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Ask Dr. Gott 11/04

Sketchy diagnosis calls for second opinion

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Posted: November 3, 2006 4:39 p.m.
Updated: November 11, 2006 5:00 a.m.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 59-year-old female who has been told by a former OB/Gyn who is now into "functional medicine" that I have hypothyroidism. All of my tests at my regular doctor's office have not shown any sign of it.
    However, I do have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. I filled out a questionnaire before I saw this functional-medicine doctor. On my visit, he looked into my eyes and from the questionnaire answers said that I did, indeed, have hypothyroidism. He sent me to a person who compounded the medicine I was to take. Upon taking the medication, I found that it made me extremely nervous unless I emptied half the capsule before I took it.
    Can you shed any light on this for me? Would thyroid medicine hurt you if you did not need it? What else could cause all the symptoms I have? This doctor also went by basal temperature. Mine was 96.5 F most of the time.
    Please help. I do not know what to do. Should I go to an endocrinologist?
    DEAR READER: Without a doubt, and as soon as possible. I question the findings of a "functional medicine" doctor, I disagree with treating a condition for which the blood tests are normal, and I am concerned that your symptoms persist.
    An endocrinologist can provide a reliable second opinion, and, unlike your born-again gynecologist, diagnose your other symptoms (which you do not list in your letter).
    While I do not reject the findings and opinions of alternative therapists out of hand, I tend to be cautious, unlike your current doctor, who had no other criteria than a questionnaire and an eye exam to "diagnose" your "hypothyroidism." This is a no-no. The fact that you still have symptoms despite taking thyroid medicine is further proof that you need an opinion from a medical specialist. Let me know what happens.
    At the same time, do some research on your former gynecologist. Why did he leave a challenging specialty? Why did he decide on a "functional" medical practice? Has he been intimidated by multiple malpractice claims? Has he had some issue, such as ill health or legal problems, that caused him to lose his license? These and other questions need answering.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Choosing a Physician." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I've been successful on your no-flour, no-sugar diet. I am a little way from my goal. The easy part is no flour. The sugar part is harder. The sugar in candy-type stuff is easy, but even small amounts of milk, orange juice, grapes and other fruits have sugar. Do you have a modified rule for these items?
    DEAR READER: I do not restrict the natural sugar in fruits (fructose) or milk (lactose). My main concern is cane sugar, maple sugar, molasses, corn syrup and similar products.
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