Episode - 10 Tips For Those Recently Diagnosed With Hyperthyroidism


10 Tips For Those Recently Diagnosed With Hyperthyroidism

Over the years, I’ve worked with many patients with hyperthyroidism/Graves’ disease.

Most of us had a similar trajectory of going to our medical doctor with our symptoms and getting a diagnosis before being referred to an endocrinologist who recommends anti-thyroid medication, radioactive iodine, or thyroid surgery.

While there is a time and place for conventional medical treatment, many of us also recognize the need to go deeper and address the root cause of these conditions.

Today I’m discussing my top ten tips for everyone with hyperthyroidism and resources you can use on your thyroid healing journey. Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or have been dealing with hyperthyroidism for a few years, I’m sure you will benefit from the information shared.


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Here is the transcript for this episode:

Welcome back to the Save My Thyroid podcast. This is Dr. Eric Osansky. In this episode, I am going to discuss 10 tips those who have been recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism can take.

Let’s start with tip #1, which is to keep an open mind. Most people with hyperthyroidism go to the medical doctor and get diagnosed, like I did. They then get referred to an endocrinologist, who might diagnose them with Graves’ or toxic multinodular goiter or another condition. The only three treatments that endocrinologists typically recommend are antithyroid medication, such as methimazole or PTU; radioactive iodine; or thyroid surgery.

You need to keep an open mind because there are options other than these, which is what I do. I help people to save their thyroid. If you are reading this, you are probably familiar with that and are open to taking a natural treatment approach. Every now and then, someone will visit my website or podcast and might not have that open mind yet. I’m telling you from the start to try to keep an open mind. I am not going to sway you either way. Obviously, I am biased, and I want everyone diagnosed with hyperthyroidism to take a natural treatment approach.

Truth be told, there is a time and place for conventional treatment, even surgery. A lot of my patients do take antithyroid medication. Even though I didn’t take the medication when I dealt with Graves’ doesn’t mean that everyone with hyperthyroidism shouldn’t take it. Sometimes they need beta blockers.All I’m saying is to keep an open mind.

Tip #2 is to stay safe while addressing the underlying cause of your condition. When I dealt with Graves’, I chose not to take antithyroid medication. I took the herbs bugleweed and motherwort, and they worked really well in my situation. This doesn’t mean that they work well for everyone. About 75% of people who take bugleweed get really good results. Other people need to take antithyroid medication.

If someone decides to work with me, and they are already taking antithyroid medication, and they are not having any side effects, I am not going to talk them out of taking the antithyroid medication and switching to herbs. Legally, I can’t do that anyway. Even if I could, I wouldn’t do that because I don’t know how they would respond on the herbs. If someone is taking antithyroid medication, and they don’t want to take it, I can’t tell them to stop taking it, but they might choose to switch to bugleweed or another herb.

The point is that you want to stay safe. Whether you take antithyroid medication or you take a more natural approach, do something to manage your symptoms to lower the thyroid hormone levels. One of the big reasons is a lot of people with hyperthyroidism will have an increased resting heart rate, so you get a lot of stress on the heart. Also, elevated thyroid hormone levels will affect bone density. You don’t want to ignore the hyperthyroidism.

What I would do is refer to episodes #2 & 3, where I discuss both conventional and natural symptom management options. Although I want to do more than just manage symptoms, and I hope you do, too. Symptom management, staying safe is important while trying to restore your health.

Tip #3 is not to let your endocrinologist pressure you into receiving radioactive iodine or thyroid surgery. Don’t let family members or friends pressure you either. Endocrinologists, not all of them will pressure you into this. When I was dealing with Graves’, I saw an endocrinologist for one appointment, but she didn’t pressure me. She just recommended the antithyroid medication, which I didn’t take. I didn’t tell her I wasn’t going to take it; I just decided on my own not to take it.

There are endocrinologists who will scare their patients into receiving radioactive iodine or thyroid surgery or make you feel bad if you were to bring up that you were doing things to change your diet or take supplements. The same could be true for family and friends.

I was brought up with a medical mindset. When I decided to take a natural approach for Graves’, I didn’t go back to my mother and father and tell them this because I knew they wouldn’t be in favor of this, not to say they would have tried to talk me out of it. At that point, I was in my late 30s, and it was my decision. It’s not like I was a child under their care. Still, that won’t stop friends and family from telling you that you’re wrong for taking a natural treatment approach and try to tell you to receive those options instead if that’s what was recommended to you.

Tip #4 is for those who have Graves’: Remember this is primarily an immune system condition. I know most people with Graves’ know this, but some people still think of this as a thyroid condition. That’s what makes it crazy that all endocrinologists will do nothing but manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism or ablate the thyroid or remove it. They are focusing on the thyroid and doing nothing for the immune system component of Graves’. You want to do things to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms, which I mentioned in tip #2, where you want to stay safe. At the same time, you want to do things to improve the health of your immune system.

I am not going to get into great detail here, but there is a lot of information on my main website, NaturalEndocrineSolutions.com, and my podcast about addressing triggers, correcting other underlying imbalances, and doing things overall to improve your immune system health.

Tip #5 is for those who have toxic multinodular goiter or a multinodular goiter that is not toxic. Common causes include problems with estrogen metabolism and insulin resistance. I will refer you to episodes #47 and 53. #47, Kate Vasquez talks about estrogen, and in #53, Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo talks about insulin resistance. There are also articles on my website.

You want to address the cause of the problem with toxic multinodular goiter. I know I focus a lot on Graves’ on my podcast just because most people with hyperthyroidism have Graves’. A lot of people have toxic multinodular goiter. If you go to an endocrinologist, they will typically tell you to remove the thyroid or receive radioactive iodine. That will resolve the hyperthyroidism and the toxic part, but it’s not going to address the cause of the problem.

Sometimes, someone has nodules that are too large that might not be able to be fully addressed naturally. There is also radiofrequency ablation, which is not the same as radioactive iodine. They are completely different. Radiofrequency ablation is not addressing the cause of the problem, but it is essentially saving your thyroid by focusing on the nodules. If someone does have larger nodules, let’s say 2-4 cm, that might be something to consider. Not to say you still don’t want to address the cause of the nodules, but I’m giving different options here. Insulin resistance could be a problem. Iodine deficiency as well.

Iodine is controversial. Sometimes, iodine makes things worse, so I’m cautious. I’m not against iodine. If anything, I am more in favor of iodine. That being said, I don’t recommend iodine to all my patients. Years ago, I did, just because every practitioner was recommending iodine to their patients. Now, that is on the back burner. Over the years, I have seen a number of people not do well with iodine. In the cases of Graves’, it is definitely not something I recommend initially. With toxic multinodular goiter, I consider it, but I usually look into problems with estrogen metabolism and/or insulin resistance first.

Tip #6: If you choose to take a natural treatment approach, start by cleaning up your diet. Diet isn’t the only thing, as there are people who decide to work with me who have followed an autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet or regular paleo diet. They have eaten clean for many months, sometimes years, yet they developed hyperthyroidism. That being said, it’s still important to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. There is no single diet that fits everyone perfectly. There are episodes on my podcast that talk about diet. I do have some information you might want to check out.

Usually, for a Graves’ patient, I recommend AIP. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone. Some people find it too restrictive, so they might start with a regular paleo diet. That might be too restrictive for some people, too. It depends on where they are on their journey. If someone is used to eating fast food every day, even a Paleo diet might be challenging to follow. If someone is used to Paleo already, making the transition to AIP might not be as challenging.

I’m not telling you to follow AIP or Paleo at this point. I’m just saying to clean it up. Try to wipe out the refined foods, sugars, and unhealthy oils. Try to eat a decent amount of vegetables. If you eat meat, make sure it’s organic. If it’s beef, organic grass-fed. If it’s poultry, maybe organic, pasture-raised. At least organic if you can’t get pasture-raised.

Diet isn’t everything. But if someone eats inflammatory foods on a regular basis, not just gluten or dairy. I do recommend avoiding those while improving your health as well. Whether or not you should avoid those permanently, I won’t get into that here. In a perfect world, I would say yes. I have been in remission since 2009, and I can’t say I am 100% gluten or dairy-free. I did not eat pizza when I was dealing with Graves’, but years later, I do eat pizza every now and then. I usually try to eat gluten-free pizza, but I can’t say it’s dairy-free. I do like my mozzarella cheese.

I wouldn’t worry about the future as far as whether or not you can reintroduce gluten or dairy. You can worry about that later. For now, while healing, I would avoid those. If you are following a Paleo or AIP diet, you will be avoiding those. For some people, they might not choose to follow either one of those, so at the very least, avoid gluten, dairy, refined foods, sugars, and unhealthy oils. Focus on eating more vegetables.

Let’s move on to tip #7. For those with Graves’, as well as some other health conditions, stress plays a big role in the development. When I was diagnosed with Graves’, I knew my stress levels were high, but I was in denial that they had a big impact on me. I thought I was good at managing the stress although I didn’t do anything to manage it. I really didn’t consider it as being a big problem until I did adrenal testing in the form of an adrenal saliva test and saw that my cortisol was low, my DHEA was low, other markers were low. Then I realized that stress was a factor.

It wasn’t just emotional stressors. I’m sure that was part of the equation, but in addition, I was overtraining. I was exercising regularly, but looking back, I was definitely overexercising, doing too much. It’s not just emotional stressors although emotional stressors by themselves can be the factor, or at least be a big piece of the puzzle. I definitely realized that stress can be a trigger, and it might in some cases be the main trigger.

Even if you think your stress levels are low, or your stress tolerance is high, I would still recommend blocking out time for stress management on a daily basis. Even if you are starting with five minutes per day, the key is to get into the routine of stress handling. You can always increase the duration later. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t do anything for stress management. Those who do block out time for stress management might do it 2-3 times per week. I want you to do it every day, at least five minutes. We can all block out five minutes. Once you are in the routine of five minutes, then you can gradually increase it. You don’t have to do 20-30 minutes every day. Maybe two or three days a week, you do 20-30 minutes. The other four days a week, you do 5-10 minutes. You don’t have to do the same exact thing every single time you’re engaging in stress management activities. You might do yoga three days a week and meditation the other four days a week, or tai chi or biofeedback. There are a lot of mind/body medicine techniques out there that I won’t get into here.

Tip #8 is to take advantage of some of the free resources I offer those with hyperthyroidism. I already mentioned my main website, NaturalEndocrineSolutions.com. I have hundreds of articles and blog posts. Not all of them focus on hyperthyroidism. I also work with people who have Hashimoto’s. Since I dealt with Graves’, and since there aren’t a lot of practitioners who work with hyperthyroidism, I would say 70-80% of my practice consists of hyperthyroidism patients. I do see people with hypothyroidism, too. When you visit my website, you will see some articles on Hashimoto’s, but you will see a good amount on hyperthyroidism. Then there will be a good number on general thyroid autoimmunity that applies to both.

Then there is my podcast, Save My Thyroid. You can visit SaveMyThyroid.com or your favorite podcast platform. When I created Save My Thyroid, the goal was to focus on hyperthyroidism. I just realized that when doing the interviews, most of the people I interviewed didn’t have knowledge when it came to hyperthyroidism. A lot of them experienced Hashimoto’s themselves. I would say it still swings more on the side of hyperthyroidism. You will see solo episodes, like the first 10 focusing on hyperthyroidism. After that, a lot of them will benefit people on both sides. There will be dedicated episodes to hyperthyroidism, where there aren’t dedicated episodes to hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s. The reason is because most of the people I work with have hyperthyroidism. There just are not a lot of resources out there for those with hyperthyroidism.

I probably could have included tip #9 with tip #8, but I have it separate, which is to read my book Natural Treatment Solutions for Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. The first edition came out in 2011. Then I revised it in 2013. It’s been out there for a while. A lot of the information is still relevant. Of course, I will pitch my book and advise you to read it. It has rave reviews. Over the years, I have had a lot of people email me, thanking me for writing that book. There are a few other hyperthyroid books out there. But there are not too many. Most of the books out there focus on hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.

My goal is to come out with other books on hyperthyroidism, too. Even though it’s been years since I wrote a new book, part of that is time I’ve dedicated on the articles and blog posts and the podcast. I did come out with a book Hashimoto’s Triggers. I wanted to write a book on Hashimoto’s. From this point forward, any books in the future will either focus on hyperthyroidism or both conditions. I’m almost sure the next one I write will just be for those with hyperthyroidism.

Finally, tip #10: Be cautious about self-treating your condition. Obviously, I will be a little bit biased on seeing a natural healthcare practitioner because I am one. It is challenging, even when you work with a healthcare practitioner or functional medicine practitioner, to restore your health, but it’s even more so when you try self-treating your condition. There is greater risk when doing it on your own. I know it’s an investment, an expense when you work with someone. Like I said, I will be biased because I’m a healthcare practitioner, but I am not trying to tell people to work with me. Honestly, a lot of people listen to this podcast and visit my website, and I don’t have the capacity to work with everybody one-on-one. It definitely does not have to be with me. It’s nice when they do have experience working with hyperthyroidism. I realize there aren’t a lot out there. That is a problem. In the future, I may look to train other practitioners. Right now, I’m still focused on seeing people one-on-one and creating a lot of content. There is only so much I can do. Be cautious about self-treating your condition.

Those are the 10 tips. I am going to summarize them here:

  • Tip #1: Keep an open mind.
  • Tip #2: Stay safe while addressing the underlying cause of your condition.
  • Tip #3: Don’t give into pressure from your endocrinologist, family, or friends.
  • Tip #4: For those who have Graves’, remember that Graves’ is primarily an immune system condition.
  • Tip #5: If you have toxic multinodular goiter, common causes include problems with estrogen metabolism and insulin resistance.
  • Tip #6: If taking a natural treatment approach, start with cleaning up your diet.
  • Tip #7: Stress is a big factor in the development of Graves’.
  • Tip #8: Take advantage of some of the free resources I offer those with hyperthyroidism, including my website and my podcast.
  • Tip #9: Read my book Natural Treatment Solutions for Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease.
  • Tip #10: Be cautious about self-treating your condition.

These are the 10 tips those who have been recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism should take into consideration. I hope you found this information to be valuable. I look forward to catching you in the next episode.