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Not losing weight? It could be your thyroid

Many years ago people used to blame their weight problem on their 'glands', by which they meant their thyroid. Then the concept of a sluggish or underactive thyroid as a potential cause of being overweight went out of fashion to the point where it was considered very rare and never routinely considered as a factor in weight loss problems. Sufferers were simply accused of cheating on their diet, and having no willpower.

Now the pendulum is swinging back again. Not only is hypothyroidism much more common than previously thought, but its incidence is increasing. At the same time, more is understood about how even mild degrees of hypothyroidism, often missed by standard thyroid tests, can cause a whole multitude of symptoms of which failure to lose weight on a calorie-controlled diet is but one. Unfortunately this is still largely unrecognised by the conventional medical establishment and it is thyroid experts working independently such as Drs Holtorf, Hotze, Lowe, Peatfield, Shames, Skinner and Teitelbaum who are leading the way in diagnosing and treating sufferers. Thanks to the Internet, word is spreading fast amongst those who are being failed by the conventional testing and treatment regimes, and sufferers are banding together on websites and forums to share information and use their voice to demand better recognition and treatment of hypothyroidism from the conventional medical establishment.

My blog article on low thyroid and obesity gives more background on the problem of undiagnosed and undertreated hypothyroidism. Thyroid expert Dr Lowe's magnificent paper on what is wrong with the treatment of hypothyroidism and what needs to be done about it is excellent for those who like scientific detail. Dr Hotze's YouTube video on why the usual thyroid tests including the TSH test are often not accurate is a must-see for those still suffering hypothyroid symptoms despite treatment.

Those on thyroid replacement therapy who have been refused a higher dose despite still having symptoms because 'this will suppress your thyroid' will find The Warmingham TSH Hypothesis very interesting. Peter Warmingham's hypothesis is that because of the workings of the thyroid/pituitary feedback loop, someone on thyroid supplementation HAS to have a 'suppressed' TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) in order for their thyroid levels to be high enough for them to feel well.

More information on how weight loss problems may be caused by low thyroid and what to do about it can be found in my book 'Why Can't I Lose Weight'.

There are many good thyroid patient websites and blogs devoted to spreading the message and helping in the campaign to get better recognition and treatment for hypothyroidism. Here are some of the best:


www.thyroid-disease.org.uk Dawn Wood's Thyroid Disease.Org.UK site on all things thyroid, including a forum and help on what to do if your doctor refuses to offer any treatments other than thyroxine (Synthroid) for underactive thyroid.

www.thyroiduk.org.uk Lyn Mynott's Thyroid UK site. Its stated mission is to provide information and resources to promote effective diagnosis and appropriate treatment for people with thyroid disorders and to be the primary source of independent, accredited information on thyroid related disorders in the UK. They have a support website where people can blog, ask questions, rate their endocrinology department and take part in regular polls.

www.stopthethyroidmadness.com Thyroid patient activist, author and blogger Janie Bowthorpe's Stop the Thyroid Madness site providing information for thyroid sufferers.

www.tpa-uk.org.uk The Charity set up by Sheila Turner, Thyroid Patient Advocacy. An independent user-led organisation established to ensure that all thyroid disease sufferers are given a correct diagnosis and receive effective treatment, TPA campaigns for better education in diagnostics and treatment and provides extensive support and guidance for all sufferers.

STOP PRESS! TPA is creating a World Register of Counterexamples to levothyroxine-only (T4) therapy. The objective is to draw to the attention of those responsible authorities throughout the world, the dire need for an urgent re-examination of the existing protocol for diagnosis and management of hypothyroidism. If you continued to suffer symptoms on T4-only therapy, and found those symptoms disappeared with a T3 hormone-containing product (synthetic T3 or natural thyroid extract), please help by completing the 3 questions with either 'YES', 'NO' or N/A here.

All responses will be collated online, and your email address (if you provide one) will be used ONLY to contact you at a later date should this become necessary.