You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist called an endocrinologist.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make your appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do to prepare for common diagnostic tests.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment. For example, if you've been feeling more forgetful than usual, this is important information to share with your doctor. Also tell your doctor about changes you've noticed in your physical appearance, such as unexplained weight gain or a difference in your skin.
- Write down key personal information, including any changes in your menstrual cycle and in your sex life. Let your doctor know if your libido has changed.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking or have used in the past. Include the specific name and dose of these medications and how long you've been taking them.
- 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.
Create a list of questions so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor. For Hashimoto's disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- Is this condition likely temporary or long lasting?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- How long will I need to take medications?
- What side effects could I experience from the medications you're recommending?
- How will you monitor whether my treatment is working?
- Will I experience long-term complications from this condition?
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Will exercise help?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- 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 other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- How have your symptoms changed over time?
- Have you noticed changes in your energy level or your mood?
- Has your appearance changed, including weight gain or skin dryness?
- Has your voice changed?
- Have your bowel habits changed? How?
- Do you have muscle or joint pain? Where?
- Have you noticed a change in your sensitivity to cold?
- Have you felt more forgetful than usual?
- Has your interest in sex decreased? If you're a woman, has your menstrual cycle changed?
- Are you being treated or have you recently been treated for other medical conditions?
- Do any of your family members have thyroid disease?
Nov. 17, 2016
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/hashimotos-thyroiditis/. Accessed Oct. 12, 2016.
- Goldman L, et al., eds. Thyroid. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 12, 2016.
- Davies TF. Pathogenesis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (chronic autoimmune thyroiditis). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Frequently asked questions: Hashimoto's disease. Office on Women's Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/hashimoto-disease.html. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Melmed S, et al. Hypothyroid and thyroiditis. In: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Ross DS. Treatment of hypothyroidism. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2016.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 25, 2016.
- Thyroid hormone treatment. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-hormone-treatment/. Accessed Oct. 26, 2016.