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Is it Safe to Stop Taking Thyroid Medication?

A bottle of prescription pills.
Everyone's Thyroid journey is different, speak to a healthcare professional.

Perhaps you’ve been taking thyroid medication for some time, and you’re starting to feel better. Or maybe you’re considering thyroid medication and are researching your options. Either way, you may begin to wonder:

  • What does thyroid medication do?

  • Why might thyroid medication be necessary?

  • When and SHOULD I stop taking my thyroid medication?

Well, friends, the answer is a complex one. It will depend on your unique circumstances and will definitely require a conversation with your doctor. What we can do, though, is give you an idea of when or if you could have that conversation.

What Does Thyroid Medication Do?

Let's start with what thyroid medication does in the first place. We will mainly discuss hypothyroid meds, which are very different from hyperthyroid medications. As different as they are, the goals of both treatments are the same - bringing your thyroid hormones back to a healthy level.

Hypothyroid meds generally do this by replacing your missing T4 and /or T3 hormones. Most are synthetic thyroid hormones, molecularly identical to the hormones your thyroid should be making.

Because of this, they are pretty safe, only causing trouble when you take more or less than your body needs. When that happens, you may experience:

  • Anxiety

  • Muscle weakness

  • Insomnia

  • Fatigue

  • Dry skin

  • Brittle hair,

  • And more.

So it’s important that your doctor continue to monitor your hormone levels, especially at the beginning of the process.

You’ll also generally take the medication at the same time every day, and most people have to continue taking it for life.

Why Thyroid Medication Might Be Necessary

When left untreated, thyroid disease can cause other health problems, like high cholesterol and heart problems. A lack of thyroid hormones affects your whole body and its ability to function.

Low thyroid hormone levels can cause many symptoms you’re likely already familiar with since you’re here - low energy, muscle pain, constipation & weight gain. It can also lead to issues like slow speech, memory problems, and hair loss.

Thyroid medications, when properly prescribed, work very well and can relieve these symptoms, getting you your quality of life back. But those effects generally only last as long as you take the medication.

Why Do the Research?

Each person is unique, including your thyroid and the steps you’ll need to take to have the healthiest thyroid possible. When you do the research, in tandem with listening to your doctor’s advice, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision that is best for you.

It’s important when you first start thyroid meds, and it’s essential if you are considering going off of them!

Stopping Your Thyroid Medication

Although we can't, and won't, tell you what to do, we do have some good information to share.

When You Should Stop Thyroid Medication

Currently, the only people who really have the option to go off of thyroid medication are those who have a mild form of hypothyroidism called Subclinical Hypothyroidism (SCH).

People with this type of hypothyroidism have normal T4 and T3 levels but high TSH. They may have few symptoms or no symptoms at all. Even some research shows these patients may not benefit from additional thyroid hormone in the first place.

For those with the more common form of hypothyroidism, where T4 and/or T3 are low, far fewer are able to go off of their medication successfully.

Either way, DO NOT try this on your own. Going off your medication should only be done gradually and with the help of your doctor.

When You Shouldn't Stop Thyroid Medication

As we said above, most people with hypothyroidism will need to keep taking their meds for life. Currently, there isn’t a way to completely reverse the damage done to your thyroid and bring it back to producing all the thyroid hormone you need. You’ll need to get those hormones from medication to keep the effects of your hypothyroidism at bay.

In general, suddenly stopping thyroid medication can lead to severe mental, emotional, and physical consequences. That's why it's so important to talk with your doctor.

When stopped unexpectedly, you could experience the following:

  • Changes in blood pressure

  • Depression

  • Joint pain

  • Fatigue

And on top of all that, your hypothyroid symptoms will most likely reappear.

Natural Steps You Can Take

Regardless of whether or not you need medication for hypothyroidism, remember: There are many things you can do to help your thyroid become happier and healthier! Here are just a few:

  1. Eat right: Making health-conscious food decisions can play a vital role in your thyroid health. Eating the right kind of food can give you more energy, enabling you to help your body even more! For example, through…

  2. Exercise: Adding exercise to your routine is beneficial for many reasons. It improves your mental, physical, and emotional health and has also been known to lessen thyroid symptoms.

  3. Relax: Self-care is so important! So take time for yourself. Whether that means taking a day to hike and journal, pick up that book you’ve been wanting to finish, or treating yourself to a spa day, never underestimate the power of relaxing.

  4. Get enough sleep: We can't stress how vital getting a good night's rest is. According to The Sleep Foundation, a lack of sleep may have contributed to your hypothyroidism in the first place. What are the benefits of getting enough sleep?

  5. Drink enough water: Sometimes, it can be hard to remember, but did you know that adequate hydration can affect your thyroid? It boosts your metabolism, so it's essential for those with hypothyroidism! It's a small and simple thing to do, but it has a big effect!

Each Person is Unique

If you're struggling with thyroid problems and can't figure out what will work for you, remember you're not alone! It can be frustrating because each person is different, and the techniques that work for them will also be unique. So, knowing how to battle thyroid problems can be challenging, and all the information can get overwhelming!

We understand. That's why we're here for you!

With our Custom Strength Training Program, we've made it our goal to make everyone feel welcome and understood. It’s a personalized approach designed with you in mind. Contact us today to get started!

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