Ask the Pharmacist: Why your thyroid still bothers you

Suzy Cohen

If there’s one thing I’m sensitive to, it’s an incorrect diagnosis. You probably are too. I bet many of you reading this today have spent lots of money over the years, trying to address all the incorrect diagnoses that well-meaning physicians arbitrarily assigned to you.

A doctor might be missing the mark if he simply prescribes medication to treat the symptoms, but doesn't get to the root of the problem, such as hypothyroidism.

Today’s article is about thyroid because it gets misdiagnosed probably 1000 times a day or more! Perhaps you’ve been told you have depression, you're bipolar, you have heart disease, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic UTIs or Raynaud’s phenomenon.

What if I told you all these problems could stem from undiagnosed hypothyroidism ... and your labs will show up as normal.

Take “Beth” for example. She told her physician about her sudden irrational fears, and mild anxiety about things that never used to bother her before. It was weird for her to suddenly feel this mentally unsettled, and at times shaky.

Her physician in Connecticut talked to her for 10 minutes then ordered Alprazolam to be taken throughout the day. This medication is in the category of “benzodiazepines,” and it is a popular anti-anxiety and sleep medication. The problem I have with this is two-fold:

1. Why would any doctor prescribe an addictive drug as the first line agent? These drugs have the capacity to change your brain in scary ways over time by down-regulating GABA receptors. Why bring the big guns out right away when something more benign could be tried first?

2. Why didn’t he test her for Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism, when anxiety is often one of the first symptoms? Other symptoms include constipation, dry skin, hair loss, brain fog, and feeling constantly cold. Sudden unexplained anxiety, bipolar or odd mood swings could be a tell-tale sign of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is exactly what Beth had. It was uncovered 2 years later. 

Missing the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s could mean that you continue to feel awful. Not getting the right treatment will cause the crumbling of your job, relationships, financial security (conventional medical labs and treatments are not cheap) and while hard to measure, your personal self esteem. 

Doctors shouldn’t shoot in the dark. I am worried you’re getting heavily medicated with mind-bending drugs, like Beth is, instead of getting simple thyroid hormone to replace what’s missing! Did you know that thyroid hormone declines naturally with age, just like our estrogen and testosterone? Your lab results cannot be trusted.

There are many reasons that your thyroid might be bothering you, and your doctor won’t catch it. The number one reason is that thyroid hormone may be locked outside the cell. It has to get inside your cell to help you. Also, conversion rates to activated T3 go down with stress, pregnancy and grief. Would you like to know all of the reasons? If so, I’ll share a free copy of my ebook: THYROID - 5 Reasons You Don’t Get Well. I also wrote a food guide for people with Hashimoto’s called Hashi No No’s. Just email me at and specify which ebook(s) you would like. 

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit