Treating thyroid disorders is not an easy task. In my experience, and from my reading on the subject, you may not always feel better with the suggested thyroid hormone replacement you’re prescribed. But, if your lab results come back normal, your doctor or Endocrinologist may dismiss your feelings.
Finding a provider that will listen and research new approaches can be a daunting task. At the worst, you’ll be treated like a hypochondriac.
If you’ve been struggling with hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s, you’ve probably dealt with your fair share of terrible doctors. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble on a doctor who will listen to how you feel and help you improve your well-being.
It’s important for you to find a doctor that will act as a concerned party. One who is willing to overlook lab results and listen to you is VITAL in treating thyroid disorders and Hashimoto’s (or any autoimmune condition).
6 Tips for Choosing the Right Doctor for Thyroid Treatment
Your doctor should not get defensive (or be offensive)
As was in my case, I had to do research and request the tests to get my diagnoses. Thankfully, the doctor who started the process was pretty easy-going and didn’t argue with me on much.
But, some thyroid disease sufferers don’t get so lucky and have to do a bit more fighting. It’s not uncommon for doctors to tell you not to check WebMD because they assume you’ll always come up with the worst scenario.
While it’s up to your doctor to take all things into consideration to come up with a diagnosis, it seems they can’t keep up with it all. But, when it comes to your thyroid, how you feel is the best indicator of things being off. Only you know how you feel.
If a particular treatment isn’t working, and you have done research and want to try something new, it’s important your doctor listens to you.
If your doctor becomes defensive when you bring ideas to them or request copies of lab results, it’s time to look elsewhere. Additionally, a doctor who treats you like a hypochondriac or as though you’re crazy is not the doctor for you.
Remember: this is your body and you know best how you feel. If a doctor can’t respect that, look elsewhere.
Your doctor should be open to new treatments
Generally, speaking, a general practitioner may not know some of the latest in thyroid disorder research. A doctor who only runs a TSH test and refuses to check Total T4, Total T3, Free T3, and Free T4 is operating under an antiquated theory that TSH determines everything.
When testing your thyroid, testing all the above variables helps see a larger picture.
A good doctor will at least entertain the idea if you bring research or evidence to the latest testing and treatment plans. One who dismisses it is not the doctor you want continuing your treatment.
Your doctor should care more about you vs. lab results
Not all results are created equal in the world of thyroid disorders and Hashimoto’s. Labs don’t all use the same range values. Further, what may be considered in range according to lab values my not actually be normal (or optimal) for YOU.
Fire a doctor who is stuck on lab values.
If you’re feeling terrible but being told “but your lab results are great” with no further consideration, it’s time to find a new doctor.
Speaking from experience, I fired my first and only endocrinologist during our second appointment. I complained that I still had no energy and wasn’t functioning during the day without a nap, despite my numbers being “in range.” She responded by repeating my numbers were in range, so everything was fine. Then, she offered me an anti-depressant prescription to help with my energy.
Ladies, this was the sign that she was absolutely not a doctor who cared about my well-being. She chose to not only dismiss my feelings but treat me as though I was a mental patient.
I didn’t care if I didn’t have a backup plan … I knew she wasn’t going to work with me.
That’s not the kind of doctor you need in your thyroid journey.
How to Find the Right Doctor to Treat Your Thyroid
Shortly after that incident, I found a doctor who cares about me. It wasn’t by luck though. I researched doctors in the area who practiced functional medicine instead of traditional medicine. So I wanted to share a few tips for finding your own functional medicine doctor.
Do a quick Google search
In the Google search bar, type in functional medicine and your city. For me, my search would look like this (link my search: functional medicine Jacksonville, FL).
You could also ask a Pharmacist if they know any doctors who practice Functional Medicine).
Are any of these doctors in-network under your insurance?
Compare your search list against your list of insurance in-network providers. For any of those who are, write their names down or start a spreadsheet. You’ll fill in more information like address and phone numbers.
Check their reviews and ratings
Visit sites like HealthGrades.com or Vitals.com. Make notes of the star ratings on the sites, but be sure to read through the comments of those who have left them. Many times, you’ll get an idea for how the doctor will treat you through these comments, which will help you determine if he/she is worth a consultation.What’s in my Hospital Bag? Plus, a FREE Printable Hospital Bag Checklist
In summary, 6 tips have been outlined to help you in choosing the right doctor for thyroid treatment. Remember that your doctor should be a partner seeking to help you feel better. Anyone who is unwilling to listen to you is not the best fit for you. Following these tips will help you waste less time and hopefully begin feeling better again.