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July 08, 2023 8 min read

As we all know, the thyroid hormones play a vital role in our bodily functions, including heart rate, body temperature, and growth and development. Unfortunately, millions of people worldwide suffer from thyroid dysfunction or thyroid disorder, where your thyroid gland produces too much or too little hormones, leading to various symptoms and health problems.

Some common thyroid disorders include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, and thyroid cancer, which can lead to a range of debilitating symptoms, from fatigue and weight gain to depression and anxiety.

Traditional thyroid treatment has relied on outdated and inaccurate lab testing and a lack of understanding of symptoms for decades. However, a patient revolution is underway, led by the "Stop the Thyroid Madness" movement, which aims to improve thyroid treatment for millions of people and make a change after decades of inferior treatment. In this article, we'll explore the problems directed related to traditional thyroid treatment and how you can join the revolution to improve thyroid treatment for yourself and others.

The Birth of Stop the Thyroid Madness

Stop the Thyroid Madness began as a patient revolution against decades of inferior treatment for thyroid patient. In 2002, Janie A. Bowthorpe, M.Ed., was diagnosed with hypothyroid symptoms and put on levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone. However, she continued to experience debilitating symptoms, including fatigue, depression, and weight gain.

She became a thyroid patient activist after a complete turnaround with desiccated thyroid and correcting debilitating issues that plagued her after T4-only use. As a messenger of what patients have learned worldwide, she is adamant that thyroid patients (no matter the cause of their hypothyroid state) become informed to begin the change process.

After years of struggling to find effective treatment, Bowthorpe began researching thyroid disease and discovered the limitations of traditional thyroid treatment. She found that many patients with thyroid disorders were being undertreated or misdiagnosed due to medical care professionals' reliance on TSH levels and inadequate testing.

Website for a hub of hypothyroid patients

In 2005, Bowthorpe created the Stop the Thyroid Madness website, quickly becoming a hub for patients seeking information and support for their thyroid disease. The website features articles, resources, and a forum where patients can connect with others and share their experiences.

Since its inception, Stop the Thyroid Madness has grown into a global movement, with thousands of patients and healthcare professionals advocating for a more comprehensive and individualized approach to thyroid treatment. The website has been translated into multiple languages, and the movement has led to changes in thyroid treatment guidelines and increased awareness of thyroid disease symptoms.

Release of the "Stop The Thyroid Madness" Book

Janie A. Bowthorpe is also the author of the acclaimed world-renowned classic book "Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment". This patient-to-patient book provides an in-depth exploration of the problems with traditional thyroid treatment and offers practical advice for patients seeking to improve their thyroid health.

The book is based on Bowthorpe's personal experience and research, patient experience, as well as the experiences of countless other patients who have struggled to receive adequate thyroid care. Additionally, the book is divided into several sections, each focusing on a different thyroid health and treatment aspect. These include:

The problems with traditional thyroid treatment protocol

This section explores the limitations of conventional thyroid treatment, including over-reliance on thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, inaccurate lab testing, and lack of understanding of thyroid disease symptoms.

The traditional treatment of thyroid issues has been inadequate and flawed for many decades, leading to much frustration and leaving patients suffering. The standard approach is based on the assumption that TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels are the most important factor in diagnosing and managing thyroid disease. However, this approach has its limitation.

TSH levels do not always accurately reflect the body's thyroid hormone levels. In some cases, patients with normal TSH levels may still experience symptoms of hypothyroidism, while others with high TSH levels may not have any symptoms at all.

The importance of comprehensive testing

Here, Bowthorpe explains the need for comprehensive thyroid testing, including testing for free T3, free T4, and reverse T3. Comprehensive testing is crucial for accurately diagnosing and treating thyroid disease. The traditional approach to thyroid testing only looks at one marker, the TSH lab test, which can often lead to misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment.

On the other hand, comprehensive testing involves measuring multiple markers, including free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies, to get a more complete picture of thyroid function and can provide patients with far better treatment protocol.

Free T3 and free T4 are the active thyroid hormones that are responsible for regulating metabolism and energy levels. Measuring these levels can help identify if a patient is producing enough thyroid hormone. Reverse T3, on the other hand, is an inactive form of T3 that can accumulate in times of stress, illness, or nutrient deficiencies and can interfere with thyroid function. Measuring reverse T3 can help identify this issue.

In addition to measuring hormone levels, testing for thyroid antibodies can be useful in diagnosing autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis or Graves' disease. Thyroid antibodies can indicate if the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland, which can lead to decreased thyroid function over time.

The role of natural dessicated thyroid (NDT)

This section discusses the benefits of natural desiccated thyroid or NDT. NDT stands for natural desiccated thyroid, which is a type of thyroid hormone replacement therapy. It is made from dried and powdered thyroid glands from pigs and contains both T4 and T3 hormones. NDT has been used since the early 1900s to treat hypothyroidism and was the main treatment until synthetic thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) was introduced in the 1950s.

According to the Stop the Thyroid Madness movement, NDT or natural thyroid is a superior treatment option compared to synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy, such as levothyroxine (T4-only). The movement argues that many patients experience continued symptoms of hypothyroidism on synthetic T4-only therapy, even if their lab results appear to be within normal range.

The movement cites anecdotal evidence from patients report who have switched from synthetic T4-only therapy to NDT and reported improvement in their symptoms, as well as improvement in their lab results. However, it is important to note that NDT has its own potential side effects and risks and may not be the best treatment option for every patient. Additionally, some argue that many doctors resist prescribing NDT and may be unfamiliar with how to dose and monitor patients on the medication properly.

Individualized treatment plans, other treatments, and therapies

Bowthorpe stresses the importance of individualized treatment plans, which take into account a patient's unique symptoms, lab results, and other factors. The traditional treatment approach for thyroid disorders typically involves only prescribing synthetic thyroid hormone medication, such as levothyroxine, based on the patient's TSH levels. However, this approach does not consider individual differences in thyroid function and symptoms.

Down below are some of the individualized treatment plans and therapies that are suitable for thyroid patients.

Individualized treatment plans:

  • Natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) hormone replacement therapy
    As mentioned above, NDT therapy has been used for over a century to treat hypothyroidism. It was the standard treatment for hypothyroidism until synthetic T4 became available in the 1950s. However, many patients who switched to synthetic T4 did not experience the same symptom relief as with NDT.

    Similar to Armour Thyroid and WP Thyroid, several brands of NDT may also be synthetic alternatives, such as VitaliThy, a natural desiccated thyroid you can buy online. VitaliThy has a distinctive and intricate formulation that helps regulate thyroid imbalances and alleviate symptoms of hypothyroidism.

  • Combination therapy
    Combination therapy is a treatment approach for hypothyroidism that involves taking levothyroxine (T4) and liothyronine (T3) hormones. Combination therapy aims to provide a more balanced and comprehensive approach to thyroid hormone replacement by supplementing both T4 and T3.

    Studies have shown that combined therapy can improve symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and depression, compared to levothyroxine monotherapy alone. However, it is important to note that combination therapy is unsuitable for everyone and should be prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional.

  • Dietary changes and nutritional supplements
    Dietary changes and nutritional supplements are another important aspect to boost your thyroid function. While medication is often necessary to address the root cause of the problem, changes in diet and supplements can also provide support for the thyroid gland and help alleviate symptoms.

    One of the main dietary changes that is recommended for people with thyroid disease is the elimination of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it has been linked to autoimmune disorders, including Hashimoto's disease. Eliminating gluten from the diet can reduce inflammation in the body, help the immune system function, and treat adrenal issues more effectively.

    Supplements can also be helpful in supporting the thyroid gland. Some of the most commonly recommended supplements for thyroid patients include vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics. Vitamin D is essential for immune function and can help reduce inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the risk of autoimmune disorders. Probiotics help promote a healthy gut microbiome, which is important for immune function and overall health.

  • Lifestyle modifications
    Lifestyle modifications can also play a crucial role in managing thyroid disease. Simple changes in daily routines and habits can have a significant impact on improving symptoms and overall health. Some lifestyle modifications that can be beneficial such as regular exercise, proper sleep cycle, avoiding consuming alcohol and smoking and consuming a nutritious diet.

Other treatments:

  • Radioactive iodine therapy
    Radioactive iodine therapy, or RAI, is a common treatment for hyperthyroidism. It involves taking a small dose of radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid gland. The radiation destroys the overactive thyroid cells, reducing the amount of thyroid hormones in your body. Please note that RAI is not a suitable treatment for everyone. It is not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, or people with certain types of thyroid cancer.

  • Surgery or thyroidectomy
    Surgery, also known as a thyroidectomy, is a treatment option for thyroid disease that involves surgically removing part or all of the thyroid gland. This procedure may be recommended for various reasons, such as a suspicious nodule or a large goitre that is causing compression symptoms or difficulty breathing or swallowing.

    There are two types of thyroidectomy: a total thyroidectomy, which involves the removal of the entire thyroid gland, and a partial thyroidectomy, which involves the removal of only one lobe of the thyroid gland. In some cases, a near-total thyroidectomy may be performed, which involves removing most of the thyroid tissue but leaving a small amount behind.

  • Beta-blockers for hyperthyroidism
    Beta-blockers are medications that can be used to manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as rapid heart rate, tremors, and anxiety. These medications work by blocking the effects of the hormone adrenaline, which is responsible for many of the symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism.

    Beta-blockers do not treat the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism, but they can provide relief from uncomfortable symptoms. They can be especially helpful in managing symptoms while waiting for other treatments, such as radioactive iodine therapy or surgery, to take effect.

Book Revisions and Main Goals of Stop the Thyroid Madness Movement

The revisions made in the new edition include updates to many product names and revised information about thyroid treatment based on new insights gained since the book's original publication. The revisions are scattered throughout nearly every chapter, with sentence, paragraph, and section changes. Additionally, there are also exciting new, improved, and added details to both the adrenal chapters, alongside the adrenal treatment gold already in there.

Besides a new cover, revised updates are scattered throughout this acclaimed book alongside what was already life-changing information, and all the original details are still there. In addition, the book now includes now revised, updated URLs and more detailed information about the food and supplements chapter, alongside building on the comprehensive guidance provided in the original edition. These updates make the new edition an even more valuable resource for patients seeking to improve their thyroid treatment and take control of their health.

In conclusion, the Stop the Thyroid Madness movement has been instrumental in empowering patients with thyroid disease to take control of their health and advocate for better treatment options. By challenging traditional treatment protocols and promoting a more comprehensive and individualized approach, the website has helped thousands of patients worldwide to find relief from their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Wojciech Majda
Wojciech Majda

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