Most people with hypothyroidism need to take a synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication for life. NYU Langone doctors recommend regular follow-up appointments, during which your thyroid hormone levels are tested. This can help to ensure you’re receiving the appropriate dosage of the medication.
These visits are also important because they provide you with a chance to talk to your doctor about any new symptoms. He or she can then help you to manage these as quickly as possible.
Appropriate management of hypothyroidism is particularly important if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. When the condition is undertreated or untreated, the health of your baby may be at risk. Congenital hypothyroidism, a condition a baby is born with, can affect physical and intellectual development.
If you receive a diagnosis of hypothyroidism while you are pregnant, you should start treatment with the synthetic thyroid medication levothyroxine immediately. Levothyroxine is safe for pregnant women to use, but it’s important that an endocrinologist, together with your obstetrician, monitor your thyroid hormone levels and thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, levels throughout your pregnancy.
If you have hypothyroidism and plan on becoming pregnant in the near future, talk to your doctor, so that he or she can make sure you’re taking the right dose of the medication before you conceive. Frequent lab testing and follow-up appointments with your endocrinologist are required when you’re trying to become pregnant to monitor TSH levels, because low levels of thyroid hormone may contribute to infertility.
Some people with hypothyroidism may have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. At NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program, registered dietitians can design a customized diet and exercise plan to help you establish healthy eating and exercise habits.