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Why Do Some of us Need More Thyroid Medication in Colder Months?

Why Do Some of us Need More Thyroid Medication in Colder Months?

Why do some thyroid patients need more thyroid medication in the colder months?

It can be to do with our thyroid gland (as you probably guessed), thyroid hormones, and how our metabolism works.

What Thyroid Hormones Are Used For 

The main purpose of thyroid hormones, produced by the thyroid gland (or put in manually via thyroid medication), is to ensure that the metabolism is running properly. People with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism (and often not optimally medicated for it) may have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism, such as feeling cold a lot of the time.

We need the correct amount of thyroid hormones in our bodies to burn calories in order to create heat and fuel, which is important, in particular for your body temperature and energy levels.

In The Colder Months 

In the winter, we may have a greater need for thyroid hormones (and medication), in order to create extra heat and fuel, to keep us warm and energised in the harsher months.

When it is the colder time of year, we have a greater need for thyroid hormones to produce the extra heat and energy that we need to feel well and it is for this reason, that some thyroid patients find they actually need to slightly more thyroid medication in the cold months or when they go on holiday to a colder country, with the guidance of a doctor adjusting their dosage of course. I definitely do not suggest you alter your meds on your own!

More Symptoms 

It may be due to this that some patients also experience more hypothyroidism symptoms in colder climates and at colder times of year. Brain fog, a drop in energy, muscle aches and pains etc. could all be a sign.

In simple terms, our body needs more thyroid hormone (present in thyroid medication) to keep us feeling well when it is colder, as the metabolism may need to work harder to generate adequate body heat and energy. Two things we often struggle with as hypothyroid patients!

Related Article: Signs Your Thyroid Medication May Need Adjusting

Talk To Your Doctor 

It’s definitely worth talking to your doctor about this if you notice that you feel particularly worse in the colder months, and think you could do with a slight medication change to get through the harder time of year for your body.

You should aim to have your thyroid levels (the full panel) tested twice a year  if possible; once in the warmer months and once in the cooler months, so your doctor can adjust your dose as soon as possible. You don’t want to be over or under medicated.

You can also order your own thyroid testing online. See a link for those in the UK here, and a worldwide link here.

If you’re still feeling cold in summer when everyone else is stripping off the layers, you definitely need a full thyroid panel checking ASAP to check all levels.

Do you feel different in the colder months?

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

See also:

This Study

Why Do Some of us Need Less Thyroid Medication in Warmer Months?

Why Am I Always Cold With Hypothyroidism?

The Winter and Your Thyroid

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".

1 Comment

  • Caz / InvisiblyMe
    September 30, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Spot on timing given how the weather is turning already in the UK. I’m bundled up in layers and wondering whether I’ll survive the real winter when it hits! Very good points because we do use up more energy and I think some people can struggle a lot with the cold, using up resources and our bodies require more to defend itself from bugs and such, too. Hopefully anyone who does find the colder months more of a struggle will see this post and consider the need to review their meds with their practitioner. Great post, Rachel!


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