Book Reviews

Book Review: Living Well With Hypothyroidism by Mary J. Shomon

Book review: Living Well With Hypothyroidism by Mary J. Shomon

Mary Shomon has been a well-recognised thyroid patient advocate for over twenty years.

Book review: Living Well With Hypothyroidism by Mary J. Shomon

Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You… That You Need to Know is one of the most popular ‘thyroid books’ for patients, as it is a very comprehensive read and resource. 

I may reference back to this book and what I’ve learnt from it throughout my blog posts.

Mary wrote this book with the aim of providing a very thorough resource for understanding your hypothyroidism and what you can do to live well with it. Many thyroid patients are unfortunately living poor quality lives, yet as Mary explains, this needn’t be the case.

The introduction started with the quote “He who enjoys good health is rich, though he knows it not.” – Italian proverb. Which I loved.

The writing of this book isn’t overly-technical, but may be a little overwhelming to anyone new to thyroid health. Mary’s passion as a thyroid patient advocate comes through easily and she writes from a familiar perspective – as a thyroid patient herself. The book is also full of quotes, stories and anecdotes from other thyroid patients, which I’m sure provide extra reassurance regarding what people experience and struggle with, though I did find it a little jarring at times as it kept breaking the flow of the book a little.

Quotes from various doctors and medical/healthcare professionals concerning both sides of many thyroid ‘arguments’ and ‘controversies’ present multiple perspectives and demonstrate Mary’s research in to the topic of thyroid disease, treatment and management. A lot of the common FAQ’s I hear from thyroid patients upon diagnosis are covered and the book really does do a good job of discussing many parts of living with hypothyroidism, putting a lot of the must-read info in one place.

For example, not only is hypothyroidism itself explained, as well as the long list of symptoms (with checklist), but thyroid medication options, the differences in types of approach (convention vs alternative), weight loss advice, mental health, pregnancy and fertility, hypothyroidism in children, post thyroid cancer, sleep remedies, exercise advice and more.

Some may feel that she leans more towards alternative medicine and promoting alternative treatments for hypothyroidism, and I’ve seen some reviews of the book online suggesting her tone on conventional doctors to be overly negative.

One thing I noticed was that – as the book was written around fifteen years ago now – some of the information in the book isn’t as up to date as it could be and the list of resources at the end don’t reflect the vast amount of thyroid information available now e.g. in countless books and websites.

‘Functional medicine’, which is very much a bit of a buzzword and of interest to many thyroid patients at the moment, isn’t addressed at all – perhaps another reflection of the book’s publishing date. Considering that so many of us with hypothyroidism find functional medicine practitioners and functional medicine doctors to be crucial in our recovery of thyroid disease, it felt like a big piece of that treatment and management jigsaw was missing.

This book doesn’t just inform you about hypothyroidism, but encourages you to be your own thyroid health advocate too and gives genuine advice as to how to do this. Mary wants to empower more of us to truly understand our thyroid condition and be confident in getting the treatment we deserve.

It’s a chunky book and isn’t exactly light reading, so perhaps not the best book to start with when collecting ‘thyroid books‘, but more one to read when you’re feeling you have the bases covered. A lot of the information is also more US-centric and less applicable to UK readers, but I still found enough of the content to be useful to myself (I’m in the UK). A lot of the suggestions around seeking alternative practitioners and treatments is welcome, but there is a slight oversight in failing to address that many thyroid patients do not have access to the funds needed to pay extra out of pocket for a lot of these things. Especially in the UK, where the National Health Service doesn’t cover a lot of the testing and treatment options mentioned. How to go about accessing these extra tests and treatment options in the UK weren’t covered, perhaps due to the author being American. Not the author’s fault, but worth knowing for UK thyroid patients.

Overall, I feel this book is a great addition to every thyroid patient’s personal library and does a great job of using real research, studies and guidelines to equip thyroid patients with the knowledge they need to take in to their doctor’s office and make progress. I would love a newer edition though with more up to date information.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon on the link below.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Other books by Mary Shomon:

The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough book
The Thyroid Diet Revolution book
The Thyroid Diet book

About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts and at events about the many aspects thyroid disease affects and how to overcome these. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her bestselling books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".

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