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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Care Instructions

Picture of a thyroid gland

Your Care Instructions

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a problem with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland, which is in your neck, controls the way your body uses energy. Sometimes the disease causes the gland to make too much thyroid hormone (thyrotoxicosis). This can make you feel nervous, lose weight, and have many loose bowel movements. You may also have a fast heartbeat.

But as the disease progresses, the gland usually does not make enough thyroid hormone. This can cause you to feel tired and have dry skin and thinning hair. Most people with Hashimoto's are diagnosed when they have these symptoms.

You may need to take medicine if you have symptoms or if your thyroid hormone level is not normal. Most people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis need to take medicine for the rest of their lives.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have a very slow heartbeat (less than 60 beats a minute).
  • You have a low body temperature (35°C or below).

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You gain weight even though you are eating normally or less than usual.
  • You feel extremely weak or tired.
  • You have new changes in your skin, nails, or hair, or the changes get worse.
  • You notice that your thyroid gland has grown or changed in size.
  • You have constipation that is new or that gets worse.
  • You cannot stand cold temperatures.
  • You have heavy or irregular menstrual periods.
  • You have other new symptoms.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.