Finding a doctor who will listen to symptoms and who is experienced in treating thyroid illness is the query that we hear most often here at Thyroid Support Ireland.
In February I spoke to Dr Patrick Magovern, who runs the Drummartin Clinic near Dundrum. The Clinic specialises in diagnosing and treating unexplained illnesses and Dr Magovern has trained in a range of complementary therapies.
From a thyroid patient's perspective, Dr Magovern is one of the few Irish doctors who will prescribe natural thyroid extract. He mainly prescribes the Armour brand, and he has treated patients with T4 to T3 conversion issues and Reverse T3 too
Dr Magovern's medical training began in Ireland. He graduated in 1980 and then worked in hospitals and general practice in Canada, where he found he was treating a lot of patients for low mood, low energy, restless sleep and hormone problems, so he invested in training in the area known as functional medicine.
He studied complementary therapies such as acupuncture, nutritional medicine, allergens and intolerances, as well as bioenergy hormone therapies.
Dr Magovern went from being very skeptical about non-conventional medicine to someone who now uses the widest possible range of weapons to combat illness. He returned to Ireland in 1996 and set up the Drummartin Clinic nine years ago.
"Patients should beware of thinking there is just one thing wrong. People have to look more broadly,” he told me during a brief chat on the phone after I rang to enquire about whether the clinic does thyroid hormone testing.
It does do thyroid blood tests, but only as part of treatment there.
Drummartin charges 75 euro for the main three thyroid hormones to be measured. Most of its tests are carried out at St Vincents Hospital or by Medlab in Dublin, but the Clinic also sends blood samples abroad for testing.
If you can afford an initial consultation fee of 250 euro (Follow up appointments are 180 euro), Dr Magovern is conveniently located on Dublin's southside and his clinic site has lots of testimonials from patients who are happy to be quoted online.
In Central Dublin Dr. Chii Chii Lee, practices at Prices Medical Hall, 26 Clare Street, Dublin 2, where she has a walk-in clinic that operates Monday-Friday and by appointment on Saturdays.
Dr Lee is described by one patient as "very open to prescribing Armour Thyroid and very approachable".
Dr Lee's Phone number is 01-6625050.
Sarah Blogg also found that Dr Rafid Khashan at the Dame Street Medical Centre in Dublin 2 was open to prescribing natural thyroid hormone.
The Clinic is at 16 Dame Street Tel: 016790754
email: [email protected]
On the north side of Dublin, Professor Tom Gorey at Mater Private and Dr Diarmuid Smith at Beaumont Private have both had good reports.
A tip for people in the Midlands is to see Dr Griffin at Clane Hospital because:“she treats patients and symptoms, not just lab numbers”.
Dr Griffin has switched patients from Eltroxin, when it was not working, to Armour which improved life for one patient. Dr Griffin also practices privately. She used to charge around150 euro for an initial consultation and 120 euro per visit after that. She also practised at Dublin's Charlemont Clinic and at the Bon Secours Clinic in Glasnevin.
If you find a good doctor or clinic, please email us or post here about why you like it, where it is, and roughly how much a consultation costs.
Finding a doctor who will listen to symptoms and who is experienced in treating thyroid illness is the query that we get most often here at Thyroid Support Ireland.
So please think of others and share your good doctor info here.
Another tip for finding thyroid doctors is to check the information on Embassy web sites. The US Embassy site is particularly good for this. You can also check for info on Doctors who treat auto immune conditions on www.boards.ie.
So Thyroid Support Ireland's top three thyroid doctors in Dublin are:
The Irish Government is one of only three in the world that still demands all water authorities in this country add fluoride to public water supplies.
Most other countries in Europe have banned water fluoridation. The tide began turning against compulsory water fluoridation in the 1970s, with doctors in Germany and Holland leading the revolt. They reasoned that mass medication through water was simply unethical.
Experts recently estimated that Ireland's fluoridated water policy now costs the Government about one billion euro a year. That is what we pay for the drugs we buy to treat the very long list of illnesses that are now linked to putting fluorides into public water supplies.
In an era of 'Austerity' fluoridating Irish water is a ridiculous and scandalous policy, not to mention damned expensive.
If you are taking Eltroxin (The most popular thyroid hormone substitute in Ireland) and you have a medical card , the Government is effectively paying twice; and it is dosing you with two drugs, whose effects cancel each other out.
Fluorides were actually used as an anti thyroid drug until the 1970s, so if you are taking Eltroxin or any other thyroid hormone substitute, drinking Irish tap water will negate the effect of the drugs your doctor prescribes to boost your thyroid hormone.
Why? I can't understand why the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition feels unable to tackle the problem of Ireland's archaic fluoride policy, as Fine Gael said in 2000, when it was in opposition, that it would remove fluoride from public water supplies . Instead we are literally being forced to pay for poison.
About 70% of Irish people get tap water from public supplies. The rest of us get our water from private sources or Group Water Schemes, which source it from rivers or private wells.
I hope everyone reading this will write or speak to their GP or ask their consultant at their next hospital appointment whether he or she is aware that Fluorides were used as anti-thyroid drugs until the 1970s.
Please also write to your TD and Local Councillors to ask them how much it costs in your area to buy the expensive fluorides which our government insists on being put into Irish water, despite them causing so much illness.
Environmental Scientist Declan Waugh estimates that just buying, storing and dosing our water with fluoride costs us around 10M euro a year.
Treating the illnesses caused by fluoride costs us much more - his estimate is about 1 billion euro a year.
As well as thyroid problems, Fluorides worsen conditions such as eczema, arthritis and epilepsy.
In 2006 Fluorides were linked to cancer by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which advised water fluoridation be stopped until at least 50 studies were done on exactly how fluorides affect human health.
You can read the report Environmental Scientist Declan Waugh produced and sent to the Minister for Health, the HSE and every member of the government earlier this year, on his web site WWW.Enviro.ie
Posted By Shan Kelly, November 15 2012
Patients should not feel that they have to ask medical specialists to keep up to date with the latest developments in thyroid medicine, but many do. Thousands of people around the world are asking endocrinologists to up their game and to include natural thyroid and T3 amongst the treatments they prescribe. Members here should not have to buy natural thyroid or T3 substitute drugs like Ti Tre from New Zealand or the USA.
Read this petition and sign and share with people you know who are affected by thyroid illness and believe a better standard of care is our right in this country too. http://www.change.org/petitions/endocrinologists-patients-with-thyroid-dysfunction-demand-better-care
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When her doctor diagnosed Sarah Downing with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an underactive thyroid caused by an autoimmune disorder), back in 2010, she felt both relieved and sad – relieved because she finally had an explanation for the myriad of weird symptoms that had afflicted her for ages, and sad because she wished she had known earlier.
The following is an excerpt from her blog Butterflies and Phoenixes.com, which is here http://sarahjdowning.com/
My Hashi's diagnosis explained why my weight was gradually piling on; why I had to spend most of my days in bed and why I suffered from skin irritations and bloating.
What made it worse was that my mother and grandmother had both had the disease for years, but my mother was only told that Hashi's can be genetic shortly before my diagnosis.
My diagnosis brought home to me how unaware we are of thyroid illness, so i started reading. One of patient advocate Mary Shomon’s websites told me that around 59 million Americans have thyroid problems, yet most remain undiagnosed. Why on earth is this and what can we do to change it?
The more I read and talked to others, the more I realised how often thyroid diseases are trivialised and mocked.
One friend’s reaction to my diagnosis was “I didn’t think it was that serious”. Well mate, a disease that will chronically affect your whole body for the rest of your life, in ways you don’t even want to imagine, is anything but trivial.
Incidentally, that friend’s mother also suffers from thyroid disease. Another friend thought that downing a Red Bull energy drink would help me feel less tired – well, I wish it were that simple! Another remarked that society deems the stereotypical thyroid patient to be a fat, depressed woman. Sure, we get fat. Sure, we get depressed, but this disease is about so much more.
Hashis Symptoms inlcude hair loss, skin issues,tiredness, obesity, blood pressure issues, infertility, dry mucus membranes (including your lady bits!) This is not a pretty disease and not one some people like talking or hearing about, but it’s certainly one that the general public needs to know more about when you consider how very prevalent yet underdiagnosed it is.
There are still way too many people suffering despite being on medication. Members of the medical community think that one little pill is a panacea and time and again I talk to patients who were repeatedly misdiagnosed with other illnesses, very often depression, before being given the correct diagnosis.
To make matters worse, many doctors rely too heavily on blood work and less on how the patient actually feels. It also seems to be a frequent occurrence that thyroid patients who continue to complain of weight gain get sent home and told to “lay off the beer” or “stop using your thyroid disease as an excuse”. When your hormones are out of whack, you can literally lead as healthy a lifestyle as you like, but you may still suffer from weight gain and problems losing weight. That is why we have to be our own advocates – a good doctor can help us get well, but they can’t do it for us.
Explaining thyroid disease (or any disease for that matter) to your friends and family is no mean feat and I’d like to share my experiences with you in the hope that you will feel able to share yours too.
Since my diagnosis, I have done lots of research which I am always happy to share with many family members as links to articles or in my own words (particularly as thyroid disease runs in myfamily).
Most of my family are diagnosed, but live with unsatisfactory treatment.most are very happy to discuss the disease with me and listen to what I have researched, realizing that it may benefit them in the long run.
It is also important to note that there are tactful ways of suggesting to your family that they get tested without getting too personal about certain symptoms such as weight gain, but who am I telling? Most of us know exactly how it is to be on the receiving end of tactless comments about our weight.
I find it much more of a challenge to explain to friends what is going on with me – why I haven’t been my usual sociable self for months and why I have to concentrate on what is best for me right now and whatever helps me to get well. I hate seeming selfish, but this is the way it is when you are recovering from a chronic illness. Perhaps recovery is the wrong word. It won’t ever go away as it’s chronic, but I am determined to get it under control. I have decided to be very honest about my disease, which does take guts because you have to be prepared for a whole myriad of reactions …
A few people have been very supportive and understanding, offering help and comfort. Those who have been most supportive tend to be those who are familiar with medicine or illness, because they are the ones who have often experienced it first-hand and know where I am coming from.
I have realised over the past few years that not everybody is capable of empathy and I can’t expect everybody to empathise with me or I’ll just end up disappointed. I tend to find it less stressful to spend the majority of my time with those who understand and care about what I am going through.
With chronic illness, it’s vital to avoid stressful situations. If I feel that certain friends are more stressful than supportive, I will consider seeing less of them for my own good.
One friend warned me not to become too involved as the “disease would then become my life” and she even referred to campaigners who talk about nothing but what they are campaigning for. But I see it differently. I refuse to be ashamed of my disease. This is part of who I am and if I can raise awareness and learn more about it, this will help me and others to control it and stop it from consuming us. I am trying to turn something negative into something positive.
And positive really is the magic word here. I think we have to make a concerted effort to be positive when talking to others about our disease. Of course, we can bitch to those we truly feel comfortable with, but when talking to friends they will often be more receptive if our message is perceived as informative rather than whiny.
Some people view Internet research with skepticism. It scares the shit out of them. Others would rather not dwell on the symptoms for fear that focusing on them will make them become real. Others still have a fear of doctors and some have referred to my research as a “dangerous half-knowledge” (a translation from the German). The question I pose to you all in parting is this: is it more dangerous to know something or to know nothing at all?
RE: A Suppressed TSH
Thanks for the support! I have Graves, also. My TSH has NEVER been normal in the 4 years they've been testing. When on ATD'S I couldn't find a doctor to do block and replace - which I clearly needed. Consequently, my thyroid got sooooo big, I needed to have it removed as it was finally pressing against my windpipe. Now that I am technically hypOthyroid, I have a suppressed TSH due to the Graves antibodies - which are still high. Endos keep trying to lower my replacement hormone because of TSH! I lived through the hell of trying to get into remission and now I have to deal with the same idiots who don't know squat about replacing the hormones they took away! After doing extensive research, I'm going with Stop The Thyroid Madness (visit website if you want) and I'm going to do it myself - with their guidance. Are you in the Graves yahoo support group? Join it. They will help you keep your thyroid. What I SHOULD have done, is order the meds online that I needed to help with the block and replace. But I didn't trust myself enough at that time. Now I know better. I paid a high price, believe me. Read read read!
Thyroid patients will be among hundreds of zombies marching on the Government in Dublin just before Hallowe'en to protest against Ireland's compulsory addition of fluoride to Irish water. Fluoride is mass medication and anyone who is hypothyroid should avoid drinking fluoridated tap water.
So, if you fancy having some fun, while presenting the government with a serious message join us at St Stephen's Green on Friday 26th October at 3pm in your best zombie outfit. You can read more about it why we are doing it here.http://sandyshark.blogspot.ie/
This film explains the history of fluoridation and why doctors, scientists and health campaigners are uniting in groups like this to stop it.
We had great fun doing our little Zombie protest. It was lovely to meet Aisling, who took some photos of myself and my daughter Grace in our zombie gear. I will try to post them soon.
Ellen of the European Natural Thyroid Hormone users Group [email protected], (ellcox@) gave the advice below on the lab tests you need to get done if you are thinking of switching to natural Thyroid.
Ellen said:"I live in Ireland where there's an even tinier number of healthcare people to choose from. There's only 4 million of us here! What I have discovered, which could have saved me several years, is that (if you want to switch to natural thyroid): The following thyroid blood tests are necessary, regardless of what your doctor says. I met with great resistance and disapproval so don't be alarmed, stand firm, these are the test results you want and need. And only when you have these can you confidently start to move forward with a treatment plan.
TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Thyroid Antibodies (TPO's and Thyroglobuline - you should have both tested for)and Vitamin D.
These would also be helpful Total T4 and Total T3
Adrenal Stress Test ~ (Cotisol & DHEA) is best done by saliva and can be done via courier at a number of la
HSE Delists T3 Replacement Tertroxin to Patient Dismay
Reported in January 2012
An Irish Health Services Executive decision to delist a thyroid drug used by thyroid cancer survivors caused hassle and financial strain for some thyroid patients in 2011.
The T3 thyroid hormone replacement drug sold under the brand name Tertroxin is no longer available in Ireland under the state drugs scheme. Initially that move caused the few patients who rely on it hardship and distress.
Thyroid Support Ireland has learned that Tertroxin is no longer available in Ireland under the state drugs scheme, since it was delisted by the HSE in 2010.
Thyroid cancer survivors complained that since they could not get the medicine they need paid for by Ireland's national health service, they were being forced to buy it themselves.
The HSE decision means that buying Tertroxin can now cost Irish thyroid patients around Euro 40 a month on top of their other medicines.
Most people produce the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 in the ratio of 20:80. While T3 is the more powerful, active hormone used by the body when it needs energy,T4 is mainly used for storage.Tertroxin is the brand name drug that acts as a replacement for the T3 thyroid hormone.
T3 replacements like Tertroxin are more expensive than the T4 hormone replacement Eltroxin, which is taken by the majority of Irish thyroid patients, partly because far fewer people need to take T3.
But a few thyroid patients are unable to convert T4 into T3 as they lack an enzyme, so taking Tertroxin, or a natural thyroid extract which contains all four of the hormones producally naturally by the human thyroid gland, is essential for them.
Joe is a thyroid cancer survivor who has been taking Tertroxin since he had a cancerous thyroid removed in 2005. He says that the HSE removing Tertroxin from its list of approved prescription medication caused him hassle and financial strain, especially as his thyroid illness was misdiagnosed for years and had already cost him his career.
Joe struggled for years with chronic fatigue and misdiagnosis.Thyroid illness affects men much more rarely than it affects women, so It was only after a cancerous tumour was removed and he managed to get a consultant endocrinologist to prescribe him with theT3 replacement Tertroxin that he finally achieved a good quality of life.
Most people can create T3 from T4 by adding an iodine molecule to it. However, a few people like Joe who lack a crucial enzyme that acts as a catlyst can't.
After the HSE removed Tertroxin from its approved drugs list it effectively put Joe back to square one after more than 20 years of him struggling to get decent thyroid treatment in Ireland.
Luckily, after Joe switched to another, smaller pharmacy, he was able to get another T3 replacement brand called Ti Tre, made by an Italian company which is now on the HSE's list of approved drugs.
People like Joe and a growing number whose cases have been highlighted by TPA in the UK, are angry that medical authorities make it so difficult for them to get the medicines they need under state schemes.
Joe found that as a result of the HSE's decision to delist Tertroxin, the company that imported it also decided to raise its prices, so the cost rose.
We still want to know why the HSE delisted Tertroxin and whether pharmacists were told that Ti Tre was on the HSE Approved drugs list. And why natural thyroid extract is not.
It makes little sense for the HSE to delist a T3 replacement drug when the medical establishment increasingly recognises the ineffectiveness of T4 treatment alone, especially for people like Joe, for whom T4 treatment just does not work.
The HSE had a duty to inform pharmacists that TiTre was available under the state scheme, when it delisted Tertroxin, but it is not clear whether all pharmacists were updated on the situation, or whether there was a gap in early 2011 when neither T3 replacement was on the state approved drugs list.
Joe says: "After the Goldshield drug Tertroxin was de-listed, the HSE licensed another synthetic T3 from an Italian company name Ti-Tre. They may (but I'm not sure) be manufacturing Cytomel under licence from King Pharmaceuticals.
Given the mixed messages I got from pharmacists, I'm unsure whether there was a gap after the HSE's de-listing of the Goldshield product, when the TiTre wasn't available - or whether it was just that my original pharmacist wasn't aware of what was going on.
Whatever the facts of the transition, I've been on the TiTre product (which seems fine) since I think early spring 2011 and I am doing very well on it.
email your comments to: [email protected]
Posted on 5th Janu ary 2012 by Shan Kelly