How to Find a Thyroid Doctor or Endocrinologist

Have you been frustrated or overwhelmed in your attempts to find an endocrinologist or thyroid doctor who really listens and cares about all your symptoms?

find an endocrinologist

Thyroid hormones affect every single cell of your body, profoundly impacting how you think, look, and feel. About 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men have abnormally low thyroid hormone levels.

Without enough thyroid hormones, you can become depressed, cold, and tired. Your hair can fall out and you may easily gain weight. You are even at a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Take a closer look atsymptoms of thyroid problems here.)

Unfortunately, getting good treatment for a thyroid disorder can be a real challenge. Many people with thyroid issues know how difficult it can be to find an endocrinologist or thyroid doctor who is willing to really listen and pay attention to all their symptoms.

Safeguard Your Senses!

Download this expert FREE guide, Medical Problems of the Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat: Glaucoma symptoms, sinus infection, ringing in the ears, vertigo treatment, and more.

Learn the smart steps for sinus infection treatment, recognizing glaucoma symptoms, curing ringing in the ears and more.

Finding a Thyroid Doctor: First Steps

Why is finding a thyroid doctor so challenging? Most doctors in today’s healthcare system in the U.S. don’t have the time, training, or incentives to treat the whole person. Besides that, there are a number of issues that are specific to thyroid disorders that make finding a doctor and getting good treatment particularly challenging:

  • First, studies show that many people with hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid disorder, still don’t feel well with standard treatment. While it’s beyond the scope of this brief article to explore why, one reason is that conventionally trained medical doctors most often treat with levothyroxine (T4; Synthroid) only. Studies also show that some patients feel better when they get treatment with not only T4 but with the body’s other thyroid hormone, T3, as well.[1,2] Most conventionally trained physicians in the U.S. refuse to even consider the addition of T3 replacement, even in patients who still complain of symptoms after T4-only treatment.
  • A second issue is that in which the standard thyroid laboratory tests are normal but the individual still has a plethora of classic hypothyroid symptoms. Of course, it is always possible that these symptoms are stemming from a non-thyroid-related problem. In these cases, it’s absolutely vital for doctors to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and not discount them. However, some individuals are in fact suffering from a thyroid deficiency and have all the classic symptoms but the conventional thyroid lab test used by their doctor shows nothing to be wrong. Most conventionally trained doctors do not recognize or treat these cases and in fact will likely declare in certain terms that “It is not your thyroid that is the problem.”
  • A third issue is that of “subclinical hypothyroidism.” In this case, some of your lab test results, such as your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) are abnormal and indicate hypothyroidsm. And although you likely have some health issues and symptoms, you don’t have classic hypothyroid symptoms. This is the opposite of the hypothyroid situation described above, in which you have normal labs but classic symptoms. Most doctors still don’t treat subclinical hypothyroidism despite all the recent research showing that this type of hypothyroidism negatively impacts your health and quality of life and that some of these factors can improve substantially with proper treatment.[3-5]

In addition to the three scenarios described above, there are many other situations in which thyroid dysfunction may be playing a role in your symptoms without causing overt thyroid disease detectable by the usual thyroid lab testing. Nutritional deficiencies and toxic overload are two such situations that are often missed or ignored by conventionally trained doctors.

Doctors Who Understand Thyroid Issues

The good news is that there are healthcare providers who understand these thyroid issues, are up-to-date with the latest thyroid research, and who will take the time to really listen to you without discounting your symptoms. Some conventionally trained physicians, including internists, general practitioners, family medicine physicians, osteopathic physicians, and endocrinologists, can be good thyroid doctors who are willing to treat more than just the numbers on your thyroid labs.

Many of these conventionally trained doctors—and some nurse practitioners as well—have chosen to get further training in holistic, integrative, and natural medicine through various organizations or professional association groups such as the Institute for Functional Medicine, the American College for the Advancement in Medicine, or the American Holistic Medical Association.

Naturopathic doctors are also trained to treat thyroid disease and in some states can prescribe any necessary thyroid medications as well as recommend specific supplements, herbal medicines, dietary therapies, and other holistic treatments.

How to Find a Provider

Find an endocrinologist or thyroid doctor who will support your natural healing preferences by going to the websites of the following natural-healing-oriented professional associations and using their physician locator services. Some of the organizations and associations known for supporting integrative, natural, and functional medicine approaches are:

Share your low-thyroid experience with other readers to encourage them.

What have you experienced in trying to find a good thyroid doctor? Have you had low thyroid function that went undiagnosed for years? How did you finally get a proper diagnosis? Have you found an endocrinologist or healthcare practitioner that you want to recommend? Please share in the comments section below.

[1] Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 Dec;161(6):895-902.

[2] Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]

[3] Am J Med Sci. 2009 Oct;338(4):259-63.

[4] Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2012 Mar;56(2):128-36.

[5] J Gen Intern Med. 1996 Dec;11(12):744-9.


This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.

Anchor
Comments
  • Jayne C.

    I have Medicare A and B. I don’t do well with a lot of allopathic medicine. I have a very elevated PTH = ref range: 6-36. Two blood draws = 76 and 75. dexa scan at 3 in my left hip. Next to Osteoporosis. I am avid taking supplements possibly not absorbing. I have an appointment on 9-28 made on Aug 1. My ND, who I worked for 15 years, thinks I should be seen earlier. I don’t want to fall and break the hip. I have all the classic symptoms, some of which are off the chart. But, weight loss is difficult, and the nausea I have almost every day is really a huge problem. Cold beyond measure of means. A/C bothers me to the point I can come down with symptoms of cold/getting sick. No energy and I am on 60mg. of Armour thyroid daily. Synthroid does not help, have tried for 6 months.if there is someone available before the 28th of Sept. I would be over the top.
    Thank you,
    Jaynie Cox
    503-320-5259

Leave a Reply

×
Enter Your Log In Credentials
×
×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps people live more sustainable, self-reliant lives, with feature stories on tending the garden, managing the homestead, raising healthy livestock and more!

×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps the small-scale poultry enthusiast raise healthy, happy, productive flocks for eggs, meat or fun - from the countryside to the urban homestead!

Send this to friend

Hi,
I thought you might be interested in this article on http://universityhealthnews.com: How to Find a Thyroid Doctor or Endocrinologist

-- Read the story at http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/eyes-ears-nose-throat/how-to-find-an-endocrinologist-or-thyroid-doctor/