use the real term, then women could Google it and learn more. Why can’t everyone, including doctors, use the “H” word? So many people, including doctors, act like it is a big taboo word that you aren’t allowed to say. Well, I am going to say it – HASHIMOTO’S.

October 19, 2007 at 10:23 am
(48) Treas43 says:

When I first saw (on a tabloid in the grocery store checkout line) that Oprah had thyroid problems, my first thought was ‘So What? So do I’. And now that I’ve read and heard a little more, I agree that Oprah has missed a valuable opportunity to raise awareness, instead going off on a tangent. It’s too bad. But it’s annoying that when something happens to a celebrity, it’s like the world is suddenly aware, and like no one else has ever experienced it. I’ve struggled with Grave’s for years. If I just took myself off of my job for a month, on a tropical vacation with no medication, I’d be dead, as for me, one of the first things my body does is to jack up the heart rate. I feel bad for people that don’t really know or understand their condition, and are out there believing that stuff. I hope no one doesn’t get treatment because of what Oprah and her ‘guru’ say, but sadly, that will probably be the case.

October 19, 2007 at 10:33 am
(49) Michele says:

Mary,
Thank you for all that you do for us,(thyroid patients). You have truly opened my eyes, and educated me. Why don’t you contact some of the other television news programs, like “The Today Show”, or “Good Morning America”, maybe they will listen and do a segment with Oprah bringing more attention to this. It would be wonderful if they would allow you to speak, and bring the true facts to the public.

October 19, 2007 at 10:55 am
(50) Theresa Roberts says:

Mary,
I doubt that Oprah is a frequent visitor to your site, but I took the drastic step of joining Oprah.com just to post on the message board. If enough people write in their disappointment over the whitewashing that thyroid disease got, then maybe Oprah’s team will finally get it. I have some of Dr. Northrup’s books, which I will now dispose of. I do believe in the mind-body connection, and advocate holistic treatment options, but this treatment of thyroid disease was ridiculous! Dr. Oz would give a far more balanced and common sense treatment, I am sure. Thank you again, Mary. Your website and books (I have almost all of them) being a bit of a self help junkie (because of the lack of knowledge about thyroid disease by doctors and other health care professionals) have been a source of valuable information for me. Keep up the good work.

October 19, 2007 at 11:09 am
(51) Donna M. says:

Everyone, if you post a message on Oprah’s message board about her thyroid show, it will get deleted if you include hyperlinks. I had 2 posts deleted before I figured this out. You can post a message telling people to go to “thyroid.about.com” and that is OK. But if you make it a click-able link by including the HTTP part, your post will get deleted. It isn’t censorship, it’s just one of their policies, so don’t take it personally if your post disappears. Just try again without using links.

October 19, 2007 at 11:21 am
(52) Sharon B says:

Mary, I agree with you 100%. I remember when Oprah had Dr. Phil on her show talking to obese women. He said that a thyroid condition is no excuse for being over weight. Well, I’ve got news for him and Oprah. I have struggled with my weight for 15 years now. I have to watch everything that goes into my mouth to keep my weight below 150 lbs. I know I will never see 120 lbs again, but I will NOT go over 150 lbs! If Oprah really wanted to talk about thyroid disease, she should have YOU on her show!

October 19, 2007 at 11:51 am
(53) jacque b says:

Well, go figure, two more ku-ku’s with more dollars than sense.
Thank You Mary for giving us REAL information, REAL help and REAL hope.

October 19, 2007 at 11:56 am
(54) Rosemary says:

Thanks Mary, for continuing to keep us up on what’s going on. I, like you, was hopeful that since Oprah had a thyroid condition it would get the coverage/exposure it needs, but unfortunately that didn’t happen from what I hear. I didn’t get to watch the Oprah episode, and am now glad I didn’t; I’m one of those who “doesn’t express” myself…usually very loudly at the TV when I think someone is full of it. I haven’t had a problem speaking my mind for at least 20 years; and have just celebrated 5 years thyroid cancer free. Hmmm, guess the good Dr. doesn’t know what she’s talking about! Thanks to Dorothy too for giving us Oprah’s site to leave comments on. If we all leave a comment, maybe Oprah will get wind of it (I’m sure she doesn’t read the comments herself) and think about what damage her and her “Dr.” friend have potentially done. I personally think Oprah should have Mary on her show; and I will suggest that when I go to her site. Let’s all let Oprah hear our voices….united!

October 19, 2007 at 12:08 pm
(55) Nancy Czapinski says:

I guess I must be missing something. I am hypothyroid, receiving medical treatement and did not see the show. I have read your one comment of Dr. Northrup and no where did I see the word blame, nor did I interpret it as such. I am well aware of the multitude of causes of hypothyroidism, most of which are physical in nature. However, I believe that we all have psyches that PERHAPS predispose us to one malady or another. I say predispose, but not cause. Dr. Northrup’s comments resonate with me because I fit that profile. I do not think that makes it my fault, nor do I accept blame. It just illuminates another (amongst many) contributor to my condition. I do not mean to defend the good doctor, since I did not see the whole show, or read the entire script. However, I do not find myself reacting as strongly as all of you and have chosen to simply fold this perspective into the bigger picture. “If the shoe fits, wear it, if not toss it aside.” Sorry if my differing opinion offends anyone.

October 19, 2007 at 12:46 pm
(56) C.P says:

Mary,
Thank you for site! You are doing a wonderful job! I am highly offended that my thyroid disease is attributed to being a helpless member of my family or social group! I have been used to touch many lives in a positive and encouraging way. How does that make me helpless? My self expression is most certainly free-flowing!! Thyroid disease runs in my family and trust me, non of the women in my family swallow any of their words!!! Just a thought, perhaps thyroid disease runs higher in women because they tend to be more health conscious and try every soy product on the market to “get healthy”. Has anyone ever done a study on men who use soy products? Are they hypothyroid because of it? What is the ratio between men and women who use/have used soy products? Something to think about.

October 19, 2007 at 12:55 pm
(57) jacque says:

Well, go figure, two more ku-ku’s with more dollars than sense.
Thank You Mary for giving us REAL information, REAL help and REAL hope.

Comment by jacque b — October 19, 2007 @ 11:51 am

P.S. I posted a comment on Oprah.com and included a hyperlink to About.com and it was accepted. I read in an earlier post here that comments with hyperlinks were being deleted. Check out page 19 of the comments on Oprah.com. It can be found there. Thanks again Mary!!

October 19, 2007 at 1:16 pm
(58) Kathy Shuler says:

I am so disappointed and disgusted with Oprah . I don’t think I will ever respect her again!!! Like Jacque B said, 2 more Ku-ku’s. Thanks Mary for all you do for all of us with thyroid problems. You don’t even have a TV show , and you are RICHER to us than those 2 could ever be. Live well Mary, We count on you!

October 19, 2007 at 2:02 pm
(59) shelby says:

Has anyone on this site ever read Louise Hay’s book: You can Heal Your Life? Her message is basically that all physical illness takes root emotionally first. There is alot of merit to that concept. I dont think Dr. Northrop is saying that we have deliberately caused our thyroid issues, but that some (not all) cases of thryoid disfunction might possibly have an emotional cause. Its about time that traditional medical doctors started treating the WHOLE person and not just one body part. Our neighbors in China and India have been doing it successfully for thousands of years! Dr. Northrup and Oprah are very spiritual women….we should make an effort to listen and understand what they are saying vs attacking them because their views on disease are different than ours. I am totally disappointed in about.com and Mary Shoman for not being more open to alternative viewpoints. This forum has toally missed the point of what was being said. I personally applaud these women for trying to bring alternative thinking and medical treatment options mainstream.

October 19, 2007 at 2:34 pm
(60) Lisa says:

I saw the show and Oprah should really take a second look at the message which was sent out. Shame on her. So many people look to her for guidance. She really ran them off a cliff this time. She needs to be more responsible about the information that is given on her show. Get with it Oprah! Just because Dr. Northrup believes it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own research and use you OWN BRAIN!

October 19, 2007 at 2:49 pm
(61) Sandra says:

Thank you SO much for saying this! I am hypothyroid myself, and I can’t believe that such nonsense is espoused on a well-respected television show.

October 19, 2007 at 2:58 pm
(62) Vanessa says:

I’m no fan of Oprah, but I think everyone needs to take a breath here.

The art of issue-advocacy is to inform, not publicly criminalize those opinions which may not align with the agenda of this site.

The key to advancing thyroid disease awareness is building capacity, often with those with whose diagnostic or treatment philosophy is overtly mainstream, or conversely, “out there.”

Let’s not let our semantics manifest into a game of “us” versu “them.” Such an exercise dilutes our position and distracts from our message, which is a disservice to those patients who have yet to be diagnosed.

October 19, 2007 at 5:17 pm
(63) Kathleen Whiteford says:

I for one was born with an inactive thyroid, so have taken pills for 60yrs now, and for this woman to say women are to blame for thyroid problem has a big problem what ever that is I don’t have a clue, I get blood work done for Doctor to check to see if thyroid level is where it is suppose to be, I gainand lose weight, and I have to say humorously that when your 5’2″ tall that weight goes to the center section, and I also have a back problem woith disc, so any added weight is not good, also have cousin Arthur in both knees but I’m getting off track here, but live life to the best of your ability, I do get tired easier.
I Love to watch Oprah, but speaking from the heart please Oprah go see a Doctor and do what ever you have to do to get your self in sinc, I haven’t watched Oprah in some time as I work on a horse farm, I crochet afghans, scrapbook, make my own cards, crochet mittens, read and walk so I don’t have time to dwell on my thyroid problem, but i wish everyone well that finds that they do have problems with their thyroid. I know I have the problem and accept the fact I haave to take pills and what else happens down the line ,so Oprah and and anyone else that has this please down brush it off, it has it’s consequences.
comments by kathleen Oct.19,2oo7

October 19, 2007 at 5:18 pm
(64) Mary Shomon / Thyroid Guide says:

I agree, Vanessa. It’s not us vs them. The reality is, there are millions of undiagnosed thyroid patients. My goal is to help them get the information they need so they can return to good health, and feel well again.

As for previous comments re: Dr. Northrup, etc., I just to be clear. I am not at all opposed to holistic approaches, and in fact, my books and my website have always emphasized that mind-body-spirit are part of recuperation. I think my concern is that mind-body-spirit do not singlehandedly cause thyroid problems, mind-body-spirit solutions do not singlehandedly prevent thyroid problems, and mind-body-spirit solutions do not singlehandedly treat thyroid problems. I felt that in announcing her thyroid problem, and then having Dr. Northrup on to talk about metaphysical reasons for and solutions to disease, they bypassed the medical approach entirely, leaving women who recognize their symptoms to wonder what to do next. Should they figure out if they are not expressing themselves? Should they blow kisses to themselves in the mirror? Drink soy milk? Take a month off? It wasn’t clear what to do with the knowledge that you have symptoms of a thyroid imbalance, except self-care options presented by Oprah and Dr. N.

I just want women to realize that taking yourself for granted is never good, but if you suspect you have a thyroid condition, you should get to the doctor, and get it diagnosed and treated. AND, make sure that you are also creating an environment for recuperation for yourself — with rest, stress reduction, good nutrition, self-care, etc.

But for women with Graves’ disease, or women who are pregnant with a thyroid problem, to abandon medical care, in favor of a self-care approach could be dangerous, or even deadly.

October 19, 2007 at 6:08 pm
(65) Donna M. says:

As I said before, if you post a message on the Oprah.com forums and include external hyperlinks, your post will be deleted. It might take a day or two, but it will disappear. I got a couple of messages from someone named “harpobear” explaining why my posts were deleted. She referred me to the FAQ.

If you read the FAQ/House Rules on the Oprah forum site, it says this:
*No External Links*
“In an effort to provide a safe online experience for Oprah.com Members, posting of non-Oprah.com URLs or links is prohibited.”

I just wanted to pass this along in case your posts on oprah.com disappear, as mine did.

October 19, 2007 at 11:46 pm
(66) Sophie says:

Dear Mary and readers here. The idea that there is an emotional component to thyroid disease apparently rankles you. I, for one, absolutely agree with Dr. Northrup. I have developed hypothyroidism recently and have connected the physical symptoms with my life-long practice of not speaking up for myself. If you want to talk “chakras” this is a sixth chakra (throat) issue. When you use the word “blame” you are seriously misinterpreting the idea. No one is blaming anyone for their diseases. To give information about the connection between mind and body is enlightening and empowering. It provides another avenue of healing. I have been a frequent visitor to your website and greatly appreciate your valuable work here. So I think it behooves you to enlighten yourself on this issue and not lead many women astray. The whole field of spirit-mind-body medicine is rapidly gaining acceptance. I applaud Oprah for having Dr. Northrup on her program. Again, dear Mary, there is a big difference between taking responsibilty for one’s illness, and being “blamed” for it. You owe your readers to be more careful and more informed! Using the term “blame” here is inflammatory and gives totally the wrong message. Please wake up and inform yourself more on emotional causes of diseases so that you will be able to help women, not hinder them. I know that you are well meaning but please realize your responsibility here.

October 20, 2007 at 10:14 am
(67) Mary Shomon / Thyroid Guide says:

As anyone who has read my books and website regularly knows, I am not rankled by mind-body medicine. I’m certified in Reiki. I regularly see an acupuncturist. I meditate. I’m a firm believer, actually, in the mind-body-spirit connection to health.

And the funny thing is, the endos always try to discredit me by saying all I ever present is “alternative” views on thyroid disease. Now, I’m being accused of the opposite.

The reality is that I believe the most responsible approach is to discuss thyroid in an integrative way. That means that women deserve the best of conventional, holistic, and mind-body approaches.

I think it’s irresponsible to dedicate an hour’s program to women’s health, and tell women that they develop thyroid problems because their throat chakra is blocked. It would be one thing to do a one-hour show on thyroid, and then talk about the holistic view/approaches, in the context of all the various options — nutrition, stress-reduction, medication, mind-body.

But anyone who saw the Oprah show saw that it wasn’t the case.

There was no discussion of getting tested or treated for a thyroid problem. It was about blowing kissing to yourself, and taking hot baths, and pampering yourself.

Northrup’s books are better than her tv appearance, because she at least discusses getting treatment for the thyroid problems — even if she believes they are caused by some sort of chakra blockage.

But millions of people watched Oprah, and now believe that thyroid problems can be prevented or treated by self-care.

And that is not honest. Self-care is part of prevention and treatment of any disease, but it is, for many conditions, not the sole solution. The solution must integrate self-care, with medical care.

Should we tell diabetics, who are missing a crucial hormone the pancreas can’t produce, and who will eventually die if they don’t have that hormone, that they have diabetes due to some emotional blockage, and that they will be healed by resting, relaxing , taking hot baths and blowing kissing at themselves?

How is thyroid disease any different?

Again, if the mind-body cause/treatment had been discussed as part of the picture, I would have a very different view of the show. But it wasn’t. It was the WHOLE discussion. And for the millions of viewers who trust that Oprah is the final word, and who don’t know their thyroid from they thymus, this may be as much as they ever learned about the problem making them sick.

That, to me, is swallowing the truth, and failing to express what is real, and truthful.

October 20, 2007 at 10:20 am
(68) Patricia says:

I was shocked to read about Oprah and her thyroid condition, and how she is promoting the idea that it is our fault if we find ourselves with this disease. What Dr. Northrup had to say is the biggest bunch of – excuse the expression – bullcrap I have heard in a very long time. I have suffered with hypothyroidism for about 20 years (diagnosed right after my second daughter was born) and I have never “swallowed my words” or failed to express my feelings. So that theory certainly does not apply to me. And I’m certain it does not apply to all the other woman out there who have it . Maybe the real issue is that Oprah likes to be in control of her life and her health, and the idea of something just “happening” to her health that she has no control over is a more disturbing concept for Oprah than thinking that it could have been prevented. Oprah, you’ve done a terrible disservice to all of us women who through no fault of our own have a thyroid condition. Shame on you.

October 20, 2007 at 12:46 pm
(69) Anne, Cheshire says:

WOW! Thank you Mary. Everything here hit home in a big way. Being a veggi I use soyamilk as a protein source & thought I was being ‘good’ to myself! I have an existing low thyriod condition & can assure you I have no problem SPEAKING OUT so I certainly wouldn’t fir Oprah’s criteria. A BIG THANK-YOU

October 20, 2007 at 1:08 pm
(70) jacque b says:

I posted the comment below on Oprah.com (page 19)yesterday, along with an agreement on what “minotauros” had written. It posted alright(my P.S. on the bottom of my original post)but today it is GONE…DELETED, I assume, because I extended an invitation to come to About.com-Mary Shomon’s Thyroid Newsletter to discover the TRUTH about why they are really ill. I guess we’re granted “free speech” as long as we don’t disagree with who and what is said in the first place AND it’s what others WANT TO HEAR?!
***************************************

Well, go figure, two more ku-ku’s with more dollars than sense.
Thank You Mary for giving us REAL information, REAL help and REAL hope.

Comment by jacque b — October 19, 2007 @ 11:51 am

P.S. I posted a comment on Oprah.com and included a hyperlink to About.com and it was accepted. I read in an earlier post here that comments with hyperlinks were being deleted. Check out page 19 of the comments on Oprah.com. It can be found there. Thanks again Mary!!

Comment by jacque — October 19, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

October 20, 2007 at 3:50 pm
(71) Chery Sharps says:

Without going into details, I know I should have been on my thyroid medication a long time ago, but a female OB-GYN nurse practioner was the very first one to give me the offer of help and hope. I want to support Mary for her efforts to counter the negative influence Oprah has offered to so many. Too bad she is in the company of such advice.

October 20, 2007 at 6:21 pm
(72) Melissa, Alaska says:

Unbelievable.. that’s it, I’m not getting suckered into any more candy-colored O magazines. Unless she dedicates an issue to the truth about thyroid disease. I’ll read it while I’m soaking in a hot bath, enjoying a glass of red wine, and yes, maybe even blowing myself a kiss.

Give us the facts, don’t insult us. I guarantee that when I found myself in the emergency room 3 years ago, anxiously buzzing with a resting heart rate of 160 and wondering why I kept.. passing.. out.. it wasn’t because I’d swallowed a lifetime of words. I was only 26. Healthy, athletic, never pregnant, loving an adventurous life. I was smacked down by severe hyperthyroidism and while I was deciding how to smack back, I found Mary’s thyroid guide on-line. Then I understood, and was able to make educated decisions.

Fortunately, my endocrinologist is a great, no-nonsense gal who never suggested that my thyroid’s freak out was my fault. “Some people are just unlucky,” she said. Well, that’s a little harsh, but I guess I can accept it. …might save me a little money in Vegas sometime!

Thanks for being there when I needed ya, Mary. Thanks for being a resource we can trust and thanks for standing up for all of us.. knowledge is power.

October 21, 2007 at 10:10 am
(73) Konnie Mazur says:

I was amazed when I heard this “doctor” give her explaination of thyroid disease on Oprah’s show.
I became hypothyroid during my first pregnancy 25 years ago and wasn’t diagnosed until 3 years ago because my thyroid blood tests were always “normal”. It wasn’t until I had an ultrasound of my thyroid, and saw an endocrinologist who saw the scar tissue and nodules on my asymmetrically enlarged thyroid, that I was properly treated.
When my internist got the report from the same ultrasound she said that my thyroid wasn’t “enlarged enough” to be considered a goiter. It was 4.9 cm total and a goiter is 5.0 cm! She said she would treat my symptoms (the list was legion) anyway just to “shut me up” (her words).
My endo explained that the pregnancy caused a “thyroid storm” of sorts, and she could see the resultant scar tissue on the ultra sound. The hypotyroidism took years to develop to the extent that it had become, but it was never normal after that pregnancy even though my blood tests would always be normal. She explained that meant nothing, and would always mean nothing, and would not be the test she would go by in determining normalcy for me. She would use ultrasounds and my symptomatology instead.
I Thank God for good doctors, and hope that Oprah can find herself someone better than the idiot that she has hooked on her now.
I wonder what Dr. Oz thinks about this?

October 21, 2007 at 1:37 pm
(74) Brenda Holder says:

In my oponion, Oprah has “blown-out” more than her thyroid, and Dr. N. has joined her. In their rush to be on national TV, some of these doctors have lost sight of the “do no harm” aspect of their profession. I truly believe that blaming women for this condition and the treatment advice is a disservice and can actually DO harm. I’ve always been told that I say what’s on my mind and ask too many questions. Hence that diagnosis does not apply to me. Rather, it has saved my life.

The Oprah show or magazine has never appealed to me. She doesn’t allow her guest to finish a sentence or a thought, and the magazine is too self-serving. I would like to hear from Dr. OZ on the thyroid problem on a different forum than Oprah’s where he can express a complete thought and hopefully offer some sage advise. I trust Dr. Oz for his explanations are in lay person’s terms that I can research later. If he stays with Oprah, he too will be discounted.

The best bet for me has been Mary Shomon. Thank you Ms. Shomon.

Brenda Holder

October 22, 2007 at 9:51 am
(75) Kristen says:

Thank you, Mary, for this and all your other information. I have Hashimoto’s and faced a struggle similar to many of your other readers for 30 years trying to get a doctor to treat me.

The Oprah thing is unbelievable. I have never been a fan of hers, being turned off by everything she does (even the “selfless” things she does are orchestrated to shine a bright light on her), but this one is off-the-charts irresponsible. It seems to me, too, that Oprah hasn’t ever had difficulty speaking her mind, or making everyone else listen to her views, so how did she get a thyroid issue, if we belive the tripe that her “doctor” espouses? Maybe Oprah’s words are stuck somewhere else in her body…..

October 22, 2007 at 7:42 pm
(76) Shelly says:

As a woman health care practitioner, who has suffered from Hashimoto’s for years, I have become quite knowledgeable on the subject of the thyroid.

#1 Soy – Please do not be misinformed on this subject. The concern regarding soy is relating to specifically GMO Soy – which means that the form of soy has been genetically modified. Soy is a great source of protein in a woman’s diet, but it must be the correct form of soy. There have been many studies done on this subject – go to http://www.pubmed.com. Please keep in mind that the Asian cultures have used soy for over a thousand years – the prevalence of thyroidism has dramically increased recently – but mostly in western part of the world NOT in the Far East (China, Japan, etc)

#2 – AutoImmune Disease – about 70% of the people who suffer from AI are women. If you have one AI, you are more susceptible to developing another. AutoImmune disease is caused by lifestyle habits as well as genetics (a familial history of lifestyle problems). This is NOT to say that developing a problem such as Hashimoto’s, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis (all AI’s)is your fault, but your lifestyle habits are a huge contributing factor. In addition to this, taking a look at the predominance of thyroidism in women, hormones come to mind. Again we are talking lifestyle, we as the general public are more exposed to environmental estrogens (through the food we eat, toxicity of our environment, etc)and we are not able to metabolize these in the body properly. To make a long story short this also increases our susceptibility to this disease.

Please make sure you are properly informed on this subject. Finding the RIGHT doctor can make ALL the difference.

October 23, 2007 at 7:14 am
(77) Sue Grace says:

First, I think you are right about the soy factor. Soy is NOT good for people with thyroid conditions. But as far as the rest, I think that you are WAY overreacting… What Dr. Northrup said about women swallowing their feelings is right on the money… I have a thyroid condition, too, and saying that is EMPOWERING to women, to take back their power… not as blame or self-blame. If/when we can get that in our guts, that can actually help us overcome thyroid and other problems!!! Nothing wrong with that… AND be wise, and take thyroid supplements, change your diet and whatever else you need to do to get your thyroid working properly. I personally have yet to find a good supplement, that is not beef based. I would like to find one that has grass fed beef or organic or something natural rather than take supplements with toxic chemicals and hormones! thanks.

October 23, 2007 at 10:05 am
(78) Ramona Noel says:

Mary, thanks so much for the wonderful work you have done. Please continue. I to am disappionted with Oprah. I pray for the day when people without thyriod problems realize that it is a serious problem. Did Oprah speak to people with Thyroid problems or just the so called Dr. Northrup? Dr. Northrup needs more schooling i believe. For people without money like Oprah, it is impossible to have a relaxing vacation for such a long period of time.I have suffered for Hypothyroidism for 14 yrs now and hope for relief soon. Wishing good health to all who suffer from Thyroid realted diseases.

October 26, 2007 at 12:57 pm
(79) Jackie says:

I had thyroid cancer and so I had to have it all removed. Since then it has been nothing but a pain trying to get my levels right. I have been on many differect meds and it keeps going up and down. My life has change as much as my weight. I am glad to be a cancer serviver but living with this weight issue is awful and I can’t find anything that really works. Good luck to you all with this problem.

October 29, 2007 at 11:06 am
(80) Gigi says:

When I stopped making daily visits to thyroid.about.com, I found that my symptoms would lessen. Immersing onself in pity and looking for every little thing is definitely detrimental to ones immune system. I think that’s the message. It’s not so much as a person’s fault, it’s more that ones state of mind contributes to health. The more positive you are, the better it is.

As is typical of some people on this site, they overreact to something they read or hear.

It took me many years to get where I am, looking for different physicians who would work with me. But the more reasonable and calm I became, the more reasonable the physicians become.

Stop blaming people. Life sucks sometimes, get over it, move on.

November 7, 2007 at 12:07 am
(81) nutralady2001 says:

” Comment by Donna M
I just wanted to pass this along in case your posts on oprah.com disappear, as mine did. ”

We don’t have to worry about personal posts disappearing….the whole thread did all 24 pages of it about 2 days after it started. I queried it and Harpobear started another one but it never gained the momentum the first one did and petered out after a few posts

Oh and my post disappeared as well from the thread before the whole thread did and all I put was thyroid.about.com no www or any hyperlink at all

November 9, 2007 at 2:47 pm
(82) Jory says:

I have a thyroid problem, too-I think she was irresponsible

November 11, 2007 at 4:13 pm
(83) Patricia says:

Those of you who find Oprah and Northrup assigning “fault” or blame on women for their hypothyroidism have not understood the point being made at all. Go back and read the quote: Northrup said it’s your SOUL trying to communicate something important about you and your life. That isn’t about blame and fault-finding, but quite the opposite. It was a supportive clue by Northrup about WHAT ELSE one can do in addition to everything else (including medial), and that is: check those areas where you are not fully expressing yourself, especially as a woman. And I’m here to tell you, in this still thoroughly sexist culture, most women do NOT fully express themselvesk but a lot of them are clueless and unconscious about that too. Btw, the reality and validity of the mind/body connection isn’t new, by any means, and no one should dismiss it out of hand without rather thorough research into the subject. I’d say start with Candace Pert and/or Louise Hay, the first a scientist and the second a spiritual leader.

February 6, 2008 at 8:32 am
(84) Rose says:

I delivered my second baby without intervention, without meds. It was an incredible experience, joyous, very empowering. I felt like a Goddess. I developed Hashimoto’s postpartum. It had absolutely nothing to do with feeling unempowered or swallowing emotion.

February 18, 2008 at 9:06 pm
(85) Fabian and mylene says:

I wonder if diet sodas have some thing to do with this disease?

Fabian

February 25, 2008 at 6:35 pm
(86) jenny says:

to fabian
no diet sodas do not cause this problem
, but do tremendously aggravate it.
lots of food blocks thyroid absorption ect see further info on the subject foods and thyroid.

jen

April 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm
(87) Shirley Marshall says:

I applaud your article and the truth. I saw the Oprah show in 2007 and was truly appalled at the way she and Dr. Northrup approached being hypothyroid.

I have been hypothyroid for 40 years since giving birth to my youngest son. The doctor started me out taking Proloid and then years later moved me over to the synthetic Synthroid. When you put on 38 lbs in three months and you’re not doing anything differently, it’s scarry.

I sent an e-mail to Oprah letting her know how disgusted I was with her and Dr. Northrup the day she announced her thyroid problem to the world. Of course, I didn’t expect a reply.

She had a perfect opportunity to set the world straight about thyroid problems and to it simply, she blew it. She is watched by millions everyday and greatly influences peoples lives. I thought she owed her audience the facts and some medical truths about thyroid conditions.

April 2, 2008 at 8:39 pm
(88) john says:

Amazing article. Thanks for speaking out. It is unfortunate that one of the most powerful people in the media makes women feel like they have brought their issue upon themselves…who would have thought that she would actually endorse the “blame the victim” in terms of thyroid problems. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and giving us a BALANCE on this issue.

April 4, 2008 at 6:47 am
(89) Samina Ghulamali says:

Hi Mary!

I think you are doing an amazing job with everything! Keep up the wonderful work.

Honestly, I think Oprah needs to have YOU go on her show and talk with you about everything thyroid related! It would be so much more powerful to have a thyroid patient and advocate on there than just another doctor who doesn’t always understand…

Maybe one day?

Thank you so much, Mary! I love being further educated by you.

Samina

April 4, 2008 at 1:22 pm
(90) Karina says:

I Read Dr. Northrum’s book and I took her advice as to drinking soy. I am thyroidless and am taking synthroid for life. I started feeling severe hypo symptoms as I stopped drinking regular milk to drink soy milk morning and evenings. I through I was doing my body a favor and that it was healthy. WRONG! My eyes started to swell, and I was feeling fatigued among other symptoms. I started to worry again about my hormones and my condition. I had no idea it was the soy milk until I started to think what was it that I changed about my diet and the only thing I changed was the soy milk. I went as far as getting blood test to check my thyroid levels and doing research on soy milk. Sure enough, it was soy milk that was blocking my body to properly use synthroid. I stopped drinking the soy and felt the difference. I am a little dissappointed in the book and how it supports the consumption of soy milk. To make things worse Dr. don’t warn you about this!!!!

April 11, 2008 at 9:21 am
(91) Su says:

YOU GO MARY!!!!

At the end of the day, if Oprah chooses to malign herself with this ‘dr’ it’s her body. I for one, read Northrup’s book, took the contents to heart and grew weaker/sicker/fatter/sexless–you all know the drill. I was/am subclinical hypothyroid and it took me THREE FREAKING MEDICAL “PROFESSIONALS” to diagnose what I already knew I had. Thank God I didn’t give up and THANK YOU Mary for your support and encouragement along the way. Yes, Oprah looks puffy, exhausted, bloated, weak, unrested–all those things that I felt. I don’t know what she gets from dr. northrup–but I can tell you this, knowing what I know now, if C.N. had told me to chug soy–I am estrogen dominent and soy is recognized by the thyroid as a precerser and really slows it down, drink a glass of wine and soak in a tub, I probably would have belted her or at least left her office in search of another Dr. That’s what I wound up doing to my own physician. DON’T GIVE UP!!!! And Oprah, if you really want to get your life back, drop Mary a line. She can set you up. Once you do, we’ll all welcome you back to land of the living.

April 29, 2008 at 5:26 am
(92) Anna says:

I know this comment is going to ruffle some feathers. However, I am holistic practioner, and what is said about all physical disease being caused by emotional issues is the truth. Sure you can blame all the enviornmental causes, but there are thousands of people who are exposed to the same exterior “triggers” who do not suffer from thyroid disease. I suggest you look deeper inside of your life and really look at what you are not saying and who you are allowing to take away your power. Is it a spouse that you don’t stand up to when needed, a boss, a child or a friend? Once my patience heal those parts of their lives and re-claim their power they are healed. Therefore, I could not just sit here and read this and not speak up. Oh, by the way, I am someone who did have thyroid disease and I cured it by doing some deep soul searching and clearing up the emotional issues that I would not allow myself to feel or even acknowledge.

Please don’t put others down until you look deeper instead what causes you to blame
everything outside of yourself. Part of the healing process is going deep and allowing yourself to stop putting blame on everything and everyone else.

If it is too hard for you to do, then I suggest you stay quiet about subjects you know nothing about.

By the way, my TSH levels were 16.4 and within two months of dealing with a situation that haunted me for years my TSH was at 0.4. I lost 65 lbs, and I am energetic, happy and all the symptoms have dissapeared.

Just a bit of insight from someone who treats this disease through holistic modalities, and has healed herself the same way.

June 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm
(93) Denise Boudreau says:

I thank you for this article. I cannot comment on how and why Oprah chooses to have ideas that you can control everthing in your life, but part of that may well be her spirituality…This causes harm when a person feels they are totally at fault for their illness. I think there should be a balance of responsiblity for our own health, but also recognizing that alot of things are beyond our control.In one breath she advocates for positive thoughts, and then in another is critical of women who dont measure up.
My hypothyroidism occurred when I was working over 40 hrs/wk, exercising and eating right, doing the commmunity work, and dating. I caught a cold…I was eating soy….My fault?

July 2, 2008 at 8:46 pm
(94) Eboni says:

I believe now that Oprah needs to better interview her guest “experts.” I stopped regularly watching Oprah because her show seems aloof and unrealistic. It’s time for ol’ girl to retire. I don’t watch her show anymore.

August 6, 2008 at 1:11 am
(95) eMMA HARIRIS says:

I had thryoid surgery in May 2007 and still is having problems with my body adjusting. My calcumin was too high and my parathyroid had to be removed.however I was losing weight,hair,depressed,menopausal,tried you name it and have been thru a lot of stressful times. Now I have lost my job because of down size no insurance so pray for me.

August 14, 2008 at 3:22 am
(96) Kathryn says:

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and have done a lot of soul searching as to why or how
this could happen. I agree it is a mixture of
stress, genetics, environment and diet, etc.
I also see the other metaphysical spectrum too.
It was nice to read a blog that had both sides.
I really enjoy reading your blogs and books.
You make me feel understood! You help people!

September 8, 2008 at 11:17 pm
(97) Jenn says:

I couldn’t believe the audacity this “dr.” had in blaming the woman a medical condition. I was 23 when I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. With the tumor blocking off the functions of my pituitary, my thyroid was left not knowing what to do and stopped working. My body basically “killed” my non-functioning thryoid. I know I am not the only woman to lose her thyroid like this or to have hypothyroidism. And this was not my fault. Nor is it ever any woman’s fault!

This is very reminiscent of Tom Cruise and his careless statements about postpartum depression.

I think those who have a “voice” in the media should educate themselves a little better.

Thanks.

September 9, 2008 at 5:38 pm
(98) becky says:

My words are rarely eaten but my thyroid is still swollen. A symphetic doctor finally answered my conerns.
Who do you think you are Oprah? Pass a dish of guilt!

September 29, 2008 at 10:49 am
(99) Sandy says:

Short & sweet? Hypo patient for more than 10 years.Synthroid for 9 years – only got Armour, because docs thought I developed a milk allregy. Even then I had to beg for it! Well, I got it & felt better than I had in YEARS! Recent Armour has put me into a downward spiral. I refuse to take Synthroid. I’m on ‘self’ medicated herbals for two months now. Armour is supposed to ship this week. I PRAY!
THANKS, Mary for sharing your story! I understand TOO well what you have gone through. Ironic, I am hypo – yet ‘thin’ normal weight – I have actually had people tell me “You are NOT hypo, you’re TOO skinny.” And twice in my life – I’ve met nurses – NOT DOCTORS – in social situations, who asked me “Are you Hypo?” When I say yes & ask how did they know or WHY would they ask – both responded/indicated it was my HAIR. Much too thin for a woman of my age! Imagine that! Yet, I’m often treated by those DANG blood tests, no matter how I feel. It’s TIRING, just to find a doc that will listen!!!

As for “O” – well, Mom always said “If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.” I will say, I’m not a regular viewer, I’m glad I missed that show – I probably would have pulled an “Elvis” & thrown something at the TV ;)

THANKS AGAIN, Mary – for all you do :)

September 29, 2008 at 10:53 am
(100) Sandy says:

I “lost” a word somewhere.
Recent “back order” of Armour should explain.

October 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm
(101) CurlyTop says:

“….It’s no coincidence that so many more women than men have thyroid problems. Thyroid disease is related to expressing your feelings…”
Men don’t have problems with their thyroids because they express their feelings better than women??? So what women should really do is supress their feelings, watch sports and eat a big steak as the solution to their thyroid problems.

It seems much more likely that the hormonal swings that women experience on a monthly basis added to the major shifts in hormones during pregnancies and menopause are a logical explanation of why the incidence of thyroid malfunction occurs in women more than men. Either that or there’s something in the hairspray. :o )

December 10, 2008 at 9:26 am
(102) Cheryl says:

I am so glad to hear your opinion on SOY! My Dr. put me on “Climara”, a soy based estrogen patch, after a hysterectomy. I also have Hashimoto’s disease, for over 30 years have been on Synthroid. Let’s just say soy and thyroid do not mix! After 3 years of being on Climara, my whole body shut down, could not go to the bathroom, had heart palitations, my blood turned thick and black you could not get a drop out of me, caused lipomas to grow, body temp. stayed at 96, fluid retention, extreme sensitivity to sunlight (and I live in AZ), felt like I had bugs under my skin, exhaustio, lethargy, burning eyes, unexplained bruising, lumps in the soles of my feet, stiff neck, needless to say I saw many Dr.’s, one even telling me I was malnourished, another that I was allergic to fillings in mt teeth. I spent 9 months on the couch and could not even brush my hair! All the time, my Dr. telling me I need MORE SOY!!! Get some protein drinks was her answer. I never had these problems until I had introduced SOY into my system. It took 5 years of this devastation until I found a Dr. that understood the effects of SOY. Then I was told it would leave my system within 24 hours of not taking anymore….well, what took 5 years to build up, also took 5 more years to go away! I have lost 10 years of my life and am now back 80%, but my life has been severly altered due to a lack in the medical profession. I now read food labels and over 60% of our foods have soy (lecithin) in them. There are no longer any coffee creamers, slimfast, soy shakes, protein energy bars or chocolate in my cupboards, nor will I use any hormone replacement. I will always have Hashimoto’s disease and continue on Synthroid the rest of my life. I hope that this information saves someone from going through what I did….

December 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm
(103) Deborah says:

Hats off to you for your comments on thyroid disease. I too have hypothyroidism and in fact have had the right side removed. I also have a huge goiter in the left which is only one of many symptoms from this. My actual concern is that someone might actually stop working out due to oprah’s statement, ” I blew out my thyroid”. I doubt this to be able to occur. First I have ever heard of ANYONE doing this…..

December 12, 2008 at 8:07 am
(104) Alexis says:

Agreed 100%. Good grief – I express myself all the time but have had thyroid issues (autoimmune) my entire life! I LOST 40 pounds when getting on Armour and ignoring all the nonsense. And I had NORMAL thyroid levels including a TSH of only 1.5 before treatment. I hate to think where my life would be now had I not gotten real treatment. I have one of Dr. Northrup’s books – while she gives mostly good advice on diet, etc. she does tend to blame emotions, thoughts and such way too much and I think some of it is downright ridiculous! Interestingly in the book I have, written years ago she says that she can’t eat much without weight gain! Like myself her problems were going on long before she was diagnosed.

December 14, 2008 at 4:41 pm
(105) Cat says:

Someone needs to educate Oprah and her so called specalist, I’m 28 and have hashi’s (newly diagnosed) i’m not ashamed of where i was born or who my parents/family/friends are, i haven’t done anything in my life to be ashamed of. I don’t bottle up my emotions and have a fantastic partner whom i can talk to about anything SO oprah explain why i have thyroid disease!! OH and what about those who are born with thyroid issues or no thyroid at all!!!! Do even just a few minutes of research and you will be better informed than Oprah’s supposed ‘speacilist’

December 15, 2008 at 2:15 am
(106) Nabila Cowasjee says:

Hi Mary
Firstly, a word to say that your web site has been a blessing for me and I am sure for many others. I finally got my “undiagnosed’ thyroid diagnosed (15 years of suffering though!) and I can feel a few small improvements which is heartening. Thank you for your efforts- women of the world are indeed indebted to you.

Just some thoughts on the Oprah/Northrup issue. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle of both your view and theirs. Undoubtedly there is little truth in believing that any medical condition is ones own “fault”- I think that word is misused in this case. It is no ones fault that one gets ill but stress plays havoc with hormones and that stress comes in different forms, many that most of us are completely unaware of.

I do believe that a repressed “voice” (particularly for womens issues, shame stemming from the whole adam and eve story, and centuries of second class citizen programming that most women are still largely unaware of, for which the feminist movement has actually done little to solve- we now need to be like men to gain representation in our world!), plays some part in those who suffer from thyroid disease. Interestingly enough my own research points its finger at women who actually have the desire to “speak up” or those who are speaking up are the ones who suffer from thyroid issues such as Oprah and Christiane. We are those women who are breaking tradition and going for broke when it comes to “coming out” with radical and non mainstream notions of what it means or should mean to be a woman!

So whilst it is certainly no ones fault for being ill and no one should forgo appropriate medical help and lifestyle adjustments it could be said we are the chosen few that have been blessed (I know debatable!) with this illness so that we first hear our selves- get help and then pass on the word that women/mothers/daughters/lovers/caretakers deserve a better deal

December 16, 2008 at 9:18 am
(107) Dneydra says:

Many of us women have thyroid problems or have been diagnosed and I am one of them! I thank GOD everyday that I have a doctor (male) who understands the thyroid and knows it is not OUR FAULT! I truly hope Ms. Oprah gets the picture also. I am really disappointed that she has not research this enough to know as well as to help the rest of us out there. Truly disappointed

December 18, 2008 at 4:40 pm
(108) Chelsea says:

is this real? is that doctor still practicing? blaming women for their thyroid condition? she should lose her license for that. it is attitudes like that that make people think that thyroid disease is not a big deal, or fake, or whatever. i was a 17 year old loudmouth teenager when i got diagnosed…how did i keep my thoughts in? this is pure insanity and anyone that takes that doctor seriously needs their heads examined. And Oprah?? what was she thinking? i was so happy when she first talked about her thyroid disease becuase i thought now it will be more in the limelight so to speak and maybe that would trigger more awareness of the disease; thus leading to more research. but this is a huge step in the wrong direction.

January 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm
(109) Eleanor Scott says:

HI OPRAH,
I WATCH YOUR SHOW ALL THE TIME. I AM FROM SHAW, MS-YOUR HOME STATE. I KNOW ABOUT THE WEIGHT STRUGGLE. I HAVE STRUGGLED WITH MY WEIGHT FOR OVER 40 YEARS. I AM 56 YRS. OLD, AND ALL MY LIFE OF KNOWING ELEANOR, I HAVE BATTLE WITH MY WEIGHT. I FELT YOUR PAIN WHEN YOU TALKED ABOUT LOOKING IN THE CLOSET AND TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING TO WEAR AS I WATCHED YOUR SHOW ON 1/5/09. I, LIKE YOURSELF AT ONE TIME WAS WEARING 12′S, AND 14′S, AND WHEN I BEGIN TO GET INTO A 16, I PANIC, WELL OPRAH, NOW I’M UP TO AN 18W. I TOO HAVE STARTED TO EAT HEALTHY AND EXERCISE. YOU FEEL GOOD WHEN YOU CAN REACH AND PUT ON ANYTHING THAT YOU PULL OUT OF YOUR CLOSET. EVERY WOMAN FEELS GOOD WHEN SHE LOOKS GOOD. THE BOTTOM LINE OPRAH IS CONTROL. I LIKE YOUR SPIRIT OF TRUTHFULNESS, YOU ADMITTED THAT IT IS NOBODY’S FAULT BUT OUR ON. IT IS A STRUGGLE THAT WE WILL LIVE WITH FOR DURATION. I FELT AS IF YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT ME AND TO ME. LET’S BE PRAYERFUL FOR EACH OTHER.

BEST WISHES!
ELEANOR SCOTT
662.754.4323

March 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm
(110) nicole says:

I am amazed how so many people have jumped to conclusions. She is not saying it’s our fault. It should be helpful to know where it may stem from deep down. We are on this earth to grow spiritually. Our body gives us feedback when we listen. Let us be humble and turn to the Lord in all things.

April 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm
(111) Maryann Hunt says:

Right on Mary……even though some women may stifle their words I too developed hyperthyroidism, but mine started with a viral cold where I was sucking down zinc lozenges to cure the cold while deleting important other minerals in my body without my knowledge. Although minerals might not cure hyperthyroidism I do believe that they do help to calm the situation. Not smoking helps and so much of the real information on the computer as far as minerals and diet has helped me immensely.

June 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm
(112) Forestine Davies says:

I’m really happy I read this article I thought I was going crazy. For years I was 145lb ate what ever I wanted to loved ice cream ate it every day than I had a full hysterectomy and gaind 45lbs and it’s getting worse. I had a stroke Dec18, I entered the hospital weighing 189 lbs the food that served was very healthy, but when I left the hospitalmy weight had gone up to 200 lbs. I eat plenty of steam veg, fresh fruits, drink plenty on water now I’ve gained 4lbs I ride my stationary bike for 30 mins , but most of the time I feel so tied. Whwn I try to clean my apartment I would pick a few things up and have to sit down. I told this to my doctors one doctor told me to join weight watchers. I was told my another to stop eating faty food and walk and excise, I would if I didn’t feel so tied. I checked one of these weight programs I do not have $500.00 + to join. I’m upset after telling all the problems to thses doctors not one suggest to check my thyroid cheched. But all the doctors stressed I need to get my weight down or I may have another stroke. I feel like running into a stone wall. I’ve decided to eat fruit for while to see if I can drop the weight. I want to lose 60lbs.

I feel so much better when I read the comments.
Forestine Favies

June 4, 2009 at 2:55 pm
(113) Linda says:

I had a total hysterectomy and oophorectomy at age 41 (instant menopause)-the low thyroid symptoms (although I didn’t know that’s what they were) had already been happening prior to the surgery, I imagine due to the hormone imbalances of endometriosis/endomyosis that was going on in my body. An exacerbation of those symptoms began not long after the surgery. I see the connection. Only very recently has an m.d. listened to me, and I’m now on thyroid meds. I’m 61 – that’s 20 years of yuck before anyone would pay attention. I don’t follow Oprah’s program – thanks for your message, though. In addition, my sister and daughter have thyroid issues. More connection. Some things just are the way they are and not anyone’s fault.

July 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm
(114) S. Martin says:

I do feel that Oprah is not being wise in treating her hypothyriodism with the seriousness it deserves. I was diagnosed 7 years ago and am greatful that I now have an understanding of what had slowed me down for years. I do think that we need to listen to some of what Dr. Northup is saying – STRESS is a major factor in how we live with this illness. I do not agree with her view of “women swallowing their words” but I do agree with with the concept of stress taking its toll. This I know….I have been on Armour for years – my endo said my thyroid was basically dead – no change for 6 years – over the past year watched my diet, really focused on stress reduction, and stepped up my exercise…suddenly my thyriod became “active?” and my meds have been reduced. I feel better, and am continuing to monitor this pleasant change. Who knows, I do feel the essential element was/is stress reduction.

December 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm
(115) thyroid girl says:

I was born in the “Red Zone” of Hanford Nuclear Plant in Washington State U.S. . Hanford released iodine into the air as a method of getting rid the noxious substance from the plant.
There were no studies at the time pertaining to the relationships between this substance and the humans, animals, water sources, plant life (i.e. wheat, grain, fruit etc.).
That iodine substance proved to be extremely toxic and fatal to all of the above listed areas.
As a result I have Hashimoto’s as does all of my family members and expect to eventually perish from the cancer that has taken my grandparents, parents and extended family members who were unfortunate enough to have their farms and homes located in this “god forsaken” area.
My great-grandparents came to america from war torn Germany/Russia to give there family and the future children a chance to be free and safe. (by the way my Grandfather embraced the U.S. . He fought in WWII and died from the mustard gas they used against the brave souls who fought to protect our country).
What a dismal future Hanford Nuclear Plant foisted upon all those innocent people.
In conclusion, I hardly think that my Hashimoto’s was caused by my inner soul or anything pertaining to the care of my spiritual or physical self. And so now I will remove the rubber boots that I had to wear while squishing through that whole big load of **** that the good Doc? had to impart.
I hope you all have a great day and a wonderful holiday season. Take care and stay safe.

January 8, 2010 at 11:54 pm
(116) dancer says:

While Northrup’s views are extreme, I do look at my underactive thyroid holistically and as a mind-body-spirit concern. I believe in the power of Western medicine and take my levothyroxine as prescribed and supplement with vitamins, a healthy diet and exercise but I also take Eastern Philosophy into consideration. The thyroid is in the 2nd or throat chakra, which is associated with creative self expression and using the voice (both literally and figuratively). I also incorporate yoga, chakra meditations and opportunities to make art, sing and communicate clearly and openly into my therapy. So far, my thyroid problem has not worsened and I have maintained a very healthy weight…but what works for me may not work for all.

March 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm
(117) KarenV says:

Eight years ago I was flat on my back with three pre schoolers, no energy and my hair falling out. After a two year oddysey to find a doctor who would finally listen to me who was willing to diagnose both Wilson’s thyroid and Hashimoto’s, I was prescriped the right combination of thyroid medicine and got my life back. I am now 50 years old, a competitive figure skater and in the best shape of my life! Thyroid disease can get you down but don’t let it get you out. You will never get in shape unless you make exercise part of your daily life style and break a sweat. Hazle Drug in Hazleton, PA will compound Armour thyroid for you in any dose for a reasonable price. While I sympathize with your symptoms I refuse to be a victim of this disease.

June 21, 2010 at 4:26 am
(118) Jezzie says:

A life time of swallowing words we wanted to say?? I was diagnosed when i was eight, so how does that work Dr Northrup?

September 17, 2010 at 4:06 am
(119) kitty says:

Dear Mary,
Have been known to write comments on political issues, but have not written comments on your weekly newsletter. Because you make sense and why would I wish to add to that! However this time I have to commend you for taking a stand on.. you get it, because you just did. And how .. for me I can trace it back to gen, somewhere, for others it just jumped at you in some form or other. SO THANKYOU FOR TAKING A STAND AGAINST *YOU GET SICK BECAUSE OF THIS AND THAT, YOU DO OR DID NOT DO* You got it or will get it, what helps to make it easier to live with. YOU SURE HELP!!
Have a great weekend, dear Mary with family and friends and all the people you do not know, but know YOU! liefs,kitty from bussum holland.

October 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm
(120) Barb says:

What Oprah and Dr. Northrup were saying was not interpreted by myself as finding fault or blaming myself for my thyroid condition. Although I can see how that may be the interpretation. As I see it…. we are all programmed from birth, both men and women as to what is acceptable, and often how to behave in our culture. No one is to blame because who can we point our finger at, virtually no one is exempt….. but we are all responsible to find out what we as an individual need to thrive. Whether that is nutritional, psychological or any other facet of good health, as that is true empowerment.

October 24, 2010 at 10:01 pm
(121) angelia s says:

I would very much like to take this opportunity to tell you that, in my case at least, as it turned out my “thyroid” troubles were misdiagnosed for over 20 yrs. All of my symptoms mimicked another diagnosis and that turned out to be hyperparathyroidsm. The parathyroids and associated adenomas are one of the most often overlooked and misdiagnosed diseases known to “woman” (and fewer men). Many endos are removing “thyroids” with nodules, mistakenly thinking they need to. In many, many cases it’s a “Para” thyroid adenoma (no association w/thyroid) that has grown on (or in some cases “within”) the thyroid. If you have a calcium level anywhere in the “10″ range, an even slightly elevated PTH level and poss. a low Vit D level that is closely associated w/bone loss then please, please investigate this more thoroughly.

November 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm
(122) Beth Martof says:

HI, Mary. As a chicken owner and someone who has found out that I am allergic to eggs and dairy, I was alarmed to find out that almost all animal feeds contain soy. Yes, soy. It is being fed to chickens, other poultry and cows. No wonder almost every one of my friends has a thyroid problem. Although my veterinarian said it was impossible that man has ingested it after the animal has eaten it, I beg to differ. After all, when a rat eats poison and the dog eats the rat, it too dies. Thus, I am now a non-soy eating vegan. I, unfortunately, have been hurt by soy in the past and I found out that 93% of the soy produced in the U.S. is GMO soy. I also notice that when I feed the GMO soy feed to my chickens, the rats that come and get it die off strangely. The chickens aren’t affected by it as they use their gizzards to digest their food. Rats, like us, use enzymes to digest their food and soy has enzyme inhibitors. Thus, if you have thyroid problems, I’d stay away from dairy and meat that has been fed soy!

February 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm
(123) Sonja says:

I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism as a child and has been treated with Eltroxin 100ug. With times I feel exhausted, I’m overweight and cannot loose weight, my immune system is completely ran down and I’m at my rope’s end. Had my thyroid levels checked with a blood test and the doctor said it’s normal, BUT I DON’T FEEL NORMAL!!!

I’m reading thousands of articles on internet and gaining information, but it’s totally overwhelming. I came across the following Dr’s article: http://eastbaythyroiddoctor.com/thyroidreport.html

Dr. John Duong DC

===========================
East Bay Thyroid Institute
34261 Fremont Blvd
Fremont, CA 94555
(510) 818-1668

Does anybody know anything about this doctor and the assistance regarding thyroid treatment that he offers? I am a westerner, residing and working in China. I’ve been here for 6 months and have been sick about 4 of these 6 months. It drained my finances, energy and morale.

Hope there’s somebody out there who can shed some light on the above mentioned Dr’s treatment.

March 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm
(124) julie says:

I have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism…all I can say is, this is a true illness…I did not imagine or “feel” this one up…please understand that this is not due to emotions, but to physical problems with my body. I am glad to have found your site!

May 25, 2011 at 2:08 am
(125) Lori says:

Not only women can end up with a thyroid problem~my 14 year old son was diagnosed as hypothyroid a couple of years ago and will probably have to take medication for the rest of his life! He couldn’t lose weight and was always tired. His pediatrician said his ADHD could also be a symptom of his thyroid problem and so too his high cholesterol! He has only been on the medication a couple of months now, but we’ve already seen him lose weight! Hoping his other health issues might improve as well.

October 8, 2011 at 12:12 am
(126) kristen says:

I have never been a big Oprah fan, but I do have to say as a registered nurse that many studies have been done on emotions and disease…and there is a link . With this being said however, genetics and environment are are strong factors as well. Stress has a huge impact on your body and studies do indicate that it can push your body “over the edge”. There is a great book that backs this called “Deadly Emotions”. I do believe in Western medicine (obviously, I am a nurse with a background in ICU and ER). I think medication is necessary, but I also think we need to get back to the basics of really taking care of our bodies and our spirit, because the lack of that does have an impact on your health . While I don’t agree with Oprah and Dr. Northrup entirely, I don’t think you can ignore that emotions and stress to impact your health.

November 2, 2011 at 12:27 am
(127) niki says:

i’m hypothyrodism and 38 year old. i had wondered if in my role is my fault. as myself to say somewhat i was stirred in so much stress after my husband died, i had adapted to it. however,it is part my fault for choicing the wrong food i had known better to eat healthier food as i had always before my husband died. i was igornant not to know what i’ve been eating into my body is harmful. when i was only fully focus on ingredents that affect heart diease as my major goal. but little i thought i could think soy word is not at any harm for all i see the word and thought soybean oil such natural as olive oil. never assume anything check out the real fact. do the homework. we have to keep in mind what we give to our body, what your body will take care of. more or less or never. who cares what to blame now. whats done is done. Just take better care and be well. we can’t afford to be on stressing out on everything. savor all your great energy all on you and all yours only. god bless and watch over us.

December 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm
(128) Mary says:

Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance cause Thyroid Disease also. Malnutrition is one of the BIGGEST contributors of Autoimmune Diseases. Eating bread, cookies, cakes,rice,pasta will make things worse. One of the founder of McDonalds had hypothyroidism. Be aware than even Indigenous ethnic groups suffer Hypothyroidism and Diabetes. How can you explain that????? Maybe diets high in gluten?? corn,potatoes,wheat etc…..???

February 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm
(129) Janet Bennett says:

Great letter, Mary. I’m educating myself on low thyroid issues & inability to lose weight after going to a personal trainer twice per week & improving my diet for 18 months. Here’s what a holistic doctor had to say: A typical GP or family doctor will test your thyroid function by checking the TSH & T4 levels through a blood test. If the results show normal, but you are having many of the signs of low thryoid, you need to find a doctor who does complete thyroid testing including free T4, total T3, free T3, reverse T3, TPO, thyroglobulin antibodies, salivary cortisol, DHEA-S, TSH & T4. These will help identify if adrenal dysfunction is an underlying cause. If you are given synthroid, be aware that it only contains one of the necessary thyroid hormones T4. Your problem may be your body isn’t converting the less-active T4 to the more active T3 and synthroid will not help that process, no matter how high the dose. Conversion is helped by selenium & other necessary complementary nutrients. He says that the most common root causes of low thyroid are adrenal dysfunction/imbalance & gut problems. If your gut isn’t absorbing the nutrients to make the thyroid hormones, you’ll have an on-going low thyroid. I haven’t been to this doctor yet, so I don’t know if his methods will work for me. But, I like the idea of finding a more “natural” way to solve the cause & not just the symptoms.

March 28, 2012 at 3:40 am
(130) nathalie says:

This is exactly what is wrong with our society. A strong, smart, intuitive woman speaks out for the good of womankind(all of us) and some crabby woman feels injured and lashes out. Look into your soul lady that wrote this letter. It is NOT YOUR FAULT, that is not the message Northrup is putting out there. It is not ANYONE’s fault if they get sick IT IS A MESSAGE. But I guess if you are too busy playing the victim you won’t have time to listen.

June 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm
(131) amy butler says:

some one help me with my thyroid problem tsh

February 6, 2013 at 9:05 am
(132) Lori says:

I don’t think anyone said that thyroid conditions were the fault of the person experiencing it.

Did we watch the same show? Frankly, I think it is irresponsible for you to state that lifestyle, nutrition and emotions are NOT to blame for ANY health condition when probably 95% of diseases – especially auto-immune issues are linked to EXACTLY those things.

February 8, 2013 at 2:20 am
(133) Kips says:

The sad thing about this article is that it makes the ASSUMPTION that the message Oprah and Dr. were trying to send was ‘you are to blame for your disease’. The only message they were in fact sending was that our emotions and our thoughts (in addition to genetics, what we eat, and what we drink) greatly contribute to the state of our health. We need to bring this into our conscious awareness and understand that our unconscious thoughts and actions have, in part, impacted us in the past. Further, we can use this awareness to find ways to grow in the future. We don’t need to blame ourselves but rather we need to become empowered by our disease and to look at what the disease is attempting to teach us about ourselves. What an absolute shame to dismiss this important information just because we don’t want to feel guilty– well no one said you had to or should! Often we are triggered by what we see in the world around us because there is a piece of it alive within us. I suspect this is what drove this article.

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(134) seoorganics.net says:

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(135) online form generator says:

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May 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm
(136) Murray says:

I wish anyone with thyroid disease good luck on the road to finding ways to manage and thrive with their condition. And I also pray for their loved ones. My wife has hypothyroidism and it’s brutal on her, and while this may sound selfish, it’s also hard on her parents, on our kids and on me. Why is mom so angry? Why did mommy scream at me? why did mommy slap me? And the kids, in turn, only torture my wife even more because their needs aren’t being met. And she gets more and more exhausted, and her ever getting her energy and vitality back just become a more distant fantasy…like winning a lottery. it’s awful. and the health complications will only increase

I’m convinced that if the true impact of thyroid disorders were disclosed and admitted by the medical establishment, so many people would be on permanent disability because that’s how awful the effect can be.

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