There's no cure for Hashimoto's thyroiditis, but treatments can control your symptoms.
Treatments for Hashimoto's thyroiditis aim to control the symptoms of the disease.
If your thyroid gland is functioning normally, you may not need any treatment right now.
Your doctor will probably want to monitor your condition to see if it progresses.
Typically, people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis who have a goiter (enlarged thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) will require treatment.
Hormone Treatments: Levothyroxine
If your thyroid gland isn't working properly, you'll probably need to take the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine daily.
This drug is sold under the brand names Levothroid, Synthroid, and others.
Levothyroxine mimics the action of the natural thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4).
It restores your hormone levels to normal and reverses the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
The medicine is taken orally and typically has almost no side effects.
Treatment is usually continued for the rest of your life, but your dose may change over time.
Don't skip a dose or stop using the medicine without first talking to your doctor.
If you stop taking levothyroxine, your symptoms will return.
You may notice some improvement within a week of starting on levothyroxine, but it may take up to six months before you experience the drug's full effects.
Older people with heart disease may start on a low dose of the drug. Younger, healthy people can start at higher doses.
Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking before starting on levothyroxine.
Armour Thyroid is the brand name of a product that contains hormones from the thyroid glands of pigs.
More research is needed to confirm whether Armour Thyroid is a safe and effective treatment for Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
It's typically not the first-line treatment for hypothyroidism.
Armour Thyroid includes both the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Some people take this supplement because it replaces both thyroid hormones, rather than just thyroxine (which levothyroxine replaces).
Most studies have shown that replacing both hormones doesn't offer any advantage.
Some research has suggested that adding T3 may help certain people who've had their thyroid gland removed surgically.
Some doctors have concerns about Armour Thyroid because:
- The exact amount of hormones in the natural extract can vary
- The balance of hormones in pigs isn't the same as it is in humans
- T3 is a potent hormone, and too much of it can cause problems
People with Hashimoto's thyroiditis don't need to eat or avoid certain foods.
Some people report improved symptoms when they follow a gluten-free diet or a low-carbohydrate diet.
More research is needed to confirm any link between diet and improved outcomes in people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Selenium is a natural mineral that might help some people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Some research has shown that taking 200 micrograms (mcg) of selenium daily, along with thyroid hormone treatments, may reduce the level of antibodies that contribute to the disease.
It's still not recommended that patients take any selenium supplements for proper treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.