Medically reviewed by
Natalie Bessom, D.O. Board-certified family medicine doctor with specialty training in nutrition, USA
The thyroid is a small gland that is responsible for keeping your metabolism performing and also plays a vital role in your body’s overall well-being.
Since it’s so important, you’d probably know if you had a thyroid condition – right? Despite its big impact on health, an estimated 20 million Americans have a thyroid condition, and 60% of those might not even know they have one!
We’re debunking 6 common thyroid myths!
Thyroid Myth #1: Only Women Get Diagnosed with Thyroid Conditions
Thyroid conditions can affect both men and women. While thyroid conditions are more common in women (5 to 8 times more), men can still be diagnosed with one and should understand the risks. Both men and women should be aware if they have had previous thyroid problems and/or a family history of thyroid conditions.
The symptoms of a thyroid condition vary between men and women. Men may experience more symptoms that are related to sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction, lower sex drive, and ejaculation issues.
Thyroid Myth #2: The symptoms of a thyroid condition are obvious
The symptoms of thyroid conditions are oftentimes overlooked or misdiagnosed for something else. Symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, weight gain and loss, are all quite common and can potentially point to other health issues as well.
Because these symptoms are quite subtle or overlap with other issues, a thyroid condition is sometimes hard to diagnose. Having a full thyroid test done is recommended to get a holistic view of your thyroid health.
Thyroid Myth #3: Once you start taking thyroid medication, your symptoms will disappear
Unfortunately, finding the right thyroid medication and dose for your body takes time. Furthermore, it takes time for thyroid hormone levels to normalize, and it does depend on the type of thyroid condition you have.
Thyroid medication doses and prescriptions can also change throughout time depending on the condition and other external factors. For example, some women develop a thyroid condition during or after pregnancy.
Thyroid hormone levels change during pregnancy, therefore, medication and dosage can change as well. Thyroid function tests should be performed every 4 weeks during the first half of pregnancy.
Thyroid Myth #4: If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, you will have to see an endocrine specialist
A general health care physician provides medical care for day-to-day, ongoing care and coordinates any specialty care their patient may need.
An endocrinologist is a physician that specifically treats issues related to the endocrine system. They diagnose, manage, and treat diseases related to the glands and hormones that are part of the endocrine system.
You are likely to be initially diagnosed with a thyroid condition by your primary care provider. At this point in time, your primary care provider will determine whether or not to refer you to an endocrine specialist.
It is most common that your primary care physician and an endocrine specialist will work in tandem to provide you with the best healthcare experience.
Thyroid Myth #5: You need to take iodine supplements to help treat your thyroid condition.
You may have heard or seen on the internet that taking iodine supplements is necessary to help treat a thyroid condition.
Although iodine deficiency is a cause of a thyroid condition, it is uncommon for those living in the United States and Canada. North Americans get plenty of iodine from their diet (salt, dairy products, and seafood.)
In fact, too much iodine may lead to thyroid gland inflammation and thyroid cancer. Always consult with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your diet.
Thyroid Myth #6: You need to go on a special diet if you have a thyroid condition.
Changing your diet will not make your thyroid condition go away nor will it be the sole cause for developing a thyroid condition.
That being said, there are definitely healthy foods you can add to your diet that contain nutrients and supplements that help your thyroid.
Like any other person, maintaining a well balanced and nutritious diet will not only help you feel better but also promote a healthy body.
- Thyroid conditions can affect both men and women
- The symptoms of thyroid conditions are oftentimes overlooked or misdiagnosed for something else
- Finding the right thyroid medication for your health takes time
- It takes time for thyroid hormone levels to normalize, and it depends on the type of thyroid condition you have
- A full thyroid test is the best way to evaluate your thyroid health
- If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, your primary care provider will determine whether or not to refer you to an endocrine specialist
- Iodine deficiency is uncommon to those living in North America, therefore it is typically not necessary to take iodine supplements
- Changing your diet will not make your thyroid condition go away nor will it be the sole cause for developing a thyroid condition
- A well balanced and nutritious diet will help your overall health and thyroid
Undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer can be difficult to understand and manage. ThyForLife was built by a thyroid cancer survivor after her own battle.
The ThyForLife app can help you easily manage the different aspects of your thyroid health journey from bloodwork, medication, supplements, symptoms and more – so you can get back to focusing on what matters.
At ThyForLife, we do our utmost to provide accurate information. If you require more detailed information regarding medical terms, conditions, and practices please consult your healthcare professional. Always listen to the advice of your healthcare provider.