The Women's Journal

Let’s Talk Thyroid & More!!

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By Bernadette Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Owner of  Monarch Wellness Center 

Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner 

Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University 

My story

In 2012, I was suffering from thyroid toxicosis because of Graves’ disease. Sadly, after radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment I did not respond well to the traditionally prescribed levothyroxine. I felt awful on levothyroxine after RAI treatment, my healthcare provider told me “Everything was fine” and I was referred to mental health because my symptoms were “all in my head.” But I was not fine, not even close. I struggled with hypothyroid symptoms for months and could not live my life fully as a mother, a wife, and a nurse practitioner. Consequently, I drove hours into nearby states searching for a provider who would listen to me and help me feel better. Finally, after many months of searching, I found someone who explained why I was feeling so terrible on levothyroxine. Thankfully, my new provider listened and taught me a great deal about thyroid disease and explained how my body used levothyroxine. This new information was life changing. This person helped me feel better again and this experience fueled my interest in thyroid disease and treatment.  

“Normal range”

Thyroid disease is not a “one size fits all” disease and many patients are becoming frustrated by “one size fits all” management. Typically, when healthcare providers assess patients for thyroid function, they order the standard Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test and maybe a Free T4 test. If labs are found to be “in normal range,” often symptomatic patients will remain symptomatic and leave their appointments feeling disappointed and unheard. An important point to remember about the “normal range” is that it may not be “normal range” for the patient and care should be adjusted primarily based on symptoms while monitoring lab values. 

Individualized care

The management of thyroid disease leaves many patients feeling unheard, frustrated, and symptomatic. Thyroid hormones affect nearly every cell in the body. Therefore, symptoms of thyroid disease may appear from anywhere in the body and all symptoms should be considered important. The primary focus of thyroid care appointments should be on how patients feel while keeping an eye on thyroid lab values. Hence, thyroid labs should be drawn more often than once or twice a year. 

Food choices

Many foods can affect the way the body makes and uses thyroid hormones. Some foods may drive-up thyroid antibodies and should certainly be avoided. Finding out what foods should be avoided may require a comprehensive food sensitivity test. This test identifies the culprits causing inflammation which can lead to fatigue, headaches, insomnia, joint/muscle pain, IBS, skin eruptions, and more. We use a non-IgE mediated food and food-chemical hypersensitivity test (drawn in our office) to find the food and chemical triggers.  

Thyroid medications & supplements

Thyroid disease often requires management with prescription medication. Today there are several types of medication available to help manage thyroid disease, and providers like me will prescribe these medications based on diagnosis and individual needs. An initial comprehensive visit is paramount to select the right medication. Patients who take thyroid medications need monitoring for treatment success, which may require frequent symptom checks, laboratory tests, and medication adjustments to reduce thyroid symptoms and optimize wellbeing.  

In addition to prescription thyroid medications, there are several supplements that can help improve thyroid function. Many vitamins and minerals help the body make and use thyroid hormones. Individualized treatment plans help decide the best supplements to correct nutrition deficiencies like vitamin D, iron, zinc, selenium, and more. We have an on-site inventory of pharmaceutical grade supplements available, or we will gladly direct our patients to higher quality over-the-counter products. Correcting deficiencies is pivotal towards improving thyroid health.   

Other services at Monarch Wellness Center

Our primary focus is excellent thyroid care, but we have many other services that fit into the wellness center perfectly. For Instance, we have weekly Semaglutide for weight loss and a variety of I.V. therapies from Quench for dehydration, the very popular Myers’ cocktail to sports performance prehydration and rehydration. We offer several types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT, TRT) to both women and men. We have medical grade ZO® Skin Health products and peels. We offer Hyfrecation treatments to improve various skin imperfections. The fabulous Jeuveau® (prabotulinumtoxinA-xvfs) injections onsite for moderate to severe fine lines and wrinkles. We also offer InMode technologies like DiolazeXL (cool laser hair removal), Vasculaze (spider vein treatment), Morpheus8 (skin tightening – Bernadette’s favorite), and Lumecca (sun damage treatment) which are minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures that provide amazing results.

Please call 302-482-2289 for an appointment

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2601 Annand Drive Suite 17, Wilmington Delaware 19808