Frequently Asked Questions
If you were just diagnosed with a thyroid disorder (hyperthyroidism, Graves’ Disease or Thyroid Eye disease) you may have a lot of questions regarding treatment, alternative methods, diet, vitamins and supplements, life style and the causes of your thyroid disorder. I’ll try to answer some your most burning questions, to the best I can and to the best I know. In all cases you should also consult your physician.
Q: Is Graves’ Disease “curable”?
A: Even though medical doctors and scientist consider this disease “incurable”, my personal experience proves that Graves’ Disease can be “cured” or reversed by treating the cause of this disease and applying not also traditional treatments, but alternative and complementary.
Q: What causes Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism?
A: My personal research and experience shows that certain stressful life situations and conditions can trigger the onset of thyroid diseases. It could be even chronic stress, improper diet, single stressful event or a combination of these factors. But remember, this is just a trigger, not the actual cause.
Q: If you have protruded or swelling eyes- is that reversible? (Thyroid Eye Disease)
A: In most of the cases your eyes will recover, once your thyroid tests get in the normal ranges (especially the thyroid antibodies tests) and your symptoms are under control. However, there are certain methods like eye exercises, cold compress, flax seed oil, lubricating drops etc. that can improve your condition tremendously and relief your pain.
Q: Can you get pregnant if you have Graves’ Disease? Can you have a successful pregnancy?
A: In general yes- even though it may be more difficult to get pregnant when diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, since your hormones are not in the normal range. However, pregnancy can actually help your recovery from Graves’ Disease. Many women had successful pregnancies, but you should work together with your endocrinologist regarding proper medication.
Q: Is Radioactive Iodine Treatment dangerous?
A: Yes, in many aspects and I have listed about 10 reasons why you should avoid RAI treatment.
Q: What lifestyle changes I can make to help combat the disease?
A: Avoid stress, stop worrying, rest a lot, work as less as possible, take care of yourself- to start with.
Check: Anxiety and Graves’ Disease- 4 Tips for Anxiety Treatment
Q: What should I not be eating and what can I eat? What vitamins should I be taking?
A: Avoid food that has high iodine content, like sea food. Vitamins and minerals in general help your immune system to fight with the disease but don’t overdo them. Consult a physician to see what vitamins are not sufficient in your body and take the necessary supplements.
Q: How long it usually takes to cure Graves’ Disease and start feeling better?
A: It depends on what treatment you have chosen, how your organism reacts to different treatments, what is the condition of your symptoms and if you have changed your life style as well. I may take months, or a year until you become euthyroid (.i.e. with normal thyroid function).
Q: Do I need a surgery?
A: Actually this is your choice. I am personally against surgery, since this is permanent and may have severe consequences on your health for ever. This is something that you have to discuss with your endocrinologist and make the decision according your situation.
Q: Are there alternative ways and natural treatments for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism?
A: There are some methods like meditation, yoga, Reiki that can tremendously help your condition. Even though people think that they are time consuming and will affect your disease very slowly, actually it is not true. If you do meditation everyday you’ll start feeling much better in a week. Other alternative methods to affect your symptoms are different herbal teas, cold compresses, and proper diet that will contribute for your healing. This is what I call changing lifestyle. There is no magical pill to cure this disease overnight.
Q: How can this be prevented? It is likely to go through my children? Is it inherited?
A: I strongly believe that this disease does not run in families, but the way of thinking does. If you are not taking care of yourself or living a stressful life most likely your children will have the same way of life, since you are their role model. Consequently this will again create a background for the disease to appear in their lives as well.
Check: Tips for Stress Free Life– Life Style Changes
Q: How to keep it from coming back again?
A: There is no guarantee that disease will not come back in your life again- especially if you are treating only the symptoms, but not the cause. If you are taking your pills and you feel at certain point better, but you did not change anything in your life, then at the next stressful situation most likely the disease will come back again to remind you again that you are not doing the things right again.
Q: What is “Life Manual for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism”. How this book is different from all the other books on the market?
A: “Life Manual for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism” is the only book ever created that not only explains what is Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism, but also gives a specific steps how to cure the disease by treating the symptoms and the cause of the disease at the same time.
……………I commenced doing eye muscle exercises today, and strangely enough my eyes feel much more comfortable.
“I have had treatment radioactive iodine 121, 5 years ago, really interesting, the association with stress. I first had hyperthyroidism in my early 20’s, treated with neomercolzole and had no problems till age 47. During the years prior I was I realize now, under immense stress, running a family, studying nursing at university and also working 30 hours+ per week. I commenced doing eye muscle exercises today, and strangely enough my eyes feel much more comfortable. Let’s hope it continues.”
Comments: Eye muscle exercises really help your eyes. Use also chamomile cold compress to relieve discomfort.
………My eyes look TERRIBLE!
My eyes look TERRIBLE! So much so that I wear sunglasses ALL THE TIME, because I can see people shrink back when they look at me! Even my loved ones! This is causing me to feel VERY DEPRESSED! I used to like to dress well & took time to look well, but I cannot even look in the mirror nowadays! When my precious husband wants to “cuddle” me, I push him away! I am working, but as I work a lot with a computer and can’t focus, had to resign from my job. I can’t socialize anymore & keep by myself.
My comments: Actually what are you experiencing is a projection of how you feel about yourself, it’s not that people “shrink back” when they look at you. If you love yourself and feel good about yourself, then people will accept you in that way as well. Graves’ Disease is a disease about “forgotten self-care’, “overdoing” for the others, not loving ourselves enough and in general reminding us that our body and soul still exist and need to be taken care of. When you start caring about them, then you’ll feel much better. Hope is the word that you need most!
….I hate everything about this awful disease……and really really hope you can help me..
I have been suffering from Graves Disease for the past 4 years. It has been one long nightmare. I was diagnosed in Sept 2002. I had a total thyroidectomy in July 2003 (advised because statistically more likely my eyes would improve). I am taking 125mg of Thyroxine daily and my levels are stable. However, my eyes have not stabilized. In April 2005 I had orbital decompression which worked initially. Then I got upper lid retraction on my right eye (previously it had been my left that was more bulbous). I couldn’t stand the way I looked. In Jan 2006 I had both lids lowered at Harley Street in London. It was a horrific operation. Whilst they are technically in a better position I have been left with very swollen eye lids. Something I did not have previously. My eyes are also protruding again.
In June 2006 I had an 11 day course of radiotherapy to try and help the swelling, but this did nothing except make me feel sick and ill and increase my insomnia which I’ve suffered off and on for last 4 years. Like you, I considered myself a reasonably attractive woman before all this. I now DETEST the way I look and avoid mirrors. It has zapped all my confidence and joy of life and it feels like a never ending nightmare. I started anti depressants a few weeks ago but they made my symptoms of anxiety much worse and I had to stop.
I feel no-one understands what I’m going through. Friends and family have got used to seeing me this way but I will never get used to it. Each intervention I try just makes things worse. I am left with no options left and am absolutely desperate. It’s scary to think that I’ve had all this invasive surgery and nothing has fixed my condition.
I’m perfectly willing to believe it’s a result of my lifestyle which is very stressful but I’m totally stuck not knowing what to do for the best. I am a single mother with 2 children and I have to earn a living for their sake. I’m in market research where I am constantly interviewing people, running focus groups etc and it is excruciating having to overcome the initial odd stares when I meet strangers. I hate everything about this awful disease and really really hope you can help me.
I do understand what you are going through. Actually, it may sound strange but one day you will be grateful for your disease. Graves’ Disease appeared in your life to teach you something I think you should change your lifestyle. You should take better care of yourself. Reduce your stress by changing the way you think. Reduce your amount of work. Start loving yourself. Do things for yourself. Ask for help. You are not stuck- you have choices and you are making them everyday, you just don’t see them. Your children need a healthy mother and they are learning from you how to take care of themselves. #1- Change Life style and remove stress.
…………………Should I go for a Surgery, RAI treatment or I should I do?
‘’One year ago one of my eye became big and a blood test was done to me and my Doctor prescribed medicines thats NIOMAKAZON of which I took for one year and half and stopped for 7 months and on 19th of October, 2006 I went for a blood test and my results came as follows;- THYROID FUNCTIONS TEST FT3 5.49 pg/ml – (N 2.6 – 5.4) FT4 20.08 pg/ml – (N; 5.86 – 13.02) TSH * 0.005 uim/ml (0.25 – 5.0) Am told my Hyperthroid is very high I need to go for surgery or am not sure a medicine nuclear one tablet and for the rest of my life will be taking a tablet one a day. Am so worried have put on so much weight, my heart beats are so high and I get tired so fast and my body aches, please help thanks in advance.’’
My comments:I would not recommend Subtotal Thyroidectomy or RAI, unless extremely necessary. You have to work on few axes- reduce to a minimum your work load, stop any activities that takes too much energy, rest a lot. Try meditation to calm down. Work on your symptoms one by one- if your body aches- take care of it, if you have palpitations or your heart beats too much- you can use herbal tea with Lemon Balm and or/Valerian Roots, consult a naturopath.
Treatment for my eyes….Help!!!
My biggest concern at this moment is treatment for my eyes. After receiving RAI, I notice that now I have mild double vision when I am reading up close with my glasses in which I have to use everyday! I have been seen three times by an eye specialist for this and will be seen again this month.
Each time frustration set in because he tells me to wait. He is hesitant to try prism. This depresses me often because it holds me back in being productive in my job. He tells me to be patient, but my work is my livelihood. If I feel I need to explain to him, I feel it won’t do any good. How can I approach him with this issue? I want to be productive again in my life. Help!!!
My comments: It is not unusual that after RAI treatment your eyes would become worse. Unfortunately RAI is irreversible. What you can you do is to try the “muscle” exercises for your eyes that I am offering, they hopefully will improve your double vision, as well ‘cold chamomile compress” to reduce inflammation.