Other Conditions Hypothyroidism Can Cause

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An untreated thyroid problem such as inadequately treated hypothyroidism (common for those on T4-only medication, Levothyroxine and Synthroid and not feeling better, unfortunately), can lead to a number of health problems. Understanding your symptoms of hypothyroidism and having regular tests to monitor it, will help to prevent any complications. I’m going to explore some known complications below.

Goitres/Nodules

Have you ever noticed your neck seems enlarged or been told it ‘sticks out’? Do you struggle to swallow or feel a lump in your throat? You could have an enlarged thyroid gland, also called a goitre, or a nodule/s. It can be slight or very noticeable and is caused when your thyroid over exerts itself. Read more here.

Mental Health Conditions 

The symptoms of hypothyroidism can cause, be linked to, or have an effect on our mental health, such as depression and anxiety. I had both. This is linked to the thyroid hormone T3, which many hypothyroid patients do not have a lot of. Read more here.

Infertility

If thyroid hormone levels are not right, it can affect ovulation and decrease chances of conceiving. Miscarriages can also be common. You can read more here.

Low Sex Drive 

Having a low or no libido is no joke, yet seldom talked about. Hypothyroidism can cause both men and women to feel lacklustre. Read more here.

Period Problems

Along with many of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism, menstrual issues is a common one. Thyroid hormone is needed for pretty much every function and cell in the body so when you’re hypothyroid, many processes — including your menstrual cycle — can be affected. Read  more here.

Low Vitamin Levels

Low levels in iron, ferritin, Vitamin D, B12 etc. are all common with hypothyroidism. It’s worth getting your levels checked and then ensuring they’re optimal, as they can be pretty simple to fix.

Heart Problems

Inadequately treated hypothyroidism can affect the health of your heart, such as an increase in developing heart disease, and “bad” cholesterol, with high and low blood pressure also said to be linked to thyroid problems. Due to “bad” cholesterol, it can therefore also lead to a hardening of the arteries, which increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes. I had high blood pressure before my thyroid was properly treated.

Adrenal Fatigue

If left a long time without treatment, on treatment not best for you, or been through any chronic emotional, mental or biological stress of any kind, then your adrenal glands may have been working hard to keep you going during this time/s, and now be suffering for it. I have this due to being inadequately treated for so long, but also due to major life events causing chronic stress and anxiety. Read more here.

Hypoglycemia

Also known as low blood sugar, it is linked to adrenal fatigue, so having adrenal fatigue increases your chances of having this. I have this condition too. Dr Wilson’s book is very helpful about this topic, as well as adrenal fatigue. When your blood sugar levels drop below normal, your adrenal glands respond by secreting cortisol.

Myxedema coma

This is a loss of brain function as a result of longstanding, severely low level of thyroid hormones. It is considered a life-threatening complication of hypothyroidism but very, very rare these days.

Fibromyalgia

Although many thyroid patients are told they also have fibromyalgia, a separate condition to their hypothyroidism, and although it can be, it may actually be a symptom of a poorly treated thyroid condition. Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield covers this in his book. I’ve heard many patients say that once they were able to get out of their hypothyroid state, going by a full thyroid panel and raising Free T3 especially to optimal, their fibromyalgia improved or went away altogether.

Muscle Pain/Myopathy

Muscle and joint pain, stiffness, cramping and spasming are well reported amongst thyroid patients. You can read more here, on one of my most popular articles of all time.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME

Another condition I have been diagnosed with is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a name doctors seem to hand out to any patient with ‘unexplained’ fatigue. This can be another sign of hypothyroidism not being optimally treated, and once your blood results (a full thyroid panel) read optimally, and you have optimal iron, ferritin, B12 and Vit D, etc. it may well just go away or improve a lot. I personally believe that adrenal fatigue is behind a lot of chronic fatigue syndrome diagnoses. Dr Barry Durranr-Peatfield also covers it in his book.

Obesity

Since low thyroid can lead to weight gain, this can result in being overweight and also obesity.

Gut Problems

And another one I’ve had, is regular acid reflux. Gut problems linked to hypothyroidism can also include GERD/GORD and low levels of stomach acid. The right amount of acid will help stop things like acid reflux. If you get symptoms of heart burn, acid on your chest or at the back of your mouth, explore these conditions. You need to be careful though, as most medicine given for these conditions can badly interact with Levothyroxine (and other T4-only meds). The best thing to do first is get as many of these tests done to rule out your thyroid being linked to it. Talk to a doctor to explore other causes.

There is a new scientifically-backed personalised gut health service from Thyrve, that includes customised probiotics and dietary recommendations based on your own gut health. The test-to-treatment service can help with weight maintenance, fitness, skin health, metabolism, mood, digestion, bloating and more, due to how important gut health is to your overall health. The status of your gut is the best indicator of your health. You can check them out here.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Particularly interesting and quite scary, is Alzheimer’s Disease being connected to your thyroid levels. A study found that:

Women with TSH below 1.0 and those with a TSH above 2.1 had a greater than two-fold higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.”

In contrast, they observed no such relationship between TSH levels and Alzheimer’s Disease risk in men.


Not implying you’ll get/have any or all of the above, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind. It’s good to know, certainly.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

If you found this article beneficial, please take a moment to share it so we can help others get better with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, whilst also raising awareness. "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate."

Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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Rachel Hill, Thyroid Patient Advocate, blogger and author, has Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites and has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and also contributed the foreword to Emily Kyle’s The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook.

3 thoughts on “Other Conditions Hypothyroidism Can Cause

  1. Hello There. I discovered your blog through msn. It was a very well written article you had over there.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

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