Book Review: The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough by Mary J. Shomon

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Mary Shomon is a well-recognised and well-respected thyroid patient advocate. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, she has been a health activist for over twenty-years. The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough Book Review

The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough is just one of several books by Mary. This one looks at how an undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or under-treated thyroid condition could be the cause behind infertility, low libido, menopausal symptoms and other hormonal issues in women.

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

The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough is a great place to start with any hormonal issues. Explained thoroughly though not in over-technical language, Mary Shomon reveals how a thyroid condition could be behind many of the hormonal complaints women have. Sitting in between conventional medicine and alternative approaches, she does a good job of combining information from both approaches. However, it was written around fifteen years ago now so some of the information included isn’t as up to date as it could be. For example, an emphasis on thyroid tests Free T4 and TSH was placed, when we now know that thyroid antibodies, Free T3 and Reverse T3 can also be important to test.

One thing that struck me about this book is that it’s really for a specific age group. It doesn’t look at overall thyroid disease management, treatment, testing and symptoms, but rather the types of issues that a thyroid condition can cause to women in their late twenties to forties (women in their childbearing years), as it focuses on helping the reader to understand and overcome infertility/fertility issues, pregnancy issues, weight management issues, PMS, low libido, menopause, menstrual issues etc.

Therefore, it’s not really relevant to thyroid patients who don’t experience these issues (but maybe other thyroid symptoms which aren’t covered), as well as male thyroid patients. The way thyroid disease can affect a man’s libido or fertility aren’t covered unfortunately.

If you’re having these kinds of hormonal issues and have had a thyroid condition ruled out as the cause, you probably won’t find much help in this book either.

However, for those who are the target audience of this book, I thought it was very well written, laid out and concise. Chapters were of a perfect length to sit and read either one or several in one go. Many people with thyroid conditions aren’t aware that they’re not being optimally treated and unfortunately experience issues such as miscarriages, infertility, no sex drive and heavy or painful menstrual cycles.

It’s worth noting that this book doesn’t only look at hypothyroidism, but also hyperthyroidism, Graves’ Disease, Hashimoto’s, thyroid cancer and more.

The book is split in to three main parts, with Part One explaining what the thyroid gland is and its role in the body, how women’s hormones work, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid conditions and how to spot one in yourself. There is also a very detailed checklist of risk factors and symptoms for a thyroid condition, which can be helpful when determining if a thyroid condition (whether already treated for it or not) could be the cause behind your ongoing hormonal complaints.

Part Two covers Thyroid-Related Hormone Issues, which includes puberty, menstrual complaints, challenges with fertility and pregnancy, breastfeeding challenges, the menopause, perimenopause and premature ovarian failure.

And Part Three looks at how to resolve whatever issues you may be having, by equipping you with the tools you need to get properly tested, diagnosed and treated. Mary also talks about her opinion regarding not delaying children rearing until too late, which can be controversial but I do personally agree with. Not every person feels ready to have children in their twenties, but when we have a health condition such as thyroid disease, I do agree with Mary in that we need to be more mindful and aware of how this can impact our fertility and ability to get through pregnancy and parenthood on the other side.

There was also some sound information on supplements and dosages which will be useful to many, as well as information on the different thyroid medication options. As Mary is a patient advocate and not a doctor, the book isn’t overly technical or detailed in treatment of various hormonal imbalances, but she does signpost you to further information and topics to bring up with your doctor.

At the end of the book is the most detailed resource list I’ve come across. Combining websites, books, studies and more, there are plenty of pointers in where to find more information and support.

I found this book to be a very comprehensive and useful tool for those with hormonal issues and I think every woman of childbearing age would benefit from giving it a read. I was very surprised by this book and found it more useful than I thought I would.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon on the link below and also check out the other books that may be helpful to you in my bookstore, here.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Other books by Mary Shomon:

Living Well with Hypothyroidism book
The Thyroid Diet Revolution book
The Thyroid Diet book

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