Hypothyroidism - Treatment Overview
Initial treatment continued...
If you have severe hypothyroidism by the time you are
diagnosed, you will need immediate treatment. Severe, untreated hypothyroidism
myxedema coma, a rare, life-threatening condition.
Treatment during pregnancy is especially important, because hypothyroidism
can harm the developing fetus.
- If you develop hypothyroidism during
pregnancy, treatment should be started immediately. If you have hypothyroidism
before you become pregnant, your thyroid hormone levels need to be checked to make sure that you have the right dose of thyroid medicine. During pregnancy,
your dose of medicine may need to be increased by 25% to 50%.5
- If you develop
hypothyroidism after pregnancy (postpartum hypothyroidism), you also may need treatment. You will be
retested for hypothyroidism if you become pregnant again. In some cases
hypothyroidism will go away on its own. In other cases it is permanent and
requires lifelong treatment.
You are likely to need treatment
hypothyroidism from now on. As a result,
you need to take your medicine as directed. For some people, hypothyroidism gets worse as they age and the dosage of thyroid medicine may have to be
increased gradually as the thyroid continues to slow down.
people treated with thyroid hormone develop symptoms again if their medicine is
stopped. If this occurs, medicine needs to be restarted.
serious illness or infection triggers your hypothyroidism, your thyroid
function most likely will return to normal when you recover. To check
whether thyroid function has returned to normal, thyroid hormone medicine may
be stopped for a short time. In most people, a brief period of hypothyroidism
occurs after thyroid medicine is stopped. There is often a delay in the body's
signals that tell the thyroid to start working again. If the thyroid can
produce enough hormone on its own, treatment is no longer needed. But if
hormone levels remain too low, you need to restart thyroid medicine.
While taking thyroid hormone medicine, you need to see your doctor once a
year for checkups. You will have a blood test (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH] test) to make sure you have a normal hormone