Having healthcare providers who are aligned with your goals and truly want to support is a key factor in promoting and advancing your health when you have a chronic illness. Part 1 of this series focused on some questions to ask your healthcare provider regarding their approach to treating and supporting someone living with a chronic illness.
This post focuses on how and where to find someone who can treat your thyroid condition.
I have gone through three endocrinologists so far and am on my fourth. The one I am currently seeing was a referral through another endocrinologist because of the added complexity of my thyroid cancer and so I am being seen by someone at a top cancer center.
Important Points When Looking For a Good Healthcare Professional:
- Think about what type of healthcare approach you are looking for.
- Conventional Medicine. A conventional health care provider includes a family doctor or general physician (GP), endocrinologists and oncologists.
- Integrative Medicine is a medical approach that is holistic and takes into account lifestyle factors of a patient. A more integrative medicine practitioner can include naturopaths, registered dietitians, social workers and acupuncturists for example.
- Functional Medicine embraces principles of integrative medicine while also taking a systems-oriented approach to identifying underlying root causes of disease. This is a personalised approach to medicine. Functional practitioners include functional doctors and other functional practitioners who have completed additional training including naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dietitians, occupational therapists and other licensed healthcare professionals.
- You might need/want to consider balancing a conventional practitioner with an integrative and/or functional health practitioner. You might need a multi-pronged approach to your healthcare depending on your thyroid condition. For example with thyroid cancer treatment, you will need an endocrinologist to monitor you and your treatment as well as a surgeon if you are having a thyroidectomy. Your endocrinologist will also be your go-to point of contact for radioactive iodine treatment (RAI). You might want to further support your health with a functional medicine practitioner who can work on any symptoms you are having, minimize the stress on your body through treatment and address any underlying root issues.
- Look at their thyroid-specific approach and experience. It might be worth looking at experience with a specific health issue like the thyroid. Although many functions in our body are connected, it is helpful to ask about their approach to thyroid health issues and diagnoses. If you are looking for someone to consider issues like thyroid hormone conversion or potentially looking at natural dessicated thyroid (NDT), or taking T3 this is worth knowing.
- Consider your budget and pricing. While some practitioners are covered depending on where you live, others may not be covered either through publicly-funded health insurance (like the NHS or in Canada). Especially if you are looking into private providers, you may want to look at a few different providers and figure out your options.
Where to Find a Good Healthcare Professional for your Thyroid Condition:
- Ask around and use your networks. Connect with others you know and ask for recommendations. Support groups (either online or in person), community organizations and centers can be useful for this. Ask your personal networks and family members, friends and colleagues for suggestions. Online forums and social media groups can also be useful to get good recommendations and hear about people's experiences with healthcare providers.
- Look online. Search or google "functional medicine + [your city]" or "endocrinologist + [your area]" or "naturopath + thyroid + [location]". It is also possible to look up reviews for doctors online (take these with a grain of salt but trends can be illuminating).
- Use curated thyroid-specific lists and searches.
- American Thyroid Association. "Find a Doctor"
- American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. "Find a Surgeon"
- Thyroid Doctors. Doctor who prescribe NDT
- ThyroidChange website. "Find a Thyroid Doctor"
- American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists List
- Thyroid Cancer Survivor's Association
- ThyroidUK. Contact for private doctors
- Hormone Health Network. "Find an Endocrinologist"
- Look at functional medicine lists and centers (many also do virtual consultations):
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Latest posts by Nadha Hassen (see all)
- Thyroid Cancer Signs and Symptoms - March 4, 2020
- Thyroid Cancer and Radioactive Iodine Treatment: Making Tough Decisions - February 19, 2020
- How to Support Someone with a Chronic Illness - February 5, 2020