Myths & Misconceptions about Thyroid
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Myths & Misconceptions about Thyroid

Here we try to bust a few myths that surround thyroid diseases.


• [myth] If I have hypothyroidism I cannot conceive ever..

This is a common misconception. If you neglect and don’t treat hypothyroidism, only then you have a chance of miscarriage or giving birth to a mentally retarded (cretin) baby. It may be advisable to check with your endocrinologist.

• [myth] Thyroid disease is not a common problem

No, Hypothyroidism is the second commonest endocrine disease, next only to diabetes mellitus. However many cases go undetected due to lack of awareness. This is because thyroid diseases present with non-specific symptoms. For example a patient with excess thyroid hormone may be treated for persistent loose stools without realizing that thyroid is the root cause.

• [myth] I need to stop thyroxine if I get pregnant.

Definitely not! If you have hypothyroidism you need to continue it throughout your pregnancy as the fetus in the womb is completely dependent on mother for its thyroxine. This is very essential for proper brain development. Consult your endocrinologist for proper dosage adjustments which can be very different during pregnancy. Taking thyroxine (for hypothyroidism) is safe during pregnancy, while stopping can be harmful.

• [myth] I cannot eat certain foods if I have hypothyroidism.

Certain foods like cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, mustard have been implicated in goiter and hypothyroidism when consumed in large amounts. When your thyroid is already not functioning and you are on tablets, there is no need for any special food restriction unless you are consuming a very large amount of any particular item. Consult your doctor for more specific details.

• [myth] Surgery can cure hypothyroidism.

No. Surgery is a treatment for some cases of hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism means your thyroid is already under-producing hormones. By removing thyroid gland the levels only fall further.

• [myth] Hypothyroidism is not seen in children.

It is rarer than in adults, but it can have more serious health consequences. Before brain development is complete ( loss of height gain and child can remain short. So early treatment is more important than in an adult.

• [myth] If I have gained weight I need to increase my dose of thyroxine for weight loss.

Hypothyroidism is just one of the causes of weight gain that too limited amount. If your hypothyroidism is well controlled as per your treating doctor don’t try and overdose yourself. It is not good for your body. You need to talk to your doctor regarding modification of your diet, lifestyle and other factors responsible for your weight gain.

• [myth] Taking tablets (thyroid hormone) for long time can be harmful.

No. Thyroxine when prescribed in right dosage for hypothyroidism does not cause any ill-effects. It’s a natural hormone.

• [myth] I can stop taking my tablets once I feel well and my reports are normal.

No. It’s important that you continue to take the medicines regularly despite feeling well. Leave the decision of changing and stopping therapy to a qualified doctor.

• [myth] I stopped thyroxine tablets yesterday. Today I checked my TSH. It’s Normal. So can I stop treatment?

No. Thyroid hormones have half-life of several days in the body. The test does not reflect your true thyroid status. Leave the decision of changing and stopping therapy to a qualified doctor.