You'll likely start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. In some cases, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the body's hormone-secreting glands (endocrinologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For hypothyroidism, some basic questions to ask include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other relevant questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Do you have a family history of thyroid disease?
Nov. 10, 2015
- AskMayoExpert. Hypothyroidism. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Thyroid disorders: Hypothyroidism and myxedema crisis. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
- Hammer GD, et al. Thyroid disease. In: Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2014.
- Hypothyroidism. The American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/what-is-hypothyroidism. Accessed Oct. 6, 2015.
- Hypothyroidism. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/hypothyroidism/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx. Accessed Oct. 6, 2015.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 13, 2015.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)