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Why Every Thyroid Patient Does Not Need an Endocrinologist or Thyroidologist

Finding the Right Doctor For Your Thyroid Condition


Updated June 18, 2014


An endocrinologist may not be the best doctor to treat your thyroid condition.

The AACE guidelines say that keeping the thyroid in balance requires what they say are "three easy steps" -- testing using the TSH test, prescribing levothyroxine so the patient is in the "normal range" (of course, which thyroid "normal range" they adhere to is still in question), and following up with a TSH test every 6 to 12 months. The majority of endocrinologists are not comfortable supplementing levothyroxine medications with prescription T3 drugs, despite some studies that suggest a benefit for some patients. And most endocrinologists do not prescribe natural desiccated thyroid drugs like Armour or Nature-Throid.

What are the two types of thyroid specialists?

Thyroid patients and the thyroid community are starting to recognize that in practice, thyroid disease may actually require two very different types of "specialists:"

  • Diagnosis and treatment of acute thyroid conditions should be done by endocrinologists
  • Diagnosis and treatment of subtle hypothyroidism and optimizing hypothyroidism treatment may for many patients be best done by hormone specialists.
The "specialists" for hormone balance and chronic hypothyroidism tend to be found in a variety of disciplines and specialties, and include: integrative physicians; functional medicine doctors; holistic MDs; osteopaths; anti-aging practitioners; gynecologists; menopause and hormone experts; internists; and primary care physicians who have taken an interest in thyroid and hormone balance in their patients.

When should you consider changing doctors?

There are of course some endocrinologists who believe in giving Hashimoto's disease and hypothyroid patients in-depth and comprehensive attention and care. Those patients who are doing well under the care of these specialists will want to continue doing what works with their practitioners.

However, if you are seeing an endocrinologist, and are frustrated at what you feel are limitations in the diagnostic and treatment approach, you may need help considering another type of doctor. Read How Thyroid Patients Can Find the Right Kind of Doctor for Their Thyroid Care for more information.

The decision to find a new doctor for your thyroid care is actually more difficult than most of us might think. The relationship with a doctor is an intensely personal one, and it's not easy to find the right match – particularly when we're limited by geography, HMOs and insurance. Remember – in a doctor-patient relationship, YOU are the client, and the doctor is providing a service. And if that service is not meeting your needs, the best thing you can do for your thyroid health is to find the right doctor who will meet your needs. But how do you know when it's finally time for a new thyroid doctor? Here are 10 Signs That You Need a New Thyroid Doctor.

As thyroid patients, how do we know when it's time for a new thyroid doctor? What were the signs that made it clear that it was time to find a new practitioner to care for your thyroid condition? Was it a series of events, or one "final straw" that decided it? More than 100 thyroid patients have shared their own experiences about the moment when they knew it was time to get a new doctor. Read someone else's story about in "How Do You Know When It's Time for a New Thyroid Doctor? Patients And Their Own Stories, and share your own thyroid doctor story as well.

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