Hypothyroidism is easy to treat. Your doctor will prescribe a type of thyroid replacement hormone for you to take each day. The purpose of treatment is to replace the absent thyroid hormone and alleviate symptoms.
Hypothyroidism is generally treated with prescription thyroid hormone replacement medication. There are a few types of these medications including Synthroid (levothyroxine) which contains T4 and its generic counterpart. The majority of patients are well controlled with levothyroxine. However, some patients may require the "natural" thyroid medication that is derived from dry (dessicated) pig (porcine) thyroid gland containing both T4 and T3.
You should follow your doctor's instructions carefully for taking the medication. Your symptoms may start to improve within the first week with medication. Symptoms usually disappear within a few months. People that are in poor health and older adults may take longer for symptoms to go away.
If your thyroid gland was surgically removed, you will need to receive thyroid replacement medication for the rest of your life. People that received radiation therapy or have Hashimoto's Disease may also need to take medication for the rest of their lives. In some cases of thyroid dysfunction the thyroid gland function returns on its own. This can happen in instances of hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's disease, serious illnesses, infection, and medications.
Once you begin taking prescription thyroid replacement medication, regular doctor visits are required for blood tests to make sure that you receive the correct dose of medication. Doses may need to change over time because of a variety of reasons, including weight changes, underlying disease or conditions, and change in thyroid gland function. Most people that take prescription thyroid replacement medication need to be monitored for the rest of their lives.
Surgery may be necessary to treat gland enlargement or Hashimoto's disease. Surgery may be used to treat people that do not respond well to medications. Surgery to remove the thyroid gland is called thyroidectomy. Depending on the situation, part of or the entire gland may be removed. After thyroidectomy, you may need to take medication for the rest of your life.
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